Alternative Oscars & TV Awards 2017

Alternative Oscars & TV Awards 2017

As I continue to discuss the many pop culture reasons I have no social life, today we move onto the big and small screen. I fell off the wagon a tad with regards to movies so there’s certainly a few I didn’t catch that I intend on seeing soon. However I am very pleased with the 57 movies I did catch this year, and the winners of my alternative Oscars.
Where I actually spent most of my hours was on television, catching 31 shows. So included this year are some awards for binge-worthy TV too.

Best New Television Show
Mindhunter (Netflix)
GLOW (Netflix)
Guerilla (Sky)
Star Trek Discovery (Netflix)
American Gods (Amazon Prime)
Riverdale (Netflix)

There were plenty of excellent new television shows to sink time into this year, and the rate at which they are pumped out is exceeding furthermore. Networks and streaming services want the rights to the hottest shows as its apparent we as people love a good binge-watch. Netflix were of course the hottest property but Amazon Prime’s American Gods, the fantasy epic based from Neil Gaiman’s classic novel, is a lot of dark fun. Sky’s short series Guerilla was also a well-made look at race violence in 70s Britain.
Netflix’s forage into Star Trek was more mature than expected but is indulgent goodness. Murder and crime shows are always a favourite and Mindhunter definitely filled that spot for me this year. A worthy runner up was Alison Brie’s stylish wrestling comedy GLOW, however the winner is the addictive Riverdale.
The CW/Netflix teen flick based from the Archie Comics is marketed to the Twilight audience but has its heart in the right place. That right place being flickers of Veronica Mars, Cluedo and Glee. It’s as much full of cringe as it is full of heart, and if you can get past the former, it’s such an enjoyable watch.

The “Jumped The Shark” Award
Fortitude (HBO)
i-Zombie (Netflix)
Preacher (Amazon Prime)
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

This award is for the show that chose to go down routes that perhaps mean it’s due to wrap up rather than carry on. Four shows sprung to mind for taking things too far this year. HBO’s Fortitude which was my favourite show a few years back really had a let-down season two opting to make it’s lead characters psychotic and giving us no real people to root for. Preacher followed up a stellar first season by doing a full season on the road. It had its epic moments but the plot became thin with less than a handful of characters to share screen time. Orange Is The New Black wasn’t bad per say but did seem to hit a point of no return for the plot. I’m not entirely sure where it can go from here. The winner though was i-Zombie which in its third season almost stuck the landing until an insane season finale exposed the show’s biggest secret not just to the lead characters but the whole universe the show is based in. It was a very daft moment from an otherwise terrific show.

Best Comedy Show 2017
Love (Netflix)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Master Of None (Netflix)
Rick & Morty (Adult Swim)
Big Mouth (Netflix)

It was a massive year for comedy on Netflix with season 2 of hipster rom coms Love and Master Of None shining through with lots of heart. The third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt tore the house down with its relentless pop culture attacks but the winner is the third season of Rick & Morty. It’s became a global phenomenon with Pickle Rick remixes and stampedes in American McDonalds over obtaining that sweet and delicious Szechuan Sauce! The show is at the top of its game, it cannot put a foot wrong and rightly deserves this award.

Best Actor in TV 2017
Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Pedro Pascal (Narcos)
Rami Malek (Mr Robot)
David Harbour (Stranger Things)
Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter)

This is a toughie as everyone here deserves the nod. Returning Pedro Pascal, David Harbour, Rami Malek and Peter Capaldi remained the best things about their respective shows. Jonathan Groff, once the dreamy Jesse St James in Glee and star of acclaimed but canned HBO show Looking takes up a very serious and demanding role as a serial killer hunter in Mindhunter. Just pipping him though is Jon Bernthal’s hardass playing the role he was born for in The Punisher. His performance, his look and his demeanour made an okay show seem great.

Best Actress in TV 2017
Alison Brie (Glow)
Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek Discovery)
Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why)
Ruth Negga (Preacher)
Freida Pinto (Guerilla)
Gillian Jacobs (Love)

A powerhouse year in TV for these actresses, I find it tricky to select a winner here too. Gillian Jacobs and Ruth Negga return for second seasons of their shows where they steal the whole thing. Controversial 13 Reasons Why in my eyes is mostly a triumph largely in part to a brilliant Katherine Langford in the central role. I loved Alison Brie’s coming out party with her excellence in Glow but it really comes down to the ace Sonequa Martin-Green escaping a bit part role in The Walking Dead to do some seriously brilliant Vulcan acting in Star Trek and revolutionary Freida Pinto in Geurilla. I think Freida just knicks it!

