With 2017 coming to a close, there are undoubtedly many facets of the year to reflect on — including a year-in-review of music. After 2016 set high expectations for new releases, 2017 had a lot to live up to. There's no argument that 2017 was a phenomenal year for music, producing a diverse array of popular albums. Now, more than ever before, albums seek to make an impressionable statement on the music scene that defies set genres. Here's a comprehensive list of some of the most popular albums of 2017 as explained from a music-loving foodie's perspective.  

1. DAMN.

Kendrick Lamar strikes again — and with another home run. His album, DAMN., released mid-April arguably takes the cake as the best album of 2017. It is bold. It is complex. It is controversial, leaving its listeners in a contemplative state. In its entirety, DAMN is like a succulent, longed-for medium rare steak paired with a heaping pile of creamy mashed potatoes and perfectly charred asparagus alongside a fat glass of a well-bodied cabernet that intentionally chosen for this dish to enhance its flavor profile. This is not the type of dinner you have often. It is a treat. On the surface, a steak dinner seems simple, however, each element ought to be thoughtfully constructed in order to summate into the well-executed final product heard in DAMN. 

2. Ctrl

After a first listen to Ctrl, it could have been anticipated that SZA's album would have been popular. But no one predicted Ctrl to explode as quickly and largely as it did this year. If SZA's album would be compared to a food, it would definitely be an avocado. Much like her album, avocados rapidly grew in popularity. Even despite the recent water shortages and price increases, versatile avocados are a trend, constantly increasing demand, that is not going away anytime soon. Music listers alike seem to not be able to get enough of SZA's music, making her an exciting figure to progress in the coming years. 

3. Melodrama

Lorde's album Melodrama, a follow up to her 2013 release of Pure Heroine, is a fantastically euphoric pop album. If her album was a food, it would be a mixed drink. A Moscow mule to be specific. A dynamic concoction of refreshing lime juice perfectly balanced with sweet and tangy ginger beer for an explosive flair. However, just as Melodrama is no ordinary pop album, there's no way this Moscow mule can be traditional. The liquor must pack more of a punch than a neutral tasting vodka. Substituting vodka for a shot (or two) of tequila as the base of this Moscow mule would achieve just that. 

4. American Dream

sandwich, french fries, chips, cheese, burger, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, fries, buns
dena dianati

LCD Soundsytem comeback album official brings them back music scene after a seven-year hiatus from music production. Their return bears a strong album where their iconic rock and roll sound intertwined with electronic dance remains present. Because of its name, American Dream would have to be a food rooted in the tradition of the US food scene: a loaded burger. This modern twist on a classic hamburger would have the whole shebang: a lightly toasted buttery brioche bun, a 1/4 pound medium rare burger, melted white cheddar cheese, deep-fried red onions, and freshly sliced tomatoes all topped with a fiery chipotle mayo drizzle. This familiar platform of a hamburger along with the topping's contributions of fat, tang, crunch, and a bit of spice elevates your everyday diner burger into a modern masterpiece, truly embodying the unique essence that is American Dream.

When indulging in this massive burger, the most natural beverage pairing is the drink that America runs on. LCD's album is high in energy just like a cold brew coffee that gets you energized, jittery, verging on anxious more than your average morning half-calf blend. 

5. Reputation

sauce, beef, meat, pork, tomato, vegetable
Sarah Morrissey

With Taylor Swift's pre-release Instagram hype, her fans went wild upon her late-year release of Reputation. Historically, T-Swift never fails to disappoint. Her new album showcases a darker, more bitter version of Taylor. This album is served as a burnt Chicago-style deep dish pizza that you got in Los Angeles and because you were in California, the crust just had to be gluten-free and obviously have no cheese. This made it different than any other long-awaited (45 minutes at most places) deep dish pizza you've had up into this moment for it lacked depth and complexity normally achieved. 

6. A Deeper Understanding 

ramen, noodles, pho
Milana Yemelyanova

While you may have never heard of this band, founded in 2008, the War on Drugs have a sound that's a dichotomy of comfortability and captivation. Their most recent album, A Deeper Understanding, released in August, is best described as a bowl of steaming hot ramen. This effervescent ramen broth composed of a tea base will warm your soul. With each slurp of elastic homemade ramen noodles, the subtle infusion of chili in the tea-based broth keeps you on your toes, just as the presence of the pending rock influence at the core of each song on this album acts as a motivator of sorts, propelling each listener into the depths of a compelling unknown. 

