It's been a crazy year in music, and you wanna know the best part? There's another six months left. Some of our team have come together to share their favourite tracks of 2017. Check out what the team has been jammin' this year below:
AMY SMOLCIC — CONTENT MANAGER/EDITOR
Lil Uzi Vert – 'XO TOUR Llif3'
The first time I came across this song was on train, and I instantly fell in love with it ... I loved it so much that I couldn’t listen to anything else. It’s a weird paradox that the lyrics hit you hard, but you find yourself bouncing to the beat.This is Uzi’s rawest song to date, and it’s clear that his words come from a dark place. Long live goth rap, I truly hope it’s here to stay.
Xxxtentacion – ‘Look At Me!’
Okay, I know that this song was originally released in 2015, but it was re-released by Empire in 2017, so it counts. I’m well aware of his controversial legal cases, and though I don’t agree with his past, this song is absolute fire. I thought it was impressive how he came for Drake — Drake’s been stealing everyone’s flow for years, it’s about time an artist stood up against it. I never thought a song that has the lyrics ‘can’t keep my dick in my pants’ in the opening lines would feature in this list, but it’s 2017 and anything goes.
Playboi Carti – ‘Magnolia’
I’m not sure that I can ever forgive him for that atrocious XXL Freshman freestyle, but I do like ‘Magnolia’. To be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure that I like Carti, but I weirdly listen to him a lot ...maybe I’m in denial, I don’t know.
KRISTY SMOLCIC — DIRECTOR/HEAD PHOTOGRAPHER
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Humble’
It's a no brainer. This song blew other songs out of the water when it was released. It's an assertive, confident and badass tune from one of the most humble guys in rap music today.
The Killers – ‘The Man’
I'm part of the Victims fan club, so I can't not pick this song. It surprises me that my boys have been on the low and then come out with this incredible tune! It's brilliant. It's a side they haven't shown before. They evolve their sound with each album, and I can't wait to see what they release next.
Nick Murphy – ‘Your Time’
Lyrically and musically, this song oozes emotion. We have all gone through this before and Nick just brought those emotions to life. Brilliant. The man is a genius.
RHYS PRKA — CONTRIBUTOR/FEATURES WRITER
Playboi Carti – ‘Magnolia’
Playboi might not be a great rapper, and he may not have dropped a good album this year. However, it would be a disservice to not recognise his ability to create absolute bangers. This beat is so intoxicating and Playboi's mumbling fits so well and it is a track I kept re-visiting during the year.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – ‘Digital Black’
This band can honestly do no wrong. I loved the dark direction this track took and I could listen to Stu fucking screaming 'Wooooooooo' at me all day. I also like the spoken word on this album, fight me.
Wiley – ‘Birds n Bars’
The best track of what will most likely be the grime album of the year. The track is so bouncy and bassey and the beat switch up to the second part is so good. Such a great album and such a good track I will always bump in the car.
KATE CARNELL — CONTRIBUTOR/INTERVIEWER
The Kooks – ‘Be Who You Are’
Sounds like old school, ‘naïve’ Kooks! It’s the perfect pop song — it’s super fun, catchy and uplifting.
“What’s keeping you from doing what you always wanna do?”
Love it. Anything delivered in Pritchard’s distinctive (weird but addictive) voice is always going to be a winner and this is no different. When I say It’s ‘no different’ I obviously mean it’s a winner but I also mean it literally: the song is no different. The tune is instantly familiar with the repetition of ‘Ta ta ta ta ta, da da da’; a formula used (albeit with slight variations) by many songs before it; similar to the ‘Millennial Whoop’ phenomenon. But hey, it works! It’s science baby!
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Humble’
This track dropped while on a month long road trip of the US for my *cough* 24th birthday. In between stops at the Grand Canyon and terrible 'crystal forests' that turned out to be just tree stumps and dirt (as well as *shudder* phone reception black spots), I’d receive excited messages from my cousin back home about this hella awesome new drop from K. Dot. How right she was!