Best Drama Show 2017
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Narcos (Netflix)
Doctor Who (BBC)
Riverdale (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Mr.Robot (Amazon Prime)

When TV has been sublime this year, oh boy has it been sublime. Both seasons of Riverdale and the returning Narcos have been must see shows. The incredible Stranger Things painted Halloween and EVERYONE was talking about it. Doctor Who had its strongest season in many years with Peter Capaldi’s swansong. In it’s penultimate year, Game of Thrones broke the wheel on episode content and length, rounded off all of it’s loose ends and set in motion unbelievable plans for it’s endgame. The winner though is a show not so many people have been chatting about. Mr Robot’s third year took the show to unreal heights becoming the most exciting show on television. The complexity of it’s characters and the paths they choose is writing on the level of Breaking Bad and amongst the handful of perfect episodes this season was an hour long one take masterpiece that levels Ozymandias (Breaking Bad S5) as my favourite TV episode of all time. Mr Robot feels like it’s final few seasons will be essential television and this season certainly has been. If you’re not acquainted, get up to speed in the offseason. You seriously don’t want to miss this.

Low Buzz Film Of The Year
Free Fire
The Death Of Stalin
War For The Planet Of The Apes
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
Patriot’s Day

Lots to love in this shortlist for me. Mark Wahlberg’s one-two disaster movies Deepwater Horizon and Patriot’s Day were both great watches. British cult director Ben Wheatley followed up last year’s incredible High Rise with the crazy Free Fire. Armando Ianucci returned to the screen with The Thick Of It meets Communist Russia in The Death Of Stalin. For me it comes down to two. The War Of The Planet Of The Apes is probably the most underappreciated blockbuster of the year but for me the winner is the marmite Valerian. Dane Dehann and Cara Delevigne both shine in Luc Besson’s undescribable world building. It’s colourful and detailed in every shot. Yes the writing is a tad off at points but this story is magic and I wish we could return to this world.

Comedy Of The Year Which Actually Made Me Laugh
Colossal
The Lego Batman Movie
The Big Sick
T2: Trainspotting
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

Comedies weren’t really on top this year, I’m certainly looking for higher quality of comedies next year. Anne Hathaway’s weird Colossal in which she accidentally plays a Godzilla-esque alcoholic monster terrorizing Seoul was fun. The Lego Batman Movie had a lego-bucket load of puns. T2:Trainspotting somehow lived up to expectation taking us back to Edinburgh but our lovable junkies are all grown up. The Big Sick is sensational and perhaps my favourite rom com since 500 Days of Summer which is the greatest compliment I can ever pay. My top pick here is the documentary Jim & Andy in which we see into the madness of Jim Carrey’s performance of Andy Kaufman. It stunned me, it made me laugh and broke my heart. You should definitely seek it out.

Great Film You’ve Never Heard Of
Raw
Brawl In Cell Block 99
Jackie
Wind River
Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri
Last year’s Indy output was outstanding and this year was no different. French horror Raw stayed on the brain like the lead character’s thirst for flesh. Vince Vaughan did great in the brutal Brawl In Cell Block 99. Jackie was a sensational period drama about JFK’s assassination from his wife’s viewpoint. Three Billboards Outside Of Edbbing, Missouri followed on from In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths’ weirdness for character building in place of a fully coherent plot. It’s an odd way of making movies, but it works. The winner though is Taylor Sheridan’s conclusion of the American Frontier trilogy which captures the beautiful but deadly Wyoming snowy wilderness. Renner and Olsen are also terrific.

