2017's Top 20 Best Selling Albums...So Far

Posted by Amoebite, July 17, 2017 04:54pm | Post a Comment

Best Selling Albums of 2017 So Far

Now that summer's in full swing, we're just a little past the midpoint of the year in record sales. So what's been hot at Amoeba? Our best sellers are a diverse mix, as always, with indie, pop, a killer soundtrack, metal, electronic, and hip-hop albums all posting up within the Top 20 CDs and LPs released in 2017 so far. Take a look at what has been flying off our shelves -- some of these probably won't be a surprise while still others may have slipped past your radar. You can expect to see many of these albums on critics' best-of lists at the end of the year!

Beach Fossils

20. Beach Fossils - Somersault

With every new record, it seems Beach Fossils have been continually evolving their indie/post-punk sound. Somersault, their latest, shows a band working at its fullest potential. The songs are lush and dreamy, thoughtful and warm. This is not the same band who was making angular, propulsive post-punk just a few years back — instead there’s a hazy, modern New Romantic meets shoegaze vibe, which gives the album a deeper, more emotional allure. This album is pure romantic pleasure.

Sylvan Esso

19. Sylvan Esso - What Now

Electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso contrast feel good, festival-ready pop hooks with heavy sequenced synths. And what a contrast it is. Taken out of context, producer Nick Sanborn's glitchy, squelched earth instrumentals would give contemporaries from Nicolas Jaar to Com Truise a good run for their money. At the same time, singer Amelia Meath's vocals would not feel out of place on, say, a Grouplove song. Together they combine to form a uniquely 21st century Frankenstein musical creation, one that exists as both a culmination of trends completely en vogue for the past few years and as a progenitor of pop's future, a place where the yelpy indie-folk of the Dirty Projectors sits comfortably next to a Flume set at HARD summer, set to a slideshow of Lorde's dance moves. More importantly, and this is most important after all, Sylvan Esso are catchy, catchy, catchy. What Now, a fitting title for the album you'll be listening to for the rest of the year.


18. Tycho - Epoch

Is Tycho's Epoch the ambient feel-good album of the year? Are those words mutually exclusive? After giving Epoch a spin, it's clear that Tycho main dude Scott Hansen has created a vibrant, evocative work that's simultaneously vivid and alive and very, very chill. The San Francisco producer's beats and smooth production style are epic, conjuring whole worlds before effortlessly segueing into the next step of the journey. A very relaxed toe-tapper of a record.


17. Phoenix - Ti Amo

Ti Amo is a welcome return for Phoenix. The melodies are as infectious and vivacious as ever but the band has even more to play with, thanks to their newly-expanded sonic palette which features influences ranging from Italo disco to Afrobeat to Latin rhythms. There’s even a Pet Shop Boys vibe on a couple of the tracks, notably on the titular lead single. The band is a little bit more wistful, a little bit more melancholy, but the melodies and beats are as buoyant and bold as ever. It’s hard to get enough of this easy-to-love dance-pop album.

Harry Styles

16. Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Former boy band heartthrob Harry Styles is all grown up on this introspective, self-titled collection of tunes. Harry Styles features grandiose orchestral rock ballads alongside minimal, acoustic guitar-driven folk pop numbers, occasionally intermingled with Beatles-minded blues vamps. Lead single “Sign Of The Times” (no, not the Prince song) is a “Life On Mars” updated for the 2017 Coachella crowd, featuring sweeping strings, melancholy piano, and classic rock guitars ornamenting an Adele-worthy melody that reaches for the rafters. Meanwhile, “Ever Since New York” wouldn’t sound out of place on a college quad circa ’96, being strummed between Rusted Root and some good ‘ol Hootie. Arguably the strongest of the post-One Direction solo releases, Styles does much to prove that there is indeed life after bubblegum.


15. The Drums - Abysmal Thoughts

After a three year absence The Drums are back with the shimmery, shadowy dance-pop of Abysmal Thoughts. Wearing his romantic melancholia on his sleeve, sole remaining member Jonny Pierce, draws from the late '70s, UK post punk sound to create a New York, dance-punk hybrid. With plucky, surfy guitar hooks, melodic, driving bass, and infectious, wistful vocals Abysmal Thoughts is actually quite a pleasant experience. The release of lead single, "Blood Under My Belt," has been perfectly timed for summer, and is poised to be the number one contender for its soundtrack. "Heart Basel" evokes early Cure, both tone-wise and attitude-wise, and features a most satisfyingly longing chorus, while "Mirror" and "Head Of The Horse," with their more electronic and sampled sounds find their footing a bit more in the 21st century.


