How about a top 50 because I have edited my statement, 2 edgy.
Every year, I expect to go into Album of the Year season stunned by the sheer number of excellent picks from other lists and websites, picking and choosing the best of the best only to end up filtering out many 8+/10 albums.
That was not exactly the case this year.
Maybe it's reflective of 2017 on the whole, but I felt like the general quality of music releases this year was not quite up to par with the last few years that I've done the list. It took until mid-December for an AOTY candidate to release that separated itself in some way from the pack. It seemed I could take a totally random pick off of RYM and it would belong on the list immediately as the competition wasn't as intense as I had been used to.
50. Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly & James McAlister - Planetarium
49. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Always Foreign
48. Weekly Words and Grammar - Twenty Years of Snow
47. Northlane - Mesmer
46. Jesu & Sun Kil Moon - 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth
45. Code Orange - Forever
44. Spiritbox - Spiritbox
43. A Lot Like Birds - Divisi
42. The Flaming Lips - Oczy Mlody
41. Eric Victorino - Wake Up, I Miss You
40. XXXTentacion - 17
39. Dark Rooms - Distraction Sickness
38. Nocando - King Snake
37. Planning For Burial - Below the House
36. Street Sects - Rat Jacket
35. White Moth Black Butterfly - Atone
34. ‘68 - Two Parts Viper
33. Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent
32. Ketha - 0 Hours Starlight
31. Colin Stetson - All This I Do for Glory
30. Oxbow - Thin Black Duke
29. Spotlights - Seismic
28. Milo - Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?!
27. SikTh - The Future in Whose Eyes?
26. The National - Sleep Well Beast
25. Nullingroots - Into the Gray
24. Cloakroom - Time Well
23. Blanck Mass - World Eater
22. Amenra - Mass VI
21. Elder - Reflections of a Floating World
20. Rosetta - Utopoid
19. Converge - The Dusk in Us
18. Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me
17. The Contortionist - Clairvoyant
16. Glassjaw - Material Control
15. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory
14. Jaden Smith - Syre
13. Caligula's Horse - In Contact
12. Fleet Foxes - The Crack-Up
11. Kendrick Lamar - Damn
10. Brockhampton - Saturation
9. Mathew Lee Cothran - Judas Hung Himself in America
8. Open Mike Eagle - Brick Body Kids Still Daydream
7. Slowdive - Slowdive
6. Nocando - Severed
5. Sixo - The Odds of Free Will
4. Brockhampton - Saturation II
3. Tyler, the Creator: Flower Boy
2. Brand New - Science Fiction
1. Brockhampton - Saturation III
Without Brockhampton, I would've likely been left stranded as far as Album of the Year goes. Putting three albums from the same artist in the top ten is without precedent for me, let alone three albums released in six months. Each iteration of Saturation represented an improvement over the rest, culminating in what I needed to be AOTY: Saturation III.
2017 wasn't really a bad year in music or even necessarily a bad year overall, but nonetheless fell somewhat short of my expectations. Any of the top 10 from last year could've competed effectively with this year's picks.
Godspeed. Our next steps forward are critical.