Friday, December 15, 2017

2017 Favorite Songs (Numbers 20-1)

And without further ado, here are my top 20 favorite songs of 2017. You can listen to all of my 2017 Favorite Songs on this Spotify playlist, here.

20. The National - "Guilty Party"

Sometimes relationships end not in anger, but with resignation. The National beautifully evoke this experience with simple yet true lyrics: "It's nobody's fault/No guilty party/I just got nothing, nothing left to say."

19. Kelly Lee Owens - "More Than A Woman"

Honoring Aaliyah's classic track, London producer Kelly Lee Owens lends her own icy, electronic take, that is sublime.

18. Selena Gomez - "Bad Liar"

Sampling the bass line from Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," this perfect, odd little single from Selena Gomez shows that she could be one of the most subversive pop stars if given the chance.

17. Cold Cave - "Glory"

While retaining his usual brooding vocals, Wesley Eisold of Cold Cave appears to have let some sunshine into his life. Brighter synths have entered the mix, and the lyrics have found new hope: "Today's the day my life is gonna change/I've got to get up off the floor/There's another world and it's waiting for us/I've waited so long for so much more."

16. Kiasmos - "Paused"

Kiasmos creates intricate universes with a small palate of instrumentation: delicate piano lines, atmospheric synths, and muted percussion. "Paused" evokes so much emotion, a sense of longing and regret, that is quietly devastating.

15. The xx - "I Dare You"

The xx perfectly capture the moment of first love, when you realize even love songs can't accurately depict the feeling.

14. Sassy 009 - "Pretty Baby"

This song is just a bass heavy, whirling dervish of a fever dream.

13. Tove Lo - "bitches"

Tove Lo has concerned the market on hedonism in her work. "Bitches" is her at her most aggressive and self-involved, looking out only for herself and her needs. And dammit, she is going to get what she wants.

12. NOVVA and LO - "Galaxies"

This song is just a gorgeous, twinkling lullaby. NOVVA's child-like vocals effortlessly float over her and LO's shimmering electronics.

11. Charlotte Gainsbourg - "Rest"

A glorious collaboration with Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, "Rest" finds Charlotte Gainsbourg whisper-talk-singing over whimsical keyboard motifs.

10. Purity Ring - "Asido"

On their last record, Purity Ring took a turn towards maximalism, which I fully was on board with. On this non-album track, Purity Ring reign in those impulses, and this restraint creates a haunting tension.

9. Charli XCX - "Boys"

Simplicity is best sometimes. And this is simply the best pop song of the year.

8. Julien Baker - "Appointments"

If you can get through this song without crying, you are a stronger person than I am.

7. Beacon - "Marion"

Beacon always merge cold synth textures with warm elements in their work and the tension between the two is always compelling. In "Marion," they add more acoustic elements including drums and hammered dulcimer to striking effect.

6. Gotts Street Park ft. Dielle - "Love in Bad Company"

Dielle's vocal turn on this simmering soul track is earth-shatteringly good.

5. H.E.R. - "Avenue"

There is a late night loneliness to H.E.R.'s tracks, as if she is pulling inspiration from Burial's dark bus rides home from clubs. "Avenue" finds H.E.R. coming to the realization her lover is cheating on her, and this turns to anger as she has to ride by his place. These despondent feelings are made more palpable by the stark instrumentation.

4. Rostam - "Bike Dream"

Buoyantly and unashamedly queer, Rostam's "Bike Dream" is an over-the-top evocation of getting, and staying inside one's head during a relationship.

3. Clock Opera - "When We Disappear"

A haunting meditation on aging and leaving an impression on this earth. You feel the fear during the chorus when he sings "Oh tell me, will there be no witness/No ripples on the surface/When we disappear?" You can listen to the song here.

2. Cigarettes After Sex - "Each Time You Fall in Love"

Pure cinematic gorgeousness.

1. Slowdive - "Slomo"

You couldn't ask for a more quintessential Slowdive track than "Slomo." Shimmering, echo-laden guitars, swirling keyboards, the amazing vocal interplay between Neil Halstead and Rachael Goswell, and that somber, haunted bass line. It is one of those songs that gives me goosebumps every time and, for that, it is my favorite song of the year.

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