My mom’s basement flooded in July. This was not really that big a deal. My step-dad had been finishing the entire basement himself, so it was disappointing for him, but big-picture, this was about as low-stakes a housing disaster can be. There was damage, including some old family keepsakes, the type of stuff you really don’t need to hang on to but do anyway for the occasional shot of nostalgia.
I keep some of my stuff in storage there, including a duffel bag that serves as a graveyard for old, terrible jerseys and a box of random things from my childhood. Photo albums, sports memorabilia, letters from my globe-trotting pen-pal, and some random notebooks. The notebooks are a trip. There have been signs that I wanted to be a sportswriter for as long as I can remember. I would “play” SportsDesk with mini-sticks or in the driveway. This photo actually exists. And the notebooks are filled with fake box scores, standings, and mini-game stories.
They also contain re-written editions of the MuchMusic Countdown. Apparently displeased with the order presented, I would write the top 25 out in the order I thought those (or other) songs should go in. 11-year-old me gave Harvey Danger a hell of a run on top. Around that same time, I was seeing a child psychologist in Guelph regularly, and I remember that my sort-of “reward” for going to those sessions was that on the drive home to Cambridge, the Top 7 at 7 would be playing on whatever London’s alternative radio station was at the time. Just get through the session, and there was good music waiting.
I have not pursued music writing (or ranking) nearly as aggressively as sports, but it’s still something I really enjoy doing. (The connection between mental health and music remains, umm, quite strong.) And so instead of just listing off my favorite albums of 2017, I wanted to write a bit about some of them for a change. 2017 wasn’t as strong at the top as 2016, something it made up for with exceptional depth. When I listed out all of the albums I’d listened to in 2017 to start cutting down to 25, there were 88, which feels insane. I opted to stretch this annual list from 25 to 50, because there were just too many albums I enjoyed that I didn’t want to leave out or thought other people might see, check out, and enjoy.
What follows are the albums I enjoyed most in 2017.
An aside: My mom lives in Drumbo, which – and I am not joking here – refers to itself as “The detour capital of Ontario.” I really feel like they should borrow from The Wonder Years and erect a sign that says “But I was kinda hoping you’d stay” as you leave.