The Best Songs of 2017!
As the end of the year draws near, its time once again for FHP’s best of list for 2017. As long time followers will know, fhp doesn’t believe in 100 song ‘best of’ lists opting instead for quality over quantity. Is condensing a year’s worth of music down to 10 songs difficult? Of course, but its also a process that forces us to have real conviction about our choices. In the end, we believe that this struggle will continue to leave us with some really outstanding songs each year. We hope you agree.
For 2017, we have 10 songs running the gamut from experimental indie to African fusion to straight ahead rock and roll. As different as they may be though, every song is here because it moved me in some meaningful way and stayed with me throughout the year. Now on to the tracks…
Sir Sly – High
We’ve featured Sir Sly on the site before, but I don’t think we ever saw this coming. Whereas Ghost was understated almost homogeneous, High is unapologetically in your face.
To focus on the song’s celebration of drug culture would be missing the maturation and confidence that Sir Sly has found the last two years. The honest lyrics are front and center. The music sonically fuller. Even a quick view of the video seems to show a more confident band with Landon fully accepting his front man role. This is not your older brother’s Sir Sly and I think we can all be thankful for that.
Nvdes – Do You Think About Me
I wasn’t sure what to make of Nvdes. They seemed capable of making good music, but there just didn’t seem to be any theme running from one effort to the next. Before the Weekend was fun, but then where did My Mind Is come from? But even given their seeming unevenness, I knew that Do You Think About Me was something special. This song is perfection in that everything just fits. The reserved, but funky drumbeat, the hushed vocals and those lyrics. Oh, those lyrics.
It remains to be seen if DYTAM was lightning in the bottle or the start of something grand. Whatever the outcome, this one track has transcended their previous work and spawned a countless number of listens on my devices this year.
Sudan Archives – Come Meh Way
Come Meh Way doesn’t sound like anything else that has come out this year. That’s a good thing. A very good thing. I won’t pretend to know enough about African music to make any assumptions about the melding of influences here, but there is no way that you can listen to Sudan Archives and think, “Uh, yeah…I’ve heard that before.”
Everything about this track feels fresh and new. There is the frenetic energy emanating from the staccato violin riff that is both unsettling and intriguing. (It could go either way really and It’s only when the claps and dirty beat come in that its decided.) There is the hypnotic chorus made all the more prominent by the song’s sparse use of instruments. And there is Archive’s voice working in time with the violin to tie the song together. Given that she is just 23 years old, I can’t wait to see what she drops next.
Billy Who – Do It All Wrong
This was another slow burner that seemed destined for end of the year honors. This song works on so many levels. The prodding beat and minimal synths force you to bounce in time, but give no hints as to what’s coming vocally. When the apologetic, but defiant, vocals finally do drop the result is like a punch to the gut. I think I literally mouthed, “damn” the first time I heard it. No, really.
I’m not confident that Billy Who will make a ton of best of lists, but make no mistake, this song was/is a keeper.
Money Wars – Right Kind of Love
I knew from the first listen that Right Kind of Love was going to make the best of 2017. On the surface, the song is achingly beautiful with its catchy harmonies, pleads of commitment and hopefulness, but there is an implied pain driving that positivity that I think anyone who has been in love can relate too. Who hasn’t sacrificed something for love or hoped for better days in the face of the end? That Money Wars could catch that emotion as well as they did is borderline shocking. In a sentence, I don’t think there is a song in the last decade that better expresses what love, real love, often entails. Sacrifice.
Tove Styrke – Say My Name
No one on this list had a better year than Tove Stykre. It seemed like every week she was dropping a single, remix or EP…and here’s the thing, they all rocked! I know that she has was on Swedish Idol back in 2009, but she really should be on more people’s radar given her impeccable songwriting, playful energy and made-for-stardom persona. I defy you to name a dud she has put out in the last few years. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
If Ego was the perfect pop song, Say My Name is the bridge between Tove Stykre; the would be pop superstar and Tove Strykre; the Swedish M.I.A. To the former, the rhythm is catchy, the tone playful. To the latter, the lyrics confident, the wordplay impeccable. Ah, but here’s the thing. Say My Name is just piling on at this point. If anything, the last three years have shown that she can be both, and do so without being the least bit disingenuous.
Husky – Ghost
“I’m no sunken ship, but I’m living with ghosts…”
Run the Jewels – Legend Has It
War on Drugs – Nothing to Find
Low Cut Connie – Revolution Rock and Roll
Did I miss something? Add your comments below.
photo credit www.mandurahmail.com