We cast the spotlight on some stellar records from last year (and a cheeky 2016 entry) from artists including Meg Mac, Calvin Harris and Jen Cloher. With 2018 already producing some equally as entertaining and moving music, we throw back to the ones that made impacts on us in 2017.
Meg Mac – Low Blows (2017)
By Kate Zervas
Meg Mac’s debut album had a lot riding on it, expectation wise. She burst forth onto the Australian circuit with a phenomenal EP in 2014 and in the years that followed, the singer spent her time mainly on the road in Australia and overseas, continuing to refine her sound. So when it came time for the big Album #1, Meg pooled all of the hypnotic, heavy hitting elements of her vocal performance and musicality that she’s become beloved for into a collection of music that was at all times stirring, poignant and emotionally wracked. “Maybe It’s My First Time” and “Grace Gold” display the direction Meg’s songwriting has gone in, flourishing with depth and richness, while “Didn’t Wanna Get So Low But I Had To” demonstrates how much of a ruining effect those vocals can have – she just kills me each time.
Jen Cloher – Self-Titled (2017)
By Sosefina Fuamoli
If there was ever an album that perfectly depicted the struggles and challenges of a long term and long distance relationship, alongside the personal battles with success and the direction of a career, Jen Cloher’s 2017 would be it. I’ve long loved Cloher as a songwriter and with the release of this album, I’ve come to appreciate her writing even more. How she has managed to capture the stresses of being on the road, adapting to the life your partner’s career is developing into was startling, brutal and raw. I felt incredibly appreciative, as a listener, that I was able to be let in to this personal area of Cloher’s creativity. “Regional Echo”, “Analysis Paralysis”, “Strong Women” and “Dark Art” are my instant favourites from Jen Cloher and still resonate just as hard, multiple listens in.
Calvin Harris – FUNK WAV BOUNCES VOL. 1 (2017)
By Jess Goodman
“Slide” is probably the best known song from Calvin Harris’ hilariously titled Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, but there are definitely more gems on this 10 track run that deserve more love. For another record, Harris proved his heavyweight status in terms of collaborations, bringing in the likes of ScHoolboy Q, Pharrell, Nicki Minaj and Future, while also throwing the spotlight onto newer artists including Jessie Reyez, Khalid and Kehlani. This album is less of a club tailormade effort for Harris but by no means does this mean that the producer took his foot off the pedal and cruised through this one. A great listen for the summer, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 got me through some hot days and hazy nights, that’s for sure.
CROOKED COLOURS – Vera (2017)
By John Goodridge
A well-crafted and enjoyable release for those that love their music laid-back yet still up-tempo. The opening track “Flow” is a likeable and catchy tune that has those summer vibes threading through. It begins with that laid-back sound then confidently builds into an electronica dance song. The next song “Plymouth” has a similar slow dance vibe about it, allowing the listener to settle back and enjoy the music. The album has a consistent sound with “Come Back To You” being a chill refrain that lets lead-singer Phil’s vocals shine through. “Running Blood” continues with an almost Reggae feel about it. The title track “Vera” is a sweet instrumental nugget with an electronica/dub feel that showcases the talents of the band musically.
TOVE LO – Lady Wood (2016)
By Lauren Wilson
I mean, the title of the album pretty much lets you know that the music on the record is going to be sexy. Tove Lo’s emergence onto the global scene as a pop star striking her own path in an otherwise saturated climate of sexualised singers made this album a stand out of 2016. “Cool Girl” and “Imaginary Friend” immediately struck me as standouts, while the likes of “Influence”, “True Disaster” and the album’s title track also continue to bang, even now – two years on.