Top 50 Tracks of 2017 (40-31)

40. Father John Misty “Leaving LA”

At just over thirteen minutes, Father John Misty’s epic acoustic ballad “Leaving LA” may seem like an odd choice for a single. The song’s autobiographical intimacy details such moments as the protagonist choking on candy in a JC Penny and his father’s dying words being, “Son, you’re killing me, and that’s all folks.” The track reveals a darkly comedic side to Josh Tillman, one that shows he’s not afraid to poke fun at himself without sacrificing his talent and charm. “Leaving LA” ends up being an unusually poignant moment on an album rife with sarcasm and sardonic satire. – Andy Mascola

39. Cam’ron “D.I.A.”

In an age where mush-mouthed emcees are ruling the airwaves by rapping over minimalistic beat, it is nice to hear Cam’ron still making black superhero music. “D.I.A.” begins with a Ric Flair monologue, a man who has become the epitome of hip hop swagger. Then Cam gets to work. With no chorus, Cam’ron carries the track with his articulate word play. Lines like “I taught these bitches how to ball like Pat Summitt” are chuckle-inducing at their most basic but show Cam’s continued commitment to a smarter form of hip-hop. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

38. The Killers “The Man”

“The Man”, the lead single from the Killers‘ fifth album, Wonderful Wonderful, is the musical equivalent of strutting down the Las Vegas Strip – new wave shimmer, a choir, and all. The lyrics are so cocky and over-the-top, they were probably co-written by one of Brandon Flowers’ bedazzled suits. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

37. B Boys “Another Thing”

The much anticipated sophomore release from the B Boys from Brooklyn happens to also be their first full length album following their much loved (within certain circles) No Worry No Mind EP from 2016. Recalling the fever, fire, and flare of a hayday Wire or Gang of Four, the B Boys find themselves sonically aligned with contemporaries and previous tourmates Parquet Courts. What separates them from the others is a raw proto-punk sound that catapults them to Dada the art movement to Dada the sound that is sung from the mouth. Or maybe that’s all just part of the joke? Who knows? What I do know is “Another Thing” absolutely shreds from start to finish and is as definitive a track of theirs as any. – Greg Scranton

36. Pool Holograph “Stratus Sheets”

Chicago art-rock outsiders Pool Holograph’s song “Stratus Sheets” is not only the strongest moment on their criminally overlooked studio album, Transparent World, but it also happens to be one of the catchiest and most original guitar-based indie rock songs of 2017. “Stratus Sheets” showcases singer Wyatt Grant at his most emotive. Over crashing cymbals and spectacular guitar interplay, Grant tears his heart out, groaning and yelping on top of and in between the song’s memorable, haunting chorus, “Rejected and that’s it, rejected and then you’re set!” – Andy Mascola

35. Ed Sheeran “Shape of You”

Boasting simplistic yet multi-layered music composition, “Shape of You” is the earworm you can’t seem to shake. It is pure pop, sometimes knocking on the door of naughtiness, but barely shadowing the threshold. The island long-drum beat plucks out simple chords that has hips swaying and heads bobbing. Ed Sheeran is a truly talented lyricist, oftentimes referencing commonplace happenings that boost his pop prowess as a man of the people. He’s a hit maker, and the hits keep on coming with this song. – Julie Sullivan

34. Carla dal Forno “We Shouldn’t Have to Wait”

So this is definitely my selfish pick and it should be yours too. No votes from your peers, meh, it’s on Blackest Ever Black, you know it’s got to be good. I stole that line from a friend but it’s kind of true, no? Australian born Dal Forno branches out from her time fronting F ingers and continues with her darkwave synth driven songs on her debut You Know What It’s Like. “We Shouldn’t Have to Wait” finds closer company with Pornography-era Cure than the more Baroque of the darkwave genre found in Dead Can Dance or straight ahead rock of Sisters of Mercy. For lovers of Siouxsie, The Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division, and the like. – Greg Scranton

33. Ariel Pink “Do Yourself a Favor”

For an artist known for his instrumentally varied and often schizophrenic arrangements, Ariel Pink’s “Do Yourself a Favor” is a comparatively tame affair. Utilizing only an acoustic guitar, bass, and gentle synths, Ariel delivers a simple song with sweetly eccentric lyrics that suggest a deceptively deeper meaning. “So do yourself a favor and seek and you shall find, they’ll chase you every time,” Ariel sings before launching into the song’s uplifting chorus and whistled refrain. “Do Yourself a Favor” is a rare, welcome moment of tranquility in Pink’s frequently chaotic soundscape. – Andy Mascola

32. Ariel Pink “Feels like Heaven”

Not to be confused with 1984’s Fiction Factory single of the same name, Ariel Pink’s “Feels Like Heaven” does sound like it could come from the same era. The warm tones of 80s pop like Spandau Ballet and Cocteau Twins seem to influence the track. With its lush synths and Ariel’s signature warm production, “Feels like Heaven” sounds like what I hope the afterlife is like. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

31. Chris Stapleton “Broken Halos”

Chris Stapleton has firmly planted himself as a country music staple in recent years and “Broken Halos” is no exception. Stapleton sticks to classic country themes, using this track to explore the sudden loss of a friend and the ache that comes along with not knowing why and questioning faith. Stapleton’s guff voice has so much soul and power that it’s hard not to connect with his music. His natural ability to be able to tie a song together so beautifully with what seems like minimal effort is showcased in “Broken Halos”. One would be hard-pressed to find a more true talent in country music than Chris Stapleton. – Julie Sullivan

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