The 20 Best Songs of 2017

The 20 Best Songs of 2017

The 20 Best Songs of 2017

In 2017, the music world provided more comfort than ever, in so many different ways.

In 2017, the music world provided more comfort than ever, in so many different ways.

Text: Jake Viswanath

Presented in no particular order...

Selena Gomez, “Bad Liar”

Who knew that Selena Gomez was capable of delivering one of the year’s most quirky and inventive pop songs of the year? Absolutely no one, and that in itself is what makes “Bad Liar” such a gem. All it took was a genius looped Talking Heads sample and some experimentation with vocals and melodies for Selena to hit her stride.

Drake, “Passionfruit”

Champagne Papi always has a way of working his sensitive charms alongside the rap flow, but never has it sounded better than on “Passionfruit.” Warm and groovy yet distant and hypnotic, the breezy cut hit all the right spots and left us wanting more every single time, whether we were dazed in the club or reflecting under the covers.

Yaeji, “Raingurl”

No one goes as hard as rising cool girl Yaeji, ironic considering how soft-spoken she can be. But make no mistake: the producer-artist doesn't mince words, spitting out blunt one-liners and angelic notes in both Korean and English as her heavy bass-lines and icy house pulses leaves you entranced and dripping in sweat.

Miley Cyrus, “Malibu”

“Malibu” couldn’t be further away from the wretched political climate, and yet it soothes like no other by (literally) transporting you to another place. Miley created her own world in the sprawling heartland of LA, with no cares in the world but her lover, her dogs, and the music she’s creating, a slice of beautiful escapist bliss.

Tove Lo, “Disco Tits”

We can always look toward the Swedish siren for reliably solid pop bops, but never has she gone this bizarro or blunt, resulting in one of the most pulsing and innovative pop tracks of the year. Also, it's called Disco. Tits.

Calvin Harris, “Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos)”

Calvin Harris’s detour toward funky delights and disco grooves felt more sudden than Beyoncé’s self-titled surprise, but thank God it happened. From the first notes of “Slide,” the producer sounded more refreshed and innovative than ever, turning Frank Ocean and the rappers Migos of all people into disco divas—or should we say debonairs?

Dua Lipa, “Lost In Your Light (feat. Miguel)”

While “New Rules” and its fantastic music video is getting all the success it deserves, Dua’s neon duet with Miguel shone just as bright, giving us the seductive chemistry and sultry vocals we needed, fabulously wrapped in a roller disco package.

Aly & AJ, “Take Me”

A former Disney duo came back after a decade in the most unexpected way—with a thunderstorm of 80s synths, their recharged but all-too-familiar voices, and an insatiable thirst for romance (and in the video, blood). They can take us out anytime.

Paramore, “Hard Times”

There’s no art quite like masking emotion, and depending on your grading scale, Hayley Williams and co would either ace or fail the test. The trio brought their A-game with “Hard Times,” a bubbly disco-fied take on their classic rock banger that cleverly clashes with the intense doom and gloom they’re consumed with, the powerhouse redhead dominating as usual.

J Balvin and Willy William, “Mi Gente (feat. Beyoncé)”

The unexpected trio deliver the best song from this year's exciting Latin-pop takeover, if only for Blue Ivy Carter's shining moment: "Azul, are you with me?" "Oh, yes I am!” How gracious of Bey to prepare us for the future queen of music.

The Japanese House, “Saw You In A Dream”

Amber Bain filled the void that the mysteriously departed Frank + Derol left in my heart with this pensive tune, an enchanting mix of swirling synths and atmospheric guitar plucks that puts you in a heavenly existential trance — if such a thing could even exist.

Harry Styles, “Sign of the Times”

Did anyone expect a One Direction alum to make searing and brilliantly timed political commentary? Of course not. Who knows if that was even Harry’s intent? And yet he carries it out with ease over a sprawling psychedelic soundscape, letting his vocals soar and distinguishing his own sound, marking one of the year’s most stunning surprises.

Tei Shi, “Keep Running”

The verses of Valerie Teicher's lush and wistful 80s-esque R’n’B stunner consist of just one line: “Every time I look over my shoulder, I’m getting older.” And in a year full of intense reflection and anxiety, no words hit quite as deep.

Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”

Nothing made a statement in 2017 quite like “Said little bitch, you can’t f*ck with me if you wanted to”—save for all the one-liners that came after. Cardi B broke the reality star-turned-artist stereotype and created an anthem that unifies the culture like no other. Look to the New York subway system for proof.

Julia Michaels, “Issues”

Seeing this track grow from a snappy pop rhythm into a bonafide long-lasting hit into a Grammy Song of the Year nominee has been one of the year’s most gratifying journeys, and for good reason. The famed songwriter broke out on her own by being herself, airing her true issues out for the world to hear, and in such a catchy way to boot.

Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Kendrick is an expert at delivering blazingly poignant commentary on race relations, societal standards, and the chaotic government at large. But he makes it catchier than ever with “HUMBLE.”, packed with hooks and one-liners that left the Internet laughing, chanting, and ever-impressed.

St. Vincent, “Slow Disco”

Annie Clark delivers an utter showstopper if there ever was one, with enough emotional gravitas and use of orchestral strings to stop you dead in your tracks walking home. No other lyric conveys the millennial experience quite like “I’m so glad I came, but I can’t wait to leave.”

Lorde, “The Louvre”

Melodrama is filled to the brim with highlights, but put simply, “The Lourve” may be the year’s most accomplished and immaculately crafted pop song, full stop. No other song takes you on a journey at this level, from the '00s-punk guitar to the aquatic breakdown to "Broadcast the boom boom boom boom and make 'em all dance to it" to "Down the back, but who cares? / Still the Louvre." Every step of the way bleeds innovative pop sensibilities and storytelling skills that aren't heard from nearly any other artist, proving once again that Lorde is subtly at the top of the pop game.

MUNA, "Everything"

The song title says all you need to know.

Lana Del Rey, “Love”

I've said everything that needs to be said about "Love" already, except for this: eleven months later, no song brought quite as much comfort, unity, or serenity to our lives. With Lana around, we're never alone in our craziness or dragged to the point of defeat.


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