Best Of 2017: Singles Through October
Big Boys – Chuck Berry – if the lyrics were a touch tighter it would fit right onto “The Great 28,” and as it stands it is his best song since, I dunno, “Tulane”? Featuring Tom Morello and Nathaniel Rateliff of the Night Sweats. Nice, eh?
At The Purchasers Option – Rhiannon Giddens – Based upon an advert dating from the time of slavery where a woman was being sold with her baby optional, Rhiannon imagines the decency of the slave in question. A true insight into the hell of slavery and a work of Americana that makes sense of the terrible genre. Also, just musically, that chorus is killer.
Despacito Remix – Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber – Luis is a Latin American heartthrob and Daddy Yankee is the king of reggaeton but this is a major popstroke because among the many things the often maligned Bieber can do is apparently the most lush pop the world has ever invented… 16 weeks at # 1, a new record.
Bodak Yellow – Cardi B – It really isn’t every day that a VH-1 reality star and former stripper records a single so undeniable it is the best rap track since “Bad And Boujee”. It made Cardi a star just like that and what is better, she deserves it.
If We Were Vampires – Jason Isbell And The 400 Units – One of the smartest songs ever written about mortality, Jason parsing his feelings to irrevocable full stop, imagines that mortality would make him seem casual he wouldn’t even hold his woman’s hand. Impossibly tender and caring, and wonders if immortality would be worth the loss of that tenderness to the irreparable damage of time
Love Someone – Brett Eldredge – Brett gets a hook dream of a song in his grip and doesn’t let go and there is such a sweetness to the chorus it brightens you all the way up
Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran – This has ruled the charts since it was released and while it sounded enough like “No Scrubs” for Sheeran to share co-writer credits, my sense is he did it for a quiet life. Whatever, this is one of the great dance songs, a hot sex dance smash..Creature Comforts – Arcade Fire – Death disco in the extreme where Arcade Fire fans cut themselves, hate themselves, and contemplate suicide with extreme prejudice
How Did I Find Myself Here – The Dream Syndicate – The great founding members of LA’s Paisley Underground movement kill it for half the song as a garage groove jam band, then add in the vocals and get better
Bad Liar – Selena Gomez – Selena meets Ani Di Franco, co-written with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter and a bass backing track off “Psycho Killer,’ this is Selena’s greatest moment.
Issues – Julia Michaels – Justin Trantner’s partner in writing is ready to step out and if this is the quality of song she is writing, there should be zero problems. A tuneful, well rhymed, excellently drum motived, minimal beat brilliance. A terrific song and if she has many more like this for the album (and she should), expect Julia to be our net big pop star.
Wild Thoughts – DJ Khaled, Rihanna, Bryson Tiller – One of the top hooks of the year by one of the great sellers of hooks in the world -by whom I mean Rihanna.
Feel It Still – Portugal, The Man – The bass is the hook and it is killer, all the very soulful band have to do is lay back and let it do its job.
Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers and Coldplay – The birth of love with Chris and Andrew trading verses in honor of a woman who doesn’t want superman and just wants to be loved with one of those gorgeous tunes these guys can do and other’s really can’t.
Mary – Big Thief – After their debut album Masterpiece, I wondered if they could ever repeat that much feeling. They could. “Mary”
Adios – Glen Campbell – A fond farewell from Glen, his “Blackstar” though with a lot more sweetness.
Brujas – Princess Nokia – “I’m that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba And my people come from Africa diaspora, Cuba And you mix that Arawak, that original people. I’m that Black Native American, I vanquish all evil.” A completely brilliant self-portrait.
It’s A Shame – First Aid Kit – Either Fleetwood Mac at their softest or Conor Oberst at his most lelodic, a glorious and beautify song.
Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift – This is the rarest of songs, it has steadily improved over time, a strangely constructed song with two sides, a Taylor pop and a post drop trop chorus, it adds up… not at first but in the end.
Christmas Eve – Kelly Clarkson – Not simply a very good new Christas song but also very very well sung.