END OF YEAR MUSIC

The 50 best songs of 2017, according to me

Wall-to-wall bangers from 2017 and not one Ed Sheeran song in sight.

We all know 2017 was a completely shambolic year for the world, but in terms of music I think it was one of the best in a long while, especially for singles. But then again what even is a single in 2017?!?

As I do every year, I’ve pulled together some of what I thought were the best songs of the past 12 months and listed them 50-1. This time I’ve even made a Spotify playlist which you can listen to here

Here we go. These are the 50 best songs of 2017, according to me.

50. The Vamps & Matoma – All Night

I thirst followed all four members of The Vamps on Instagram this year because I have no shame and I honestly thought they were a pop/rock band? Anyway, this EDM instrumental-as-a-chorus effort was catchy enough for me not to completely loathe it. Watch on YouTube.

49. Kelela – LMK

The title stands for ‘Let Me Know’, which took me a lot longer than I’m proud of to get. For what it’s worth, Kelela feels liked a proper popstar and we haven’t had one of those in a while. Watch on YouTube.

48. Tinashe – Flame

LOOK, TINASHE JUST NEEDS THE RIGHT SONG OKAY?! ‘Flame’ is well below Miss Kachingwe’s capabilities, but at this rate I’ll take anything. It’s time to start forming prayer circles for the good sis. Watch on YouTube.

47. Zayn Malik ft. Sia – Dusk Till Dawn

Out of the two songs Zayn released this year (I wish he was a more engaged popstar, I really do) I liked this one more.

46. Shania Twain – Life’s About To Get Good

LEGENDS ONLY. Watch on YouTube.

45. P!nk – What About Us

A welcome change to the usual P!nk sound I’ve heard for God knows how long now. I just wish the rest of the songs on the new album were as interesting. Watch on YouTube.

44. Clean Bandit ft. Zara Larsson – Symphony

I’m indifferent about Clean Bandit but this song did grow on me eventually. Plus it features Zara Larsson which is a plus. Watch on YouTube.

43. HAIM – Want You Back

Super catchy and I loved the music video so much. Watch on YouTube.

42. Steps – Scared Of The Dark

I’m not the biggest fan of Steps, but the key change in this song was SUBLIME! Campy pop at its very best. Watch on YouTube.

41. Ray BLK – Doing Me

I’ve always been a sucker for a good “Love yourself for who you are” type song. Watch on YouTube.

40. Lana Del Rey ft. The Weeknd – Lust For Life

Two of pop’s most melancholy acts got together and made a song almost as dramatic as I am. Watch on YouTube.

39. Miley Cyrus – Malibu

Not exactly what I expected as the follow up to her ‘Bangerz’ era – I guess Miley can be tamed after all! I won’t knock this too much as it is a really pretty song and worked as the perfect spring into summer transitional jam. Watch on YouTube.

38. Riton, MNEK & The House Gospel Choir – Deeper

A hype track that doubled up as a gospel anthem? Yes please. Watch on YouTube.

37. RAYE – The Line

I am almost certain that it’s Charli XCX singing the bulk of this song. Anyway, I’m a bit annoyed this song didn’t quite ‘go off’ when RAYE performed it at the Mighty Hoopla back in June, but a bop is a bop. Watch on YouTube.

36. Selena Gomez – Bad Liar

Not your usual whisper-bop from Selena, but I like how quirky sounding this was to anything else I heard this year. Just a shame it wasn’t a bigger hit.

35. Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley – Chained To The Rhythm

Just FYI, I was there the day her team dropped a glitter ball in the heart of London playing this song. Man, this era started off so well, didn’t it?! Watch on YouTube.

34. Tove Lo – Disco Tits

Absolute filth and I loved every minute of it. I should really look into exploring Tove Lo’s back catalogue at some point. Watch on YouTube.

33. Nicki Minaj ft. Drake & Lil’ Wayne – No Frauds

After Remy Ma basically murdered Onika on diss track ‘ShETHER’, Miss Minaj retaliated with three singles (JoJo’s everlasting Tringle IMPACT!). The most potent of the trio was ‘No Frauds’ and Nicki’s verse is fire as expected. I wish she did one last victory lap at the end after Wayne’s verse to tie it all up though. Watch on YouTube.

