30 Best Songs of 2017 (So Far) | The Musical Hype
Kendrick Lamar, Father John Misty, and Migos are among the artists responsible for the 30 best songs of 2017 (so far).
The time has come friends! To attempt to assemble a list of the best songs of the year…so far. It’s a daunting task, particularly when it comes to songs because the songs themselves are more memorable than the albums these days. To quote Harry Styles, “it’s a sign of the times.” Likely, this list will change as the year progresses, with some of these songs quite possibly getting the boot come December. Nonetheless, for now, here are the 30 Best Songs of 2017 (So Far).
On energetic single “HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar testifies about his come-up. Naturally, he emphasizes being humble, with a brilliant, gimmicky hook. Although some believe it’s a diss track, most likely, it’s more transcendent.
“Pure Comedy” is the centerpiece of Pure Comedy, setting the tone of the album lyrically and musically. The lyrics are ambitious, and pure genius, finding Father John Misty referencing societal issues including women’s rights, religion, and politics. Musically, a full palette of sounds further confirms its excellence.
“Bad and Boujee” doesn’t convey a deep message, but it’s a sensational banger. It’s another product of ever-formidable producer, Metro Boomin. The hook, clearly, is where the “bread is buttered”:
“Raindrop, drop top / Smokin’ on cookie in the hotbox / F*ckin’ on your b*tch she a thot, thot / Cookin’ up dope in the crockpot / We came from nothin’ to somethin’ n*gga / I don’t trust nobody grip the trigger / call up the gang, and they come and get you / Cry me a river, give you a tissue / my b*tch is bad and boujee / My n*ggas is savage, ruthless…”
“That’s What I Like” thrives off immense swagger and sexiness. Furthermore, it brilliantly balances the 80s cues that dominate 24K Magic and the urban contemporary sound. The bridge, not to mention Mars’ exquisite falsetto, represent surefire, high-flying moments.
[PaxAmericana / Blue Note]
“Do You Still Love Me?” Initiates mysteriously and exhibits sensitivity, amplified by the use of an organ pad. The sensitivity is short lived, with guitar interjections intensifying the emotion. Ultimately, the pacing and development of the record are superb. Adams begins his vocal performance tenderly, eventually embracing an assertive, gritty approach.
[Universal Music Latin/Republic]
The accomplishments that “Despacito” has made are enough to earn it a spot on this lists. Amazingly, it is the first Latin song to reach no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since “The Macarena” in 1996. Beyond its resume, it’s as smooth as butter and incredibly catchy, Spanish and all.
“DNA” is the second song by Kendrick Lamar to appear on the Best Songs of 2017 (So Far). The record bangs hard from the jump as K-Dot shares the composition of his DNA. Ultimately, various things characterize him. He raps in maddening fashion, showcasing insane wordplay. The bridge divides the song into contrasting parts, addressing the ubiquitous topic of racism. The second verse is the most ferocious, backed by a malicious beat.
The best attribute of breakout single “Location” is the voice of teen R&B artist Khalid. No one who sounds like him, hence, he sets himself apart from the rest of the pack. Beyond the slick production work, this is a well-rounded song, as Khalid sensationally shares the desires of his young heart.
“(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” is an emotional, reflective gem that grips the listener from the jump. A subtle record, the lyrics pack a punch, not to mention the personal, authentic vocals of Sampha. He characterizes the piano in his mother’s home as his confidante – the sole person who understands his feelings, issues, and otherwise. Ultimately he has returned home, not only for his beloved childhood piano but also due to the illness and eventual death of his mom.
Awaken, My Love!
“Redbone” is a soulful R&B record that’s clearly a throwback to the past. The chorus, in particular, is saturated with soulfulness. Glover’s vocals are gritty and drenched in effects, specifically pitch-shifted. With redbone, he’s referencing a “light skinned female mixed with black and another race.” According to Childish Gambino, he and numerous black dudes desire a redbone.
