2017 has been a crazy year for the music scene, and there has been SO many fantastic tracks. It is truly an honour to put this list together. I’ve accumulated these songs not only based off of my personal opinion, but rather a list that reflects what was generally popular and of superb quality this year. Here it is:
25.) Bodak Yellow – Cardi B
First known from reality show “Love and Hip-Hop”, Cardi B showed everyone that she truly had a place in the hip-hop scene this year. Overall, I think the track speaks for itself.
24.) Moonlight On the River – Mac Demarco
This is the closing track off of his latest record, “This Old Dog.” This is probably Demarco’s most diverse track yet. Additionally, this is Demarco’s longest song to date, making it 7 minutes. It takes the time it needs to portray the trip it takes you on. It begins feeling a bit more melancholic, but then turns into this psychedelic sound that takes you on a spiral outward, that is so easy to get lost in.
23.) 1-800-273-8255 – Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid
Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid – the perfect combination of powerful and fresh new artists to portray such a powerful message.
22.) J-Boy – Phoenix
This was the first single released for the bands recent album, “Ti Amo.” The song definitely has some disco vibes to it. Phoenix has always played around with electronics, but they took on a slowed down vibe to this one where you can really absorb the synths.
21.) Sugar for the Pill – Slowdive
“Sugar for the Pill” is like a breath of fresh air. It’s definitely an emotional track with consistent soft strumming, and some light synths to match the dreariness of the shoegaze song. The vocals aren’t necessarily anything special, but are just enough to match the vibes. The strumming becomes louder and evidently more important, making it something so expressive and beautiful.
20.) Alvvays – In Undertow
This was a big year for the female fronted Indie Pop band. The Toronto based band released their second album, “Antisocialites,” with “In Undertow” being their hit single from the highly anticipated album. The album did so well that they played five consecutive shows at The Mod Club, along with the rest of their tour.
19.) It Ain’t Me – Kygo feat. Selena Gomez
This was a big year for Selena Gomez between her health, relationships, music, and film. As Kygo isn’t exactly as hyped up as he used to be, this was a good collaboration for him to take part in. The song uses Gomez’s simple but charming vocals, along with Kygo’s uniquely stylized synths to create something epic all about moving on and growing up.
18.) Abandoned Mansion – Dr.Dog
This was the title track off of Dr.Dog’s latest album. It starts off slow with a focus on Leaman’s chilling vocals and emotion. The pre-chorus is slow and steady with a chilling guitar and piano melody, going into a hauntingly beautiful chorus, “You did it to yourself, but you did it to me too.”
17.) Green Light – Lorde
Lorde’s come back single could not have been a better choice. After one play, the track sticks with you. The euphoric track with uplifting lyrics centered around moving on from someone, is easily contagious. This song has good structure and a strong hook, and Lorde’s charm of course, making it as epic as it is.
16.) WhisperI’lllistentohearit – Spoon
Spoon is a well known American Rock band, formed in the 90’s. They have just released their seventh album, “Hot Thoughts.” As they have been around the scene for many years, this album is a perfect example of evolving with the times, but in a proper way. As the mainstream music scene has been modified into something a bit more electronic, Spoon was able to take these elements and incorporate it into their style of Rock, but in a clean way that sounds incredibly attractive- this track could not be a better example of a proper evolvement.
15.) Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man
Portugal. The Man really proved themselves in the mainstream this year. They’ve made some really good tracks in the past but they didn’t quite hit the mainstream crowd. They created a positive and fun track that everyone can dance to.
14.) Ariel Pink – Another Weekend
Ariel Pink is a fantastic recording artist and producer, the guy doesn’t get enough credit. Yeah some of his stuff is definitely a little out there, but tastefully so. His latest record “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson” is one for the books, and this is one of the top tracks on the album. It has high’s, low’s, and eccentric breakdowns- this one’s a trip.
13.) Little Dark Age – MGMT
Following five years of no releases, MGMT is finally back with a groovy new track. Its psychedelic, with hints of the 80’s and Indie Rock, so essentially everything you would expect from MGMT with a more fresh sound.
12.) Redbone – Childish Gambino
Gambino put out a flawless single with elements of Funk, Soul, and Hip-Hop. The slow tempo, hard hitting bass along with Gambino’s vocals makes this song a groove.
