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As we reach the end of 2017, we’ve pulled together our favourite releases of the year based on a survey of all Ticketmaster UK staff. With a huge team dedicated to live entertainment, Ticketmaster staff live and breathe music, sport and theatre. Here’s what has been keeping us going over the last twelve months, and with it some records for fans to check out during the festive season.
Check out Ticketmaster Blog for our favourite songs and live events of the year too, as decided by staff. The Blog homepage is also featuring some of our highlights from 2017 to delve into, including interviews and sessions with our favourite names in live entertainment.
The fourth studio album by megastar rapper Kendrick Lamar dropped in April, completing his trajectory towards the top of the hip-hop pile. Alongside the album’s flow, it’s his lyrical prowess that impresses most. DAMN. simultaneously balances a passion for old school hip-hop and a modern edge, driven by charged lyrics; social, political and personal. It finds the midpoint between the grit of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and the grandeur of To Pimp A Butterfly, comfortably sitting at the top as our staff’s favourite record of 2017. [Tickets]
Divide, the third studio album by global hitmaker Ed Sheeran, is his broadest to date. Channeling influence from a multitude of styles and geographical locations, it smashed straight to the top of the UK Album Chart only three days after release. With it, Sheeran continues his dominance of the everyman style he’s perfected over the course of his two previous records. His sound, lyrics and character remain surprisingly grounded, yet filled with ambition. [Tickets]
On Melodrama Lorde offers a new perspective on pop music. Not only pushing the genre’s boundaries with her eclectic yet iconic sound, lyrically it’s more personal than pop often dares to be. It’s a surprising listen, often taking unexpected turns, and easily sweeping from huge melodies to stripped back introspection. In its unique way, Melodrama documents the frivolity and excess of youthful partying, and the compromises these bring. [Tickets]
LCD Soundsystem seemingly rounded off their career with a mammoth epic live show at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden in April 2011. Yet six years later they unleashed arguably their strongest work to date, American Dream, following a return from their indefinite hiatus. Noted for its urgency, the album brilliantly reflects the state of society in 2017. It discusses the temporary nature of life, of success, of happiness and of security. Ultimately it’s a beautifully crafted critical look at the state of the world. [Tickets]
In a year that saw grime continue its incredible rise, Stormzy cemented himself as the genre’s leader with the release of his debut full-length Gang Signs and Prayer. Inviting his contemporaries into the fold, the record features guest appearances by the likes of Wretch 32, Ghetts and J Hus, highlighting the scene’s collaborative nature. Yet above all else, the record sees Stormzy venture out of the genre’s confines, easily capturing a whole new audience. [Tickets]
The debut album by stateside vocalist SZA delivers quality slow jams, gently expanding the borders of R&B. It introduces the world to her powerfully delicate vocals, and her unique compositions. Discussing themes of femininity and self-esteem, Ctrl effortlessly pulls the genre firmly into the present day, delivered by one of the most exciting singer-songwriters of the year. [Tickets]
Following a turbulent year, Taylor Swift exploded with the defiant Reputation, in some ways a direct attack on her naysayers. Continuing her rise away from her country tinged pop days, the album is dominated by filthy beats and a punchy confidence. [Tickets]
The third album by London electronic masters The xx continues their delicate experimentation, led by the distinctive vocals of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, and the behind the scenes mastery of Jamie Smith (also known as Jamie xx). In its creativity, and its more grandiose moments, it retains the trio’s magic but spreads its wings more widely. It’s both euphoric and heavyhearted, presented in its lyrics and well-honed sound. [Tickets]
The former The Beautiful South members released their third collaborative album, Crooked Calypso, in July. Tackling inequality and struggles in British society, the lyrics were written by Heaton in the Netherlands, and recorded in Gran Canaria. Retaining their retrospective style, the album ramps up the huge production including strings and horns over the pairs distinctive quirky pop-rock sound. [Tickets]
The fourth studio album by American rockers The War On Drugs, A Deeper Understanding is another sprawling, swirling and musically epic masterpiece. The Philadelphia band continue their grasp on nostalgia, taking the elements of psychedelic rock with a freeing 60s vibe, and presenting it with a modern veneer that drags the past right into the present. [Tickets]
We’re looking back at 2017 across the blog. Find out more here.