If you were to ask me about my relationship with music, I'd tell you that I'm a picky bitch who's primary source of new music is the Broadway stage. My guess is 70% of the music I listen to is from musicals, and the remaining 30% is split between random emo/pop-punk bands from my youth and pop music.
I'm clearly not the best person when it comes to finding new music. However, 2017 was a fun year for music. 1) It was the first season where I really, truly, fell in love with two fantastic Broadway shows and 2) There were a few non theatre albums that really caught my ear.
So, for 2017, here's 4 albums that I will always associate the year with.
Dear Evan Hansen cast recording
The Dear Evan Hansen cast recording was, by far, my most played album of 2017. It's signature track "Waving Through a Window" was hands down my most played song (not just of the year...but ever).
This musical seems really cliché on the surface; it's about a teenager with anxiety and depression who just wants to fit in after all. But what makes this musical stand out is just how honest and real it is. Not just the teenaged characters, but the way the parents react to the situations is incredibly genuine. The language used to describe wanting to fit in, fearing being left out, and feeling like you can't live up to what you need to do is universal and powerful. Ben Platt, Evan Hansen himself, put on one of the best male performances in probably a decade.
For me, this musical so easily captured so much of the anxiety I was feeling in 2017. It has one of the most relatable scores I've ever heard, and it's very quickly become one of my favourite musicals of all time.
This cast recording is going to remain one of my favourites forever, and with good reason. The composers, Pasek & Paul, are already halfway to an EGOT, and they have a good chance of completing that before the awards season is over. If you want to hear some amazing songwriting, you must listen to this.
Reaper by nothing,nowhere.
I discovered nothing,nowhere. by accident. I had stumbled upon the New York Times review of Reaper (on Twitter no less), and decided to give it a try. The headline was "nothing,nowhere. Blends Hip-Hop and Emo to Make Tomorrow’s Pop" after all.
I have described this album as Twenty One Pilots if they were even angstier than they already are. This album is 9 songs of incredibly well crafted melodies and beats that channels the early 2000s emo music I loved as a young teen. It's both nostalgic and new, which makes it an easy like for me.
Come From Away cast recording
Prior to 2017, Canada's most successful musical was The Drowsy Chaperone. Then Come From Away came into our hearts with its amazing story of compassion and kindness.
Come From Away follows the days after 9/11, where Gander, Newfoundland doubled its population by taking in 38 diverted planes. The musical tells the story of how a small Canadian town came together to house and feed 7000 people in the wake of a terrorist attack.
I was lucky enough to see this show during it's pre-Broadway Toronto run. It blew me away. Hearing Jenn Colella sing "Me and the Sky" was one of the most memorable theatre moments for me for how wonderfully she told the story of Beverly Bass.
If you're Canadian and want the musical equivalent of Newfie hug, this is it. The story is an incredible reminder of how good people can be. In this day and age, it's exactly what we need.
Love Yourself: Her by BTS
Ahh yes, I have jumped onto the BTS bandwagon. This also happened a bit by accident. My friend (who is well versed in the K-Pop game), was getting excited about how BTS was going to perform on the AMAs. I was like "huh, alright, k-pop in America. That's a thing" and then thought nothing of it.
Then the AMA performance showed up in my Youtube recommended feed. I watched it, I fell in love, and now I'm in the BTS fandom so deep I'm afraid I can't get out.
BTS is all new to me, and I'm gonna be honest and say I prefer Wings to Love Yourself: Her. BUT this is a list about albums from 2017, and when I first started getting into BTS I did start with Love Yourself: Her. So it stays here on the list.
If anything, I'm just having fun with the fandom. Those boys have some amazing fashion sense, and their music is fun to listen to.