11.) DNA. – Kendrick Lamar
DAMN. was a bit of a different direction for Kendrick. It wasn’t as much of a concept album as his prior, but it still told a story. As his past two albums took on specific sounds, this one played around a bit more. Although his number one hit single this year was “Humble”, “DNA” was the winner. It was a bit more complex in terms of lyricism and production.
10.) Ballad of the Dying Man – Father John Misty
Father John Misty really made an album that was relevant to society, and so perfectly constructed and produced. This track hits all the spots – topic relevance, breath-taking harmonization/vocals, and piano that adds another dimension to the song. The song refers to a dying man with a bit of an attitude, someone who heavily cares about his legacy. There is an obvious amount of sarcasm in the track, but is so necessary to relate to our society.
9.) Rockstar – Post Malone
This track was a mainstream hit following its release in September, staying number one on the Billboard US charts for a solid four weeks. It’s a simple track featuring 21 Savage, and was the first number on single for both artists. The simplicity of it surprisingly works.
8.) Sit Next to Me – Foster The People
Following the bands announcement of the departure of founding member Cubbie Fink, the band put out their last piece of work as an original group titled, “Sacred Hearts Club.” The album is a cross between the last two. “Torches” contained more elements of Pop and Electronic, where-as “Supermodel” took more a heavier focus on the Alternative Rock side of things. “Sit Next to Me” is a slower song, with soft vocals and attractive electronic elements to it, with an amazing release towards the end.
7.) Feet Don’t Fail Me – Queens of the Stone Age
There were a lot of mixed feelings on the new Queens of the Stone Age album. I gathered that people either loved it or hated it however, most say that this single is the best track on the album, and I couldn’t agree more. The tempo is slow, but the song still carries an exciting build up towards the end, with a bang on guitar solo.
6.) Million Reasons – Lady Gaga
Gaga really stepped outside of her comfort zone with “Joanne.” It’s alluring because for a majority of her past projects, she is always doing the crazy and unpredictable however with this album, it wasn’t about the outrageous costumes or provocative lyrics. Gaga took a more intimate approach with this album speaking about deeper issues including themes of loss and love. “Million Reasons” speaks about the conflict and difficulty involved in leaving a relationship. The song is powerful, authentic, and raw. So in a sense the world wasn’t so shocked by Gaga doing the outrageous this time around but rather shocked by Gaga’s intimacy.
5.) Three Rings – Grizzly Bear
With this track, Grizzly Bear truly took it to another level. The band takes a new direction with this song including a heavier focus on percussion, and intimate lyrics about moving on from a relationship, and the intensity a situation like so can bring into ones life. The lyrics, tone of vocals, and severity from instrumentals all go together hand in hand.
4.) Man of War – Radiohead
Radiohead has made a considerable impact on the Alternative Rock scene, this year being the 10th anniversary of their hit album, “OK Computer.” As a result, they released a reissue of the 1997 album making it re-mastered, including B sides, and three unreleased songs, “Man of War” being one of them. The main message of the song is that you can’t run away from your mistakes, no matter how fast you may attempt to. The build up in the instrumentation almost feels like an enhancement of the tension and anxiety one can feel when trying to run away from a problem, and the video is an amazing representation of so.
3.) High – Sir Sly
Sir Sly is an Indie Pop band based out of L.A. The band has been in the industry since their debut single “Ghost” was released in March 2013 however, just experienced their big break with their newest single, “High.” The song is upbeat, with clear influences from Cake and Foster the People. Time will tell if the band will be a one hit wonder, or if this is just the beginning.
2.) Freeze Me – Death From Above
Following a tricky lawsuit, the rock duo is back as “Death From Above.” Their hit single “Freeze Me” off of their latest album “Outrage! is Now” is another erratic track with hard hitting drums, bass, and piano – all being very memorable. At a recent show at the House of Strombo in Toronto, the band spoke about how the track is about the frustration of being in an argument with your significant other.
1.) Holding On – The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs released their best album to date this year, “A Deeper Understanding.” The set of tracks takes heavy influence from Bruce Springsteen, and vocal influence from Bob Dylan. When they released “Red Eyes” in 2014, the up-beat and exciting track was a hit. “Holding On” is a more mature representation of this. It’s uplifting, profound, and carries an even cleaner and more precise production, making it the number one single of the year.