Now that exams are finally over, and I turned in my last essay tonight, I can finally get back to posting for fun on here. I’m currently enjoying a nice quiet evening with my housemates, listening to my Your Top Songs of 2017 playlist on Spotify (Something Soon by Car Seat Headrest is number 1 for the second year in a row) and was inspired by a few housemates journaling on the couch to make a post (originally inspired by Olivia over at MusicLovingLiv; check her out and check out her post here!) about my top 17 songs of 2017.
Let’s get on with it…
17.) On The Level-Mac DeMarco
This song is just so cool. Of course, I’d expect nothing less from Mac, but the elements of hazy, synthy vaporwave on this track, and Mac’s atmospheric vocal performance, made for one of the most sonically pleasing Lollapalooza sets I’ve ever seen.
16.) Tear it Down-Spoon
I loved the “Hot Thoughts” album way more than I was expecting, and this somber cut near the back of the record proved to be my favourite with its lyrics of longing and pain, organ-tinged breakdown of an ending and a chorus of “Let them build a wall around us/I don’t care, I’m gonna tear it down.” Arguably the most emotional I’ve heard Britt Daniel sounding in what I’ve explored of Spoon.
Alright, so I wasn’t wowed by “RELAXER” (nothing will ever compare to “An Awesome Wave,” my beloved study album that got me through most of Ecology this semester), but this is a moody, sensual and funky jam that kept me coming back with fuzzy production effects, an alluring breathy lyrical delivery and a chorus that is characteristically way too hard to make out, yet so catchy at the same time.
I left this concert feeling sadder than I ever have over not pursuing musical theatre in college, almost entirely because of the band’s performance of this old-time Broadway jam that was complete with a kick line, a costume change and a horn section. It’s indie rock reinvented in white gloves and elaborate stage makeup, and good God, I couldn’t get enough of it for the entire month of April.
13.) call the police-LCD Soundsystem
Not only is this song a near 7 minutes of the fun James Murphy said he had while producing “american dream,” it’s also a vibrant political explosion of indie rock fun I had blaring in my ears the whole time I was in England on a class trip this past year. Good song, good times, amazing band.
12.) Saturnz Barz-Gorillaz
Dancehall meets the Gorillaz’s usual fusion of trip-hop and glitchy electropop in this dark, moody, somber nightmare of lackadaisical deliveries from 2-D, snarled bars from Popcaan and some of my favourite production of the year (and may’ve inspired me to dress up as Noodle for a Halloween party this year).
11.) Holding On-The War on Drugs
“A Deeper Understanding” may’ve been my album of the year. After seeing this group open with this track when I saw them live in October, I was floored by the sheer level of ambiance to the point that, when a film professor who’d also been at the show asked me “What do you like about The War on Drugs?” a few weeks later, the best I could do to verbalize how exactly I felt was, “It’s like, with their music, I feel like I can just exist within a sound.” But come on, after one listen, can you blame me?
10.) Electric Blue-Arcade Fire
I love you Regine, and your amazingly high soprano, and your ability to make an album that was as lackluster as “Everything Now” was for me into a memorable piece of art! Seeing this woman strut across the stage at Lollapalooza in a red leather jumpsuit after playing the drums, the accordion and providing multiple harmonies was one of the highlights of the weekend. The outro of “Colour my eyes electric blue” is absolutely mesmerizing and a perfect soundtrack for the evening walks I find myself taking when life gets particularly stressful.
9.) Black Francis-The Orwells
What an excellent snarky garage-rock tribute to The Man himself. It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had listening to an Orwells tune, and given how high-energy their catalog is, that’s saying something. Not to mention how enjoyable it is to scream “VIVA LOMA RICA!” when this comes on in the car.
8.) List of People (To Try and Forget About)-Tame Impala
It came out late in the year, but it doesn’t prevent me from absolutely loving this hazy beat that would’ve fit perfectly on 2015’s “Currents” (to the point the first time I heard it I was actually kind of angry because it would’ve fit the album much better than the filler of Past Life). Something about Kevin Parker’s knack for emotionally vulnerable lyrics that sound so casually resigned over stellar production just gets me. My personal favourite line is “Now I gotta tell them I don’t care/And hope that nobody might work it out.”
7.) War is Coming (If You Want It)-Car Seat Headrest
My boys. The bassline on this song is enough to make me absolutely love it, but seeing them premier it at Lollapalooza (after dropping it on Bandcamp as part of a fundraiser a day earlier) was fantastic. Will was in his prime, swaggering around the stage while making his political declaration to the beat of his bandmate’s playing. It’s one of the shortest songs I’ve heard from them, but of course I’m still impressed by the ability of each member.
6.) Ballad of the Dying Man-Father John Misty
Question: How many times did I sing to myself “In no time at all/This’ll be the distant past” this past year while stressed out about exams? Answer: The amount of times I’ve been continually amazed by Josh Tillman’s soaring falsetto, biting commentary on the millennial generation, lovely integration of strings, piano and horns into his records and crystal-clear production that reinvented indie folk into something just right for these trying times. So, yeah, basically an immeasurable amount of times.
5.) Half a Million-The Shins
A delightful little jam that is as fun as a pick-me-up about being whoever you want to be and denying the expectations set for you in society as it is to Rollerblade to on warm late September nights. I especially love the bouncy breakdown before the last chorus and witty lines like “There’s half a million things/That I’m supposed to be/A shelter in the nighttime/A punk running free.” Maybe we really can find peace in just letting things go. That’s something I learned in 2017.
4.) Edge of Town-Middle Kids
This Australian trio got me with their breakout hit I first heard described as “angsty adult alt-rock” on SirusXM radio. While I originally scoffed at that description, it’s magnificently accurate, and this track has the wistful vocals and guitar that make you yell “UGH” to prove it. Also, to say the frontwoman’s range is impressive is an understatement.
3.) If Before I Wake-The Districts
“I’M JUST A NARCISSIST!” And I’m just in love with this barely three-minute half chanted, half wailed anthem that reminds me of driving into the city on a summer sunrise, not a care in the world and a solid assurance that everything will be alright. Too blessed to be depressed, thank Jesus.
2.) Kinda Bonkers-Animal Collective
And a bonkers year it was. I loved this colorful fusion of smacking percussion, perfectly messy production and characteristically enjoyable tradeoff of vocals and harmonies. I think that’s my favourite thing about listening to an Animal Collective song-every second keeps you guessing, but for me, the vocals and their alternations keep it effortlessly grounded in the intentional confusion. And with lines like “Don’t you feel me, feel your heart shine?” it’s hard not to enjoy this track all year.
1.) It Ain’t Right-Current Swell
My song of the year. There’s something to the brutal honesty of this track, and the instant catchiness of the guitar riff, that made it such a fantastic, folky, instant classic that stayed strong the whole year long. Shout out to dad for finding it on the Canadian rock channel.
What do you think of these songs? What were your songs of the year? Or better yet, your albums of the year?
As always, thanks for reading, and God bless.