KARAN’S TOP 25 SONGS OF 2017
WRITTEN BY KARAN TELI
2017 has been a incredible year for music. We’ve had incredible albums from all types of genres and with social media, there is more new music out now then there has ever been. Without further ado.. my top 25 songs of 2017 (songs released in 2016 that were on albums released in 2017 do not count (for example; Bad and Boujee, Get You and Crew) & I tried to limit it too at most: 3 songs per artist).
25. 6 DOGS – FAYGO DREAMS
With a new wave of Hip-Hop on the rise, and the assumption that a lot of new artists ‘sound the same’, 6 Dogs is to be applauded for somehow managing to create a unique style and sound within his music. Faygo Dreams is the perfect example of this.
24. BILLIE EILISH – IDONTWANNABEYOUANYMORE
A 15 year old singer should not be making a list like this. But Billie Eilish is not a regular 15 year old. Signed to Interscope, with her electronic pop sound, Lorde comparisons and incredible debut album, idontwannabeyouanymore (a song I first heard on Kevin Abstract’s Apple Music playlist) is the clear standout and one of Pop’s best songs of 2017.
23. STORMZY – BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS
What a 2017 for Stormzy. Awards, number one album, artist recognition, Maya Jama. Gang Signs and Prayer was an album that i’m sure gained Stormzy a new wave and generation of fans. Big For Your Boots, one of the albums singles, filled with punchlines, wordplay and shout outs to his family and his girl, all the while discussing social topics, Stormzy deserves a lot of credit for being able to mix his seriousness and humour.
22. PLAYBOI CARTI – MAGNOLIA
With the hype surrounding him, the pressure was on Playboi Carti to deliver in 2017. Coming with Magnolia; which created a resurgence of the milly rock, Jay-Z listing it as the only Hip-Hop song that inspired 4:44 and without a doubt being one of the songs of the summer, Playboi Carti delivered.
21. KELELA – LMK
‘Hooking up’ anthems are common throughout the genre of R&B. However, Kelela’s unique delivery, voice and perspective make this song stand out higher than the others. With the song being directly in the middle of Kelela’s debut album, it splits the album into two sections; failed and broken relationships vs owning your sexiness.
20. SAMPHA – (NO ONE KNOWS ME) LIKE THE PIANO
Sampha’s emotional ballad, dedicated to the piano he played and adored, in his deceased mother’s home sets the tone for Process; the singer’s debut album. Touching on themes such as his mothers passing, along with a love for music, this song, with Sampha’s distinct singing style, stand amongst 2017’s best.
19. STEVE LACY – DARK RED
The 19 year old member of The Internet, who made a name for himself away from The Internet fan base after producing on DAMN, released his own Steve Lacy’s Demo, with the sublime ‘Dark Red’. Dark Red lipstick is a symbol of a strong and independent woman, who has come to the conclusion that she doesn’t need Steve Lacy anymore. Throughout the song he pleads for a second chance, before coming to a realisation that he may be the problem. It is a lot to take on board for a song that is under 3 minutes.
18. VINCE STAPLES – YEAH RIGHT
Vince Staples said he refuses to put feature names at the end of songs. That means that there are a boatload of fans out there who missed one of Kendrick’s best verses of 2017, an incredible vocal feature from Kucka, immense house inspired production by Sophie and Flume and flat out; one of 2017’s best songs. If Vince Staples was a bigger name, then this song would have been all over the clubs.
17. DRAKE – PASSIONFRUIT
A Drake song about lack of trust and a failed relationship. Sounds familiar? Almost like a 2017 version of Marvin’s Room? Absolutely. Passionfruit is built off the same vibe and insecurities as the Take Care classic; that alone makes it one of 2017’s best. The standout from More Life.
16. BROCKHAMPTON – WASTE
Nearly every single song from all 3 Brockhampton albums were made in a bedroom, in a house shared by the band members. However, one of the bands best songs, a solo vocal performance by ‘bearface’ to close out Saturation I, was made on the other side of the world, in Belfast. The song is a passionate performance, about the fear of being forgotten or ‘wasted’.
15. CALVIN HARRIS – SLIDE (FEAT. FRANK OCEAN AND MIGOS)
Calvin Harris’s first single for Vol. 1, featuring the elusive Frank Ocean and 2017 superstars Migos, is a Pop anthem. A Frank Ocean song made for radio, along with Migos making pop, with a 1970’s feel to it; shows the pull that Calvin Harris must have.
14. JAY-Z – THE STORY OF O.J.
‘I’m not black I’m O.J…Okay’ Jay-Z’s Nina Simone sampling 4:44 standout tackles it all from racism to financial advice to looking back on his own life and purchases. As Jay-Z has grown, one could argue that his music has become less and less relatable, but 4:44 and The Story of O.J do not fall into that category.
13. FRANK OCEAN – BIKING (FEAT. JAY-Z AND TYLER, THE CREATOR)
Talk about having pull. Getting Tidal owner Jay-Z to rap a verse that you can exclusively release on your Apple Music radio station is some serious pull. An entire song that is literally…about bikes. Sure there are some relationship gems here and there ‘thinking maybe the feeling just comes and it goes’ before Tyler, The Creator comes in to remind us of this PK Bike.
