Top 100 Songs of 2017

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top 100 songs of 2017

best songs of 2017 Perfume Genius40. Perfume Genius
“Slip Away”

from No Shape (Matador)

Mike Hadreas knows a thing or two about forbidden love, whether it’s a tragic relationship between a teacher and student or the weight of society’s hangups being leveled against someone’s basic, pure identity. “Slip Away” is far less specific than that. We don’t know who wants to “break the shape we take,” or why. But Hadreas’ reassurances allow such trivialities to all, well, slip away. Perfume Genius’ ability to turn the act of finding solace in another’s arms into a work of Kate Bush-like joyful majesty feels like nothing short of magic here. Never has a simple, drawn out rendering of an “ooh” sounded so much like utopia. – Jeff Terich

Beach Fossils Somersault review39. Beach Fossils
“Saint Ivy”

from Somersault (Bayonet)

Beach Fossils’ frontman Dustin Payseur has listed Bach as an influence on Somersault, and it shows in “Saint Ivy.” While his vocals hold the melancholic tone expected from the Brooklyn group, the strings and flute solo add more brilliance. With both classical and jazz sprinklings, the track is like a step back in time, a final guitar solo sounding like an outtake from the Beatles’ White Album. Steeped in chord progressions reminiscent of ’70s jazz, “Saint Ivy” toys between a mish-mash of genres. It unveils a new level for Beach Fossils, a creative and refreshing path. – Virginia Croft

best songs of 2017 halsey38. Halsey
“Eyes Closed”

from Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (Astralwerks)

My therapist used to say “the one thing all of your relationships have in common is you.” Halsey is no one’s victim. Not here or any song on her new album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. She sees she is flawed and recognizes the part she plays. While “Eyes Closed” carries the tension of a great beat and the urgency of her voice, it is her confession that she is picking the same person with a different face that makes it poignant. This is refreshing, as most pop songs lack this level of self-awareness. It’s refreshing to hear a more conscious form of pop willing to use a different script than the one that’s been made popular by social media. – Wil Lewellyn

best songs of 2017 Bank Account37. 21 Savage
“Bank Account

from Issa Album (Epic)

“Bank Account” is the lead single from breakout Atlanta rapper 21 Savage’s debut full-length, Issa Album. But the real star here is producer Metro Boomin, who produces singles for the likes of Future, The Weeknd, Lil Uzi Vert and Kanye, as well as a more pop-friendly slew of artists—think Migos, Drake, Gucci Mane, et al. Savage isn’t the most eloquent wordsmith, relying on the usual hyper-masculinized tropes of guns, money and of course women (or as Savage prefers, “bitches”). But if it works, it works, and “Bank Account” is only one of several tracks on Issa Album which achieve this result. – Ben Braunstein

best songs of 2017 Zola Jesus36. Zola Jesus

from Okovi (Sacred Bones)

Like most of the songs on Okovi, Nika Danilova’s return to making music as Zola Jesus after a three year gap, “Exhumed” evokes the experience of being pummeled: Sometimes by the music itself, a maelstrom of gothic electronic soundscapes anchored by hip-hop beats and urgent strings, but mostly by Danilova’s voice and the emotions in her sparse lyrics. She evokes everything from images of ancient warfare to the horror of hospital beds inhabited by the unwilling (and a zillion other things that other listeners might interpret). The unmistakable feeling, though, is defiance. In a year marked by the explosive revelations of something our society largely already knew and kept buried, hearing Danilova undaunted by everything that she or those close to her experienced is inspiring. – Liam Green

best songs of 2017 Cherry Glazerr35. Cherry Glazerr
“Told You I’d Be With the Guys”

from Apocalipstick (Secretly Canadian)

Two thirds of Cherry Glazerr’s lead single from the excellent Apocalipstick is primarily potential energy. Languid, reserved rock creates a dam holding back Clementine Creevy’s vocal outbursts, brimming with vitriol. Until 45 seconds remain and the levee breaks allowing for the final verse to capitalize on the potential energy and become fully, blissfully kinetic. That final coda itself serves not only as a revelation lyrically but as a thesis statement for Cherry Glazerr. They’ve established themselves as unique voices in indie rock, voices determined to find everything we find comfortable and burn it to the ground. – Chris Willis

Lorde melodrama review34. Lorde
“Perfect Places”

from Melodrama (Republic)

Saving the best track on an album for last is, for many reasons, an uncommon practice. Lucky for us, Lorde used the masterful “Perfect Places” as the conclusion to Melodrama. Has there been a better song in recent years encapsulating the ecstasy and agony of adolescence and young adulthood? From the sly rhythms of the verses to the organ-driven shoutalong orgasm of the final hook and Lorde’s question, “What the fuck are perfect places, anyway?” the song is a goddamned wonder. – Liam Green

Mac DeMarco This Old Dog review33. Mac DeMarco
“Moonlight on the River”

from This Old Dog (Captured Tracks)

The sublimely smooth nature of Mac DeMarco’s music is as, if not more, apparent in “Moonlight on the River” as any song on his roster. It brings This Old Dog, an album defined by indelibly tranquil melodies, to a peak with a choral of hazy, chaotic guitar distortions. The lyrics are as detached as DeMarco’s tone, spelled out with the line, “I’d say, see you later, if I thought I’d see you later” and asserted by his apathetic “everybody dies.” It’s a taste of cool madness hidden among a collection of lazy-day tunes that solidifies DeMarco’s reputation as one the present day’s best songwriters. – Jonathan Ortiz

overlooked albums 2017 Idles32. Idles

from Brutalism (Bailey)

“Mother” is a tribute to the working class, a perhaps exaggerated summary of less-than-ideal working conditions (“My mother worked 15 hours, five days a week“). “Mother” is also a middle finger to the ruling conservatives in the UK (“The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich“). “Mother” is, in addition to that, a call-out to toxic masculinity (“Sexual violence doesn’t start and end with rape“). And on top of that, “Mother” is as intense a post-hardcore song as 2017 has produced, culminating in a manic, highly satisfying chorus of “Mother! Fucker!” Somehow Idles pulled off a weird trick of writing a song that’s woke, touching, snarky and fun. It’s a delicate balance from a band that only pretends like they don’t know the meaning of the word. – Jeff Terich

best songs of 2017 Thundercat31. Thundercat
“Show You The Way” (ft. Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald)

from Drunk (Brainfeeder)

It’s fun to imagine Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald sitting down to familiarize themselves with the puckish funk bassist Thundercat, whose discography is decidedly more psychedelic than anything in either yacht-rock legend’s repertoire. It’s hard to imagine that they weren’t bewildered by the prospect of collaboration, which, on paper, comes across as kind of an audacious joke. Depending on which angle you’re approaching it from, “Show You The Way” is either a paean to the cosmic power of love or a romantic guide through a drug trip—which, as it turns out, is the perfect middle ground for all three singers. By the end of the track, the collaboration doesn’t sound so conceptually far-fetched after all. – Sam Prickett

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