The Ford On Film Awards 2017: Best Album and Best Single
Today is a sad day, for its time for me to hand out the last of my awards. As well as film and television, I’ve decided to expand this year to incorporate music. I know, I know, this is ‘Ford On Film’ not ‘Ford on all forms of popular culture’, but fuck you, this is my blog and it’s been a phenomenal year for music.
To give you an idea of how strong this year has been for music, two of my favourite albums, The National‘s Sleep Well Beast and Wolf Alice’s Visions of a Life, only managed to get honourable mentions. It’s a diverse top ten, featuring new talents, old favourites, unashamed pop, melancholic folk, a future-legend of rap and a newcomer to the game, and a bloke from Nottingham ranting a lot. Also, it’s worth mentioning that it has been a fine year for female artists; four solo artists and two female fronted bands have made the list. Here are my picks for the ten best albums of 2017:
Sleaford Mods – English Tapas
The most divisive band in Britain, Nottingham-based punk/hip hop two-piece Sleaford Mods remain as angry and funny as ever on English Tapas. Uniquely British lyrics, simple bass tracks and the hungover, moody rants of singer Jason Williamson propel standout tracks ‘Moptop’ and ‘Snout’.
Lorde – Melodrama
The best pop album of the year? Lorde’s comeback album Melodrama offers great production and endless catchy hooks, while single ‘Green Light’ is one of the standout anthems of the year.
SZA – Ctrl
SZA’s Ctrl is a terrific debut for the R n’ B star. Sharp and confrontational whether talking about jealous exes or low-self esteem, it’s an empowering, stylish blast of attitude that deservedly achieved huge sales in the US.
Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm
In a great year for female rock bands, Waxahatchee brought out the chainsaw guitars and pissed-off vocals for the terrifically angsty alternative rock album Out in the Storm. Opener ‘Never Been Wrong’ rocked harder than anything else this year.
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
A witty, deeply-heartfelt rapper from South London, Loyle Carner released an incredible debut in Yesterday’s Gone. Nominated for the Mercury Prize 2017, Yesterday’s Gone is catchy, funny, and even has space for a verse from Carner’s Mum on the beautiful ‘Sun of Jean’.
The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
If Bruce Springsteen stopped in Twin Peaks to play a set at the Roadhouse, it might just sound like The War on Drugs’ A Deeper Understanding. A woozy, loose take on eighties rock, it’s the perfect album for speeding down the highway at night.
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Time will tell whether DAMN. is better than To Pimp A Butterfly, but it’s certainly a close call as to which is the best Kendrick Lamar album. Bleak, bruising, and powerful, Lamar is currently the best rapper in the world and DAMN. is home to some of his best verses, including the swaggering ‘Humble’ and the bleak ‘Fear’.
St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
St. Vincent just gets better with every album, and MASSEDUCTION is a slinky, seductive, biting masterpiece of funky guitar riffs and face-melting solos. ‘New York’, a piano ballad unlike St. Vincent has previously done, is the highlight.
Charly Bliss – Guppy
Bouncing with pop-rock energy, alternative rockers Charly Bliss’ Guppy is the finest rock record of 2017. Mixing the fun, flirty vocals of Eva Hendricks with heavy riffs and drumming reminiscent of the best 90s bands, Guppy gets better and better with every listen.
Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
If you’re a fan of Elliott Smith and haven’t yet heard of Phoebe Bridgers, you’re about to discover your new favourite artist. Stranger in the Alps is an almost perfect debut album; haunting and melancholic yet witty and playful, it features some of the best songs of the year, like brooding opener ‘Smoke Signals’ and the beautiful ‘Scott Street’. At just 23, Phoebe Bridgers is a talent to watch.
And now, for a change, I’m going to shut up and let the music speak for itself as I give out the award for Best Single:
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything
St. Vincent – New York
SZA – Drew Barrymore
Lorde – Green Light
Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
Phoebe Bridgers – Motion Sickness
Charly Bliss – Scare U
The War on Drugs – Holding On
Haim – Right Now
Kendrick Lamar – Humble
Congratulations to Phoebe Bridgers for Best Album and Kendrick Lamar for Best Single. That’s it for another year then! It’s been a mammoth task writing the Ford on Film Awards, but I’m really happy I was able to get it out on time and spend so much time talking about all the greatest film, TV and music of the last year. Let’s face, 2017 was a pretty negative year all round (and 2018 doesn’t look like it will be much better), so it’s always good to focus on the positives.
We may be heading for the disgrace of Hollywood entertainers, poor Brexit negotiations, and nuclear war, but hey, at least there are some good films coming out in 2018.
By Harry J. Ford
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