Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Jirin
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Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Jirin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:48 pm

This year we had 20 albums, and 11 ballots, and across those 11 ballots only two albums were not ranked.

The results use a win-loss formula similar to that used on the acclaimed music site, which gives greater weight to wins against albums with more wins. It came down to two albums, one of which had higher positive and lower negative rankings, and one of them won on a 6-5 head to head vote against the other. Either of the top two could have easily been the winner. But first, the bottom half.

All comments are from Rob.

20. dvsn - Morning After
Record: 0-19-0
Votes: 10
Biggest fans: Antonius (5)

Comments:
I’m not a fan of this particular style of Drake-like R&B, but I could put that past me at least somewhat. There were some decent songs in here, like Nuh Time/ Tek Time or the title track and overall it’s a smooth listen, even if it doesn’t quite move me in a personal level.

19. Lil' Peep - Come Over When You're Sober
Record: 1-18-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: boosty (7)

Comments:
This one mixes rock sounds of the early 2000’s (and I don’t mean The Strokes or The White Stripes, but more Nickelback or Three Doors Down) with hip-hop production. Even the singing/ rapping is a mix of both influences. Too bad it just doesn’t excel in either way. Though there is some good atmosphere here, only the last song really convinced me.

18. Sylvan Esso - What Now
Record: 3-16-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: bootsy (5), Romain (5)

Comments:
This one did nothing for me, I’m afraid. It’s not bad in any way, but everything feels like it’s been done a hundred times before. This is pretty standard indie pop for the year 2017, but missing that extra spark that for example Alvvays know to give to it.

17. Brockhampton - Saturation II
Record: 3-16-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: bootsy (2), Nassim (5)

Comments:
Although I do like the variety of this and a couple of songs do stand out (JUNKY is even pretty great), this feels very much like another 2017 rap album. It’s one of those works that gets more attention than it normally would because it fits in todays trends. Perhaps if you like these trends a little more than I do this will be a masterpiece for you. For me, it does little, even if it is never bad.

16. London Grammar - Truth Is A Beautiful Thing
Record: 4-15-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: bonnielaurel (1), antonius (3)

Comments:
London Grammar is all about the voice of Hannah Reid. She sounds pretty unique and undeniably powerful, but sadly she doesn’t always get great songs to sing. The first three songs on this album even sound pretty aimless. After Oh Woman Oh Man it gets a lot better, but I’m starting to wonder whether Reid needs a better band, players with a power that matches her vocals. Or maybe this is the way she likes it, I don’t know. This was a pleasant listen, but I feel there could be a lot more to it.

15. Kevin Morby - City Music
Record: 6-13-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Rob (2), antonius (2)

Comments:
My own nomination is one of the most unabashedly pleasant albums of the year. Like the title says it are mostly songs related to the city. It reminds me of big cities by night, something I have a weak spot for. This is mostly not the sleazy side of city night life, this is more the sound of a place bursting with life, no matter the time. Kevin Morby is a gentle and subtle musician and it can be just a pleasure to hear him play.

14. Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
Record: 6-13-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: spiritualized (4)

Comments:
I never got into Japandroids much in the past, but listening to them again after some years reveals that they have some talent. The opening track here is pretty great actually. Few songs come even close, but overall this is solid rock that I find easy to enjoy.

13. Gang Of Youths - Go Farther In Lightness
Record: 8-11-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Nassim (2), Rob (3), DaveC (4)

Comments:
Beforehand I didn’t know what kind of music this would be, but within a minute of the first track I knew I would love this. Sure, it is derivative of Springsteen, but it rarely done as good as this, with great energy, a strong voice and terrific lyrics. The string driven interludes also work wonders.

12. The Clientele - Music For The Age Of Miracles
Record: 7-11-1
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Brad (2), bonnielaurel (2), Rob (5)

Comments:
Never heard of this group before, which seems to have a dedicated following. They might add me to this group, because this more than a welcome discovery. It’s beautiful and calming music, that also manages to be emotional and mysterious.

