2017, like every year since about 2014, has been A Year. Like everyone else, I started it out fresh-faced, renewed, and hopeful. It was going to be good—or at least better. And now, here I am at the end of it, faced with the news that I liked quite a lot of the same music this year as Bono, and I'm not even slightly jarred. That is how hardened I've become.
I'll explain. In a new interview with Stereogum, the big U2 lads Bono and The Edge revealed their favorite music of the year:
Both the Edge and Bono are into Royal Blood, with the Edge also name-checking M83 and Kaytranada. Meanwhile, as far as 2017 goes, Bono was a fan of Jay-Z’s '4:44,' Chance The Rapper’s “First World Problems,” and the new albums from Noel Gallagher and Lorde.
I'm being facetious, because in all seriousness, the similarities between Bono, me, and basically every other music fan (barring his Royal Blood and Noel Gallagher preferences—sorry fellas, as you were LO x) kind of go to show that 2017 has actually been a year of a massive amount of very, very good music. Some of it, like the albums name-checked above, was so good that it united people across the listening spectrum.
Albums like 4:44, Lorde's Melodrama, and Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. (which U2 feature on, and mention in the interview, too) were universally beloved this year: everyone from Bono, to critics, to everyone blaring music out of car windows got into them. It seems that in 2017, there was a larger amount of music that you might call objectively enjoyable—I'd throw SZA's Ctrl in there too—than in any other year in recent memory. There wasn't necessarily a single album that stood out as The Absolute One, which we had with Kendrick's To Pimp a Butterfly in 2015 or Frank Ocean's Blonde versus Solange's A Seat at the Table last year, but this year that' has felt alright. We've been spoiled for choice. And that's one good thing we can take away from a year that has otherwise been a social and political shitscape.
Even outside the big US market mainstream (Lorde, Kendrick, and JAY-Z at least, are fairly massive major label hitters) 2017 has been excellent. From Mount Eerie's Danny Brown-endorsed meditation on sickness and death A Crow Looked At Me—a further example of unity and appreciation of the Objectively Good across genres—to the wealth of top-drawer music made by women in basically every genre (UK pop finally got the woman stars it's been crying out for in Mabel and Stefflon Don; St. Vincent returned to pick up where Bowie left off; Wolf Alice made the best case for British mainstream rock in years, so many bands made great, cathartic, fun guitar music), it's been distinctly above average, and that's been great to watch. And as we see the final few weeks out, surrounded by debris from the bin fire still happening around us, you really do have to stand back. Gaze into it, feel grateful for everything you heard and loved, and go, "yeah, fair play, 2017 had bangers. Can't believe I agreed with Bono."
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