Blockbuster That Got Thumbs Up Critically Too
Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 2
IT
Blade Runner 2049
Logan
Wonder Woman

There was a surprisingly lot to love here and quite a few films had to fight their way into my nominees. Marvel’s best film this year was Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 which maintained the magic and charm of the first film. DC mostly blundered but struck gold with Wonder Woman mostly down to Gal Gadot’s amazing charisma on screen. I adored the remake of IT which was the best Horror movie this year and one I genuinely think I’ll be replaying for years to come. I struggled picking a winner here, but the runner up is Logan. James Mangold’s second attempt at our favourite Wolverine is my favourite superhero film ever made. It pits Hugh Jackman’s Logan in a post apocalyptic world where he and Professor X are essentially the last of the mutants who have all been hunted down. That is until they find a new generation of children with powers. It’s a road movie, it’s a movie about growing old and it should have honestly been the perfect send off for this whole franchise. You would think that would be enough to seal it but words cannot express how perfectly crafted Blade Runner 2049 is. Denis Villeneuve creates stunning visuals in every single shot of the movie and the full cast shine. This might be the most impressive Sci-Fi ever made, but like the original, I think it’ll take us years to find that out.

Surprisingly Garbage
Live By Night
The Snowman
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
John Wick 2
Mindhorn

Live By Night, Mindhorn & The Snowman had good trailers and set-ups but turned out trash. Kingsman: The Golden Circle literally obliterated the world built in the first movie within the first five minutes making us lose so much charm. Colin Firth returned but it never felt like he was playing the same person. My pick here though is John Wick 2 which despite being so much better than all of the rest of these films still really failed to live up to expectation for me. When I watched the first movie I wanted to talk about it. When I watched this sequel, it didn’t impact me either way. That’s kind of worse than it sucking.

Surprisingly NOT Garbage
Beauty And The Beast
Patriot’s Day
Kong: Skull Island
Split
Spider-Man: Homecoming

Shout-out to all these films I was worried about pulling out blinders. Disney’s Beauty And The Beast was well crafted and lovely to see. Patriot’s Day followed Deepwater Horizon in being really weighty and a good watch. Kong: Skull Island had all the ability to be a corny follow-up to Peter Jackson’s classic but it pulled through as one of the best military shoot em up’s since Aliens. We finally have a Spider-Man universe that feels right with fantastic performances and a story to go with it. Winning here is M. Night’s Split which is a massive return to form. James McAvoy’s performance is a must see.

The Skidmark Of Cinema Award 2017
Assassins Creed
Gold
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
The Mummy
The Snowman

These were absolutely the worst of the worst that I saw this year. Michael Fassbender turned in a corker with The Snowman and Assassins Creed both being rubbish. King Arthur and The Mummy were probably about as bad as expected but Matthew McConaughey starring as a crazy Gold mine prospector had no right to be this bad. Shame on you Gold.
NO VIDEO COZ GARBAGE 😦

The “Casey Affleck Award” for Best Actor
Jeremy Renner (Wind River)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
James McAvoy (Split)
Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)

Look, if you haven’t seen Manchester By The Sea you really need to. Casey Affleck’s performance is going to stay with me and haunt me for years. It’s the realest portrayal of grief and emptiness I’ve ever seen. He deserves to win. Everybody here deserves a look in. Renner’s quiet hunter in Wind River is his most mature and physical performance yet. It suited him well. Daniel Kaluuya evoked the true horrors of Get Out perfectly, and James McAvoy brought true horror into Split with his psychotic, crazed performances. Denzel Washinton’s Fences performance would be the outright winner in any other year if not for Affleck. They deserve to share a win but I’m not copping out sorry. Spend time watching Manchester By The Sea and Fences and make up your own mind. They’re both winners but Affleck takes it for me.

The “Natalie Portman Award” For Best Actress
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards)
Ana De Almas (Blade Runner 2049)
Garance Marilliar (Raw)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Once again I apologise, but it’s a travesty that Natalie Portman didn’t win the Oscar for Jackie. During no seconds of that movie did I feel like I was watching an Actor. It was Jackie Kennedy down to the mannerisms and the accent on every letter and everything in between. It’s a perfect performance.
Gal Gadot made Wonder Woman the coolest superhero on the planet, Garance Marilliar shone becoming unhinged and animal like as Raw progressed and Ana De Almas had a breakout making everyone fall in love with a hologram. Frances McDormand deserves special mention for what might be her best performance of her career. She is the Queen of pissed off in movies now, I kind of hope she takes this role into everything she takes forthcoming.