“Shape of You” was destined to be the hit it became. Though the sound is uncharacteristic of Sheeran, the change of pace is incredibly successful. “Shape of You” is soundly produced (Steve Mac), with a danceable, tropical tinge. As always, Sheeran remains consistent vocally, weaving effortlessly through the rhythmically quick melody. All in all, it’s a fun, infectious gem.
“Crawl” employs some impressive harmonic twists and turns, eliminating predictability. Besides showcasing a fantastic knack for music theory, the romantic joint thrives. Garzón-Montano is undoubtedly infatuated with his bae:
“I act a damn fool / Baby when you crawl around on me / And I’ll thank you too, it’s true / Lapping up the whole damn thing love it when you sing.”
“Just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times / We gotta get away from here…” On “Sign of the Times,” Harry Styles delivers an impressive vocal performance that is perfectly suited for this rock-pop ballad. As the song progresses, his voice only grows riper. “Sign of the Times” is beautiful, tackling topics of morbidity, heaven, and being open as opposed to covert.
Arcade Fire returned in a big way in 2017 with dance-rock record “Everything Now,” the promo single from their album of the same title. Frontman Win Butler delivers a respectable, tasteful vocal performance, intact with its fair share of playful moments. The production work is superb, incorporating rhythmic guitars which help retain an acoustic, folksy vibe that contrasts the disco sensibilities. The M.O. Is literally everything now. Throughout the song, the phrase means different things, both good or bad.
“Issues” is arguably one of the most relatable, down-to-earth pop songs of 2017. Singer/songwriter Julia Michaels lays out the case for the success of their relationship perfectly throughout the course of the song. It all comes together on one of the year’s most memorable choruses:
“‘Cause I got issues, but you got ‘em too / So give ‘em all to me and I’ll give mine to you / Bask in the glory, of all our problems / ‘Cause we got the kind of love it takes to solve ‘em / Yeah I got issues / And one of them is how bad I need you.”
I See You
“Dangerous” kicks off I See You with a controlled punch. The brass hits give the opener an edge, but the record never grows raucous or loses the sense of control. The groove is infectious, while the cool, calm, and collected approach of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim is quite successful. Perhaps calling “Dangerous” electrifying is an overstatement, but it sets the bar high for I See You and easily ranks among the year’s best.
“Human,” the breakthrough single by Rag’n’Bone Man has been around since 2016 but didn’t grace the charts until 2017. It has all the ingredients of a hit – It’s groovy, well written, and it’s chocked full of soulful vibes. Furthermore, it’s relatable – “I’m only human after all / Don’t put the blame on me.”
A Deeper Understanding
The War on Drugs delivers a gem with “Holding On,” which boasts a bright, rhythmically-driven, enthusiastic sound. Frontman Adam Granduciel sounds superb vocally, showcasing a beautiful tone and an undeniable exuberance that matches the production work. The lyrics are poetic and honest on the verses, as he depicts the push and pull of love. He is distressed over the state of the relationship, eventually questioning if he’s held onto the past for too long.
Sleep Well Beast
“The system only dreams in total darkness / Why are you hiding from me? / We’re in a different kind of thing now / All night you’re talking to God.”
“Mask Off” gave Future a monstrous hit on his self-titled album. The production features the signature southern rap drums that characterize Future, but the sound is lighter. This change of pace adds some variance. Depth is an issue, but Future has his reflective moments. The druggy hook is the crème de la crème:
“Percocets, molly, Percocets … / Rep the set, gotta rep the set / Chase a check, never chase a b*tch / Mask on, f*ck it, mask off … / Percocets, molly, Percocets / Chase a check, never chase a b*tch / Don’t chase no b*tches”
[Fueled by Ramen]
“Hard Times” marked a departure for Paramore. From the jump, the sound is based on 80s cues – a stark contrast for Hayley Williams and company. Ultimately, it’s successful, keeping the band fresh and relevant. The lyrics reflect the theme: overcoming hard times and moving beyond them. Another stellar moment occurs during the bridge, where Williams is coming down, and rebuilding harmonious relationships with those closest to her.
