50 Best Albums of 2017

Taylor Swift clapped back, Kendrick Lamar got personal, Lorde threw a high-concept party and more

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Father John Misty, 'Pure Comedy'

19. Father John Misty, 'Pure Comedy'

In which Josh Tillman updates the Seventies singer-songwriter tradition for our dystopian, post-ironic era, using its melodicism and "sincerity" as both comfort food and grim punchline. "Bedding Taylor Swift/Every night inside the Oculus Rift" was the most quoted couplet, from the culture-indicting "Total Entertainment Forever," a send up of virtual reality and Kanye West-style audience bait. But the most impressive writing is "Leaving L.A.," a 13-minute Dylan-esque anti-hero epic that locates Tilman himself in its crosshairs ("Oh, great, that's just what they all need/Another white guy in 2017/Who takes himself so goddamn seriously"). Predicting his own backlash was just another way he seemed to be one step ahead of nearly everyone this year. W.H.

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