If the popular vote in the Ticket Awards for Music 2017 had its way in the real world, then Kendrick Lamar would be our king and St Vincent – née Annie Clark – our queen, and they would each rule our land equally until the next Ticket Award nominations roll out.
Well, Lamar would rule a little bit more, simply because he came out on top in three categories (Best Album, Best Track and Best Video) and Clark won the title of Best Solo Act, while coming in second in the Best Video category for the bright and twisted Los Ageless, third in Best Album and fourth in Best Gig (that was a fun night, wasn't it?).
The readers’ choices don’t stray too far from our critics’ choices, so from either side we nod approvingly at each other’s takes. Our favourite bands are The National and LCD Soundsystem, even if we don’t rate their 2017 albums too much. We appear to place solo acts ahead of bands, with solo artists hogging the top five Best Album spaces.
We covet the maudlin pop sophistications of Lana Del Rey, Lorde and Father John Misty. We all think Ariana Grande is a class act. Even though she didn’t release an album this year, she comes in fourth place for our Best Solo Act. Sometimes it’s not about the sound, it’s about the soundness, and she proved to be utterly kind when she could have hidden away and we would have forgiven her.
There's no genre that dominates our list. We hold hip-hop, pop, indie, alternative pop and electronic music in almost equal regard. Our Best Tracks could soundtrack the drive to school with your kids, Friday night drinks or late-night walks home in the rain, and Slide will probably mean Calvin Harris will be forgiven for any monstrosities he unleashes upon us over the next 18 months.
We listened to an equal mix of men and women, but mostly saw men in big bands perform live. Isabelle Faust’s Mendelssohn is the clear-cut Best Classical Album, coming in way ahead of the other nominations.
The biggest omission from the reviewers' shortlist was the American singer SZA, whose debut album Ctrl wowed us all but, alas, she doesn't even get a look-in here. Three artists can be considered landslide winners – one of whom is Lamar, but you knew that because you voted for him to win in three flippin' categories. The other two are in the Best Irish Act category. Cork funk/R&B group Shookrah and Wicklow lad Dermot Kennedy dominated the votes and they sneak in ahead of Saint Sister and Rusangano Family, who have had plenty of deserved glory in the last few years so it's only fair that they share the limelight. Grime MC Mango released his debut EP Wheel Up just last week, and he makes it into our top five.
The Best Festival winners are a clear indicator of which early bird tickets to look up as last-minute Christmas presents. Electric Picnic will probably always come out on top simply because of its sheer size. But the big surprise in Best Festivals is how high you ranked Sounds from a Safe Harbour, the curated, practically boutique Cork festival. It’s taking a year off in 2018 so make a mental note to attend in 2019 and ask Santa for tickets to Body & Soul, Another Love Story and Castlepalooza instead.
In 2017, we can confirm that we listened to good music and embraced new Irish artists. We can have pop, indie and hip-hop living harmoniously together on the same playlists. We went to and enjoyed most of the same gigs and festivals and we really, really love Kendrick Lamar.
1. Kendrick Lamar – Damn
2. Lana Del Rey – Lust for Life
3. St Vincent – Masseduction
4. Lorde – Melodrama
5. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
Best Irish Act
2. Dermot Kennedy
3. Saint Sister
4. Rusangano Family
1. The National
2. LCD Soundsystem
3. A Tribe Called Quest
4. Little Dragon
Best Solo Act
1. St Vincent
2. Kendrick Lamar
4. Ariana Grande
5. Lana Del Rey
1. Humble – Kendrick Lamar
2. Green Light – Lorde
3. Slide – Calvin Harris feat Frank Ocean and Migos
4. Want You Back – Haim
5. Passionfruit – Drake
1. Humble – Kendrick Lamar
2. Los Ageless – St Vincent
3. Boys – Charli XCX
4. Bear Claws (Live Looper Version) – The Academic
5. Bodak Yellow – Cardi B
1. LCD Soundsystem – The Olympia
2. Radiohead – 3Arena
3. Duran Duran – Electric Picnic
4. St. Vincent – The Olympia
5. Pet Shop Boys – Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
1. Electric Picnic
2. Sounds from a Safe Harbour
3. Body & Soul
4. Another Love Story
Best Traditional Album
The Loom – Liam O'Connor
Best Jazz Album
Honey & Salt – Matt Wilson
Best Classical Album
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Hebrides Overture; Symphony No 5 – Isabelle Faust (violin), Freiburger Barockorchester/Pablo Heras-Casado
Best Roots Album
All American Made – Margo Price