The Jungle Giants – ‘On Your Way Down’
This track was my anthem as I moved house for the second time in 2 months (I moved all my stuff in & out of storage for the aforementioned OS trip). The title/lyric even applied literally, given the state my back was in after transporting furniture that you wouldn’t believe could fit in a Corolla. I had to plan every bend carefully, asking myself, “On your way down to pick up item A, perhaps you can also put down item B?” Apart from personal connotations the song itself is a pop rock explosion as these guys go from strength to strength. Can’t wait for their album Quiet Ferocity to drop on Friday!
SALLIE RODRIGUEZ — CONTRIBUTOR
Meg Mac – ‘Low Blows’
This song has been my ultimate power song for the last few months. Every time I hear 'Low Blows', I get all riled up and feel the urge to sing as loud as I can. With amazing vocals, emotionally charged lyrics and an incredible musical arrangement, what more can you want from a song?
Alina Baraz – 'Electric' ft. Khalid
Alina’s icy cool voice and Khalid’s effortlessly suave sound are a match made in musical heaven. This song is passionate, lustful and exciting all at the same time. Bursting with synth beats, guitar riffs and seductive lyrics, 'Electric' will rock you into a gooey romantic dream you’ll never want to wake up from.
Vallis Alps – ‘Fading’
Being a Canberra girl myself, I can’t help but be superbly excited (and slightly biased?) that someone from our neck of the woods is creating some amazing music. 'Fading' is an absolute ripper of a song filled with playful harmonies, romantic lyrics and interlacing electronic beats. Parissa Tosif’s velvety voice is the cherry on top of this feel good number.
EMILY DAENELL — CONTRIBUTOR
Pond - ‘Zen Automation’
So, Pond happened again. Thanks to the release of The Weather, 2017 has gained like 50+ cool points. 'Zen Automation' is a testament to the dudes musical prowess, boasting a delicacy that often gets lost in psych-rock, without compromising any of the chaos. The track in its entirety is a perfect showcase of Allbrook's vocal abilities. Paired with the whimsical flute and boisterous sax, Pond continues to prove why they're so much more than a Tame Impala "side-project" (whatta load of codswallop).
Oh, and 'Sweep Me Off My Feet' deserves an honorary mention for the lyric of the year "Between my penis & my chin is camembert & shame".
The War On Drugs – ‘Thinking Of A Place’
I'm not going to sit here and talk about how hauntingly beautiful the lyrics are. Or how genius the composition is, where every facet of the song patiently waits behind another, never jumping out of line. Or how for the entire 11 minutes you can't help but just stop and take in all of your surroundings (works best on a foggy day). All I'll say is it was released 65 days ago and my number of plays on iTunes is already at 172 — that's a lot of time spent taking in my surroundings.
Yon Yonson – ‘Figurine’
Besides the catchy as hell bass line that will be stuck in you head for days on end, what gets me about 'Figurine' is the deep, stunted and almost lazy vocals. Layered over the top of the sweet melodic loop, the way the front man so nonchalantly rattles off the verses kinda makes it seem okay to be "flesh and piss and blood and spit and ugliness"? Weird, but give it a spin. You'll see what I mean.
MEGAN VENZ — CONTRIBUTOR
Paramore – 'Rose-Colored Boy'
This glittering track is bouncy and electrifying. The blaringly bright 80s inspired melodies are juxtaposed with heart-wrenching lyrics. The pop beats act as a smokescreen for the lyrics to create a cathartic experience.
Lorde – ‘Supercut’
I know that the song has only been out for a week, but it flew past all the other contenders for this list. ‘Supercut’ is a sad, emotional song which takes a selective look back at a failing relationship. Lorde focuses on the positives and wonders why and where everything went wrong. The way that Lorde tells stories through music is truly incredible.
LANY – ‘Good Girls’
The dreamingly heart breaking song contains all of the cool LA pop vibes we have come to expect from the group. The shimmering track is bouncy and lively, and should be blasted out of your speakers.
