AllMusic 2017 Year In Review

Favorite R&B Albums -

 The past and present came together in the best R&B albums of 2017, including the soulful and eclectic work of Cody ChesnuTT, the wild synthesis of Thundercat's Drunk, the first album from in-demand collaborator Sampha, and the colorful major label debut of SZA.
Genesis

Brian McKnight

Genesis

Modern, uncompromised material from the veteran R&B artist, co-produced with Tim Kelley.

My Love Divine Degree

Cody ChesnuTT

My Love Divine Degree

ChesnuTT's third album finds him striking a soulfully exuberant, stylistically eclectic balance between his lo-fi roots and love of classic R&B.

Face Your Fear

Curtis Harding

Face Your Fear

Second album from the retro-soul artist tops his fine debut, adding a psychedelic edge to his solid songs and powerful vocals.

Freudian

Daniel Caesar

Freudian

Atmospheric yet compositionally sound full-length debut from the independent R&B artist.

The Offering

Darkhouse Family

The Offering

The Cardiff duo take their place in a lineage that includes London's rare groove and broken beat scenes.

Don't Give Up on Love

Don Bryant

Don't Give Up on Love

Full-blooded return to R&B from the "I Can't Stand the Rain" co-writer, supported by some of his Hi Records-era cohorts and other Bo-Keys members.

Jardín

Gabriel Garzón-Montano

Jardín

Inviting, frolicsome, and delightfully off-center love songs from the multi-instrumentalist Stones Throw signee.

Ash

Ibeyi

Ash

The sophomore full-length by the French/Cuban siblings looks hard at injustice and reflects struggle in beautifully written, passionately articulated songs.

The Neon Jungle

JC Brooks

The Neon Jungle

After shortening their name, changing labels, and enlisting new members, this outfit melds funk, disco, pop, and even post-punk.

SweetSexySavage

Kehlani

SweetSexySavage

Excellent proper debut from the Grammy-nominated, TLC-inspired singer and songwriter.

Take Me Apart

Kelela

Take Me Apart

Soul-piercing hyperballads and zero-gravity club tracks color the singer's proper debut album for Warp.

Let Love Rule

Ledisi

Let Love Rule

The Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer continues to roll with another set of positive and proud modern R&B.

Did It for Love

Leela James

Did It for Love

The contemporary soul singer's mix of grit and grace is in top form on her sixth album, featuring collaborations with Rex Rideout.

If All I Was Was Black

Mavis Staples

If All I Was Was Black

The soul and gospel icon teams with Jeff Tweedy again for an album that addresses troubled times with love and strength.

Acts of Love

Maylee Todd

Acts of Love

Stunning collection of bedroom R&B tracks and lo-fi disco jams from the mercurial Toronto singer/songwriter.

Love Is a Battlefield

Maysa

Love Is a Battlefield

Inspired, wide-ranging covers album from the singer, who takes on songs popularized by the likes of Jerry Butler, Atlantic Starr, and...Justin Bieber.

War & Leisure

Miguel

War & Leisure

Informed by human rights struggles and global conflict, the singer's fourth album nonetheless contains some of his most upbeat and raunchy material.

Feel the Real

Musiq Soulchild

Feel the Real

Despite its double-album length, a typical Taalib Johnson set for its high percentage of easygoing and heartfelt hip-hop soul.

Green Twins

Nick Hakim

Green Twins

Spaced-out sonics and soul-searching lyrics from a genre-blurring singer/songwriter who has opened for Maxwell and King.

Process

Sampha

Process

Stirring first album from a singular do-it-all who has worked with Drake, Beyoncé, Kanye, and Solange.

Soul of a Woman

Sharon Jones / Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Soul of a Woman

The final album from the retro-soul diva, recorded in the last months of her life, is a rich, life-affirming experience.

Oh, Yuck

So Much Light

Oh, Yuck

The Sacramento-area artist's ambitiously layered mix of soulful, indie-electro R&B and absorbing synth-pop.

New Magic

Son Little

New Magic

Second album from this gifted singer, songwriter, and producer is more organic than his debut, but just as accomplished and soulful.

With You in Mind

Stanton Moore

With You in Mind

The Galactic drummer's trio and a host of NOLA luminaries pay a heartfelt, soulful tribute to the late Allen Toussaint's music and genius.

Fin

Syd

Fin

The Internet's most visible member temporarily goes off on her own with a dimly-lit set highlighted by cuts that evoke prime Aaliyah.

Rebirth of Soul

Syleena Johnson

Rebirth of Soul

The R&B singer's ninth album is a stellar live-in-studio rendering of soul classics produced by her father Syl Johnson.

Ctrl

SZA

Ctrl

Solana Rowe's proper major-label debut album is less inhibited and more colorful than her previous work.

Sounds of Crenshaw, Vol. 1

Terrace Martin / The Pollyseeds

Sounds of Crenshaw, Vol. 1

Another set of relaxed soul/jazz/hip-hop hybrids from the Grammy-nominated leader, following triumphs with YG and Kendrick Lamar.

Drunk

Thundercat

Drunk

Filled with star appearances, this is nonetheless powered by the headliner's tremulous basslines and aching falsetto.

Beach House III

Ty Dolla $ign

Beach House III

The multi-platinum singer/rapper's second proper album offers hedonistic slow jams by the bushel.

Popular

Van Hunt

Popular

The artist's third proper album of fearsome funk, soul, and rock, shelved by Blue Note for nine years prior to its liberation.