Top 17 Songs of 2017: Other

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.

Today’s genre is the catch-all of other. This includes songs from genres that I like but didn’t listen to enough in 2017 for them to have a full countdown. Indie rock, CCM, soundtrack, folk…they’re all represented here. Here are my favorite “others.”

  • Fire Escape – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
    • Andrew McMahon’s (Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin) solo project released its second album in February, and this single is a lyrical masterpiece in the vein of Train. Andrew deftly weaves in vampires, Brooklyn, and anchoring the sun in a way that actually makes sense. A fun little track to sing along with.
  • Mexico – Astrid S
    • Swedish singer Astrid S is mostly known for polished pop—she released another favorite of mine, “Think Before I Talk,” this year. This acoustic song was introduced to me at her show in Brighton in September. It’s a simple song, which allows her soprano voice a chance to shine. “I fire words like bullets,” she sings—and what a line it is!
  • Be My Baby – Bea Miller
    • Bea’s original music has become more moody and schizophrenic, so this cover of The Ronettes’ classic for ABC’s Dirty Dancing movie event is an extremely different direction than fans are used to. Despite modern production, retro soul is in full force on this track, and it’s something that should be explored further on pop radio.
  • COPYCAT – Billie Eilish
    • Billie Eilish has been called the next big thing in pop music, and the 15 year old certainly brings an innovative (and dark) pop to the radio. “Silver dollar, golden flame/Dirty water, poison rain/Perfect murder, take your aim/I don’t belong to anyone, but everybody knows my name.” Heavy themes for a teenager to sing about, but she’s been around long enough for people to start emulating her—and she wants nothing of it.
  • Ocean Eyes (Astronomyy Remix) – Billie Eilish
    • While this song originally released in 2016, Billie released this remix in 2017 and I had to add it. Akin to Lana Del Rey’s entire songbook, “Ocean Eyes” is a haunting chill-pop song that somehow becomes better with increased drums and vocal chopping. It’s the perfect song to listen to during a foggy, chilly autumn day.
  • Let’s Get Married – Bleachers
    • If there’s one thing Bleachers does well, it’s creating 80s-inspired pop that doesn’t make you cringe. Jack Antonoff brings his best in this track about sealing a couple’s love with marriage. Complete with a Lena Dunham feature, the track is quickly rising as an alternative wedding reception favorite.
  • Don’t Take the Money – Bleachers
    • Similar to “Let’s Get Married” but even more fun, “Don’t Take the Money” is a great song to drive to. The four-on-the-floor chorus is catchy as anything Antonoff’s other project, fun., puts out, and the comparison of love as a currency is a unique take on the Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
  • Little of Your Love – HAIM
    • I hadn’t liked much of what HAIM had put out in the past, but I gave their new album a try when it released this year. And I’m glad I did, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been introduced to this wonderful song. The harmonies these three sisters weave are tight and innovative, and each girl brings a strong and distinct solo performance. Added ear candy means no part of the song is boring—I’ll definitely keep listening in the future.
  • Not Today – Hillsong UNITED
    • Worship music’s hottest act at the moment, Australia’s Hillsong UNITED put out another album this year, its third in as many years. And while this song hasn’t been released as a single yet, it’s the strongest on the album and should be. Taya Smith’s commanding vocal performance of rebuking the devil and confirming her commitment to God is the kind of leadership needed in a modern church.

      Jasmine Thompson
      Jasmine Thompson, long a YouTube musician, toured across America this year.
  • Wanna Know Love – Jasmine Thompson
    • Jasmine was a YouTube star for years but now performs shows across the globe. The British singer/songwriter released her fourth EP this year, with this song getting a songwriting assist from red-hot lyricist Julia Michaels. While the studio version is strong, her live rendition is even more powerful, just Jasmine and a piano. Catch her live if you have the chance.
  • Every Mile Mattered – Nichole Nordeman
    • Nichole hadn’t released an album since 2005, so everyone in the CCM space was over the moon when she announced the release of Every Mile Mattered this year. The titular track is a showcase of Nichole’s smooth and peaceful vocals; the message is just as pure, telling listeners that wherever they are, each part of the journey—whether good or bad—mattered and it doesn’t have to define them.
  • Sound of Surviving – Nichole Nordeman
    • While “Every Mile Mattered” speaks to everyone on the journey of life, this song is written specifically for those who have been held down by life. “No one gets to tell my story,” she sings. “This is my whole heart deciding I’m still here.” As someone who has been affected extremely negatively by the Christian church, hearing someone with a Christian background say that I can overcome the hurt is extremely helpful. This is an anthem I’ll take with me well into the future.
  • The Best You Had – Nina Nesbitt
    • Scottish singer/songwriter puts out her most pop-influenced track in this song. She’d been slowly building her following since 2012, but gained global recognition after being outed as the subject of Ed Sheeran’s “Nina” and “Photograph.” While she’s put that relationship out to pasture, she continued releasing new music with two singles in 2017. This one, a falsetto showcase, is an underrated breakup song that should be required listening for anyone with heartbreak.
  • Waving Through a Window – Owl City
    • On this soundtrack piece from Dear Evan Hansen, Owl City doesn’t deviate from his successful formula: playful synths and earnest and simple vocals. “On the outside, always looking in/Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?/’Cause I’m tap, tap, tapping on the glass/I’m waving through a window” aren’t lyrics that will win a Grammy, but they will resonate with anyone listening. And sometimes that’s more important than a gramophone.
  • And I Love Her – Passenger
    • Passenger is best known for his 2012 hit “Let It Go,” but this new track is an ode of adoration towards his significant other. Full of metaphor, the song immediately spoke to me because now, of course, I need to find someone like the girl that Passenger described—someone who “can be the one to save me” from my distrust in people.
  • The Last – Ron Pope
    • “I was not the first to love her/And I will not be the last,” Ron opens over simple guitar and kick drum. “I’m always a sucker for a bad deal/And some green eyes.” This simple breakup ballad is the kind of thing every man wishes he could write about the girl he loves leaving—mature and honest, questioning and healthy.
  • Hills and Valleys – Tauren Wells
    • Tauren Wells used to be lead singer for Royal Tailor, a short-lived Christian pop-rock band that put out one of my favorite songs of all time, “Ready Set Go.” This I didn’t know until this year— I was more a fan of the song than the band—but it makes sense, then, why I’d like this song. This is the polished pop and vocal acrobatics that are largely lacking in today’s CCM. It could easily make the crossover to mainstream radio like MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine” did in the early 2000s.

Listen to these songs here:

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