Most Overrated Albums of 2017

Story posted December 11, 2017 in Arts & Entertainment by Arts Staff.

As 2017 wraps up, the CommRadio Arts Department will be taking a look back at the year in music. For overrated albums, the albums placed on the list are not neccessarily the worst albums of the year. Rather, these projects received unearned critical or commercial acclaim and stole the lime light from more deserving projects. Here is the Arts Department’s list of the most overrated albums of 2017.

Ed Sheeran – Divide

What’s so unfortunate about Divide’s success is that it shows how the average music listener just really doesn’t want to be wowed anymore. There’s a time and a place for subdued, conventional songwriting when there's an earnest message or sonic complexity behind the composition, but somehow Ed Sheeran comes through with probably the least captivating or fun pop music of the year and has found success. The amount of people who respond to criticism of this album with “sometimes you just want to listen to something simple and relatable” completely misunderstand what pop music has the power to be. Artist’s like Ed Sheeran can achieve accessibility with a project without having to repeat the common tropes of the medium ad nauseum. – Chandler Copenheaver

Kelela – Take Me Apart

In a year where R&B was revitalized by the likes of Syd and SZA, both doing something completely different within the genre and still being successful at it, it is hard to excuse what was an overhyping of Kelela’s latest project Take Me Apart. While there are enjoyable songs on the album, Kelela was running in the same lane as SZA and does not come close to accomplishing what SZA did. Where SZA showed relationships in a new light and from a place of women as the ones with all the power, Kelela seemed to relay on the old tropes of what a women is in a relationship. Although not a bad album by any means, it was hard for Kelela to compete with her contemporaries in such a strong year for R&B. – David Arroyo

LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

It’s been odd to read reviews claiming this album is an important part of the political landscape of 2017 because there’s not much James Murphy and company say here that they didn’t say better back in the 2000s. And unequivocally there’s nothing the album does artistically the group hasn’t done on previous albums. Yet, for some reason, critics and fans alike have flocked to the album like it’s the long awaited and sincere follow up to the band's original discography. LCD Soundsystem made a name for themselves by being a band that could bring colorful production and wild charisma to the music that inspired them. But instead, American Dream sees LCD Soundsystem caring less about what they can accomplish musically and more about offering fans and critics a watered down repackaging of everything they’ve done before. – Chandler Copenheaver

Brand New – Science Fiction

The alternative/indie rock band Brand New have been lingering in the background of the music industry for almost 18 years now. In that almost extended span, the band has released only 5 studio albums, all ranging within two or three years of each other. After an almost nine year hiatus, Brand New released their fifth, and rumored last, studio album titled Science Fiction. The album gained immediate critical acclaim and claimed number one on the Billboard 200. The widespread enthusiastic acclaim makes Science Fiction sound like a complete revolutionary, new and exciting sound, but the album just seemed like one last final grab at their glory days. It was a complete throwback to the early 2000s, not presenting anything advanced or out of the ordinary for the band. The album was surely overrated and over-hyped simply based on the almost ten year break in between albums for the band. With that long of a gap, it seems fitting to release an album worth waiting for; something audiences have never heard before or marvelous, but after that span of time, fans were given the same, cringe-worthy kind of edgy 2000s sound they were listening to in Brand New’s prime. – Lilly Adams

Arcade Fire – Everything Now

If there’s any proof needed that music publications are afraid of ruining their relationships with musicians, look no further than nearly every review of Arcade Fire’s Everything Now. For one of the most celebrated independent artists of all time to move to a major record label, only to release an album that regurgitates 35 years of sound-of-the-moment pop trends, maintain a 66 on Metacritic and receive two perfect reviews is obscene. But perhaps if Arcade Fire had not pumped out so much “satirical” marketing as an attempt to seem self-aware, only to become worse than what it’s satirizing, than the album would seem less offensive. Instead, Everything Now devolves into one of the few figureheads of independent music perpetuating the problems of the music industry. – Chandler Copenheaver


Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email

David Arroyo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

Lilly Adams is a freshman majoring in film/video studies. To contact her, email

About the Contributors

Lillian Adams's photo

Lillian Adams

Freshman / Film/Video Studies

Lillian Adams is a writer and contributor for the Nittany Lion Record Club, a department in CommRadio dedicated specifically to the analysis and reviews of current albums of 2017, and the former albums of the past. She is currently a member of the Critically Acclaimed Movies Club, Asylum music club, and SOMA. She also is a regular PA on multiple student films on campus. She is always looking to expand her knowledge in the fields of cinema and music, and is excited to see what opportunities Penn State will bring her. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

ChandlerCopenheaver's photo


Senior / Public Relations

Chandler Copenheaver is a Production Director and Arts Director of CommRadio who has been a member of CommRadio since the spring of 2015. Chandler’s responsibilities entail managing the production department, managing the arts department, creating audio commercials for CommRadio and external organizations, scheduling commercial blocks, and writing editorial content related to the arts. Chandler Copenheaver has worked most recently at Arlington Thrive in Arlington, VA as a Development & Program Intern, WellSpan Health in South Central PA as a Public Relations & Marketing Intern and served as a teaching assistant for the Penn State course BiSci 3 Environmental Science. Chandler aims to work in the fields of Public Relations, Communications Strategy or Communications Management. Follow him on Twitter @C_Copenheaver or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

David Arroyo's photo

David Arroyo

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo is both a social media and arts director for CommRadio and also contributes to the sports staff. He has served as a producer for multiple Penn State sports while in CommRadio, has done play by play for Penn State sporting events such as football, basketball and volleyball and co-hosted and produced his own talk show. During the fall of 2017, David was also an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David has interned at B94.5 (State College) and Center City Film and Video (Philadelphia). Follow him on Twitter (@_arroyodavid) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).