ACTUAL Film Of The Year (Top 10)
10. Get Out
9. IT
8. Wind River
7. Silence
6. Logan
5. Baby Driver
4. Blade Runner 2049
3. La La Land
2. Manchester By The Sea
1. Dunkirk

Get Out was a pop culture phenomenon and a piece of genius. IT was my favourite horror movie this year and one of my favourite of all time as it portrayed nightmares and the way we felt as children perfectly. Wind River is the ice cold and deadly conclusion of the American Frontier trilogy we wanted. Silence is an epic with extraordinary sacrifices and performances all round. Logan is my favourite superhero film ever made. Baby Driver is note by note perfect as Edgar Wright flexes his imagination and attention to detail as a director. Blade Runner 2049 went where no Sci-Fi had gone before. La La Land is a timeless classic, an unforgettable musical romantic adventure. Manchester By The Sea affects me still 11 months after watching it. The best movie of the year though must be Christopher Nolan’s technical masterpiece Dunkirk. The infamous story of 400,000 men stranded at Dunkirk trying to escape the Axis forces pushing them back. Starring a supreme ensemble cast headed up by Hans Zimmer’s earth shattering score plus Christopher Nolan’s complex time scales. It’s stunning and in IMAX I had never had a cinema experience like it.

Thanks for reading.

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The New Music Mixtape: Best Albums 2017

The New Music Mixtape: Best Albums 2017

Over the past twelve months, one of my life goals was to listen to as much as possible. About half way into the year I realised I was on course to hit a pretty cool milestone so I can say with pride, that I managed to enjoy 500 albums this year.

From those 500, I have taken my absolute favourites to talk about a little bit, and link them below so you too can enjoy.

50. TWIABPAIANLATD – Always Foreign
Amidst band departures and anger at the political landscape, TWIABPAIANLATD make an ironic stab at how crap things are in their song writing whilst maintaining their rich, full post rock sound.

49. The XX – I See You
Jamie XX’s solo work creeps in as The XX mash fresh sounds together, for their fans to party to the band’s best record yet.

48. Wiley – Godfather
The only Grime album you needed to pay attention to this year.

47. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
Just at the turn of the year, Run the Jewels stayed on form releasing their third album in four years. Despite these being free mixtapes, they have far more stud records than most major label releases.

46. Brutus – Burst
In a year with returns from Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Blood, Belgium’s Brutus released the best stadium rock music. It’s one of the most immediate and loud albums I heard this year.

45. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
It would be impossible and immoral to discuss this album on terms of enjoyment. One of the most harrowing expressions of grief ever recorded, but a must listen.

44. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface
A genius showcase of burying honest insecure and sometimes existential problems inside of electrifying, grandeur indie rock.

43. Sheer Mag – Need To Feel Your Love
The Philadelphia punk rock band strip things back to basics for riff anthem after riff anthem with powerhouse vocals and killer hooks.

42. THEY – Nu Religion: Hyena
R&B burst out of its glass ceiling with dark blends of rock, pop & hip hop around every twist.

41. Khalid – American Teen
A very solid Pop/R&B effort from now global superstar Khalid which exerts an adrenaline shot of much needed youthfulness into the scene.

40. Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
A single sound captured across an album. CAS’s static dreamy shoegaze makes this into a concept album about love, sex and the world we live in.

39. Pond – The Weather
There’s been plenty of mind-bending prog rock soundscapes from Aussie bands Tame Impala and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard over the past few years, but Pond’s The Weather is the most successful yet.

38. Code Orange – Forever
In a year of outstanding efforts from metal bands (Mastadon, Pallbearer, Converge as notables), It’s Pittsburgh’s Code Orange who stole the show.

37. Jay-Z – 4:44
Jay’s understated comeback says exactly what it needs to with regards to family, race and politics. Lyrically his best album in over a decade, with raw production that didn’t need flash to sell its story.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/4-44/1256704158

36. Kesha – Rainbow
A deeply personal album start to finish which has its faults but really charms through in pop and country records.

35. Corbin – Mourn
R&B outsider Corbin channels grunge heroes to make a post-modern take on what heavy rock and hip hop can sound like meshed together.

34. Phoebe Bridgers – Strangers In The Alps
A debut album has no right to be this good lyrically, but LA singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers sticks the landing instantly. Looks back at classic song writing but paints it with a modern folk palette ala Lana Del Rey or Angel Olsen.

33. Brockhampton – Saturation 3
The culmination of a year long project results in the boyband’s most versatile and experimental work. The album concludes looping into its predecessors whilst pointing towards similar output next year.

