Top 100 Songs of 2017

top 100 songs of 2017

Grizzly Bear Painted Ruins review70. Grizzly Bear
“Wasted Acres”

from Painted Ruins (RCA)

Painted Acres served as a reminder that Grizzly Bear albums are more than mere collections of songs but soundscapes painted across a mural, and “Wasted Acres,” the opening track, sets the album’s tone as a deeply personal, yet otherworldly one. Like the album, it’s not overly political, but the jazzy trip-hop groove carries Daniel Rossen’s repetitions of “Were you even listening?” and one can’t help but feel it’s an echo of our generation’s cries to those around us and in power. – Jonathan Ortiz


best songs of 2017 Mastodon69. Mastodon
“Show Yourself”

from Emperor of Sand (Reprise)

The days of being a metal band might be in the rearview for this Atlanta foursome, but they have proven themselves capable of writing quite the catchy rock ‘n’ roll song with “Show Yourself.” Drummer Brann Dailor handles the bulk of the vocals on this infectious gem, with Troy Sanders roaring in to add some more heft to the chorus. The whole album grooves but this song has a smoother mastery of hooking in the listener, making it one of the rare occasions in hard rock where the single is the best song.- Wil Lewellyn


Mac DeMarco This Old Dog review68. Mac DeMarco
“My Old Man”

from This Old Dog (Captured Tracks)

With a full catalog that has always coupled tender, emotional themes with gentle, breezy music, Mac DeMarco continues to ride that formula to success again on “My Old Man.” The song captures the fear and the disbelief that sometimes follows the realization that as we grow older we’re prone to becoming the people from which we most want to distance ourselves. DeMarco remains one of the purest voices of self-realization and the messy, uncomfortable internal obstacles that sometimes bar us from reaching that goal. – Chris Willis


best songs of 2017 Laurel Halo67. Laurel Halo
“Jelly”

from Dust (Hyperdub)

“Jelly” is the most direct and traditionally structured track on Laurel Halo’s bright and buoyant Dust LP, yet the song perfectly encapsulates the shifting atmosphere found on the rest of the album. The highlight cut lyrically addresses themes of detachment by jumping from conversation to self-analysis, chiding a boozing thief before Halo assesses her own less-frequent drinking habits. “Jelly” sways in a flux of sharp hand claps, wallowing effects and expert voice manipulation, coming together as an exceptional impressionist club track. – Patrick Pilch


best songs of 2017 Charli XCX66. Charli XCX
“Boys”

(Asylum)

When Charli XCX debuted her baroque music video for “Boys,” featuring an entirely male cast of dreamboats, it was jarring not because of what it contained but rather what it didn’t; the male gaze. The clip, starring the likes of Mac Demarco, Joe Jonas and Aminé instantly became a canvas for vital role reversal. The track created a rare and critical space for female fandom and desire, and at least for one three-minute period in 2017 we were busy thinking about boys for the right reasons. – Wesley Whitacre


best songs of 2017 Future Islands65. Future Islands
“Ran”

from The Far Field (4AD)

The fast-paced, upbeat synth pop of The Far Field single “Ran” sets the pace for the entire album, perfectly complemented by the intensity of singer Sam Herring’s lyrics. “I can’t take it, I can’t take this world without you,” he sings. “I can’t take it, I can’t take it on my own.” He feels unstoppable, yet honest and exposed. The song’s music video takes advantage of just that, depicting Herring escaping a recording studio, then a city and running across landscapes, woods and fields. – Jonathan Ortiz


The War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding review64. The War on Drugs
“Holding On”

from A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic)

The first amazing thing about “Holding On” isn’t that War on Drugs mastermind Adam Granduciel managed to create a song that sounds like something a late-‘80s Dylan/Springsteen/Dire Straits super group would have come up with. The second amazing thing about “Holding On” is that even though it really does sound like something such a supergroup would have come up with, it also sounds like something a really talented guy with a lot of studio time in 2017 would come up with. The past is present. – Adam Ellsworth


Cherry Glazerr Apocalipstick review63. Cherry Glazerr
“Nuclear Bomb”

from Apocalipstick (Secretly Canadian)

Black, like a nuclear bomb,” vocalist Clementine Creevy whispers. “We share the same blood; you’re not alone, love.” And then, suddenly, the band comes together; melancholic, maybe a little hopeful. It’s fairly straightforward shoegazey indie-rock, but oh-so immediate; somehow urgent in its seeming lack of urgency. The pictures she paints are vague: “swans swimming in the bathtub,” “her heartbeat [falling through] the cloud like a painted picture,” et al. In a way, they feel like a secret language. – Ben Braunstein


best albums of September 2017 Alvvays62. Alvvays
“In Undertow”

from Antisocialites (Polyvinyl)

Alvvays fostered their niche for making the dreary appear joyful throughout Antisocialites, with this track in particular examining a diminishing relationship and what’s to be done about it. Though the situations appears daunting on the surface, twinkling guitars and hopeful vocals underline the tossup between meditating or taking up solitaire (2017, the year of self care!). “In Undertow” is a charming alternative to the easy-to-fall-into cycle of wallowing—take as needed. – Virginia Croft


best albums of May Slowdive61. Slowdive
“Star Roving”

from Slowdive (Dead Oceans)

With instrumentation and track construction benefitting from the passage of time itself (more than 25 years to be precise), “Star Roving” is a shoegaze dream single. The slightest progression of soundscapes recalls Slowdive’s older, more layered works, while the slick production gives this single a certain polish that Slowdive had never achieved before. Bereft of grit, but still unbelievably fascinating, this is a track that absolutely soars. – Brian Roesler

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