Cinderblock’s Favorite Albums of 2017

So this is the first time we’ve done anything like this. If it’s sub-par you can blame this guy:


2017 was a real dumpster fire of a year in many ways but despite all of the political discourse, forest fires, hurricanes and Star Wars spoilers, this year provided us with a TON of incredible music. These are a few of the Cinderblock team’s favorites. This is by no means a de facto ranking - There were plenty of wonderful albums that are not featured here. These are just the ones that were on our radar and kept our spirits up. Check out the list below and click here for our playlist of highlight tracks. Here’s hoping 2018 doesn’t suck!


The Picks:



I have been following David’s music since he put out his first album and it’s amazing to be able to see someone’s phases in life through these bodies of work. This album was no surprise another emotional ride with a new take on the folk sound he has been portraying for years. With the added electronic sounds and social/politically charged lyrics, it’s definitely an album to stick out among the rest.

Standout track: Time

- Jake Ryan Hull


GONE NOW by Bleachers

Jack Antonoff has been known to write hits from ‘We Are Young’ (Fun.) all the way to ‘Out Of The Woods’ (Taylor Swift) but this newest Bleachers Album has something different and unique in his writing. The songs in order perfectly crafted the messages he was portraying much like a chapter book from one page to another. I would really recommend playing this album start to finish all the way through to see the story unfold. These “experimental” type of songs and lyrics usually do not have the masses support but with his background in writing those hits, it wasn’t surprising that most of these tunes have been stuck in my head since first hearing them.


- Jake Ryan Hull


YOU by Dodie

In The Middle is the boppiest bop this world has ever seen.

Standout track: IN THE MIDDLE

- Bess McCulloch





HARRY STYLES by Harry Styles

If you don’t acknowledge Harry Styles’ debut album, it’s a CRIME. That was a damn good album all around. My favorite songs that aren’t singles are Ever Since New York or Two Ghosts.

Standout track: TWO GHOSTS

- Bess McCulloch



THE ICEBERG by Oddisee

As Oddisee’s works always do, The Iceberg manages to remind us of what hip hop could be: a stark statement contrasting where we are and where we should be. No hate, no malice, no anger; just truth in perspective.

 From the first bar to the last Oddisee writes with quiet conviction, weaving his poetry seamlessly across a collection of tracks that make his choice to use a live backing band seem both obvious and exactly what this genre needs. Songs like ‘Built by Pictures’ feature digital and analog layered brilliantly behind one of the best deliveries by any rapper out there. At his most powerful, Oddisee can simultaneously tell an engaging story and address the most difficult cultural divides. The song ‘You Grew Up’ is exactly that, and it’s incredible. You’ll find jazz, blues and funk around every turn of this record. Add that to the pertinence of his bars and you’ll see why it’s one of my favorites from 2017.


- James Trammell


TRUE CARE by James Vincent McMorrow

Since he released Early in the Morning back in 2011, James Vincent McMorrow has made it impossible to consign his work to a genre. He’s shifted from soft-spoken bluegrass to ethereal electronica to delicate R&B, but one thing’s been consistent: There is no one better at constructing an entire record for full play. When you first glance at True Care, it might strike you as a longer-than-normal play LP. What you’ll find as you listen through it, though, is that there isn’t one unnecessary measure included.

This is his most intentionally complete work to date, and that’s saying something. Organic samples, electronic push, unconventional time signatures and beautiful harmonies stack into a single layer of profoundness that will leave you wishing for thirty tracks instead of fifteen.The rhythm will find you moving with it, and it’s one of the many reasons you’ll want to listen to this record more than once.  

Just press play and don’t listen away even for a moment; you’ll want to hear it all.


- James Trammell



These guys do it all but Eagle Beach hit my lyrically. 2018 has been a smile and shake hands kind of year while on the weekends going straight rebel. White Reaper is that two headed spirit for me

Standout track: EAGLE BEACH

- Conner Key





Listens like a story. I would play it while on my long runs so I did a lot visualizing on how this story related to my own journey. Shit gets deep "I'm a dreamer stuck in a real world" - Fun

Standout track: FUN

- Conner Key




SYRE by Jaden Smith

Fuck, this album is dope. Smith performs excellently the show of bravado expected of a 19-year-old rapper but for every one part swagger, there are equal parts existentialism and longing. SYRE’s emotional depth is staggering and perfectly complemented by its musical range. The samples are few, but chosen perfectly when used. There are blazing hot guitar riffs on the banger ‘Watch Me’, angsty acoustic-guitar-driven tracks like ‘Lost Boy’ and in your face lyrics on the single ‘Icon’. Jaden Smith leaves you with a sense that hip hop artists can not only expand to other styles of music but that those other styles of music can all be hip hop.

Standout track: Watch Me

- Nick Melita


FREUDIAN by Daniel Caesar

I stumbled upon Caesar’s music when I heard his song ‘Blessed’ on the Insecure HBO spotify playlist (another 2017 highlight). This album boasts a litany of bass-driven funk grooves behind Caesars crooning vocals but where he truly shines is on the piano-backed tracks like ‘Blessed’ and ‘We Find Love’. I DARE you to listen to Blessed and try not to feel something.

Standout track: Blessed

- Nick Melita

Jake Ryan Hull