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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The New Pornographers, 'Whiteout Conditions'

44. The New Pornographers, 'Whiteout Conditions'

The best power-pop band of the last 20 years has always specialized in making knotty ideas and rich abstractions churn with the hummable buzz of bubblegum gold. New Pornographers' latest is steeped in the hypnotic headrush repetition of the Feelies and Seventies Krautrock, heavy on drum throb, Sensurround synth swirls and micro-managed glowing-fractal harmony elation – like Steve Reich co-producing an ELO record in 1979, or a vision of early New Wave if MTV had beamed forth from some collectivist art cooperative in the Canadian wilds. It would all be neon soup without the wonderful tune-mad songs, which mull states of depression and unease, post-Trump and otherwise, to come up with music that manages to confront real-life anxieties and transport you above the fallen world of theater itself. J.D.

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