Top 50 Tracks of 2017 (20-11)

20. Wolf Alice “Yuk Foo”

Wolf Alice is the dreamy punk rock band that keeps on giving. “Yuk Foo” is a Riot Grrrl-esque thrasher compacted into two minutes of chaos. Raw, screeching, and powerful, it’s impossible to not be completely captivated by lead vocalist Ellie Rowsell. This is not your average girl-next-door gets heartbroken revenge song. “Yuk Foo” takes no prisoners with its frustrated, animalistic growl. This song is a pot of water that has long been bubbling over, and instead of quelling the waves, Wolf Alice has decided to just burn the whole house down. – Julie Sullivan

19. Oh Sees “Jettisoned”

19? What is that shit? It should be #1 and #9 in my book. I kid, I kid, but I do think Orc was one of 2017 best albums without question. From opening lick to closing kick, Orc is Oh Sees’ heaviest and best to date. Jettisoned encapsulated pretty much all the album has to offer in a single song. From opening licks and interspersed solos to the syncopated double drumming “Jettisoned” features Dwyers falsettos and dark demonic vocals in the same song. The mathy back and forth of the percussion and guitar laid steady by the bouncing bass, this track opens the gates to hell and makes you want to stay. After all, “Who likes sugar in their coffin? The underground is twice as nice”. – Greg Scranton

18. Chastity Belt “Different Now”

“Different Now”, the lead track from Chastity Belt’s album I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, perfectly encapsulates and provides reassurance to a universal feeling of alienation and insecurity. Line after line, singer Julia Shapiro relates an inner conflict, volleying between the worry that she’ll never know where her place in the world is and a surety that eventually everything will work out in the end. “Different Now’s” brilliant utilization of tension and release via guitar interplay creates a mood that fits the emotions being conveyed in Shapiro’s thoughtful lyrics. – Andy Mascola

17. The XX “I Dare You”

The XX‘s “I Dare You” is a sexy, breathy indie pop song features a man and a woman daring each other to feel something more than lust, yet is so much better than previous sexy, breathy pop songs on the subject because this one is understated and a little haunting. The video, however, is a really long Calvin Klein ad. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

16. Nothing but Thieves “Amsterdam”

Surprise – that “Amsterdam” song you’ve been hearing everywhere doesn’t feature Dallas Green. Nothing But Thieves has their own golden-voiced lead singer who can make a primal scream sound like sweet, sweet honey. This rock song is like a hurricane – it swells to a frenzy, calms in eye of the storm, then works back up to the desperate level that hits you in the feels. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

15. Future Islands “Ran”

Hearing Future Islands‘ “Ran” for the first time without any context, it would be easy to mistake it for ‘80s new wave (in the best way possible.) This upbeat song combines love and melancholy, but those quick drums keep it danceable. Love and melancholy can be enjoyable, right? – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

14. Sylvan Esso “Die Young”

Half-complaint about having her suicide plans messed up, half-sweet ode to a significant other, Sylvan Esso‘s “Die Young” is the morbid, electropop, backhanded compliment of love songs. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

13. Slowdive “Sugar for the Pill”

How is it possible to stop recording or playing live as a band for more than 2 decades only to return with what has been in the top 10 of many year end lists? In a way, this makes Slowdive’s return with their self-titled 2017 release even sweeter. Then again, perhaps it’s “Sugar for the Pill” that makes this return and this album so sweet. It’s also a reminder of the incredible songwriting talents of oft overlooked Neil Halstead, whose solo records showcase his songwriting virtuosity in folk rather than shoegaze format. In this subdued and ethereal ballad, Halstead leads the way with his gentle vocals with subtle but essential breathy backing from Rachel Goswell. The song begins as a close knit composition only to explode out into splinters and fragments. As the heavily reverbed guitar licks bounce about in an expansive space, so quickly are they pulled back in to finish the final voyage home ending the long introspective and emotional journey. It’s a song written by a band in their prime, not in the reformation. – Greg Scranton

12. Sneaks “Look Like That”

Using only a drum machine and two notes alternately played on an electric bass, Eva Moolchan, the one-woman band who releases albums under the moniker Sneaks, delivered 2017’s coolest minimalist pop masterpiece with “Look Like That”. “Se-se-separate, yeah we divide, yeah we divide in two, but I break that trying right now, and I tango over to you,” Moolchan sings nonchalantly as if her righteous hipness need never be challenged. “Look Like That” is the song you play while driving slowly by an ex, windows down, sunglasses on, and the music turned all the way up. – Andy Mascola

11. Carly Rae Jepsen “Cut to the Feeling”

To call Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Cut to the Feeling” a pop song is like calling the Taj Mahal a building. Sure, it is technically a pop song but its so much more. With its 80s synths and hand-clapped beat, the song is fun and danceable but the lyrics set it apart from much of its pop contemporaries.
While many in 2017 looked towards Xanax or opiods, Jepsen begs for the highs that only human contact can offer. Jepsen nearly gives the listener the same high with the prechorus “ahhhs” that can give even the coldest hearts goosebumps. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

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