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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Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, 'The Nashville Sound'
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21/50

21. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, 'The Nashville Sound'

"I ain't fighting with you down in the ditch, I'll meet you up here on the road," sings Jason Isbell on "Hope the High Road," the declaration of unyielding perseverance that ties together his sixth studio album, a 10-track Americana jewel. Indeed, Isbell elevates relationships ("If We Were Vampires"), discussions about privilege ("White Man's World") and the art of songwriting itself to a higher plane on The Nashville Sound. But the LP addresses nationwide blue-collar hardships, from the trap of addiction ("Cumberland Gap") to crushed dreams ("Tupelo"), proving Isbell is a voice for all people, not just the ones in the South. J.H.

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