Top 17 Songs of 2017: Pop

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.

Pop is by far the biggest genre of music that I listen to. In fact, I had to knock a list of 100+ songs down to these 17. It was a hard process, and there are some tracks I wish I could’ve given props to but couldn’t. Nevertheless, it was a doable task and these 17 songs (some of which have hit the radio; most haven’t) are the best offerings of the year.

  • Let ‘Em Talk (feat. Eagles of Death Metal) – Kesha
    • Kesha returned to music this year with the power ballad “Praying,” and I can’t deny the power of that song. But this one is pure fun. Getting an assist from Eagles of Death Metal, Kesha lets herself go on this driving track. “Shake that ass/Don’t care if they talk about it” are the kinds of lyrics that should be celebrated in this world. Be you, she’s saying, because being you is all that matters.
  • The Cure – Lady Gaga
    • It’s hard to believe this song was released in 2017 as it already feels like a Lady Gaga classic alongside “Poker Face” and “Just Dance.” But unlike those songs, this one has more sticking power and certainly more substance. Stefani created a modern-day lullaby in “The Cure,” promising to fix everything with love, even when it’s not asked for ub just wished.
  • I Like Me Better – Lauv
    • The remix to this song hit radio airwaves in the second half of 2017, but the original version is so, so much better. The Cheat Codes producer created a catchy and unique opening violin-like riff by modulating a hum he recorded, a sound unlike anything else heard on pop radio at the moment. It’s laid-back vibe and simple production make it an easy frontrunner for a midnight in the city movie montage.
  • Miss You – Louis Tomlinson
    • All of One Direction’s members have now released solo music, and the underrated Louis Tomlinson is the winner. Projects with Bebe Rexha and Steve Aoki were solid, but this late release allows Louis’ gritty voice to shine. Looks are good, and musical style is fine too, but what it really comes down to is vocal chops. Louis has it all.
  • Almost Famous – Noah Cyrus
    • Miley’s little sister put out a handful of singles this year, and while “Stay Together” almost got the nod, this ballad spoke to me more than another partying song. You can hear the trademark Cyrus twang from time to time, but Noah is no Miley—think a softer and less gritty Elle King. The lyrics about a breakup here aren’t what you’d expect from a 17 year old; they’re surprisingly heartfelt.
  • Beautiful Trauma – P!nk
    • The latest single (and title track) off of P!nk’s latest full-length offering is a look at the highs and lows of life. Whether flying high or being at the “perfect rock bottom,” Alecia seems to be fine as long as she’s with those she loves. Give the whole album a listen but most of all listen to this one.
  • James Has Changed – Phoebe Ryan
    • Phoebe Ryan’s newest EP is a masterful story of all the stages of a relationship, but this track about the confusion of a breakup is the star. “What are you supposed to do when he won’t even look at you?” she sings. “James has changed/He don’t want me anymore…and he’s not even sad.” Definitely listen to this one, but the EP’s runtime (just north of 17 minutes) won’t be a waste of your time either.
  • Why – Sabrina Carpenter
    • This ex-Disney starlet made the transition to full-time music this year, with this single taking her in a more mature (but non-sexy) direction. It’s a take on the typical “opposites attract” trope, but with some interesting lines. “You say you like sleeping with the air off/I don’t, I need it on…. Even our eyes are different colors, but we see fine.” It’s things like that, that catch your ear. Give it a listen.
  • Generous – Olivia Holt
    • Here’s another Disney star in the music industry, but unlike Sabrina Carpenter’s “Why” this song is more sensual and radio-ready. “I’m feeling generous,” she coos over a track similar to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” But where Robin went off the rails, Olivia keeps it PG-13. And if you want to catch Olivia’s acting chops, see her on Cloak & Dagger this spring (Marvel fan here, had to plug it).
  • Don’t Leave – Snakeships and MØ
    • This song released in the first week of 2017 but has tremendous staying power. MØ almost sounds like Noah Cyrus in this track, with nothing more than her aggressive vocals making the distinction clear. And Snakeships’ production is solid in this EDM-inspired pop track; give it a listen.
  • Obsession (feat. Jon Bellion) – Vice
    • Jon Bellion’s voice is smooth as silk, and the perfect feature on Vice’s single. There’s nothing groundbreaking here; it’s a simple song about the thought process of someone smitten with someone else. “You’re my obsession,” he repeats 14 times in between chronicling his and his lover’s movements throughout the night.
  • Havana (feat. Young Thug) – Camila Cabello
    • From the laid-back piano beat to trumpet solo, this song is pure Cuban pop. Up to this release, I thought that Camila’s foray into solo music had been relatively weak. But something clicked on this song and I was finally able to have a song of hers to sing along to, although Young Thug’s verse could be left out honestly.
  • How Long – Charlie Puth
    • Charlie put out two songs this year, but you’d never know it if you listened to the radio. And that’s a shame because this one is catchier than “Attention.” The Berklee-trained singer’s smooth tenor glides through verses, with syncopated choruses. Fans of his radio singles: give this a listen for a few weeks until Voicenotes releases on January 19th.
  • Reggaetón Lento (Remix) – Little Mix & CNCO
    • What’s better than five harmonies? Nine. I would have never given this Latin hit a chance if Little Mix hadn’t added a remix to their deluxe album this fall. I’m a big fan of the British foursome and each member has an ample opportunity to shine on this song. It should have gotten more airplay than it did.
  • Eraser – Ed Sheeran
    • The album opener of Ed’s ÷ jumps right into biography. “I was born inside a small town, I lost that state of mind/Learned to sing inside the Lord’s house, but stopped at the age of nine.” And while he still rebukes Satan for tempting him with booze and drugs during his newfound fame, he eventually gives in. Because the trappings of being famous aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and he’s still in pain that needs to be erased.
  • Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran
    • This acoustic hip-hop song sees Ed rapping and includes a tin whistle. This is pure UK music and a style that I wish was more prevalent in pop music. There were so many tracks on ÷ that I wish I could include in this list, but it was clear this innovative song needed to be in the final 17.
  • Never Be the Same – Camila Cabello
    • “Havana” was my jam for months, and then Camila released this in December. The first time the bass faded into my headphones was an experience I won’t forget. Camila shows her effortless range on this track, going from deep alto to high soprano in a matter of measures. The island-inspired production isn’t as in your face as other Caribbean pop has been the past few years, which is a good thing, but it allows Camila to stay true to her Cuban roots.

Listen to these songs here:

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