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Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2017

Sylvan Esso's <em>What Now</em> is Stephen Thompson's favorite album of 2017.
Shervin Lainez
Courtesy of the artist
Sylvan Esso's What Now is Stephen Thompson's favorite album of 2017.

It's hard not to view 2017 as a year of great reckoning; as a time in which the world is forced to contemplate consequences ranging from ugly political divides to environmental disasters to a wave of high-profile resignations and humiliations over decades of sexual misconduct. Though escapism will always have its place in pop culture, 2017 has been a year of complacency deferred and sleeping giants roused. So it's only natural that much of the year's best music would reflect that tumult, albeit in radically different ways.

As always, this list compiles the 10 favorite albums — not the 10 "best," mind you — of one subjective listener. If your favorite album of 2017 missed the cut, rest assured that it's nesting comfortably in a many-way tie for #11.

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Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist and guest host on All Songs Considered. Thompson also co-hosts the daily NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created with NPR's Linda Holmes in 2010. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)