32. Becky Hill – Rude Love

Every time I listened to this song I noticed something different. Like, an ad-lib or a hidden percussion. The structure of this song is so intricate thanks mainly to MNEK’s fingerprints all over the production. Honestly, the last minute of this song is otherworldly. Watch on YouTube.

31. Sigrid – Strangers

Sigrid’s ‘Don’t Kill Me Vibe’ EP was a hit with me earlier this year. This upped the ante a bit more to the point where I might have to stan. Watch on YouTube.

30. Stormzy – Big For Your Boots

If this song didn’t gas you up at least once this year then you are lying!!! I loved how LONDON the video was; it felt like Stormzy was paying homage to the days of Channel U grime videos.

29. Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do

I know this song was hella problematic but it at least felt like a proper pop moment. Everyone was talking about it and the video even made the front pages of newspapers! Plus that line about the old Taylor being dead is still a GAG. Watch on YouTube.

28. Katy Perry ft. Nicki Minaj – Swish Swish

Putting this song just above Taylor’s was purely coincidental, I promise. ‘Swish Swish’ came way too late in the ‘Witness’ campaign to save it, but I remember getting my life to it strutting in the rain one summers night. And again, Nicki’s verse is the flame emoji. Watch on YouTube.

27. Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut To The Feeling

Absolute unadulterated joy! I think I love Carly Rae more than some of my own friends you know. Sure, this is Jeppo on autopilot, but even when she’s going through the motions it’s 80% better then anything else out there. Watch on YouTube.

26. Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE.

The GOAT. Period.

25. Niall Horan – Slow Hands

The biggest surprise of the year by far is Niall’s banger ‘Slow Hands’. I really didn’t think he had it in him, but I was happy to be proved wrong. Watch on YouTube.

24. Aly & AJ – Take Me

80s pop pastiche done very, very well. Watch on YouTube.

23. Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean – Feels

Are enough people on this song? Like damn, it’s a clown car joke that writes itself. Despite the crowded roster, out of everything Calvin released during his rebrand, ‘Feels’ was the one for me. Katy Perry sounds really comfortable on it, Big Sean’s verse is a highlight and Pharrell holds it together nicely. A solid group effort. Watch on YouTube.

22. Charli XCX – Boys

This year Charli gave the gays everything we wanted. WHEW! A MUSIC VIDEO. Watch on YouTube.

21. Lady GaGa – The Cure

In parts this sounded like GaGa’s 2009 demo ‘Second Time Around’, which is definately a compliment. I just wonder if Beyoncé didn’t pull out of Coachella, would we have still got this trop-pop bop? Watch on YouTube.

20. Taylor Swift – …Ready For It?

Making her second appearance on my list, ‘…Ready For It?’ was *whispers it* the better single. Loud, brassy and arrogant as fuck – it perfectly summed up Taylor Swift in 2017. Also the “Baby, let the games begin” line is a moment. Watch on YouTube.

19. Little Mix ft. Stormzy – Power

This just BANGED. Watch on YouTube.

18. Mabel ft. Kojo Funds – Finders Keepers

I am so happy this song ended up being Mabel’s breakout hit after it spent five weeks inside the Top 10 without a big budget or promo campaign. Talent always wins! I’m ready for the album. Watch on YouTube.

17. Kelly Clarkson – Love So Soft

For years I’ve said Kelly’s voice would be perfect for soul music and this song proved I was right. Watch on YouTube.

16. Jorja Smith X Preditah – On My Mind

Along with Ray BLK, Mabel and RAYE; Jorja Smith is another one to watch in 2018. I was obsessed with the early noughties garage vibe of this song.

15. Louisa Johnson – Best Behaviour

If a song like this can’t launch your popstar career then I really don’t know for you anymore, Louisa. The Bollywood style production on this is stellar though; it’s subtle and not your usual ‘Punjabi MC’ sample. Watch on YouTube.

14. Little Mix – Touch

Yes, I know this was technically released in 2016, but a whole 12 months later and ‘Touch’ is up there with Girls Aloud’s ‘Call The Shots’ and Sugababes’ ‘Freak Like Me’ as one of the greatest UK girl band songs ever released. Am I being dramatic? Yes. But can you name another a song with such a stunning middle-eight? No, didn’t think so. Watch on YouTube.

13. Cardi B – Bodak Yellow

Cardi’s glo-up from self-confessed “stripper hoe” to the first female rapper in 19 years to score a solo #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 is such a Cinderella story, I just can’t. Watch on YouTube.

12. DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – Wild Thoughts

Obviously the best things about this song are Rihanna (QUEEN!) and the Santana ‘Maria Maria’ sample. Watch on YouTube.

11. Rita Ora – Anywhere

‘Your Song’ didn’t do it for me because it sounded like a carbon copy of that Ed Sheeran song. But Rita won me over with ‘Anywhere’ because it has all the ingredients of a perfect pop song. Sing-a-long chorus? Check. Hints of disco? Check. Sung by an actual popstar who has the range? Check. Watch on YouTube.

The Top 10

10. Jax Jones ft. Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don – Instruction

If ‘Wild Thoughts’ was the official song of the summer, then ‘Instruction’ was a close second. The beat makes you feel like you’re at Carnival, Stefflon Don’s verse is solid, the pre chorus is just thumping drums building up to the huge main chorus and the lyrics are literal instructions on how to dance to the song. Seriously, it’s perfect!

9. Kesha ft. The Dap-Kings Horns – Woman

My Spotify stats told me this was my third most played song of 2017 and I’m not surprised! I jammed to this so much because “I’m a motherfucking woman!” is the best hook I heard all year. Plus it was nice to hear Kesha having fun and laughing again.

8. Dua Lipa – New Rules

After God knows how many attempts, Dua finally bagged herself a hit with ‘New Rules’. The chorus is insanely catchy without being annoying, the production has a 90s throwback vibe to it and the music video is #GOALS. Dua might not be to everyone’s taste, but there’s no denying a banger when you hear one.

7. The Aces – Baby Who

The Aces are my new favourite band of 2017. They’re cut from the same cloth as HAIM, but with more pop and pep in their sound. ‘Baby Who’ is an absolutely gorgeous slow jam about saying goodbye to an ex. Girl, you don’t know how much I needed a song like this.

6. Rebecca Black – Foolish

Oh ya’ll wanted a twist, huh? Miss Black was standing on the necks of all the pop girls this year! ‘Foolish’ is a dreamy, synth pop delight, topped off with Britney style breathy vocals. How much of that was studio engineered? I’m not sure. What I do know is the song was perfect for basking in the London summer sun while sipping on cocktails living my very best life.

5. Paramore – Hard Times

Paramore finally went full-blown pop on us and even threw a bit of 80s new wave in there too. Even if the song’s lyrics are about the crippling effects of depression, I found it extremely hard to not at least dance the dread away.

4. Kesha – Praying

Kesha’s powerful comeback single ‘Praying’ was a huge pop event this year because it really came out of nowhere. Given her situation, the lyrics are like a punch to the gut and it was hard not to be moved by her determination to rise above it all; everything about it just felt so cathartic. And of course there’s that high note.

3. Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry

YAAAAAAASSS DEMI, LET THEM KNOW! I really love it when Demi is feeling her oats and doesn’t give a fuck about your opinion. Read: ‘Cool For The Summer’. I’d like to go on record and say I knew this song was a banger from the moment I heard it. Demi gave us vocals, braggadocios lyrics, a gospel choir and a hand clap chorus. Love, Love, LOVE!

2. Katy Perry ft. Migos – Bon Appétit

This song misses out on the top spot simply because I didn’t see it performed live this year. That’s really it because otherwise ‘Bon Appètit’ is a banger and master class in the genius production of Max Martin and Shellbeck. With so many sexual puns crammed in and a beat that goes above and beyond your expectations, there’s a lot going on and all of it is very fucking good.

1. Lorde – Green Light

I remember when I first heard ‘Green Light’ I didn’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know where to begin with this song because there are so many different things that make it so fucking brilliant. I mean, it starts off like a ballad and then steadily builds up before exploding into a huge EDM stadium anthem that I didn’t see coming. Then there’s Lorde’s growling, whispering and screaming all over the track. The song seems to only go higher and higher the longer you listen to it and the line ‘I’m waiting for it! That green light! I want it!’ is just begging to be screamed at the top of your lungs.

It probably also helps that I saw Lorde perform this live at her gig in Brighton and between the confetti and literal green light that drowned the Brighton Centre, ‘Green Light’ is just in a completely different league to any other song released in 2017. At the risk of being unpopular, I’d say this song is up there with Carly Rae’s ‘Run Away With Me’ in terms of euphoric feel-good bangers.

 

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