32. SZA – Cntrl
Top Dawg Entertainment had a fantastic year with Kendrick (we’ll get to that), but SZA’s coming out party was better than we could have ever hoped for. She effortlessly joins Lamar and Schoolboy Q as the label’s heavy hitters.

31. Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel
Frustrated with the direction her label vision for her, Charli lets us into her brain. She’s a traditionalist pop fan and pop star, but also a visionary creating the future of pop music with her friends.

30. Yung Lean – Stranger
In a break out year for many emo rappers, the Swedish OG puts out stellar work to show he’s still King Emo of the Emo Castle.

29. Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother
Frantic, funny and life affirming indie rock from Australia by one of the most likeable artists making music today.

28. Joey Bada$$ – All Amerikkkan Bada$$
Whilst I loved this on first hearing, I waited all year round for the seminal Trump album. I had it with me almost the full year. It’s Joey’s record.

27. Rina Sawayama – Rina
Sunny, inventive pop music from London newbie Rina Sawayama. The blog hive’s favourite pop record of the year, it’s easy to understand why.

26. Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights
Gorgeous voiced Tennessee singer Julien Baker boxes herself over self-worth, religion and loneliness in an epic that rivals any Rocky movie. Almost like a movie or diary being played out, you hear Julien grow in confidence and willpower as the album progresses, which is stunning.

25. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
James Murphy gives fans the comeback beyond their dreams with several tribal rants and raves about life in America.

24. The Horrors – V
A triumphant return for Gothic indie band The Horrors who make their most complex records of their career on an air tight V.

23. Thundercat – Drunk
Manic and daft at points, Thundercat’s experimenting is one of the most thrilling listens this year.

22. Makthaverskan – III
Perfect 80s gothic songwriting from the Swede’s third album featuring some of the most infectious guitar records of the year.

21. Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom
Rap’s new megastar sets out her path with a stellar debut album.

20. Trampolene – Swansea To Hornsey
Probably the best Welsh indie album since The Holy Bible. Passionate to its roots lyrically wrapped much craved real guitar riffs. It’s like the days of early Arctic Monkeys.

19. Brand New – Science Fiction
First things first, I heavily condemn and give no credit to the frontman of this band. That being said, Brand New made the best album of their career and made songs that genuinely help battle adult male depression. That’s something to shout about.

18. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin
Something different for Hardcore Punk hero Frank Carter turned out to be something that felt just right. Loud, punchy, layered punk rock masterclass on offer here.

17. Dave – Game Over
Late in the year, after some satisfactory single drops, Dave finally sets the bar. Seven minute political wastes and beef based club smashes, Game Over is Dave heading into 2018 on top.

16. Muna – About You
Dark and funky indie with plenty of dance references from LA trio Muna. There’s special songwriting with  love songs written from the viewpoint of homosexual woman but with the ability to fit a relatability for anyone. Certainly one of the brightest sparks from a new band this year.

15. The National – Sleep Well Beast
The National finally made a record I loved start to finish with Sleep Well Beast. From clicking the play button, you’re taken into their own mood the band have honed over the years. They make several of the best singles of their career, and their best album. I’m a casual fan and this excites me. What it must feel like to be a National hard core and have had this release.

14. Brockhampton – Saturation
Ah, where it all started. After a string of creative, intelligent singles like Gold and Star, Brockhampton released the first of their life altering Saturation albums. It stood up as a full album, with each song offering something new and exciting. I played it to death and you should too.

13. Logic – Everybody
The magna carta of positive rap music in 2017 was through Logic and his groundbreaking Everybody. This would have been a perfectly great choice for a Grammy now that I think about it. Stupid Grammys.

12. Sorority Noise – You’re Not As ___ As You Think
Upon discovering the fantastic movie Manchester By The Sea, which is one of the most brutal and real depictions of male depression and grief I’ve ever seen, Sorority Noise’s triumphant take on the topic was a real sticky album for me. It was the film’s counterpart, spearheaded by the amazing No Halo. I never dropped it, they were my favourite hard rock band this year.

11. Drake – More Life
A playlist is a cooler word than an album anyway, Drake’s in the right here guys. More Life was a celebration for me of everything Drizzy has released over his career. There are songs on there that hark back to his early days like his collab with Jorja Smith, songs that hark to the future like his trap anthem Portland and banger after banger.