14. Sampha - Process

South London producer/performer Sampha Sisay has one of those voices that speaks volumes. (You’ve probably heard his work on tracks by Katy B, Kanye, Solange, FKA twigs, Drake, Frank Ocean, and Jessie Ware.) On Process, his velvet tones convey a depth of feeling; one minute the listener is drowning in Sampha’s own longing, the next minute buoyed by a radical hope. The melodies are equally strong, with raw, powerful piano and barebones soul structure. This smart, heartfelt album checks all the boxes for a future classic.

Chicano Batman

13. Chicano Batman - Freedom Is Free

As the country stews in its volatile division, with outrage crying from all corners, the title track off Chicano Batman's new album, Freedom Is Free, is perhaps one of the few healing salves to emerge in recent months. Both lyrically and musically, the track is unpatronizing in its optimism, yet still served with a slight dose of melancholy. Much like the rest of the album, the band's Latin-influenced garage rock is fused with a heavy R&B backbone. The drums are funky, crunchy, and would almost sound sampled were they not played with such live soul. The opening track, "Passed You By," is a neo-soul gem, with guitars that bring to mind the R&B guitar stylings of Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper while "The Taker Story," which criticizes man's presumed right over the land and its subsequent destruction, is like a relaxed James Brown track. Songs like "La Jura" and "Angel Child" bring to mind the psychedelic pop of '60s Rio De Janeiro, and the guitar and organ get pretty far out and fun on "Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)."

Baby Driver

12. Various Artists - Baby Driver OST

The soundtrack for Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is packed with 30 carefully curated tracks drawn from the worlds of indie, punk, hip-hop, funk, power pop, soul, R&B, and jazz. Pretty much every track is a classic, ranging from the ubiquitous “Radar Love” to the (perhaps) lesser known “Egyptian Reggae.” The collection is upbeat and rhythm-driven, showcasing some of the strongest songwriters in recent musical history. A strong contender for the coolest soundtrack of the year.


11. Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Mastodon is one of those bands that have gotten better over time. Though their albums are thick layers of fuzzed-out guitars, slamming percussion, and dramatic vocals, Mastodon manages to keep a subliminal level of pop that makes them feel less impenetrable than most heavy-duty metal bands. With their seventh album, they created a sophisticated concept album that deals with mortality by telling the story of a man in the desert who has been sentenced to die. It was born out of the desire to create something that represented the band's personal journal of having friends and family become ill with cancer. But this anger and confusion are vented through relentlessly powerful metal that shreds and marches forward with pure fire.  


Father John Misty

10. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

On Pure Comedy, we find the troubadour musing about his life, society, and pop culture over downbeat folk rock melodies. “Leaving LA” is a raw, meandering account of life spent too long up in the hills. The title track is insightful, intense, and hard-to-forget. “Total Entertainment Forever” sees Father John discussing Taylor Swift’s appeal — it’s a dissection of celebrity you didn’t know you needed in your life (or eardrums) until now. All in all, Father John Misty provides the perfectly melancholy, dryly funny, and surprisingly moving soundtrack to our times.


9. Gorillaz - Humanz

Gorillaz teamed up with some serious star power on Humanz and the result is hit after hit after hit. Somehow, despite the distinctive voices of each of the performers —from legends like Mavis Staples to buzzworthy newcomers like Vince Staples — each track still manages to have that special Gorillaz sound, just accentuated and given a novel approach by the guest vocalists. Honestly, it’s hard to select just a few standout tracks on an album that’s so strong overall, but “Submission” (feat. Danny Brown and Kelela), “Carnival,” (feat. Anthony Hamilton), “Busted and Blue, and “We Got the Power” (feat. Savages’ Jehnny Beth) will definitely have you pressing rewind. Humanz seems destined to be, for many fans, the soundtrack to the summer.



8. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3

El-P and Killer Mike return with another gorgeous, hard-hitting turn as Run the Jewels. The beats are cinematic and distinctive; the lyrics are bold, political, and timely. The genius of the LP is in its seamless blend of thought-provoking lyrics, whip-smart production, and seriously catchy songwriting. Run the Jewels 3 is top notch work and features an equally excellent crew of guest artists, including Danny Brown, Kamasi Washington, Joi Gilliam, Trina, Boots, and Tunde Adebimpe.

Mac DeMarco

7. Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog

How does Mac DeMarco keep churning out such consistently likable albums? This Old Dog is one of his strongest releases yet; DeMarco may have a goofball persona but these songs are coming from a heartfelt, warmly intelligent, and emotional place. Sure, there are some sublime party tunes on here, but the highlights of the album are when DeMarco delves into dreamy, deeply romantic territory on tracks like “One More Love Song” and “Moonlight on the River.” This Old Dog has so many solid songs it's hard to single out even a few as essential listening. Instead, throw this record on and immerse yourself in Mac’s singular world.