“Black SpiderMan” features lush, gospel-tinged production work, giving the record an exuberant quality. Logic sings respectably on the hook, over the spiritually-driven backdrop. Following the spirited hook, he breaks into quick-paced, spirited rhymes. The central theme – everybody is included. He highlights race, sexuality, and religion. The titular lyric arrives towards the end of the lengthy verse, with Logic changing the perceptions of familiar things, including references to black Jesus.
Although the title track has an argument for inclusion as well, the best song from Hot Thoughts is arguably, “WhisperI’lllistentohearit.” A mouthful, “Whisper” begins slower in tempo, with an enigmatic sound. Daniel seems to encourage a lonely soul. Following a slower pace, the record kicks up the tempo and infuses more energy. Lyrically, Daniel compels, particularly when he treads on the absurd:
“Candy man drives a fast car / He can be there any time / His fuel is anticipation / It’s good to feel wanted sometimes / All these expectations / Waiting for my cells to divide / Wait, is that too maudlin? / I’m just look for some sign of life.”
The second Ed Sheeran song, “Castle on the Hill,” embraces more of the singer-songwriter, pop-rock sound. Sheeran superbly constructs a narrative, autobiographical approach, particularly on the verses. The chorus is the selling point, as he delivers enthusiastic, energetic vocals. Beyond thoughtfully composed verses and chorus, the bridge is incredibly strong.
I See You
Romantic gem “Say Something Loving” finds The xx – Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft – tackling insecurities brought on them by love. Rhythmic tension is established following the intro, an intensity that remains throughout the chorus. The chorus varies throughout the song, but the sentiment is consistent:
“You say something loving / it’s so overwhelming, the thrill of affection / feels so unfamiliar / you say something loving / without hesitation it hits me, hits me / it feels so unfamiliar.”
The Strength of a Woman
“Love Yourself” delivers a sense of drama and heartfelt emotion from the start. Blige sets up the record, discussing love. After a slow, mysterious start, the hip-hop soul kicks in. Hard, anchoring drums, a brilliant, looped trumpet sample, and Blige bestowing bountiful blessings with strong, emotional vocals, establish “Love Yourself” as the crème de la crème. The most memorable moment occurs during the chorus. Ultimately, the Strength of a Woman is showcased.
“Sunday Morning Jetpack” ranks among the most mellow songs on I Decided. Furthermore, it is one of the most beautiful songs on under-the-radar LP. Big Sean thrives in reflective mode, while The-Dream used limitedly, also sounds exceptional. The hook is a shining spot:
“Thank you, God, for all my setbacks / ‘Cause he the reason I’m able to give back / This feels like my Sunday morning jetpack / Feel like I sent prayers up and got blessed back…”
The collaboration between Zedd and Alessia Cara on “Stay” is magical all in all. Cara imparts tale of desire, wishing him to stay despite the fact he’s leaving. Attached, she admits her shortcomings throughout the course of the song. The best moment comes on the chorus, where she truly rises to the occasion, backed by the sick production work of Zedd. Never overproduced, “Stay” always remains in control, never crossing the line.
On “Body Like a Back Road,” new-look country sensation Sam Hunt continues to blend country with urban music sensibilities. The sound is predominantly country, but elements of the groove and swagger hail directly from the urban script. During the first verse, Hunt is honest about what shawty does to him. Similarly, on the second verse, the focuses on her stunning looks, particularly her assets. On the hook, he confirms his infatuation:
“Body like a back road, drivin’ with my eyes closed / I know every curve like the back of my hand / Doin’ 15 in a 30, I ain’t in no hurry / I’ma take it slow just as fast as I can.”
Memories…Do Not Open
There’s a lot to criticize about Memories…Do Not Open, the debut album from The Chainsmokers. However, “Something Just Like This,” a collaboration with Coldplay, is a bright spot. Drew Taggart relinquishes lead vocal duties to Chris Martin and “it was very good…” something like that. The record’s best moments come on the chorus, which is chocked full of exuberance, courtesy of the vocals, synths, and driving rhythm.