10. Charli XCX – Pop2
Late year surprise drop Pop2 is Charli XCX’s most complete work. Her and PC Music’s AG Cook combined with a plethora of friends to create many individual choons but also a fully flexed showcase of both of their fantastic vision for pop music. The album being called Pop2 is fitting, as they seem to be trailblazing the way.

9. Idles – Brutalism
British band Idles were the centrepiece of angry punk speaking about political issues surrounding Brexit and other tragedies and let downs by the government. Songs like Mother and Well Done resonated with crowds upon crowds over Summer festivals. It came timely and really fit the bill of what youths in Britain needed to express their views on the way the country is being run.

8. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
Tyler, The Creator released his best work of his career with Flower Boy, his own Channel Orange. I say that not only because he used the lyrics on the album to talk about his sexuality but also to release music we never thought he would create. This is an album about love, about growing up and likewise topics, whilst maintaining enough OF-esque rap bangers.

7. Paramore – After Laughter
The pop punk band stake their claim as the best pop band on the planet, reaching into the past to draw inspiration from 80s rock pop like Blondie which you can certainly hear in their hit Hard Times. What is admirable is whilst this plays as Paramore’s most colourful album in their now long career, it is also their darkest lyrically. Songs like Rose Coloured Boy and Fake Happy are some of the most stunning of Hayley Williams’ lyrics.

6. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
Our Father dropped his second full length which is a long, complex and funny take on the world we live in. It’s a commentary on the world we live in for cynics, pessimists and optimists too. Modern life hasn’t felt so real on record.

5. Lorde – Melodrama
Melodrama is such an important record. Lorde on it sways away from the pop hierarchy (her tour was Academy level, not Stadium as her contemporaries). She is the cool popstar to adore, and adored she was by the many this year. Green Light and Melodrama tops so many lists. The album itself is a concept album of a break-up and getting back into the swing of life. It’s gorgeous start to finish.

4. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
Creeper’s debut album sits so highly because of how exciting it is to have a new British band evoke the highs of emo heavyweights like My Chemical Romance or earlier Fall Out Boy. Eternity, In Your Arms is a quick storm of punk rock imagery, painted with the band’s sensational branding. They are the most accessible emo band in what seems like forever to obsess over. Their music allows that, and encourages it. They should from here become massive.

3. Kendrick Lamar – Damn
I’m not sure any of us are clever enough to dissect Damn and discuss it properly but I know at least that it is genius. Kendrick Lamar is on his own level, in his own world with his music. With Damn, for me, he cements his-self as the greatest artist working today. His music makes hits, has bars to appeal to all hip-hop fans, but still feels like it’s deeper than that. Then of course in December when the wave of excitement had mostly passed, he announces that the album was supposed to be played backwards. Damn is an enigma that I can’t wait to throw on repeat until I work it out.

2. J Hus – Common Sense
The biggest success in British music this year came from UK rapper J-Hus. His loud blend of 90’s west coast rap production, African rap flow and lyrical content and his ability to create R&B anthems was unmatched. Every song on Common Sense feels like a celebration. It’s a positive album about winning in life. It should have won the Mercury!

1. Brockhampton – Saturation 2
My most played album this year, and also my favourite, is the second instalment on the whirlwind ride that was Saturation. Brockhampton, the world’s best new boyband threw us Saturation 2 at a time when I was still trying to pick my jaw up from the first album. Brockhampton have injected energy into my day to day life this year, creating music that is always instantly exciting, fresh and damn good at a blistering pace. Their love for their craft and them being so young and new to music that they can threaten break-ups or drop music at the click of a tweet is so attractive. For me exploring new music and finding things to listen to, they have been the best thing about 2017.

The album itself is stacked, more so than their debut or Saturation 3 which followed in December. The cinematic opening to Gummy is a solid example of how their music on this record felt a bit more layered and more confident of the band’s style than their predecessor. Queer and especially Junky are some of the best tracks about sexuality in rap songs ever laid to record. More so than their other albums, there are songs here which give everyone a chance to shine. Meryln Wood’s quirkiness on Swamp or Ameer Vann’s angry flow about race on Fight were highlights. The group’s best vocalist Bearface does his best year’s work on Jesus and Summer. The album cohesively comes together, offering some of the finest production work of the year. The group created Saturation with the pun of oversaturating the music industry with three albums in a year. They made everything that was great about music in 2017.