What were the best albums of 2017? The Press's regular reviewers make their choices.

Paul Rhodes's recommendations

York Press:

Album of the Year: Neil Young, Hitchhiker (Reprise)

THIS newly excavated solo set from 1976 is an unlikely chart topper but in an age where Ed Sheeran is as good as the charts get, this is a true masterclass in songwriting. Unique, surreal yet freighted with emotion, these are tunes built to last and will still be played 40 years from now. The prolific old man never bettered this yet took an age to release it.

Outlaw of the Year (brought to you with style): Margo Price, All American Made (Third Man Records).

In Every Home A Richard Thompson Tribute Award (Authenticity Category): The Rails. Other People (Psychonaut Records).

'Haunting You From Beyond The Grave' (formed 2016) Posthumous Album Award: Gregg Allman, Southern Blood (Decca).

Lou Who? Music for the Irate Older Man: Peter Perrett, How The West Was Won (Domino Records).

Charles Hutchinson's choices

Comeback album of the year: Slowdive, Slowdive (Dead Oceans)

IN the year when The Only Ones' Peter Perrett, LCD Soundsystem, Ride, Black Grape, Chuck Berry and York's Shed Seven all ended their studio hiatuses, none bettered the return of ambience-chasing sonic pioneers Slowdive. Once derided as shuffling shoegazers, they re-emerged from a 22-year absence with their definitive set: a beguiling interface of guitars, electronics and keyboards with beauteous, sky-at-night melodies. Their Leeds Town Hall gig rivalled the Northern Lights for impact too.

New discovery siren voice of the year: Phoebe Bridgers, Stranger In The Alps (Dead Oceans). 

Isn't that a woman singing? No, it's a man, slowcore beauty of the year: Cigarettes After Sex, Cigarettes After Sex (Partisan Records).

York Press:

African return of the year, with the best artwork of the year too, after a decade away: Senegal's Orchestra Baobab, Tribute To Ndiouga Dieng (World Circuit).

Unexpected reinvention post-break-up album of the year: Imelda May, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood (Decca Records).

Dan Bean's magic beans

York Press:

Public Service Broadcasting

Album of the Year: Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley (PIAS Recordings).

ANOTHER excellent album from PSB, this time covering the rise and fall of Welsh mining towns and villages. Using their tried and tested techniques of fusing driving electronic music to vintage social commentary and archive audio recordings of people who were there, it’s easy to imagine the band could become repetitive, but with a wealth of history to explore, Every Valley suggests there’s no immediate danger.

Most pleasant surprise: Dan Auerbach, Waiting On A Song (Nonesuch).

The "Crikey, he can actually write a song" Award: Liam Gallagher, As You Were (Warner Bros).

Best business as usual: Foo Fighters, Concrete & Gold (Roswell Records/RCA). 

Best reissue/box set: The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead (Rhino).

Mark Stead's four raves and one low mark

York Press:

Album of the Year: The War On Drugs, A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic)

Adam Granduciel found a way of maintaining his intensity without driving himself into the ditch, and the result was a perfect piece of drive-time Americana where an expansive canvas was kept under control by tightly-focused songwriting. It’s Granduciel’s most radio-friendly album and he probably didn’t even mean it to be. Uncertainty has rarely sounded this good.

My Marriage Broke Up And All I Got Was This Great Record Album of the Year: Ryan Adams, Prisoner (PAX AM/Blue Note).

Supergroup Album of the Year – Yes, You Read That Right: BNQT – Volume 1 (Bella Union), featuring Midlake's Eric Pulido, Band Of Horses' Ben Bridwell, Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, Travis's Fran Healy and Grandaddy's Jason Lytle.

Second Albums Are A Doddle Album of the Year: Marika Hackman, I’m Not Your Man (AMF Records).

Album of the Year by The Former Frontman of The Smiths (note: this is not a recommendation): Morrissey, Low In High School (Etienne Records).

Ian Sime's signs of the times

York Press:

Ed Sheeran

Album of the Year: Ed Sheeran, ÷ (Asylum/Atlantic) 
IF a single act can define a decade, Glenn Miller covers the Forties, Elvis, the Fifties, The Beatles, the Sixties, ABBA, the Seventies, Michael Jackson, the Eighties, Spice Girls, the Nineties, Amy Winehouse, the Noughties, and now Ed Sheeran, the teen years. 
On release every track entered the UK Top 20 Singles chart, due to heavy streaming demand. Whatever your feelings about Sheeran’s work, Castle On The Hill, Shape Of You, Galway Girl and Perfect musically defined 2017.

Slightly in the shadow of Ed Award: Sam Smith, The Thrill Of It All (Capitol).

Congratulations Mr Almond OBE!: Marc Almond, Shadows And Reflections (BMG).

The most gorgeous, inspiring and serene album of the year: Benny Andersson, Piano (Deutsche Grammophon).

An exceptional re-imagining of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook, given a soulful and overtly political edge by one of Broadway’s most exciting talents: Billy Porter, The Soul Of Richard Rodgers (Masterworks Broadway).