If you're one of those people who finds themselves replaying the same music, then there are likely a lot of albums you've missed in 2017, and now's your chance to actually listen to them. It's easy for even the greatest album to pass you by when we live in the golden age of streaming, leaving you with so many options for what you want to hear. The sad thing is that having that many options can also lead to you keeping the same artists, songs, and playlists on a solid rotation when you could be experiencing something new. Hence, the following ten 2017 albums are the fresh vibe that your playlists have been begging for, and they come from ten of the most exciting independent musicians working today.
These albums provide a variety of female perspectives in a range of genres including hip-hop, indie rock, R&B, disco, and even experimental doom metal. Performed on the fringes of mainstream music, they're from musicians who are pushing boundaries and exploring unique narratives within their sound. Which, suffice to say, makes them all the more important to listen to. These artists' work feels so intimate and personal that you can't help but form an immediate bond with them.
So, plug in your fave headphones and prepare for some new discoveries. You definitely don't want to miss out on any of these artists for a moment longer...
1. Princess Nokia, '1992 Deluxe'
The Afro-Nuyorican rapper's album, which is an expanded reissue of her 2016 mixtape, is full of candid, autobiographical lyrics that explore everything from gender-defiance ("Tomboy") and brujería mysticism ("Brujas") to her experiences as a foster child ("Goth Kid"). The result is 16 tracks of power and personality, all set to melodic hooks.
2. Girlpool, 'Powerplant'
The second album of the anti-folk duo features the band's signature minimalist melodies, while also adding a fuller, grungier sound to it. Powerplant is uplifting yet full of angst and loaded with intellectual lyricism.
3. Gavin Turek, 'Good Look For You'
One of the most uplifting releases of 2017, Good Look For You is a blend of disco, funk, and R&B full of infectious bass lines and shimmering melodies. Superficially, the album is loaded with glee, but, lyrically, it contains depths that veer into loneliness and uncertainty (such as on "The Distance," and "It's The Light.")
4. Cherry Glazerr, 'Apocalipstick'
A fuzzy, garage-rock album with a pop heart, Apocalipstick has plenty of shredding riffs and bombast (like on "Humble Pro," and "Sip 'O Poison"), but it also packs a lot of emotional weight, too. Both the female solidarity anthem, "Told You I'd Be With The Guys," and "Nuclear Bomb," are examples of songs with a bite that are offset by a touching, inner sadness.
5. Kelela, 'Take Me Apart'
Existing somewhere between the strains of a break-up and a new love, Take Me Apart is as tender as it is sultry. Soulful and self-assured, Kelela's voice soars above beats and melodies that push the limits of what modern R&B can sound like. It's music to fall in and out of love to (and everything in between).
6. Syd, 'Fin'
If you're already familiar with the Odd Future band, The Internet, then Syd — their charismatic vocalist — will likely already be on your radar, too. However, the musician's first solo release, Fin, proves that she's a remarkable artist on her own terms, too. Full of proudly queer lyricism (such as on "Get Her Own"), effortless bravado ("Shake 'Em Off"), and unapologetic sensuality ("Body,"), Fin skips between R&B, neo-soul, and hip-hop with a natural ease.
7. Chelsea Wolfe, 'Hiss Spun'
Fans of music on the heavier side of the sonic scale will appreciate the latest brooding offering from this eclectic singer-songwriter. A heavy mediation of what are difficult times for all of us, Hiss Spun reflects on personal trauma and societal hardships with a relentless brutality that's actually cathartic. Just try listening to "16 Psyche" as loud as possible, and you'll understand exactly why that's the case.
8. H.E.R, 'H.E.R'
The mysterious singer and multi-instrumentalist performs without revealing her identity to the public (H.E.R. ironically stands for Having Everything Revealed). However, there's nothing obscure about this collection of her entire output to date. Featuring H.E.R. volumes 1 and 2, the album also features six additional tracks. Musically, H.E.R. is full of both soft ballads and pulsing melodies that demonstrate the full capabilities of modern R&B. It also features a cover of Drake's "Jungle" that you absolutely need in your life.
9. SZA, 'CTRL'
A frank and often boastful reflection on sexual liberation and modern romance, CTRL is one of those albums that feels personal, but all the more relatable for it. On songs like "Drew Barrymore," and "Normal Girl," SZA's vocals are inventive and powerful. Meanwhile the candid lyricism of songs like "Supermodel," and "Garden (Say It Like Dat)" sound even more compelling while accompanied by the album's perfect R&B licks.
10. Jessie Ware, 'Glasshouse'
The third album from the English singer-songwriter is full of songs about love and desire in its various forms. Written after giving birth to her daughter, Glasshouse can feel delicate and hushed, but also energized and dynamic in its emotional expression. The album provides the intimacy of R&B with the crisp variety of pop, making it an easy, but engrossing, listen.
OK? So now you know, and you don't have to suffer through another commute listening to the same tired old gym playlist you've had on the go since January. Update your playlists and gives these albums some serious love. All of them are worth your immediate attention.