2017 saw dozens of big names release new albums with the female heavyweights commanding the later part of the year. From Miley Cyrus returning to her roots to Kelly Clarkson releasing her first album under a new label, the year was filled with hit after hit. With another year coming to a close, AXS is taking a look at the 10 best pop albums of 2017 from some of music's most beloved pop stars.
Lana Del Rey released her fifth studio album Lust for Life on July 21. The album kicked off with lead single "Love" in February followed up by "Lust for Life" featuring The Weeknd. The album was received well as Del Rey returned to the swagger that first put her on the scene - a sound not as present on 2015's Honeymoon. The album earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the upcoming 2018 ceremony - her second in the category.
After releasing the experimental Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz in 2015, Miley Cyrus returned to a lighthearted vibe on Younger Now, released Sept. 29 via RCA Records. The album was created by Cyrus and Oren Yoel after Cyrus reconciled with Liam Hemsworth as heard in lead single "Malibu." This time, Miley Cyrus didn't focus on what would be a hit for radio but instead recorded an honest and almost folk-like offering.
Former One Direction member Harry Styles released his first solo album in May 2017. His single "Sign of the Times" became a radio hit for its nostalgic throwback feel to a time when music has a timeless sense to it. The song became a No. 1 hit in the UK while reaching No. 4 on the U.S. Hot 100.and peaking within the top 20 in both Top 40 airplay formats (Mainstream and Adult).
After years of gaining self-confidence and being open about her personal struggles, Demi Lovato has cemented herself as a powerhouse vocalist with an inspiring self-image as well. Not afraid to show off who she is, Tell Me You Love Me genuinely sums up where the singer-songwriter is at her life. The album focused on R&B styles more so than her previous efforts. Upon release, Tell Me You Love Me reached the top 10 around the globe including the U.S., the UK, Australia, the Netherlands among others. Lead single "Sorry Not Sorry" has received steady airplay and peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100 - her highest charting single yet.
Lorde followed up her smash debut album Pure Heroine (2013) with Melodrama led by single "Green Light." Since 2013, Lorde experienced the ebbs and flows of finishing her teenage years and grew into a brighter young adult. Melodrama still had the atmosphere of her debut album but weaved in more pop elements as heard on the standout track "Supercut." The album earned her the prestigious nomination for Album of the Year at the upcoming Grammy Awards after becoming her first No. 1 album.
P!NK released her previous album The Truth About Love in 2012 and since then, she had worked on various projects including 2014's collaboration album You+Me under the same name as well as contributing "Just Like Fire" to the Alice Through the Looking Glass soundtrack. In 2017, she finally released Beautiful Trauma - a more tame pop sound than its predecessor. P!NK launched the era with "What About Us?," a softer political jab as compared to 2006's "Dear Mr. President." Upon release, the album saw P!NK have the highest debut in actual sales of the year. She recently released the video for new single "Beautiful Trauma" featuring actor Channing Tatum.
One of the most talked about comebacks came when Kesha released her third full-length studio album Rainbow. Embroiled in legal issues against producer Dr. Luke who holds all of her contracts, Kesha was unable to release new material for years. She was finally given the green light after turning in dozens of songs to try to complete her contract and the result is an open, heartfelt album that the world needed to hear. Typically known for her pop party anthems, Kesha let out a side of her only die-hard fans have heard through unreleased songs. This album was less pop and more folk resulting in one of the best albums of the year.
Ed Sheeran released his latest installment of mathematical titles in 2017. Divide was led by "Shape of You" which topped the Hot 100 for 12 weeks, one of the most successful tracks of the year.and his first No. 1 on the chart. The song also became the 27th songs to debut at No. 1 on the chart. When the parent album arrived, it debuted at No. 1 and set the bar for the year having 451,000 units moved with 322,000 in traditional sales. His latest song "Perfect" was re-released featuring Beyoncé.
Once again, Taylor Swift dominated the year in just one week. Her newest album reputation became her fourth album to debut with more than one million sold (1.22 million copies), the largest debut of 2017 for both sales and units (only individual songs could be downloaded at the time with the exception of the four tracks released prior to the album). The album has been unpredictable with singles thus far following "Look What You Made Me Do." "...Ready for It?" was originally released as a promo track but picked up enough radio airplay to forge its way as the second single. Currently, "End Game" featuring Sheeran and Future has been gaining airplay showing signs of being the third official song.
Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson released her seventh non-holiday studio album Meaning of Life on Oct. 27 and is her first under the Atlantic Records label. After 15 years compromising with RCA through her "American Idol" winnings, Clarkson is free to create the albums she desires. The new offering shows Clarkson brimming with confidence as heard on the Grammy-nominated "Love So Soft" and the sassy "Whole Lotta Woman." Life is a blend of her influences growing up and is an album she's wanted to make since her "Idol" days. Looking back, Life could not have been the creative project it is without the maturing of both her voice and experiences. From the vocally soaring "Move You" to the Michelle Obama inspired "Go High," Meaning of Life is Clarkson's best album to date having creative control. In Clarkson's words, Meaning of Life is a "grown ass woman's record" proving that she is still one of the world's best vocalists.