Top 50 Tracks of 2017 (50-41)

50. The Knocks featuring Absofacto “Trouble”

Released in January, The Knocks‘ “Trouble” was on every dance playlist I made for the year. From Absofacto‘s tiny voice singing wise words about not following your instincts to the finger-snapped deep house beat, The Knocks continue to explore different areas of dance music with great success. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

49. NF “Let You Down”

Musical expression can be a useful form of therapy. “Let You Down” is an excellent example of said therapy technique. The guilt of artist NF is on display for the world to see as he relives his teenage angst and let downs. This is a relatable track on many levels, tugging at the heartstrings with shrewd judgement through speedy rap verses that hit like a sonic boom after the plane is long gone. The hook is relatable and repeatable, attaching itself to any kind of guilt-ridden person immediately. “Let You Down” is a great introspective look on the past, and even though the pressure that has built for so many years has been released, there’s still the aftermath to handle. – Julie Sullivan

48. Harry Styles “Sign of the Times”

Who would have thought former boy-band singer, Harry Styles‘ solo debut would harken to Oasis, John Lennon, and classic rock heavyweights? With piano, arena-rock guitars, a choir, strings, and an end-is-nigh message, this song foretells Styles’ future as the most promising One Direction spin-off. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

47. Thurston Moore “Smoke of Dreams”

It’s far too easy to write off Thurston Moore as a relic from a bygone era where 90’s noise and distortion defined an entire generation. Over the past 27 years Moore has amassed a prolific catalog of non-Sonic Youth related projects including the over 2 dozen solo records to his credit. “Smoke of Dreams” is a sprawling 6 minute opus that folds in Sonic Youth Washing Machine-era riffs and textures while Moore’s calmly sung vocals grounds the song in the present. – Greg Scranton

46. Cigarettes After Sex “K.”

“K.”, the lead single from Brooklyn ambient pop collective Cigarettes After Sex’s self-titled debut full-length, is a gorgeous, slow, romantic ballad detailing the most intimate moments of a steamy love affair. “Kristin, come right back, I’ve been waiting for you, to slip back in bed, when you light the candle,” singer Greg Gonzalez sings patiently during the song’s chorus. “K.” is a fitting LP opener as it brilliantly showcases the band’s stylistic strengths with reverb-heavy guitars and Gonzalez’s trademark androgynous near-whispered lyrics. Not only does “K.” find Cigarettes After Sex at their most sensual and emotive both musically and vocally, but it also manages to reveal an optimism atypical of the band. – Andy Mascola

45. Spoon “Hot Thoughts”

One of the hallmarks of Spoon had been their ability to create quality music without repeating themselves. “Hot Thoughts,” the titular song from the band’s ninth album, sees Spoon using more synth strings than before–utilizing the symphonic sound to juxtapose a frenetic beat. Although it sounds different than previous efforts, Britt Daniels and company sound more confident and cooler than ever. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

44. Kendrick Lamar “HUMBLE”

The song “HUMBLE.” is a thinly-veiled message that Kendrick Lamar feels a need to express often in his work. While his peers go on about the expensive, finer things in life, Lamar speaks to his roots and plays on boasting about his wealth in sneakier ways. It’s incredibly difficult to stay humble in a world surrounded by a constant cash flow, but the message is loud and clear here. With an ear popping 808 drum and boisterous piano riff, this is the kind of track that sticks with you all day as a constant reminder to keep your head down and be humble. – Julie Sullivan

43. Beck “Up All Night”

Beck‘s “Up All Night” is so fun and upbeat (and the lyrics so G-rated) that it’s just a matter of time before Kidz Bop covers it and turns it into a song about staying up late at a sleepover. Enjoy it before those corporate-owned children ruin it for all of us. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

42. In This Moment “Oh Lord”

From the outset, this song appears to be simplistic when it comes to the lyrics and sound, but there are many layers to “Oh Lord”. Whether it’s the growling echoes from the lead singer or choral arrangement, or the bass thumping along with the sounds of boots stomping, this is a versatile piece of music that gets the blood pumping. Exploration into faith and fear is a tough subject to tackle, but In This Moment does a great job of capturing the constant buzz of questions about what happens after life. “Oh Lord” can be seen as a spiritual awakening of sorts, reminding us to let go and try to live in the moment. – Julie Sullivan

41. Waxahatchee “Never Been Wrong”

Five years on and Katie Crutchfield is finally getting the credit she deserves since dropping her debut album American Weekend in 2012. Due in part to her relentless touring in 2015 and the success of her first Merge Records release, Ivy Tripp, 2017’s Out in the Storm was on everyone’s radar this year. The first track on the album, “Never Been Wrong,” bursts out of the gates with power chords and relentless snare pounding reminiscent of Merge founding members’ band Superchunk. Crutchfield however, pulls the reins in quickly and lets her powerful vocals do the work when the instruments are at bay. This ebb and flow define this excellent track from a consistently fine album. – Greg Scranton

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