Most Underrated Albums of 2017

Story posted December 13, 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 underrated albums, the albums placed on this list were deemed to be very good albums by the Arts Department, but did not receive the credit they deserved by fans and critics. Here is the Arts Department’s list of the most underrated albums of 2017.

Shofu – Trap Ketchum

In a year where hip hop continues to push the envelope of what the genre can be, there was maybe no album that did this more than Shofu’s Trap Ketchum. Shofu came into this album with the idea to base much of his production, and even some lyrical content, around the Pokémon franchise. Not only does Shofu capture the feel of Pokémon perfectly, but he’s also an extremely skilled rapper. When the first song “Woke Up in Pallet Town” hits, you’re overcome with shock at his rapping ability and the way he can fit so many Pokémon references into a trap song. With so many new rappers coming up being inspired by and having played video games their whole life, Shofu could be paving the way for artists to full embrace this passion in their music. – David Arroyo

Iglooghost - Neō Wax Bloom

Of all the boundary pushing and forward thinking music released in 2017, none felt more unique than Iglooghost’s debut album. Frantic, chaotic and futuristic, listening to Neō Wax Bloom is one of the few albums of the year that can truly put the listener into a different state of mind. The album wastes no time pushing its ideas further than it absolutely needs to, offering lots of small melodic bursts with transitions that transition into each other. While the album could benefit from a bit more diversity in the sonic palettes of each of these bursts, Neō Wax Bloom nevertheless is an engaging and attention grabbing record from start to finish and one of the most exciting electronic releases of the year. – Chandler Copenheaver

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard with Mild High Club – Sketches of Brunswick East

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s collaboration with Mild High Club is one album that should not be overlooked in 2017. Sketches of Brunswick East is the third of the expected five albums coming this year from the band. It is hard to create a psychedelic-rock album that can be considered extremely relaxing, but this record does just that through the use of acoustic elements such as a piano, flutes and guitars. Alex Brettin, the man behind Mild High Club, is the mastermind of the mellow and slowed-down sound this record holds. The jazz-oriented direction, along with a heavy focus on a slow and calm rhythm, help to make this album stand out from others this year. Something that should be noted regarding this album is the lack of advertisement prior to its surprise release. This proves the point that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard do not need a huge promotional team in order to deliver an accomplished record. – Jenna Minnig

Poppy – Poppy.Computer

Pop music, on the back of Carly Rae Jepsen, has gotten better and better over the last few years. Riding a wave from Jepsen, Poppy, a YouTube sensation, released one of the most fun albums of the year. From the K-pop influenced tracks to the more electro/dance-pop songs, Poppy takes a satirical look at the genre that she is firmly planting herself in. The lyrics are simple intentionally, but the production just forces you to dance and sing along. Although building on something that has already been done, Poppy does it in such a unique way that it is hard not to love this album. She makes fun of pop music throughout, but despite that, Poppy needs to continue to make pop music and try to help push the envelope of what the genre can be. Criticism without action means nothing and Poppy puts her money where her mouth is on Poppy.Computer. – David Arroyo

Quelle Chris - Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often

Hip hop has been graced by a year of great introspective projects, but none was quite as abstract or as groovy as Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often. Quelle Chris takes the listener deep into his deadpan and humorous psyche, more interested in subverting expectations than pleasing the listener. It’s an existential crisis that feels more like a stand-up act than it does a therapy session. While the album is certainly nothing short of experimental and abstract even by underground hip hop standards, the album’s production provides the album with an incredible flow, ensuring that the complex themes and personal revelations never bog down the actual enjoyment of listening to the album. In a year that’s been incredibly fruitful for hip hop, it would be heartbreaking for such a unique and complicated project like Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often to get loss in the shuffle. – Chandler Copenheaver

 

David Arroyo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email arroyodavid01@gmail.com.

Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email chandlercopenheaver@gmail.com.

Jenna Minnig is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at jkm5756@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

David Arroyo's photo

David Arroyo

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo currently serves as one of two General Managers for CommRadio. David is a former arts & entertainment director, social media director and editor for the station. He has produced 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 an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David most recently interned at WPVI-TV, 6abc in Philadelphia during the summer of 2018. While at 6abc he was a programing intern and helped in the production of their weekly show “FYI Philly.” 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).

ChandlerCopenheaver's photo

ChandlerCopenheaver

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).

Jenna Minnig's photo

Jenna Minnig

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Jenna Minnig is a contributor in the Arts Department for CommRadio. Within the department she writes and discusses in depth musical analyses of albums from the past and present. In addition to CommRadio, she is a member of SOMA (Students Organizing the Multiple Arts) and the Asylum music club. After graduation, Jenna hopes to work in the field of Broadcast Journalism and continue working in the entertainment industry. Follow her on Twitter (@jennaminnig) or email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).