In years past, I’ve posted a best-of-the-year blog, but truth is I only listen to about one percent of all music out there. As a musician, good musicianship catches my ear. As a writer, strong lyrics do. So do catchy hooks and eclectic concepts.
These just happen to be my ten favorite songs of 2017 in order.
10 – My Old Man, Mac Demarco
Mac Demarco caught my ear a couple years ago with “Salad Days,” and I thought he was my little secret. No, he’s well known among hipsters and writers and musicians. He has a unique style, but he’ll grow on you if you’ll just let him.
This is an amazing version of the song from the KCRW studios. Huge fan of this guy. Huge fan of whoever is playing the piano on this video.
9 – Niall Horan, This Town
For much of the summer, I was enamored of Horan’s tune, “Slow Hands,” but every time “This Town” would play on Spotify, I’d ask Kristi, “Who’s this?” I’ve always been a One Direction apologist, and when I listen to “This Town,” I hear something of a James Taylor-esque quality. Fantastic.
8 – Redbone, Childish Gambino
I’m not sure I can listen to this song over and over, but the groove is irresistible and so is the soul quotient. Donald Glover brings it like an old soul, and I’m really happy for his musical success. Always enjoyed him on “Community,” and when I listen to his work, I sense he’s in music for the right reason, the music.
Video is NSFW because of language, fyi.
7 – Something Just Like This, Coldplay & Chainsmokers
Because of the song, “Closer,” I became a fan of Chainsmokers — and that fanship continued with this track, done in collaboration with one of my favorites, Coldplay. The lyrics are fantastic, a hallmark of Chris Martin and company’s work.
I also did a cover of this for my YouTube channel, 1980s style. I even added a bridge.
6 – Want You Back, Haim
When I first heard of Haim a few years ago, I didn’t give them much of a listen. Even when they appeared on SNL earlier this year, and Este Haim made her now infamous “stank face,” I didn’t give them a listen.
And then I watched this video and wanted to become their friend. Love their spirit, love the groove, and I listened closely: I love the writing on this one. It’s really strong, especially in the verses and especially the second verse. But most of all, I love the video. It’s simple and awesome. Much like what happened when I heard Joseph’s “SOS” last year, I became fan of these sisters in seconds because of one song released years after they gained initial fame.
5 – Everything Now, Arcade Fire
Despite the fact that this track sounds like Abba, it’s not why I like it. Again, it goes back to the writing. Thematically, this tune really spoke to me, and I wore it out during our trip this past year to Albuquerque.
4 – I Feel It Coming, The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk
He sounds like Michael on this tune, and I hope I don’t have to answer the question, “Michael who?” I have a soft spot for this one because an instrumental I recorded of it got nearly 13,000 views on YouTube this year. Boom! But, seriously, this is groovy as heck.
And my instrumental cover:
3 – Feel It Still, Portugal, The Man
For the better part of the year, I thought this one from Portugal, The Man would contend for the Grammy’s Record of the Year. That wasn’t meant to be, but I do think it was worthy. It’s catchy, groovy and unique. It will stand the test of time.
On a side note, all this success means they’re probably not coming back to the Norman Music Festival, lol.
2 – Green Light, Lorde
After I heard this song for about the third time, I realized the truth: “Royals” not only wasn’t a fluke, Lorde is likely to be a significant musical player for a long time. She’s the best female musical artist since Amy, and that’s high ******* praise from me. Hoping I don’t have to answer the question, “Amy who?” And certainly hoping Lorde doesn’t end up like Amy.
1 – The Man, The Killers
Always liked The Killers. Now I’m a major fan. This wasn’t only my favorite song of 2017, it was my favorite video. The story I’ve heard is that Brandon Flowers wrote this in self-deprecating fashion to make fun of his younger, cockier self. For what it’s worth, the entire album this is on is really good. Review forthcoming.
And in this case, you are free to ask, “Who?” Who’s the man, that is.