Rob Sheffield's Top 20 Albums of 2017

From Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift to Kelela and Japanese Breakfast

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Waxahatchee, 'Out in the Storm'

8. Waxahatchee, 'Out in the Storm'

In the years I've been a Katie Crutchfield fan, I always thought there was something intrinsically melancholy about her indie-pop tunes, but damn, the joy in this music, not a moment of it forced, the way "I went out in the storm and I'm never turning back" dissolves into falsetto oooos and delirious guitar frills. From "Silver" to "8-Ball," her melodic finesse glistens like never before. (If you play this album back to back with Fleetwood Mac's Mirage, you really hear how much Lindsey Buckingham has seeped into her guitar, and Lindsey never did anyone's guitar anything but good.) The clincher: "Sparks Fly," with a vocal assist from her twin sister Alison Crutchfield, whose Tourist in This Town is on the same level. 

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