From Stormzy to Sam Smith, we saw some great tunes this year.
2017 was an incredibly interesting year for the music industry. This year brought comebacks from some of the world’s biggest artists, recognition for up-and-coming singer/songwriters, as well as plenty of Irish, homegrown talent. Although there were plenty of hits that smashed the charts along the way, the following number one albums made the biggest impact. If you’re stuck for any last-minute Christmas gift ideas, these will make the perfect stocking filler for the music fan in your life.
 
The first number one album of the year was Little Mix’s fourth offering, Glory Days. This pop-fuelled collection provided fans with iconic hits such as "Shout Out To My Ex", "Touch", "No More Sad Songs" and "Power". There seems to be no stopping Little Mix these days, as they have truly established themselves as one of the biggest girlbands the world has ever seen. This album can only be described as energetic and empowering, making it universally appealing to everyone from obsessed fans to those who view them as a “guilty pleasure”. With a choice of the original album and the Platinum Edition which includes the girls’ duet "Reggaeton Lento" with Latin American boyband CNCO, this album would make the perfect present for pop lovers. 
 
February saw British singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man’s debut album Human skyrocket to the top of the charts. Featuring his breakthrough single of the same name, Rag’n’Bone Man enjoyed plenty of success with the album of the year, including winning British Breakthrough Act at the 2017 BRIT Awards and playing the Main Stage at this year’s Electric Picnic. The album includes a mass of soulful tracks layered with his distinctive vocals, including "Skin", which too enjoyed chart success. This bestseller would be an ideal gift for fans of contemporary soul and blues.
 
It is safe to say that Stormzy enjoyed enormous success this year. His brilliant album Gang Signs & Prayer paved the way for grime to smash the charts in March, and it became the first grime album in history to reach number one - an incredible feat. Fans of Stormzy praise him for his genuinity and honesty, which was showcased wonderfully in this album. It included hits such as "Big For Your Boots", "Cold", "Blinded By Your Grace Pt. 2" and of course, the ever-brilliant "Shut Up". Judging by this album’s success, Stormzy’s career is only going one way and that is up. Grab this album for the grime lover in your life ASAP.
 
March also saw the release of a new album from Ed Sheeran, who easily became the artist of the year. Ed’s third album Divide sent the whole world into a frenzy, and the album and most of its singles dominated the charts for most of 2017. This album had something for everyone with upbeat tracks such as "Shape of You", "Castle On The Hill", and "Galway Girl" as well as gorgeous love ballads such as "Dive", "Perfect" and "How Would You Feel". There was no escaping Ed Sheeran this year, and this album consolidated his status as one of the biggest stars on the planet. Buy this masterpiece for the Ed fan in your life to gear them up for his (many) Irish tour dates next year.
 
September saw the return of Irish band The Script, as their fifth album Freedom Child went straight to the top of the charts following the massive success of lead single "Rain". The Script have represented our country in the charts fantastically over the years with their previous albums, and this one was no exception. With 2017 being a year filled with fear for people all around the world due to terrorism, natural disasters and controversial politics, The Script wanted their music to be a source of safety, harmony and comfort for those affected. This album is a must-have gift for the band’s loyal fans, as well as those who need a little bit of inspiration and positivity.
 
October brought with it the return of pop songstress Pink to the top of the charts. Beautiful Trauma is Pink’s seventh studio album, and was infused with the strength, emotion, wit and feistiness we have all come to love and expect from her. "What About Us" was the album’s lead single and is still dominating the airwaves due to it’s ability to get stuck in people’s heads simply after one listen. Before Beautiful Trauma, Pink had not released any new material since 2012, so fans were only too pleased she made a successful comeback this year. Beautiful Trauma would make a great stocking filler for fans of tongue-in-cheek lyrics and effortlessly contained emotion found within feisty pop music.
 
For a casual and laidback man from Mullingar, we can all agree that Niall Horan has done impressively well for himself. He was catapulted into fame thanks to being a member of One Direction, and now he’s making his mark on the world as the most successful solo artist to emerge from the band (no really - it’s not Harry Styles). In November, his highly anticipated debut album Flicker was released, and it certainly did not disappoint. With hits such as "This Town" and "Slow Hands", as well as dedication from his loyal fans, how could this album not have gone to number one? Showcasing his excellent vocal range and songwriting skills, Flicker is the ideal gift for the fan who has stuck by them ever since his X Factor days.
 
Often dubbed “the male Adele”, Sam Smith finally made his way back into the charts in November with his second album, The Thrill Of It All. Filled with poignant "Too Good At Goodbyes" attracted. Sam Smith is back and bigger and better than ever, with his consistently brilliant vocals and emotional and relatable lyrics. The Thrill Of It All is an excellent present for fans of his music to allow them to sit back, listen and take everything he has to sing about in.