Sampha – “Process”
Riveting. Stunning. Stellar. Sampha finally has given us a debut that is beyond this world. Winner of the 2017 Mercury Price, Process reaches out and will take your breath away. It’s so human and yet so inventive. From the opener “Plastic 100C”, you will feel like you are floating away and touching the stars through the voice of Sampha. And songs like “Timmy’s Prayer”, “(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano” and “Blood On Me” are just as captivating. Hands down, the best R&B debut in 2017.
Top Tracks: Plastic 100C, Timmy’s Prayer, (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano
Amber Coffman – “City of No Reply”
The former singer of the Dirty Projectors steps out of her own and creates one of the year’s diverse debut albums of 2017. Each track of No Reply has a taste of doo-wop, reggaeton, experimental, R&B and pop rock. Coffman puts everything in her debut: love, loss and learning how to let go and keep on moving.
Top Tracks – Brand New, City of No Reply, No Coffee
SZA – “CTRL”
The debut album of 27 year-old Solána Imani Rowe a.k.a SZA from Maplewood, NJ. Claiming that music isn’t her first interest, CTRL sounds like one of K-Dot’s masterpieces and the volumes of love on her debut is poetic as well as effervescent. With 5 Grammys nominations tied to her name, SZA has more to offer in the future with her music and CTRL is her blueprint.
Jamie xx – “In Colour”
One of the quietest members and the producer of English indie pop group the xx created a loud impact on productivity on his solo debut. Jamie xx takes us on a trip to the dancefloor and then takes us back in time to appreciate the early moments in dance music history. Each track off of his debut album is slices of different subgenres in dance (drum n bass, garage, dancehall, etc.) and just the quality of each work is beyond words. Along with his fellow bandmates, Young Thug and Popcaan for collaborations; Jamie xx’s debut is beautiful laced with a dash of emotion and a pinch of colorful imagination that will leave you breathless.
Top Tracks: I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times), Loud Places, Gosh, Girl
Natalie Prass – “Natalie Prass”
How can one create a debut album with such sophisticated concepts, an outstanding horn and string section and a voice so intimate and delicate your heart will melt into ecstasy? Simple. It’s all in Prass’s confidence in songwriting and her musical conscious like Dusty Springfield and Marvin Gaye. The 29-year-old Virginian native breaks out 9 heartfelt songs that will leave you wanting more with her upbeat tempos along with her downbeat meanings on heartbreak and love. From her Philly-esque soulfulness in “Your Fool” to a charming Disney princess chimes in “It Is You”, Natalie Prass’s debut is not at all retro, it’s timeless.
Top Tracks: Bird of Prey, It Is You, Your Fool, My Baby Don’t Understand Me
“Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit”
(Mom + Pop Music)
The 28-year-old Aussie singer-songwriter from Melbourne brings on lyrical wits like Bob Dylan and a deadpan voice that is close to Liz Phair. But on her debut, she is all her with her brutal honesty and vivid storytelling. As each song depicts funny and confessional tones as well as stunning guitar riffs, “Sometimes I Sit and Think” puts Barnett on a “pedestal” as one of today’s sharpest and talented artist. Don’t believe me? “Give me all your money and I’ll make some origami, honey!” Just that lyric alone is how powerful her content is.
Top Tracks: Pedestrian At Best, Dead Fox, Depreston