As the year comes to a close, we wanted to look back at what music made this year great. There are obviously songs we missed, but we’ve included all of our favorites on our Spotify playlist. This year had it’s ups and downs, but the music was delightful. Here are our picks the best songs of 2017!
“Personal” by Kehlani
This song is from Kehlani’s debut album, SweetSexySavage. The lyrics are uplifting and helped to get through a rough patch in my life. It allowed me to realized I should never take shit too personally and just live my life. Kehlani is such a phenomenal artist and she makes some incredible music. If you like R&B, you should totally listen to her entire debut album, because if you haven’t heard it yet, you’re missing out. – Kayla Bohy
“Bird Brains” by Holy Fuck
For anyone who is still interested in dance music that is not dubstep, not house, not techno and DEFINITELY not overproduced, soulless EDM, Holy Fuck’s entire catalog is a goldmine. Their 4-song 2017 EP Bird Brains is nothing short of brilliant. Instruments played by human beings ground the tracks as the layering of heavy vocal distortion, an ocean of electronic bass and chopped-up synthesizers make them dynamic. The band is thrilling to see live. Onstage they come together like a pulsing, ecstatic organ, each member vital and throbbing in time. It was my favorite show of this past year, and I see a lot of shows. The video speaks for itself. These are the guys you want to party with. – Lisa Joan Barrett
“Autumn Leaves” by Mac Saturn
2017. What a fucking year for music. From Drake to Kendrick and The xx to Gorillaz, so much work was released; I almost didn’t know where to turn my ear to first! And then I found a band by the name of Mac Saturn. This group of fellas is just as cool as their stage name. In August of 2017 they released their debut album, Atomic Medicine, and the tune “Autumn Leaves” had become my wakeup call. Its early blues inspired melodies would have me swaying back and forth as I’d brush my teeth. Then, the 2:33 mark would hit and my toothbrush would morph into a microphone and I’d be preforming “Autumn Leaves” for an audience of thousands. This song, along with a cup of coffee, has been the source of my happiness during the mornings of 2017. – Linda Pecaj
“List of People (To Try and Forget About)” by Tame Impala
I know this B-side was only released mid-November, so how would I consider it a song of the year? WELL, I was so blown away by this track that I’ve had it on loop since November 16th. That’s as many times as a normal person would take a year to listen to one song, so the logic works out. Anyone in the history of this earth who has ever had their heart broken, this song is for you. Kevin Parker’s spacey vocals in this track leave me CRAVING the 4th album from Tame Impala. – Angela Brooks
“Paris” by The Chainsmokers
This song takes me back to somewhat alternate realities – long weekends in the summer and fall. The Chainsmokers define “Paris” as “a sentimental yearning for a reality that isn’t genuine” and “an irrevocable condition for fantasy that evokes nostalgia or day dreams.”
During the summer, it stood out among many anthems at tailgates, hanging with friends, and a memorable Beer Olympics. Around Halloween, it was the theme to seemingly endless nights in Hermosa Beach and Pasadena.
“Paris” is ultimately about escaping reality and try to hide from what one’s day-to-day life really is. This song reminds me of those times – times I knew wouldn’t last forever. I felt nostalgic for moments before they even ended. That’s why “Paris” is a remedy for my nostalgia and reminds me of what it feels like to escape. – Alison Hamilton
“3WW” by alt-J
It wasn’t until I saw alt-J perform that I realized how much I love this song. I finally got to see them over the summer, after having tickets two other times and ultimately not being able to see them. Three is a lucky number, eh? They opened with “3WW” and I can remember the feeling that flowed through my body as it began. The sun was setting, the stage lights were low, and that first note began playing and waves of electricity and chills ran through my body. It’s a moment I will never forget.
After the show I gave the song a real listen at home and the lyrics stuck with me. “I just want to love you in my own language,” is a line I think we can all relate to. We all have so many different forms of love and ways to showing it to people. Sometimes we go looking for love in the wrong places, like sex, which is where the “wayward lad” was going. The fact that it’s named “3WW” and has three characters (Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton of alt-J and Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice), the teaser was released on 3/3, with the full version being released 3 days later. That’s how clever alt-J are by keeping the triangle/triad theme going without forcing it. alt-J are a band I don’t see growing old or tired anytime soon, and I hope I don’t have to wait three more times to see them again. – Jordan Mahoney
“I Dare You” by The XX
The XX have always been a very emotional band, mostly in a somber way. But, “I Dare You” is the culmination of emerging from a dark, or depressed mindset to see the light and beauty of the world, and the people in it. “I Dare You” represents how The XX are challenging themselves – both musically and personally – and it shows in the lyrics and music of this track. Both Oliver and Romy consistently mention their desire for more. They love what they have, but they need more. The harmonies become louder, prouder, and more confident as the song continues. The breakdown with Romy softly repeating, “I can hear it now like I heard it then,” reinforce the feelings of doubt still there. But, doubts and fears that have existed for years melt away as they keep pushing to be more.
You want to make an album that’s equally emotional, but rather than darkness, it’s bathed in light? Go on, I Dare You.
“I Dare You” is about giving the love you didn’t think was possible, overcoming what you never expected, and achieving true nirvana in life. It’s an incredibly inspirational song from a band who’ve evolved into something different, but haven’t changed who they are. Go out there and do it, whatever it is, I Dare You. – Justin Trudell