After taking a mid-year review of 2017’s songs last week, it’s time for the albums. In a landscape shifting more and more towards the digital single, I’ve been a longtime proponent of the classic pop album. 2017 hasn’t given us all that many, but there have definitely been a few standouts.
Here are my favorites of the first half of 2017. What are your picks?
FULL LENGTH ALBUMS
Akdong Musician – Winter
Kicking off the year with a grab bag of all the quirky styles that make Akdong Musician such a treasure, Winter is the duo’s most exciting and ambitious project yet.
Best album tracks: Reality, Play Ugly
Taeyeon – My Voice
A sprawling work at 17 tracks, My Voice completely won me over to Taeyeon’s charms. Yes, I would have loved some more dance tracks, but the musical diversity on display here is still impressive.
Best album tracks: Time Lapse, Cover Up
Astro – Dream Pt. 1
At eight tracks, it’s big enough to be considered a full album, but whatever its classification, Dream is chock full of the best pop music 2017 has to offer. Part 2 can’t come soon enough.
Best album tracks: You Smile, Dream Night
G-Dragon – Kwon Ji Young
There’s just no ignoring a legend. After nearly four years from his last solo album, G-Dragon‘s Kwon Ji Young goes introspective without losing an ounce of the charisma that has made him such a star.
Best album tracks: Bullshit, Middle Fingers Up
GFriend – The Awakening
Shifting to a slightly more mature sound, GFriend released their most consistent mini yet, highlighted by their dense, intricate production and soaring hooks.
Best album tracks: Please Save My Earth, Hear The Wind Sing
NCT 127 – Limitless
Though Cherry Bomb holds its fair share of highlights as well, 127’s best release so far was this January’s Limitless. Song for song, it’s a knockout.
Best album tracks: Good Thing, Baby Don’t Like It
Pentagon – Five Senses
Pentagon may not be getting quite as much attention as other rookies, but they churn out a reliably solid album every time. The melodic, uptempo Five Senses is their best yet.
Best album tracks: Engine, Undo
Snuper – I Wanna?
It’s barely long enough to be considered a mini album, but I Wanna‘s opening trio of Sweetune-produced dance tracks can’t be beat.
Best album tracks: Hide & Seek, My Girl’s Fox