12. SZA – SUPERMODEL
The intro song to SZA’s phenomenal album. The song tackles SZA insecurities, as she gets revenge on an ex boyfriend who she admittedly says ‘left me for prettier women’ by sleeping with his friend. ‘I’ve been secretly banging your homeboy’. SZA’s honesty and savagery make the song what it is.
11. KENDRICK LAMAR – ELEMENT
Kendrick is sitting atop the rap throne…and he knows it. This song is about two intertwined things; his journey to the top, with the sacrifices and tribulations that have come up along the way and now that he is at the top; the fact that none of his contemporaries can touch him or remove him from his ‘element’.
10. CARDI B – BODAK YELLOW
While this is definitely in the conversation for biggest Hip-Hop song of 2017, it is undeniable that the surprise star of 2017 was easily Cardi B. The Kodak Black inspired song that swept awards and peoples heart all over the world, that genuinely have people excited for Cardi B’s album, who less than a year ago was a stripper turned ‘Love and Hip-Hop’ star, shows the impact and greatness of Bodak Yellow.
9. BROCKHAMPTON – JUNKY
With 3 albums and over 2 hours worth of music, it may seem nearly impossible to pick a best or standout song. But when a song is as good as Junky, it becomes relatively easy. The song tackles a wide range of topics, tackled by each members verse, such as homophobia, rape culture, drug abuse and suicidal thoughts.
8. TYLER, THE CREATOR – 911 / MR. LONELY (FEAT. FRANK OCEAN, STEVE LACY AND ANNA OF THE NORTH)
The best thing about this song is progression. Progression from Bastard to Yonkers to 48 to 911. It’s hard to believe the same artist made those 4 songs. Tackling his loneliness, while at the same time being braggadocios ‘Shout out to Elon Musk, yeah I got a sold out show’, mixed together with amazing guest vocals and the quite frankly, the ad-lib of the year; ‘CHIRP CHIRP’.
7. J HUS – DID YOU SEE
The best UK song of 2017. You can even ignore the incredible melodies by J Hus and the reaction every time this song is played in the club. Just look at the impact the song, and J Hus himself has had. Not even a year later and the melodic influence of Did You See is all over UK Hip-Hop music, a culture that specifically preaches a love for lyrics and bars.
6. KENDRICK LAMAR – HUMBLE
Ironically, when you consider the title, Humble may go down as Kendrick Lamar’s most braggadocios song to date. He has always been able to dive into the mainstream while keeping his lyrics up to scratch and with Humble; his first ever No.1 song on Billboard; he has cemented that for good. Mike Will’s production, along with Kendrick’s use of the ‘ayy’ flow, which you can interpret any way you’d like, add to the list of reasons this is one of the biggest and best songs of 2017.
5. SZA – LOVE GALORE (FEAT. TRAVIS SCOTT)
The lead single for CTRL gave us an insight into the type of character and emotion we were going to get all over SZA’s debut album; pettiness, sexiness, confidence and most importantly – honesty. SZA is not afraid to air out her dirty laundry by painting pictures and drawing on some serious emotions, while Travis Scott comes in for a sensational, auto-tuned cameo appearance
4. FRANK OCEAN – PROVIDER
Given that the wait between Channel Orange and Blonde well exceeded 1000 days, and in between that time, less than 5 official Frank Ocean songs were released, his release of singles came as a huge, but happily accepted, surprise. Provider is the latest Frank Ocean song to exist. The song tackles the one thing Frank Ocean tackles better than anybody in R&B – Love. ‘The feelings you provide’ he sings throughout the chorus; we assume he is singing to his relationship partner or lover. ‘Memo finna start acting out if I don’t see him soon’ he sings on the opening line, hinting that close friend Memo Guzman may be more than a close friend. If this is what Post-Blonde music is going to sound like, I’m here for it all.
3. LIL UZI VERT – XO TOUR LlIF3
1.3 billion streams worldwide. No marketing. 1.3 billion people hearing ‘push me to the edge, all my friends are dead’. Lil Uzi Vert somehow turned one of the weirdest and strangest lines of 2017 into one of the catchiest. The entire, Marylin Manson and emo inspired song is full of drugs, suicide and depression. Yet, somehow, it is one of the most exciting and sing-a-long worthy songs of 2017.
2. SZA – THE WEEKEND
Talk about honesty. While SZA went to Twitter to repeatedly say that the song is not about a ‘side chick’, it damn sure feels that way. Never has a singer sung so elegantly and passionately about sleeping with somebody’s man. Let alone on purpose. But, that’s the beauty of SZA. She lives her truth. She owns up to everything and puts it on display in her music; that’s exactly what music was made for. Her honesty was rewarded with one of the best albums and songs of 2017. The fact that this song went platinum without being released as a single is a testament to that
1. FRANK OCEAN – CHANEL
‘My guy pretty like a girl’. If one line from 2017 is going to stand out to me in 10 years time, it’s that one. I’ll never forget listening to this at 4.A.M when the song first came out and asking myself ‘did he just say that?’ Turns out he did. He then went on to ‘see on both sides like Chanel’ – a homage to the double C’s in the Chanel logo and undercover German spy Coco Chanel who ‘saw on both sides’. Low-key genius. 21 Savage shout outs ‘Issa Dreamworld’ and political and police digs ’12 treat a n***a like he 12′ are plastered all over the song, but it’s Frank vocals, along with the way he flexes on us, that makes this what it is.