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Breaking Down the Best Albums of 2017: Trends, Surprises and Methodology

The latest episode of Rolling Stone Music Now goes deep on our annual ranking of top 50 LPs: how Kesha outranked Jay-Z; newcomers Code Orange and more

Lorde performs onstage during Fuji Rock Festival 2017 on July 30, 2017 in Yuzawa, Japan. Credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

How did Kesha's Rainbow end up near the top of the top of Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 albums of 2017? Why is Jay-Z's 4:44 ranked below Migos' Culture? Who are Open Mike Eagle, Code Orange and Songhoy Blues? Why did 2017 see so many pop acts embracing rock, and rock bands going pop? These questions and more are answered in the latest episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, which dives deep into our albums list, as well as some of the thinking behind it.

Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan, Brittany Spanos and Chris Weingarten join the show's host, Brian Hiatt, to explain the list, play some choice music samples, and take a look at the year's broader trends in music. Listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Spotify and tune in Fridays at 1 p.m. ET to hear the show live on Sirius XM's Volume Channel.

For more on the 2017's best albums, check out our round-up below of the first half of the year, in which Hiatt, Spanos and Dolan go deeper on Drake, Kendrick Lamar and much more. And tune in Fridays at 1 p.m. ET to hear Rolling Stone Music Now broadcast live on Sirius XM's Volume, channel 106.