Ben Tanner's 10 Favorite Albums of 2017
Ben Tanner, keyboard player of the band Alabama Shakes is also co-founder of the label “Single Lock Records” - home of John Paul White, The Kernal, Nicole Atkins, Belle Adair and other artists.
He kindly shared his 10 favorite albums of 2017.
1. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
This is easily #1 for me. After this one, the list could be rearranged in almost any order, but this album really rocked my world. Just a beautifully written, played, and recorded album top to bottom.
2. Randy Newman - Dark Matter
Randy's rate of production on his solo albums has slowed, but one he releases one each decade, it fits right alongside his best work. He's still one of the best songwriters and arrangers around, and he still performs emotional gymnastics, mixing his unrivaled wit ("The Great Debate", "Putin") with heart-wrenching sentiment ("She Chose Me", "Wandering Boy").
3. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
To Pimp a Butterfly is one of the best hip-hop albums of the 21st century, and he followed it up with another just as brilliant.
4. Bob Dylan - Triplicate/Trouble No More
I'm cheating and using two voluminous Dylan releases in one slot. With Triplicate, Dylan continues to explore and evolve the American songbook. And on Trouble No More, we re-visit his fevered gospel era of the late 70s and early 80s. 2017 featured two of Dylan's many sides and personalities, both of which I find endlessly fascinating.
5. Hiss Golden Messenger - Hallelujah Anyhow
Stellar songwriting and musicianship, and a general positivity and buoyancy without leaning on stomps and clamps and vowel choruses.
6. The Kernal - LIGHTCOUNTRY
I'm a little embarrassed to include something I worked on, but this is one of my favorite records I've ever been a part of. A shit-hot band with brilliant songs - equal doses of Waylon and Nilsson. With most records I've recorded or played on, when I hear it, I turn away - with this one, I turn it up.
7. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Soul of a Woman
We lost a true legend, but she left us one with more stunning album. Sharon and the Dap-Kings remain one of the great singer-band combos of all time.
8. Waxahatchee - Out In The Storm
Just a great fist-pumping, windows down, open hi-hat rock record, with hooks for days.
9. The Deslondes - Hurry Home
I've been listening to and touring alongside these fellas for years now, and their songs and musicianship never fail to impress.
10. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Edition
A reissue may be cheating a little, but what Giles Martin did in remixing and remastering this classic is more than the typical reissue. It's a 21st reimagining of a classic, in many ways a new version. I was a little worried about someone tinkering with a masterpiece, but the result is aurally (and technologically) stunning.