50) Methyl Ethel – Ubu
The upbeat, disco inspired tendencies on ‘Ubu’ mask a sense of outsider fragility inherent to Methyl Ethel’s sound, creating a rather artful contrast of external and internal.
49) Alvvays – In Undertow
The universal theme of a failed relationship gets pressed up against a wall of shoegaze influenced distortion and reverb, resulting in an affecting sense of pathos.
48) Cable Ties – Same For Me
Urgent, hustling, indie punk out of Melbourne that sounds like a catharsis of energy and internalised chaos.
47) Mac DeMarco – My Old Man
The warmth of Mac’s vocal delivery and DIY charm of the strummed acoustic guitar soundtrack something darker – coming to terms with identity. There is a deeply embedded association in art between mirrors and identity, and Mac draws on this to express attempts at self understanding through focus on the past, particularly his father.
46) Haim – Want You Back
Haim deliver an even more refined version of what was delivered on album one. Funk guitar licks, harmony, and a heightened melodicism express a change in mindset from one of confusion to one of acceptance; it feels like a reawakening.
45) Loyle Carner – Ain’t Nothing Changed
Loyle’s jazz influenced, low key approach to hip hop serves as a counterpoint to his British grime contemporaries. Stylistically astute, the use of internal rhyme allows downcast sentiment to be expressed with a flair that takes you into a murky, hope devoid corner of London.
44) Drake – Passionfruit
Drake’s perceived failure in maintaining a long distance relationship comes to the forefront here, as he perfects the dancehall style that was more inconsistent on VIEWS to create immersive touches of late night reflections.
43) Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used To Do
Slick and suave, Josh Homme takes QOTSA’s precise rhythms and circular riffing and updates it with the help of Mark Ronson. The result is a fuzzed out jam that is equal parts rock star swagger and dance groove.
42) Alex the Astronaut – Not Worth Hiding
Perhaps the most relevant Australian track of the year given the context, Alex the Astronaut’s conversational style of lyrical delivery and lo-fi singer-songwriter approach invites empathy on a subject that has been so deeply politicised throughout 2017.
41) King Krule – Biscuit Town
With a lyrical flow that evokes hip hop in the way assonance and internal rhyme are utilised and vocal tone is varied, Marshall pours internal anxiety onto his environment until the streets he resides in begin to resemble his mind. The jazzy chord progressions give a hazy atmosphere that lacks clarity and certainty of place.