6. Thundercat - Drunk

Thundercat is on a roll with his latest LP, Drunk. The Los Angeles-based producer and singer brings some top-notch talent to his new jazz/soul/funk fusion masterpiece; with friends like Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus, Wiz Khalifa, and Pharrell in the credits, you know you’re in for a treat. (There’s also the slightly weird addition of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins to lead single “Show You the Way”…which believe it or not, totally works, in the best possible way.) Congrats to Thundercat on another sumptuous, richly textured record that’s sure to make many critics’ year end Top 10 lists.


5. Slowdive - Slowdive

Legendary shoegazers Slowdive return with their first album in two decades. Sharing a name with their self-titled 1990 debut LP, this new self-titled full-length is a welcome homecoming. The band is as compelling as ever and the new Slowdive LP feels like it was recorded back at the height of the shoegaze era. In short, it’s already a classic. Expect swooning, hazy, mesmerizing, moody loud rock that sounds like it was channeled from outer space — or from a lovely daydream.


4. AFI - AFI [The Blood Album]

AFI's The Blood Album is a welcome return to form, with a shinier pop sheen too. By mixing metal's energy, classic emo vocals (replete with introspective lyrics), and a sort of goth melancholy, The Blood Album will transport you back to your high school days. "White Offerings" is a fierce, quick song that reminds you why AFI was so good in the first place. Opening with a short bit of electronic drone, the song kicks in hard with Davey Havok's ageless cry that's somewhere between Robert Smith and a young James Hetfield. It's dramatic, operatic rock with radio friendly pop production, including large choruses and memorable riffs. "Snow Cats" is classic AFI doing their sadder, Cure-influenced songs with a simple, slow moving melody that embodies tragic youth. With a sad opening guitar riff, Havok is given time to show the cleaner, tear-filled performance that makes destroyed romance feel like the end of the world. More than two decades in - and so many different albums and sounds - AFI's The Blood Album feels like the hardcore-emo sound that made fans fall in love with them in the first place. For a sad album, it sure is a lot of fun.

The xx

3. The xx - I See You

The xx expand on their characteristic minimal cool on I See You. Their intimate, vulnerable lyrics and shimmering sound are still there, but these traits have been given an infusion of warmth and color with the introduction of some dancier elements, smart samples, and lush soundscapes. It's a welcome evolution. The album is a gem -- multi-faceted and vivid, revealing more of itself with every spin.

Ryan Adams

2. Ryan Adams - Prisoner

With an opening track like "Do You Still Love Me?" it's hard not to make the connection between Ryan Adam's new album, Prisoner, and his recent, fairly public, divorce. But regardless of the gossipy context behind it, Adams has constructed a heartfelt and entrancing record, full of subtle production nuances and an undeniable earnestness. While breakup albums run the risk of becoming redundant and self-absorbed, Prisoner joins the successful ranks of records that show an artist laid bare, honest and trying to work through the confusion. Rather than asking for your pity, Adams essentially paints differently toned vignettes of the same subject matter. While the Springsteen-esque "Shiver and Shake" evokes the fragility and withdrawal of broken love, "To Be With You" brings to mind the somberly resilient honkey tonk, folky country tunes of the '60s and '70s. With the exception of the first track, which feels almost like a Pat Benatar power ballad, the album is even keeled, mid-tempo-ed, and filled with shimmery, watery, beautiful guitars that bring to mind the tones of Morrissey or The Stone Roses.


1. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

King Kendrick returns with another smart, bold LP that proves he's the reigning champion of the young West Coast scene. Mostly written in his mother's kitchen, Rolling Stone put it pretty well when they declared the album as a "brilliant combination of the timeless and the modern, the old school and the next-level."


Relevant Tags

Best Sellers (4), Beach Fossils (3), Somersault (1), Sylvan Esso (6), What Now (1), Tycho (3), Epoch (1), Phoenix (6), Ti Amo (1), Harry Styles (2), The Drums (14), Abysmal Thoughts (1), Sampha (2), Process (1), Chicano Batman (10), Freedom Is Free (2), Baby Driver (5), Mastodon (14), Emperor Of Sand (2), Father John Misty (19), Pure Comedy (1), Gorillaz (8), Humanz (1), Run The Jewels (20), Mac Demarco (35), This Old Dog (2), Thundercat (6), Slowdive (10), Afi (6), The Xx (12), I See You (1), Ryan Adams (15), Kendrick Lamar (58)