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The ADM Top 10 2017

The most acclaimed albums of the year: you can't argue with mathematics

Now everyone's had their say with the Best Albums of 2017 roundups, it's time to take stock of the cold hard facts of what really were the most critically-acclaimed albums over the past 12 months.

The AnyDecentMusic top 10 of 2017 is the most reliable guide to what earned the most extensive overall praise from reviewers.

We have excluded from the rankings any albums with fewer than eight reviews from our list of more than 50 sources from the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Ireland, and the formula we apply to arrive at the ADM rating takes the number of reviews into account.

Below, we give our analysis of what it all means.

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9.06

Kendrick Lamar

Damn.

"Luscious harmonies and hints of psychedelic soul - plus guest support from Bono and Rihanna - couch brilliant, sharp-edged storytelling from an artist at the top of his game" - The Guardian

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8.77

Mount Eerie

A Crow Looked at Me

"It's what anyone who's ever lost someone dear hopes to be true: If you refuse to let go, you won't lose them - at least not forever" - The AV Club

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8.68

Lorde

Melodrama

"It's a rudely excellent album, introspective without ever being indulgent, OTT in all the right ways, honest and brave, full of brilliant songs with lyrics to chew over for months" - NME

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8.54

Run The Jewels

Run The Jewels 3

"In short, RTJ3 is near perfect in its execution. They're so good at this that it seems almost unfair in its effortlessness" - All Music

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8.46

Karine Polwart With Pippa Murphy

A Pocket Of Wind Resistance

"Its blend of historical drama, ballad ghosts and philosophical memoir is compelling, made as intimate as if it were in your own skull by Polwart's warm, wise, attention-commanding voice" - The Observer

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8.45

Brand New

Science Fiction

"It's one of the rock albums of the year, and if it is the case - as is rumoured - that it's their last, then it's also a perfect swan song" - The Line Of Best Fit

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8.44

Vince Staples

Big Fish Theory

"Staples' new sound palette is entirely unique but drawn from familiar sources. Grime, drill and even gqom seem to find a way into the demented swirl of Big Fish Theory, placing it beyond genre" - Crack

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8.41

St Vincent

MASSEDUCTION

"Nothing less than an absolutely towering achievement" - musicOMH

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8.29

Richard Dawson

Peasant

"It is a restorative, headstrong burst of inspiration from an artist with the courage to execute his vision without compromise. If ever an album deserved to rise above the fray, it is this one" - The 405

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8.29

Hurray For The Riff Raff

The Navigator

"Really does leave you with a hope that the world can move onward, forward, to something better" - The Digital Fix

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And the next 10

11. Laurel Halo - Dust - Reviews
12. Circuit des Yeux - Reaching For Indigo - Reviews
13. Fever Ray - Plunge - Reviews
14. Algiers - The Underside Of Power - Reviews
15. Protomartyr - Relatives In Descent - Reviews
16. The Magnetic Fields - 50 Song Memoir - Reviews
17. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream - Reviews
18. Arca - Arca - Reviews
19. Laura Marling - Semper Femina - Reviews
20. Jlin - Black Origami - Reviews

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So, we've seen what our sources say their favourite album of the year is (Kendrick Lamar), but what was REALLY their favourite album of the year? What sources say when given time to reflect in December doesn't always line up with what they thought ah hold on it's still Kendrick Lamar. Right. Turns out that the love our sources developed for Damn back in April was strong enough to last all the way through to December. Which is pretty impressive considering that the last person to do that ah come on it was Kendrick again. In 2015. His last album. Since (ADM) records began, only three artists with the best reviewed album of the year were awarded the same title in the end of year lists. PJ Harvey in 2011 and Frank Ocean in 2012. Now Kendrick is the only artist to do it twice. In a row.

So, forgetting the top spot, how does the rest of the list compare to the Poll of Polls? The biggest outlier, of course, is Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy. Released too late to be considered for year-end lists, A Pocket Of Wind Resistance finished December as the 5th best reviewed album of 2017.

There are more discrepancies in our sources year-end list compared to their opinions at the time. Mount Eerie's 8.77 rating was strong enough for a clear 2nd spot, but in the year-end list it only placed 14th. Run the Jewels' disappointment in being named 42nd in the Poll of Polls will be eased by the fact that, when Run the Jewels 3 was released, its reviews were good enough for 4th. Laurel Halo's Dust places 11th based on actual reviews, but was only named the 164th best album of the year. Similar story for Circuit des Yeux: 12th based on the numbers, 146th based on the end of year opinions.

All of which is nothing compared to Brand New. The New York four-piece released their fifth album to reviews positive enough for an 8.45 rating. That's high enough to make it the 6th best album of the year. That's pretty good! The critics must have loved it. There's no way that come their year-end lists they'll only place it 185th. Actually, since it's a list made in December, we should probably check it twice and oh, yup, there it is sitting 185th.

There's communication problems between the two charts in the other direction too. According to the year-end poll, King Krule made the 16th best album of 2017. Though if you go by it's actual revi-OOZ (shut up) it only places 100th. Similar story for The War on Drugs, who placed 9th on the December list, but was actually only the 149th best-reviewed album of 2017.

It's starting to look like, and stick with us here, it's starting to look like the year-end decisions made by sources don't really reflect what they thought when they had to review the albums the first time around. That when you zoom out and look at an entire year of music, you form a slightly different opinion to when you're in the thick of it. That, believe it or not, some sources just end up forgetting about albums when making their best-of lists. But we don't. Not here at ADM. We forget nothing. When it comes to year-end roundups, we're here to make sure that nobody forgets about which albums they liked, didn't like, and rated so highly that no ah hold on Kendrick was top of both, wasn't he? Damn.

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ADM Report 2016

ADM Report 2015

ADM Report 2014

ADM Report 2013

ADM Report 2012

ADM Report 2011

ADM Report 2010

ADM Report 2009

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