Top 100 Songs of 2017

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top 100 songs of 2017

Somehow we survived this one, despite one disaster following another. It’s hard to see 2018 being much easier, but there’s some comfort in knowing we’ve put another year behind us. So as we get ready to call it a year, let’s revisit the best tracks we had on repeat this year, voted on and tabulated into a mathematically-correct 100-track mixtape. Here are our Top 100 songs of 2017.

Leikeli47 Wash and Set review100. Leikeli47
“Miss Me”

from Wash & Set (RCA)

2017 has been a shit year for news like 2016 and ’15 before it. Each year likewise warrants a new rallying cry and, for me at least, there wasn’t a more ready made slogan to live by than Leikeli47’s repeated refrain of “miss me with the bullshit”. “Miss Me” is the perfectly calibrated double-edged sword of fun and fire. The rapper says she “deserve[s] a queen”, well I’m ready for her coronation now. – Chris Willis

best songs of 2017 Tei Shi99. Tei Shi
“Keep Running”

from Crawl Space (Downtown)

Valerie Teicher’s music lingers around last call, sumptuous and atmosphere-drunk enough to thrive in a hazy, half-lucid moment but just a stone’s throw from turning off the lights. With “Keep Running,” the element doing most of the heavy lifting in keeping it from teetering over into a lullaby is the bass, which booms and throbs deeply. But Teicher knows that the minutes are ticking away, that closing time is just around the corner: “If you want my loving, then you better start running.” Time’s wasting… – Jeff Terich

best songs of 2017 Aye Nako98. Aye Nako

from Silver Haze (Don Giovanni)

So I’m convinced it’ll always feel this way,” cries Mars Ganito in the opening lines of “Muck,” an absolute gem found on Aye Nako’s excellent Silver Haze. The queer punk quartet mix hints of emo and post-hardcore into an indie rock foundation for their sophomore release, nodding to acts such as Helium, Speedy Ortiz and Built to Spill. Their music confronts institutionalized racism, heteronormativity and the problems of indie rock’s singular, white-focused culture—all “systematic failures” presented as “normal.” – Patrick Pilch

best albums of August 2017 Sudan Archives97. Sudan Archives
“Come Meh Way”

from Sudan Archives (Stones Throw)

The basic elements of Sudan Archives’ music should be fairly familiar to listeners of mid-’00s folktronica and bedroom beatmakers. Her approach is to build up a series of loops beneath her gorgeous voice, creating a mini-symphony of moving parts both conventional—drum machines, violin—and atypical, like the sounds of Brittney Parks tapping on the body of her violin. As such “Come Meh Way” feels both intimate and boundless, a track built up from little more than Parks’ own voice into a something grand and psychedelic. Informed by Sudanese folk music and made possible through modern technology, “Come Meh Way” makes a small space feel massive, and vice-versa. – Jeff Terich

best songs of 2017 Phoenix96. Phoenix

from Ti Amo (Glassnote)

Phoenix’s “J-Boy” is a vibrant renewal of the of the French indie pop group’s irresistibly feel-good personality, but above all it’s a radiating introduction to their June release Ti Amo. Defined by synth-heavy melodies and a touch of guitar for good measure, the dystopian love song is carried by a steady, breezy bounce, both a pulsing and mesmerizing reflection on whatever it is (love? Friendship?) frontman Thomas Mars’ casual half-rapped, half-sung verses are ruminating. – Jonathan Ortiz

Methyl Ethyl Everything Is Forgotten review95. Methyl Ethel

from Everything is Forgotten (4AD)

“Ubu” is immediately gripping, entrancing. Musically, these are shoegaze-y, dream-pop textures with a dance-pop overlay. The vocals, too, feel especially complementary to the music—almost as if it’s a whole distinct instrument, an attraction in itself. There’s a clever nod to Pavement in the latter refrain of “Why’d you have to go and cut your hair?” and a simplistic reading would suggest that the narrator is trying to communicate to someone in particular the importance of, yes, breaking out of one’s shell, but doing it the right way. You know, avoiding self-sabotage and that nonsense. Hell, it’s almost a maternal sentiment. – Ben Braunstein

best songs of 2017 Blanck Mass94. Blanck Mass
“Rhesus Negative”

from World Eater (Sacred Bones)

“Rhesus Negative” feels like a nine-minute freefall into a nightmare. It’s a carnivalesque fusion of dance, industrial and black metal, shifting unpredictably between all three without losing any of the track’s punishing momentum. There’s a 30-second stretch, roughly at the song’s halfway point, where screamed vocals are folded into the track’s pulsing roar. They don’t reappear outside of that half-minute stretch, but they don’t have to—by that point, “Rhesus Negative” is confidently moving on to new ways to pummel and surprise us. – Sam Prickett

best songs of 2017 Pill93. Pill
“Piña Queen”

from Aggressive Advertising (Dull Tools)

It’s hard not to come away from listening to Pill with the reaction that they’re a unique band. Not that Pill are the first punk band to inject sax into their songs, of course, but their standout track “Piña Queen” doesn’t really resemble the abrasiveness of no-wave bands such as James Chance & the Contortions, who became well-known for their overt usage of sax. Remember when Trump described his Republican opponent Jeb Bush as “low-energy”? Dubya’s little bro should’ve listened to this. – Ben Braunstein

best songs of 2017 bully92. Bully
“Feel the Same”

from Losing (Sub Pop)
For their sophomore release Losing, Bully adopted a slightly more subdued approach to their grunge fueled pop-rock sound. While it works for them, Bully is always at their best when they lose control as they do on lead single “Feel the Same”. It’s a sub-two-minute wave of energetic certainty with bursts of Alicia Bognanno’s trademark anger-tinged vocals representing the track’s sonic peaks. – Chris Willis

best songs of 2017 Big Thief91. Big Thief
“Mythological Beauty”

from Capacity (Saddle Creek)

Known for weaving personal anecdotes with symbolic characters and mind-searing imagery, Big Thief’s work exudes highly relatable emotions. “Mythological Beauty,” detailing the time when vocalist Adrianne Lenker almost died from a head injury as a child, is no different. It takes the vantage point of her mother, reflecting on the moments that brought her to the present trauma and wondering if there is any moving forward. The first single from Capacity, “Mythological Beauty” exemplifies the band’s ability to open a portal from their world to ours. – Jonathan Ortiz

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