7. I See You

The XX released their third album directly after the new year in early January. This allowed their loyal fan base a full year to relish in listening to I See You. Their previous mellow albums Coexist and XX build off each other and do not have much distinction between the two. While I See You is still connected to and influenced by their old work, this funky album would definitely be a s'more's pie. Instead of being a deliciously boring ole pumpkin pie, I See You, brought an energy we never knew was lacking in their previous albums, allowing this album to have a surprisingly newfound fresh, interesting presence in the indie music realm.

8. Everything Now

Arcade Fire's Everything Now was highly anticipated and honestly was fairly disappointing as a follow up to Reflektor. Out of the 13 songs on their album, only about 4 or 5 are considered decent. Their album strives to embody something bigger than themselves, falling short in the process. Lacking passion and power seen in Reflektor and The Suburbs, many of the songs on this album fall into a repetitive trap, never breaking out of the cyclical loop. Everything Now came out as a massive overloaded vanilla ice cream sundae. Loaded with contradicting toppings including blueberry sauce, mint flavored Oreo's, cherry candies, and colorful sprinkles — along with pretty much everything else on the sundae bar. This hopeful combination ultimately overpowered the decant, well-loved ice cream residing somewhere under the surface.

9. From A Room: Volume 1, From A Room: Volume 2

Lindsey Jay
pork, beef, beans, meat
Gaby Derlly

Not only did Chris Stapleton release one album in the year 2017, he released two. These albums are comparable to a southern-style two-course meal. The first meal, comprised of a platter of hot fried chicken is followed up by a second meal of some luscious southern BBQ loaded onto a high-class paper plate. When visualizing this food comparison, think waiting in line at Hatty B's in Nashville or Franklin BBQ in Austin. These renowned joints have perfected preparing simple comfort food that people are willing to stake out for hours to enjoy. Chris Stapleton's albums strip away American country music to its honest, most true form. The heart and soul of his duo album feature his take on country music taking it back to its roots. 

10. ÷ (Divide)

Ed Sheeran's solo act has continued to captivate the hearts of many worldwide. Due to his English roots, it would be fitting that his album would be compared to fish and chips. When listening to Divide, it lacks depth and consistency. Sheeran stretches his bandwidth through attempting to tie in both African and Spanish-influenced songs into Divide. His lack of success in creating a cohesive, well-rounded album renders Divide soggy under-seasoned fish and chips, lacking salt at a minimum let alone any other seasoning its flavor could benefit from. That doesn't mean many won't continue to enjoy eating this bland version of fish and chips not even realizing it's not as delicious as it could be. 

11. Colors

For years, Beck's music has transcended any genre norms, having songs influenced by hip-hop, folk, and rock. Ironically, at this point in his career, Beck, widely known as an untraditional music figure, comes out with his most pop-like album to date. Surf 'n turf, an untraditional pairing of seafood and red meat, is one of those dishes where you're not really too sure how it fits together but you're oddly okay with it anyway. Similar to Colors, surf 'n turf is a meal you can definitely enjoy and love while eating it. That being said, upon finishing, you don't necessarily feel an immediate craving to eat it again for a bit. 

12. American Teen

waffle, butter
Hui Lin

A 19-year-old artist from Georgia, Khalid likely didn't foresee the success he's earned over the past year. His debut album, American Teen, has caught the attention young Americans alike. His emotional R&Besque vocal tone backed by an upbeat rhythm allows American Teen to be one of the most popular albums of 2017 that is a pleasant listen. American Teen would have to be a brunch food. Delicious freshly prepared fluffy waffles with the spunk of maple and a spoonful of whipped cream are a combination bound to be a hit. However, waffle's youth hasn't gained enough credibility to make an appearance lunch or dinner menu yet so we'll have to wait and see where Khalid takes us in the future before a full critique.

While it may be obvious, the consumption of food interplays with its eater in a way an album interacts with its listener. Both creating music and cooking prevail as untraditional art forms differing only in the senses they target. As we've seen through looking at the albums of 2017, some killer music has been released. Reflection over some of the most popular albums of 2017 harnesses excitement toward the music 2018 will offer.