Rob Sheffield's Top 20 Albums of 2017

From Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift to Kelela and Japanese Breakfast

Kendrick Lamar, 'Damn.'
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1. Kendrick Lamar, 'Damn.'

Music, the bright spot in this medieval colonoscopy of a year. All the albums below are relics of joy that got felt and passions that got expressed in 2017, but nobody made those emotions ring out as loud as Kendrick. His masterwork feels both intensely private and brashly public, as K-Dot broods over sex, money, murder, family, all the bad blood in his DNA and America's. Damn. is his most anomalously linear album, not to mention his hardest, not to mention his funniest, as in "Humble" when the piano goes boom and the ass meets the stretch marks. To my ears, it's his best. At least until the next one.