To finish off our music lists for the year, we have decided to narrow it down to the top 17 songs of 2017. With that in mind, this wasn’t easy to condense. Some artists, and we’re not gonna say which, may have earned multiple spots in our top spots originally, but we decided to just take one song from each artist, while mentioning the other songs that may have earned spot in there as well (I’m talking about you, Kendrick — SPOILER*). Anyway, here is our list of what we thought were the best songs of the year, rather, the ones we enjoyed the most.
17. “Torso” – Grouplove
An EP release this year titled “Little Mess” featured songs that didn’t make it on to their 2016 LP, “Big Mess,” and it’s hard to imagine how this didn’t make the cut. It’s an exciting new idea from Grouplove that, in my opinion, would’ve fit nice and snug in the pretty diverse track list on their third LP.
16. “Thinking Of A Place” – The War On Drugs
An 11+ minute journey to say the least, the War On Drugs’ ethereal, spacey indie psych/folk track is a really impressive release from the band. The Bob Dylan-esque vocals and smooth instrumentals will make you feel reminiscent and nostalgic.
15. “Netflix & Dusse” – Smino
A song we discussed in our top 10 albums list, “Netflix & Dusse” is such a fun hip-hop/r&b/funk track off of Smino’s debut, blkswn. The hook is so interesting and catchy, and the production is subtle but very well done.
14. “The Louvre” – Lorde
For some reason, this song really stuck with me the most off of Melodrama. It’s a really cool, dream-pop performance from Lorde, and really encapsulates what she does so well, which is create a sort of gothic atmosphere to her music while maintaining the appropriate, enjoyable pop and alternative elements that are more uplifting.
13. “Allison” – Soccer Mommy
“Allison” will hit you hard. This song is so moving, even in its minimal, lo-fi bedroom vibe. Soccer Mommy’s single this summer is a chilling singer-songwriter performance from Sophie Allison, with melancholic guitar chords and a really nice melody.
12. “ROCKABYE BABY” – Joey Bada$$
Our favorite single from Joey’s conscious rap album, this song works really well with the musical direction Joey was trying to take. It’s 90’s beat, provocative and well thought out lyrics, and a more than impressive Schoolboy Q feature make this our favorite off of ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$.
11. “Help, I’ve Been Dreaming” – Ritual Talk
A little gem found this year, this up and coming Brooklyn indie psych band kicked off their year with this cool, art-rock track, and followed forth with songs like “Sense”, which sounds like a combination of Dirty Projectors with Alabama Shakes, and capped off the year with a great EP, Rippled Glass, as well as several shows throughout the northeast. Be sure to keep an eye out for these guys, as their live performances are even more impressive than their discography.
10. “This Year” – Beach Fossils
I was really happy to hear the Beach Fossils come back with something new, something fresh, and something that still maintained their originality. Beach Fossils, in my opinion, is one of the best indie lo-fi bands around, spearheading that stylistic direction particularly with their 2013 album, Clash the Truth. “This Year” offers more maturity and better production, with a well placed orchestral piece in the chorus. I thought their album Somersault this year was a pretty solid follow up to some of their strongest work, and I’m happy to see this band has really grown on me in the past couple of years.
9. “Away” – Mons Vi
My favorite track from an up and coming artist this year, “Away” is a simply a beautiful lo-fi song. I can imagine hearing it in a music video, a movie, in the background of my life. It’s so catchy, so melancholic, so good. Listen listen listen.
8. “Slush Puppy” – King Krule
I was strongly disappointed by the entirety of this album, but this was one of two songs that I found were solid. “Slush Puppy” is one of the most impressive tracks I’ve heard this year, because it’s unlike anything else. It’s a mental breakdown articulated into sound. It’s pain and worry exploding in our headphones. It’s something completely new from King Krule, and that’s why I was so impressed. It didn’t stray away like most of the other tracks; it really stood out as one of the best songs this year, and easily the best song off of a rather forgettable album.
7. “Boredom” – Tyler, the Creator
“Garden Shed” had a place in the top 17 originally, but we decided to minimize that to what we thought was the most impressive track from Flower Boy, the collaboration with Rex Orange County, “Boredom”. Tyler’s comeback is really shown the best in this song, as he flawlessly draws from more indie rock and lo-fi influences and morphs them into his own. This track is his smoothes, most beautiful, and most colorful work yet.
6. “call the police” – LCD Soundsystem
Another album that drastically disappointed me, maybe because of how impressed I was with their opening single, “call the police” is one of my favorite tracks this year. It was more exciting than their work on This Is Happening from the more energetic rock sound to it. It drew influence from new wave sounds, a touch of dance, into this 7 minute punk-rock anthem. I loved this track. The lyrics were its weakest aspect, with some questionable moments, but it nonetheless got me really excited for their upcoming project. That did not end up being the case, but it still takes a spot in my top 10.
5. “Supermodel” – SZA
SZA’s most vulnerable and daring track yet, the opening blurry and distorted guitar chords was an alarming beginning to Ctrl, but it turned into something incredible. SZA harnesses these chords with her ever so beautiful voice and strong, blunt lyrics. This is one of my favorite tracks of the year and my favorite off her impressive album.
4. “Ordinary Day” – The Districts
The Districts transformed their sound yet again with this track, and it doesn’t lose the distinct energy they’ve conquered in the studio and on stage. “Ordinary Day” takes rather simple ideas and makes something beautiful out of it. The sharper, shorter lyrical hooks, the piano chords and softer undertones to this, brought the Districts into 2017 with a new sound but the same excitement. I was really happy with this song, and pretty happy about their summer LP, Popular Manipulations.
3. “BOOGIE” – BROCKHAMPTON
To be honest, “QUEER” and “GOLD” almost took this spot, but BOOGIE this past week really blew my mind. If you want the specific details to the gravity of this song and its unique style, check out our review of SATURATION III. Otherwise, just listen to BROCKHAMPTON already.
2. “XXX. feat. U2.” – Kendrick Lamar
Again, another artist that was hard to minimize, “XXX.” was a tough choice over “DUCKWORTH.,” “DNA.”, “FEAR.,” “LOVE.,” man, the tracks keep going. “XXX.” was probably the song that caught everyone’s eye the most when the track list was released because of the U2 feature. I couldn’t fathom how Kendrick would be able to utilize U2 for this album. But this whole song worked. It felt like GKMC again. Every moment of this song was an adrenaline rush piled on to the next. It’s our favorite song off of one of our favorite albums this year.
1. “The Alien” -> “The Sunshine” -> “The Grocery” – Manchester Orchestra
We went into depth about this three song sequence in our albums list. This is one of the most beautiful and powerful pieces of music we’ve come across in a long time. Everything about these tracks makes it easy to put it at our number 1 spot. You’ll get something out of any of these songs, but listening to it in a row is easily the best thing you can listen to this year. They sequence into each other, and you’ll be amazed to find a correlation with the singer-songwriter styled “The Alien” with the emphatic, hard indie “The Grocery”.
What’d you guys think? What’d we leave out? What’d we put too low? Too high? Is it perfect (obviously?). Let us know what you think. Thanks for checking out our 2017 lists!