Top 17 Songs of 2017: EDM

posted in: 2017, Music, Top Music | 0

All year I’ve been building a playlist of my favorite songs; or songs that, at least, I found catchy at one point. Now that it’s the end of the year, I want to take a look at my favorite 17 songs (by genre) of the year.

We’re going to take a look at dance music today. I’ve been into EDM largely since discovering Evolution 101.7 in 2012, but the station went to the country format not soon afterward. So I had to discover music online. Some of my favorites (The Chainsmokers, Galantis) released projects in 2017, and I picked up some new faves too.

There were about 65 songs that I had to pare down, and it was hard. Here are the 17 that made the cut:

  • Lonely Together (feat. Rita Ora) – Avicii
    • Avicii might no longer be touring, but he’s still putting out bangers. This collaboration with Rita Ora will be known as an instant classic, from Avicii’s trademark synths to Rita’s gritty chorus. “Let’s be lonely together” is the perfect line to feed your newfound dance partner on the floor late at night.
  • I Love You (feat. Kid Ink) – Axwell ᴧ Ingrosso
    • Violins add a classy texture to this early 2017 track, which actually serves as the eighth single released ahead of a December full release. Silky-smooth vocals in the chorus break up rapped verses by
      ROZES
      ROZES lent her vocals to Cash Cash’s “Matches” this year.

      Kid Ink, something that I hadn’t considered in dance music before.

  • Matches (Max Styler Remix) – Cash Cash & ROZES
    • ROZES has been a mainstay in the EDM world the past few years. She lends her vocals tothis track by trio Cash Cash, and the result is one of the hottest joints of the year. “You were made of matches, and you burned me to the ground,” she sings before the bass-heavy drop. Liberal use of pitch-shifted vocals (a personal favorite) adds ear candy to the song.
  • Handful of Gold (feat. JONES) – Cazzette
    • Cazzette caught my ear with “Beam Me Up” in 2014, and again this year with this collaboration with JONES. The chorus’ use of an orchestral synth winding up makes this track stand out from others, something every producer is constantly searching for. JONES’ soaring vocals add the final piece to this highly enjoyable track.
  • I Miss You (feat. Julia Michaels) – Clean Bandit
    • Julia Michaels has a bigger acumen as a songwriter than singer, but it’s songs like this that aptly show off her vocal talent, both melody and harmony. “Wishin’ that I was your bottle/So I could be close to your lips again” are the lines that everyone wishes they could write but never do. Clean Bandit provides the perfect platform for Julia to shine—and while this track is relatively new, it should stick around dance and top 40 channels for a long time.
  • Hot2Touch – Felix Jaehn, Hight & Alex Aiono
    • This song wasn’t initially included on this list, but I had to make room for it after hearing it for the 20th time and not being able to remember why I’d snubbed it originally. The horns and bass make for a grooving beat, and Alex provides a smooth and sexy delivery that feels like audial whiskey—smooth and smoky all at once.
  • Hunter – Galantis
    • Galantis put out its first full-length album this year, and this single is the perfect introduction to anyone looking to get into the avian-inspired production duo. Pitched vocals in the chorus and throughout the verses are a perfect juxtaposition to the lightly-accented melody performed by an uncredited (and unknown) female vocalist.
  • Feel Good (feat. Daya) – Gryffin & Illenium
    • Daya was my breakout artist of 2016, so I was already looking forward to new music from the Pittsburgh native. But I had no idea just how much I would love this song. Even though it was released in March, I vowed I’d push any other track off this list to make sure it was included. “I was scared of a heart I couldn’t silence.” Haven’t we all been there at some point?
  • Instruction (feat. Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don) – Jax Jones
    • This isn’t Demi’s top song of 2017. It isn’t even her second, or perhaps third. But it should get a stronger look. She commands the dance floor on this track. “I don’t need introduction,” she sings on this samba-inspired track, before instructing the listener how to have a great night. An assist from rapper Stefflon Don adds a patois that just seems right on a dance track.
  • Mama (feat. William Singe) – Jonas Blue
    • This song was popular for a hot minute, but didn’t enter the Hot 100. That doesn’t mean it should be passed over, though. A light island feel makes this a more satisfying offering than previous top-track “Fast Car,” and William Singe adds star power from his time on X Factor Australia and his YouTube channel.
  • Sun Comes Up (feat. James Arthur) – Rudimental
    • The beauty of EDM is that you can feature a variety of artists from different genres on your tracks, from hip-hop to pop to rock to singer/songwriter. James Arthur is the latter, and his powerful and soulful voice lends warmth. Gone is the tenderness of “Say You Won’t Let Go,” in its place a powerful vocal hearkening back to his X Factor days.
  • Free Fall (feat. RUNN) – Illenium
    • RUNN provides your run-of-the-mill EDM vox in this track, which isn’t a bad thing at all. This is in contrast to the verses on this song. Those are rather forgettable, but it’s the chorus that makes this track. There’s a waterfall of modulated vocals which I instantly fell in love with as I was watching the sunset over New York, 35,000 feet in the air.
  • Warrior (feat. Lights) – Steve James
    • Lights brings a fierceness to this track. “I’m a fucking warrior,” she sings before the drop. “Walking through fire like I never learned.” A nice empowerment anthem for anyone really, although I disagree with her statement that there’s “no freedom in the middle.” That’s where all the warriors go—because that’s where the battle is.
  • Feels Great (feat. Fetty Wap & CVBZ) – Cheat Codes
    • I’ve been a fan of Cheat Codes since “Sex” hit the airwaves last year (one of my top 25 tracks of 2016), and while I did enjoy their collaboration with Demi Lovato this year, this song spoke to me more. Fetty Wap’s wonderfully-reckless delivery is full of the wistful looking back at life that I’ve come to appreciate across multiple songs and genres this year. “Do you remember how it feels to be young? It feels great.” We could all stand to remember those days.

      The Chainsmokers
      The Chainsmokers put out their first full-length album this year.
  • Paris – The Chainsmokers
    • I heard this song for the first time on the radio while waking up in my cramped apartment. I’d heard a snippet released by the band a few weeks back on Instagram, so I knew immediately it was new TCS. But…I couldn’t figure out who the female vocals were provided by. I figured it was Selena Gomez until that night when I looked up the lyrics. Of course…Emily Warren! Anyway, this song served as the soundtrack to the first quarter of my year. I especially appreciate the simplicity the couple in the song model. It doesn’t matter where you are, but who you’re with.
  • Silence (feat. Khalid) – Marshmello
    • I wasn’t sure what to make of this song the first time I heard it, but upon closer examination of the lyrics I just had to include it. “I found peace in your violence/Can’t tell me there’s no point in trying/I’m at one, and I’ve been silent for too long,” sings Khalid. It’s the kind of lyric that speaks to me and my situation, which makes up for the track’s (for me) lack of earworminess.
  • Scared to Be Lonely – Martin Garrix & Dua Lipa
    • This track is a perfect blending of old and new, despite the average age of 22 for these two musicians. Martin had been around for a while with his hit track “Animals” but had yet to find mainstream success since 2013. Dua was a fresh face in the US, with one single behind her that had peaked at 72 on the charts. Teaming up was the right decision for both—Dua’s broader introduction to America via this track led to her current success of “New Rules,” currently charting at 15.

Listen to these songs here:

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