LeBrain’s Top Lists for 2017
2017 was, from almost every angle, a shit year. Another onslaught of losses in music, entertainment and sports (another list on its own). 2017 was as devastating as 2016, but perhaps all that loss was turned into musical dividends. Before the year was even half over, I had already found my #1 album of 2017 from a surprising corner. I knew as soon as I heard it that it was something remarkable. I pencilled it into the #1, wondering who would topple it. Over the months, no-one did. Though my annual Top Five Albums list was not finalised until last week, the #1 album never changed.
Before we get to albums, however, let’s check out some winners in other categories!
BEST BOX SET
MAX WEBSTER – The Party
I put my reputation on the line when I recommended The Party to everyone I knew. I only got good reviews in return. For the record, it was our own Uncle Meat, back in July, who broke the news of this box set. He knows someone involved with the remastering and was aware of the project well before the public was. Though the packaging was bare bones, the reissue otherwise hits all the bases.
DEF LEPPARD – Hysteria 30th anniversary edition
What was probably my #1 album for Christmas 1987 is my favourite reissue in 2017. In a year featuring fantastic reissues by Marillion (Misplaced Childhood) and Whitesnake (1987), none brought me back in time like Leppard’s Hysteria did.
TOP FIVE ALBUMS OF 2017
In case you doubt, check out Deke’s list over at “Arena Rock”. One of my favourite rock scribes agrees with me on most of these releases. ‘Twas Deke who turned me onto the #5 album — thanks bud.
Normally I exclude live albums from my lists, but this has been a special year.
5 1/2. IRON MAIDEN – The Book of Souls: Live Chapter
5. STEPHEN PEARCY – Smash
4. ALICE COOPER – Paranormal
3. THE DARKNESS – Pinewood Smile
2. GRETA VAN FLEET – From the Fires
1. STYX – The Mission
I haven’t cared so much about Styx since I was 10 years old! What an incredible album The Mission is. And I’m counting it as CanCon, because of singer/pianist Lawrence Gowan (but you can call him Larry).
Other fun categories!
BEST NEW ARTIST – Greta Van Fleet
BEST SOUNDTRACK – John Williams, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
BEST SOCIAL MEDIA – Michael Sweet (Stryper)
BEST ARTWORK – Deep Purple, for InFinite
MOST IMPROVED BEHAVIOUR – W. Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses)
BEST COMEBACK – Quiet Riot, for Road Rage
BEST GUITARIST – Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage)
BIGGEST DOUCHEBAG – Gene Simmons (KISS)
SECOND BIGGEST DOUCHEBAG – Kid Rock
BIGGEST MISTAKE – Black Sabbath and Bill Ward not playing together at all before The End, a wasted opportunity to set things right.