11. Aimee Mann - Mental Illness
Record: 10-9-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: antonius (1)

Comments:
I had a bit of an Aimee Mann phase about ten years ago, when I was really into the Magnolia soundtrack. I’ve lost track of her career later on, though, but I already guessed that the quite well-acclaimed Mental Illness would be a good point to revisit her (thanks Antonius for reminding me to do so). Her music and her strong points haven’t changed much. Maybe a lack of surprise keeps this off the top of my list, but it is still a good Mann and on tracks like Patient Zero and You Never Loved Me she proves she is still very much worth listening to.

DaveC
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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby DaveC » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:33 pm

After looking at the year end lists, I thought Gang of Youths would make top 5 here. I would liken them more to The National than Springsteen. Either way, their lack of originality is well compensated by the fact that they do it so well.

Brad
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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Brad » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:40 pm

Jirin wrote:12. The Clientele - Music For The Age Of Miracles
Record: 7-11-1
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Brad (2), bonnielaurel (2), Rob (5)

Comments:
Never heard of this group before, which seems to have a dedicated following. They might add me to this group, because this more than a welcome discovery. It’s beautiful and calming music, that also manages to be emotional and mysterious.

Would highly recommend Strange Geometry from 2005.

Jirin
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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Jirin » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:36 am

Continuing, as you see by the records, there is a big jump between 8 and 9. #3 through #8 are so closely bunched they could be practically considered a six way tie for third.

All comments by Rob.

10. Somi - Petite Afrique
Record: 9-9-1
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Jirin (2), bonnielaurel (4), Rob (4), JamieW (5)

Comments: Quiet, understated, but damn what deep feelings arise from this beautiful vocal jazz album. It is so subtle and calm that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it just wants you to sit back and relax, but through it’s cool sounds and words it creates a world that is surprisingly affectionate and full of emotion. It really got to me. One of the year’s best albums, no doubt.

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9. The Regrettes - Feel Your Feelings Fool!
Record: 9-9-1
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: spiritualized (2), Nassim (4), bootsy (4)

Comments: Another great discovery. With one of the best band names and albums titles of the year I might have expected something special. The Regrettes don’t reinvent pop punk, but they do deliver everything that makes the genre so appealing. This is just sheer fun, with more memorable songs than we have any right to ask for.

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8. Vagabon - Infinite Worlds
Record: 14-5-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Jirin (1), Nassim (3), Romain (4), DaveC (5)

Comments: In a year where there were so many great, female singer-songwriter albums, it also is harder to stand out. That’s a bit of the problem with Infinite WorldsSinger Lᴁtitia Tamka writes some good lyrics and I like how she mixes up the sound. Nonetheless, it doesn’t stand out as much as the best albums of the genre in 2017. What doesn’t help either is that most of the real good stuff is in the first half.

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7. William Basinski - A Shadow In Time
Record: 11-3-5
Votes: 10
Biggest fans: Brad 1, JamieW (2), Romain (3), Jirin (4)

Comments: I’m not familiar with the works of Basinski, though I know he has a big reputation for his Disintegration Loops and Melancholia works. Apparently some earlier fans claim that he repeats himself on A Shadow In Time. Perhaps, I wouldn’t know. It has awakened my interest in the man, because the first track, For David Robert Jones, is beautiful. It’s ambient of my favourite kind: works as well as atmospheric background music, but is very interesting and even moving when you listen to it closely. The second track, A Shadow in Time is not it’s equal, but still a great work.

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6. Moon Duo - Occult Architecture, Vol 1
Record: 14-4-1
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: spiritualized (1), JamieW 4, (4 sixth place votes)

Comments: This is good, hypnotic electronic music, but it never seems unique enough to be called great. Everything here is good, but only Will of the Devil stands out, because it is the only track that is more expansive in its vision. I actually think Vol. 2 is the more interesting of the two.

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Last edited by Jirin on Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jirin
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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Jirin » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:57 am

Will reveal 5-3 now, will leave you guys in suspense for a day of which of the very close top two is the winner.

Again, all comments are from Rob.

5. Mr Elevator And The Brain Hotel - When The Morning Greets You
Record: 15-4-0
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Romain (1), Brad (5), (3 #6 votes and 2 #7 votes)

Comments: This is fine. Not a particularly unique album and that holds it back a little. Still every song is well-executed and it makes for a good listen. I don’t expect to remember this for long, though.

