2017 was a masterful year in music. Many artists were cementing their places as the top dogs in the industry, while others were beginning to break through into newfound critical or commercial success.
So, what were some of the best songs from 2017? We have a list of some of the best and most memorable songs from an exquisite year of music.
1. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi (ft. Daddy Yankee)
“Despacito” became a meme years later, but it was an important track for Luis Fonsi in 2017. The song was the biggest song of the summer and still receives radio play. It is likely not an exaggeration to say it is the biggest Spanish-language song ever released, with billions of views on YouTube and listens on streaming platforms.
The lyrics and production are both quite standard but done with an impressive sheen. The lyrics tell the story of a person looking for love, while the backing music is emblematic of Latin pop and reggaeton.
2. “Green Light” by Lorde
Lorde made waves with her debut album “Pure Heroine,” and fans demanded a follow-up. The new album came out in 2017 and saw Lorde move in a new musical direction. Gone was the heavy production and in its place was a more pop and earnest sound.
“Green Light” is a story about a romance that did not work out. Lorde sings of a girl who is trying to fix her life, be more true to herself, and not allow her ex to control her anymore. “Green Light” is a story of independence and finding a new path in life.
3. “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B
Cardi B was starting to hit the mainstream around this time, and “Bodak Yellow” was another notch in her belt. The trap beat sets the stage for Cardi B to rap about the politics and issues of the time including racism and hatred of women.
“Bodak Yellow” is an anthem for women of color, and it was the first solo female rap track to make it to number one on the charts for two decades. Cardi B is a person who has no filter and lives freely, and this song is proof of that concept.
4. “Thinking Of A Place” by The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs was a favorite for indie heads and soft rock fans for many years. The 2017 album, “A Deeper Understanding,” helped solidify that perception. The band took its music to new heights, especially with its over 11-minute long epic, “Thinking Of A Place.
“Thinking Of A Place” is a love song, but it is unlike any love song you have likely ever heard. Everything is a little surreal, and you feel like you went on a strange journey by the time you reach the end of the song’s runtime.
5. “XO Tour Llif3” by Lil Uzi Vert
“XO Tour Llife3” by Lil Uzi Vert is perhaps the most unlikely smash hit ever released. The release came after Lil Uzi Vert lost a phone filled with unreleased material. He decided to publish everything that would have been leaked, including the song. “XO Tour Llife3” went on to be one of the biggest songs of the year.
The lyrics deal with a failing relationship and issues with abusing drugs. Lil Uzi Vert mixes these macabre lyrics with a trap sound to create a memorable track and one of his best.
6. “Chanel” by Frank Ocean
Many Frank Ocean fans did not expect to hear anything more from the artist in 2017. There was normally a large gap between his releases, but he surprised fans with singles that delivered exactly what the fans were hoping for.
“Chanel” sees Ocean looking to the future rather than the past. “Chanel” was more of what fans wanted from Ocean, with introspective lyrics and dense and detailed production.
7. “I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar” by Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes were a favorite of indie folk fans for a while, and its new album came at the height of the summer. “I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar” was the opener of the new album “Crack-Up” and was one of the record’s most memorable.
Like most Fleet Foxes’ songs, this one is layered in meaning. But the lyrics paint the picture of someone trying to find themselves after parting with a partner. They need to learn to be happy on their own and find a way to move on without the person in their life.
8. “Bad and Boujee” by Migos (ft. Lil Uzi Vert)
Migos delivered one of the most ubiquitous tracks of the year with “Bad and Boujee.” The Atlanta group reached even more ears with “Bad and Boujee,” and it is one of the best songs of 2017.
“Bad and Boujee” attempts to showcase the comfy life the group is now living. They also want to showcase their talents to more upscale neighborhoods and block parties. The production supports the lyrics with a smooth trap beat and considered sampling.
9. “Dum Surfer” by King Krule
King Krule took art-pop to a new level with “Dum Surfer.” The sound of the track is unlike anything you would expect to hear for the subject matter, and the anger and disgust are palpable from the first notes.
King Krule sings of a night out in Britain, going on a journey from pub to pub and getting drunk all the while. The song is not a celebration of this kind of party lifestyle, but rather a condemnation. Despite all the harshness, it is an incredibly approachable track with a toe-tapping beat.
10. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles
It would have been easy for an artist as established as Harry Styles was after his One Direction days to play it safe. Styles could have easily kept releasing mainstream pop music and nobody would have complained.
Instead, Styles released “Sign of the Times” and took his music in a new direction. Styles was inspired by glam rock artists like David Bowie in crafting this song, and he certainly changed his public perception with one track.