The year 2017 in music was a topsy-turvy one, packed with comebacks (Taylor Swift, Jay-Z), notable busts (Katy Perry) and plenty of surprises. With apologies to chart record-breaker “Despacito,” we present the top 10 singles of 2017 (in no particular order!).
LCD Soundsystem: “Call The Police”
It’s been a long time since we’ve had real new music from LCD Soundsystem – seven years in fact. That’s what made this new track such a welcome return. “We all, we all, we all know this is nothing,” they announce in the track’s opening lines. Actually, the song was quite something. The melody soars along with just the right pace, over overtly political lyrics such as “Well, there’s a full-blown rebellion but you’re easy to confuse / By triggered kids and fakers and some questionable views.” If there was a statement to be made about the chaos of 2017, perhaps “Call The Police” made it.
Carly Rae Jepsen: “Cut to the Feeling”
We admit to predicting a career of one-hit-wonderdom for Carly Rae Jepsen after “Call Me Maybe” swept the universe, but we were wrong. “Cut to the Feeling” was everywhere in 2018, with a memorable hook and some vocal affectations that show Jepsen is actually an artist on the rise.
Queens Of The Stone Age: “The Way You Used To Do”
Queens Of The Stone Age made our list on the strength of their collaboration with Mark Ronson. The super-producer seems like an odd fit for the QOTSA, but once again Ronson reveals he knows exactly what to do to get the most out of the music. Adding just a touch of disco to the rock made this a great 2017 listen.
Cardi B: “Bodak Yellow”
The summer of 2017 belonged to Cardi B, the first female rapper with a number 1 hit since Lauryn Hill way back in 1998. (Music, we need to have a talk about that). Bodak Yellow is a single with swagger, made by an artist who came out of nowhere and refuses to be denied. Cardi B is overflowing with talent and knocked Taylor Swift’s cranky return single “Now Look What You Made Me Do” out of the top spot. No one predicted that back on New Year’s day, 2017.
Sigrid: “Don’t Kill My Vibe”
It’s past time for a Norwegian songstress to hit it big and 2017 made it clear that Sigrid Raabe is probably going to be huge. The 20-year old’s song “Don’t Kill My Vibe” is slightly more introspective than the typical pop anthem that becomes a big hit. The song’s chorus soars as it tells the haters to GTFO. Her next single, “Strangers,” attracted more attention, but this single marked Sigrid as something special.
Lorde: “Green Light”
Lorde’s 2017 release taught us that when it comes to the 21-year old from New Zealand, all our traditional expectations should be thrown out the window. “Green Light” is a pounding, rollicking song about the aftermath of a breakup. Rather than leaning hard into the heartbreak, the song explores the heady, almost euphoric feelings of freedom tinged with memories. The song was co written with man of the moment Jack Antonoff, and the production layers sounds, emotions, and beats with the expertise that signals an artist coming into a smashing prime.
Luke James, “Drip”
Luke James feels like a throwback artist, but he remains completely grounded in the modern moment. It’s a tough thing to pull off, but James’ silky, sensual falsetto can do almost anything. This song drips with influences from Isley Brothers to Prince. R&B was having a rather pedestrian year, but James changes all that with his beautiful sound.
Kendrick Lamar: “Humble”
It was hard to pick just one Kendrick Lamar single for tops of 2017, but on “Humble,” Lamar again showed us just why he should never be humble about his rapping ability.
Kendrick Lamar: “DNA”
So of course we picked another Lamar banger, “DNA.” Lamar is ruthless in his self-analysis(“I got dark, I got evil, that rot inside my DNA”) but the fireworks begin when he turns his interrogation on his rivals. Kendrick Lamar is still the undisputed champion of rap.
Paramore: “Hard Times”
Paramore pulled off several difficult maneuvers with “Hard Time” – making sad lyrics into something catchy and fun, evoking mid-1980’s pop without sounding derivative, crafting a pop chorus with a hook that doesn’t feel over-manufactured. In short, “Hard Times” was a fun time for all.