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4. Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology
Record: 14-4-1
Votes: 11
Biggest Fans: DaveC (1), spiritualized (3), Brad (3)

Comments: Modern Kosmology mixes electronic music with dream pop and real rock sounds. What I liked a lot is that all these elements do not necessarily show up in every song, but only when required. This makes the album unpredictable and gives every song it’s own clear identity. Not every track here captivated me in the same measure, but some of them are truly great, like opener H>A>K, the rocking Loops In the Secret Society and the bewitching Valley.

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3. Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds From Another Planet
Record: 15-4-0
Votes: 11
Biggest Fans: bonnielaurel (3), bootsy (3), Brad (4), Jirin (5)

Comments: I knew some of these songs through the MegaCritic list, but failed to connect to them then. Now I appreciate it much better. This is music that really demands close listening, as there are many sounds mixed in the production. Slowly this grew on me, especially the way instruments (including Zauner’s voice) seem to switch roles of importance, but can always suddenly stick out with force. Might become a grower over time.

Image

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Rob
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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Rob » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:07 pm

Jirin wrote:9. The Regrettes - Feel Your Feelings Fool!
Record: 9-9-1
Votes: 11
Biggest fans: Jirin (2), bonnielaurel (4), Rob (4), JamieW (5)


There is a little mistake here. The info below the title is the same as with the Somi album.

Expected the Gang of Youths album higher as well.

Jirin
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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Jirin » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:13 pm

Thanks. The correct biggest fans for the Regrettes is:
spiritualized (2), Nassim (4), bootsy (4)

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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Nassim » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:38 pm

I'm very surprised by the top 2 ! Especially didn't expect my pick to get that high, I was mostly hoping for it to end in the top half ! I know it had a few other big supporters, but I'm still stunned !

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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Jirin » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:03 am

Now, the final two, which were very close, and decided by a 6-5 head to head vote.

2. Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest
Record: 17-1-1
Voters: 11
Biggest fans: bootsy (1), DaveC (2), Romain (2), Jamie@ (3), antonius (4)

Comments: After hearing some songs of this before I expected perhaps a masterpiece. The full album I liked less than expected, though some songs are really great (Ring-a-Ring O’ Roses, Kate), but overall I feel that is too reliant on 80’s inspired synths that are everywhere nowadays and I think some songs are produced a little too densely. Still when it is good, it is really good.

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Which means the winner is...

1. Blanck Mass - World Eater
Record: 17-2-0
Voters: 11
Biggest fans: JamieW (1), Rob (1), Nassim (1), Jirin (3), DaveC (3), spiritualized (5)

Comments: I already knew tracks like Rhesus Negative and Silent Treatment were special, but I only got around listening to this album now. It’s a beast, a heavy album, but also surprisingly beautiful. It mixes harsh, destructive sounds, with suprising melodies. Above all, it gets me dancing to the apocalypse. Rhesus Negative is a monster and one of the best tracks of the year, but the tribal The Rat, playful Please and near-religious Silent Treatment are brilliant too. Minnesota/ Eas Fors/ Naked is somewhat weak, but I can forgive it because of the quality of the other tracks.

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This vote came very close because World Eater had 3 #1 votes but also 3 bottom 4 votes, whereas Rest had one 16th place vote and nothing else lower than 12th, 8 out of 11 votes in top half. The last ballot cast had one of them at 9th and the other at 11th, and that ended up breaking the head to head tie between them.

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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby DaveC » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:05 am

Thanks Jirin. A worthy winner, I hope it does well in the all albums poll too.

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Rob
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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby Rob » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:37 pm

I can't argue with this winner, certainly not after last year when my #1 ended up last. I didn't expect it to have such broad appeal, but it is great that it does.

Thanks Jirin, for hosting!

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Re: Best Moderately Acclaimed Album of 2017: Results

Postby phil » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:20 pm

Thanks for running this. Even though I didn't vote, I was watching this with interest. (I only had listened to 6 before the nominations and only managed a few more after that, so didn't really have enough). I'll be sure to check out Blanck Mass - I saw some reviews comparing to Ben Frost, one of my favourite artists in the industrial genre.


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