If 2016 was a year largely spent in anticipation of catastrophe, 2017 marked its arrival: chaos that threatened to settle into normalcy with whiplash speed. As always, musicians absorbed and interpreted the world around them, personally and politically, reflecting the year’s struggles and occasional glimmers of hope. There was plenty of futurism, both utopian and dystopian; throwback rock ’n’ roll with a fiercely radical heart; beautifully austere folk-pop; rap that railed against the system and raged at the club all night long, sometimes both within the same song. It was a difficult year filled with records that reminded us of our own humanity and the necessary fight to preserve it. Below you’ll find our picks for the best music from 2017. We’ll also be updating this page as we publish more reflections on the best, worst, or most important cultural happenings of the year.
2017: The Year in Review
50 Best Albums of 201750 Best Albums of 2017
50 Best Albums of 2017
Whether funneling political frustrations through the warped beats of Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. or busting a move to Jlin’s Black Origami, the top releases of 2017 helped make this doozy of a year just a little bit brighter. From indie pop to neo-R&B and everything in between, this year had no shortage of great music. Read our picks for the 50 best albums of 2017.
101 Best Songs of 2017101 Best Songs of 2017
101 Best Songs of 2017
Tuning into the media often felt nightmarish this year, whether you got your news from the morning paper or the sleepless churn of Facebook and Twitter: a president with the temper and attention span of a child, a newly resurrected threat of nuclear war, terror attacks, neo-Nazi rallies, a rat race between professional pundits and amateur internet posters alike to offer the most incisive or outlandish takes on our collective meltdown. Some of the year’s best music grappled directly with this American chaos; some refracted it toward stories of personal struggle or triumph; some sought to offer temporary solace; some pursued a vision that stood apart from the news cycle entirely. Whether it was Kendrick Lamar rapping about all of the history inside him over a bombed-out beat or Lil Uzi Vert’s world-conquering dissociative anthem, whether it was Big Thief’s down-home depiction of heartbreak or love sending Carly Rae Jepsen’s soaring through the clouds, all of the music on this list spoke in some way to our capacity to live through storms like the one we’re currently enduring. These are the best songs of 2017.
25 Best Metal Songs of 201725 Best Metal Songs of 2017
25 Best Metal Songs of 2017
From headbanging thrash to droning doom, this year’s metal releases span the full spectrum of heavy music. With exciting debuts from metal crossover acts like Necrot and new releases from heavy-hitters like Converge and Obituary, there was no shortage of sludge-laden riffage to write about in 2017. Read our list of the 25 best metal songs of this year, by Zoe Camp, Andy Cush, Arielle Gordon, Andy O’Connor, Saby Reyes-Kulkarni, and Brandon Stousy
Spin’s Favorite Overlooked Albums of 2017Spin’s Favorite Overlooked Albums of 2017
Spin’s Favorite Overlooked Albums of 2017
In 2017, there was more media than ever before in human history, and what felt like painfully little attention left to devote to it all. Even as paid, professional music critics, there were plenty of albums that slipped past us initially, or which we just didn’t get around to covering. So here Spin staffers revisit their favorite album of 2017 that felt overlooked by somebody or everybody. The list contains a sub-sub genre for just about everyone: please enjoy.
Spin's 2017 Digital Cover StoriesSpin’s 2017 Digital Cover Stories
Spin's 2017 Digital Cover Stories
In 2017, Spin writers visited the streets of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, hung out with Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew in L.A., traveled to Gary, Indiana to profile footwork pioneer Jlin, chatted with Venezuelan rock exiles La Vida Bohème, and spent a freewheeling New York afternoon with Jessie Ware. Here are all of our digital cover stories from 2017.
The Year in SuckThe Year in Suck
The Year in Suck
2017 was a bad year by any measure–so bad, in fact, that its badness often felt like unavoidable but unremarkable background noise, the elevator music we all learned to tolerate as we shuttled back and forth between the floors of our monotonous lives. The world has an infinite capacity to surprise and disappoint, however, and occasionally, the drone reached an awful screeching crescendo that was impossible to ignore. What follows is a catalog of those moments: the openly evil executive orders, the terrible rap songs by social media stars, the endless cloying and disingenuous apologies for sexual assault. This is Spin’s Year in Suck 2017.
Eight Insane Trump Stories We Should Still Be Talking AboutEight Insane Trump Stories We Should Still Be Talking About
Eight Insane Trump Stories We Should Still Be Talking About
Chucking rolls of paper towels at hurricane survivors. Making sexual innuendos in front of Boy Scouts. And does anyone even remember Reince Priebus? Here are eight 2017 Trump stories that would have dominated the news in any other year.
American Vandal’s True-Crime Satire Perfectly Captured the Stupidity of the Trump EraAmerican Vandal’s True-Crime Satire Perfectly Captured the Stupidity of the Trump Era
American Vandal’s True-Crime Satire Perfectly Captured the Stupidity of the Trump Era
Trump’s administration was elected to oversee the largest economy and strongest military on the planet. And in its bush-league attempts at covering up the potential theft of that election, it finds a pretty good analogue in a fictional group of stoners who spend their time making videos of themselves farting on babies. On what a Netflix show can say about the state of American politics.
20 Rap Songs We Loved in 201720 Rap Songs We Loved in 2017
20 Rap Songs We Loved in 2017
Rap music felt as vital as ever in 2017, regaining its dominance on the charts and securing its stranglehold on the pop cultural zeitgeist. As such, there was a lot of rap music to get mad or dispirited about this year, but there was also tons of it to love. We chose some of our favorites that may have slipped under your radar, even during the grand resurfacing that is year-end list season. Here are 20 rap songs we loved this year.