IRYNA BYELYAYEVA — CONTRIBUTOR
Harry Styles – ‘From the Dining Table’
Styles’ eponymous album is a nice collection of songs which beautifully showcase his talent beside his very clear influences. Although it’s in no way groundbreaking, props should be given for the choice of final song. ‘From the Dining Table’ is Beatles-esque, calm and honest. I love that Styles closed off his first solo record with, not a pop-banger which would surely raise his status in the charts, but a lonely, sweet song about feeling uncool.
Gorillaz – ‘Saturnz Barz’ ft. Popcaan
The first single from Gorillaz’s political album Humanz is soaking in attitude and that sinister feeling I always loved in their earlier albums. The beat and the singing styles interacting makes me want to get frustrated at something and speak my mind. ‘Saturnz Barz’ feels like floating, but not in a peaceful way – more like endlessly falling and feeling impatient about that.
Lana Del Rey – ‘Love’
I was tossing up between ‘Love’ and ‘Lust for Life’ for a long time – finally settling on ‘Love’ for its superior lyricism. This is still peak Lana (who else would use gunshots as a beat?) but as opposed to singing about/to her lover, she addresses her fans. Hearing Lana sweetly croon ‘look at you kids with your vintage music ... you’re part of the past but you’re the future’ reminded me I’m still part of the ‘nostalgia generation.’ It’s a love song that unites anyone who has ever let old music whisk them away into their own daydreams.
ROWAN MONTGOMERY — CONTRIBUTOR
Billie Eilish – ‘Bellyache’
‘Bellyache’ is a topsy turvy little tune that hooks you in with sweet acoustics, before tripping you up on the beat drop and drum machine. I can’t help but sing at the top of my voice to this song, and I love it even more for the fact that it’s about a psychopath murderer killing all her friends and hiding their bodies. A pop song written by a tween that’s not about love? I think Billie Eilish is my new hero.
Gang of Youths – ‘What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?’
Everyone needs a ‘turn up the volume and play air guitar REALLY aggressively’ track. If you haven’t yet, take two minutes and listen to the opener for this belter. Are you back? I bet you’re a little sweaty and you feel a whole lot better about everything.There is no build up, just a sense of urgency that hooks you in from the opening drum beat and doesn’t let you go. It's frantic and fantastic, and if you’re not getting a little bit sweaty by the end of it, you’re listening to it wrong.
NoMBe – ‘Freak Like Me’
Any song that opens with the roar of a tiger is going to be a winner in my book. NoMBe (real name Noah McBeth) has released the perfect song to soundtrack the next 70’s neo-noir action film. It's soulful, smooth and incredibly sexy. Play this song after your next date night. Trust me.
MITCHELL BAZLEY — CONTRIBUTOR
Lorde – ‘The Louvre’
This has to be one of the best pop songs produced in recent years. Lorde’s incredible ability to capture raw emotion really shone through on her second full length album. Produced by Flume and American record producer Malay, 'The Louvre' drifts from a mellow platform built around dark guitar tones and progresses to a warping chorus that leaves you in a distorted spin. While It’s ultimately breathtaking, it’s pure beauty and intimacy makes this track one of the Lorde’s greatest works of art.
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Humble’
While I don’t believe that DAMN is his greatest piece of work, Kendrick Lamar’s ability to be a lyrical genius is present on ‘Humble’. Featuring a bouncy piano riff, Lamar boasts his way through the track telling other rappers to literally "Sit down, be humble”. His lyrical complexities target his competition, and they also show why he remains at the top of the rap game in 2017.
Sampha – ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’
When I heard this track for the very first time, I felt like it belonged on a Bon Iver record. Featuring on his debut album, Sampha shares his connection to the piano in his mother’s home, and explains with pure sentiment how it influenced his upbringing. But behind the nostalgia of the lyrics, the atmosphere of the track created by the soft piano constructs one of the most soothing and heartwarming tracks of the year.