70 – Either Way by Chris Stapleton
I’m not a big fan of country music. But I had to understand what the hype surrounding Chris Stapleton was. I gave his second record a listen and I was just blown away. What I heard was how pure and magical music can sound. There is no heavy bass, no infusion of EDM or any marketing involved. His voice is the only ammunition he depends on. In “Either Way”, with a guitar playing in the background, his voice manages to take over the room and you get to appreciate its full power. It just cuts through.
69 – Scared to Be Lonely by Martin Garrix featuring Dua Lipa
When I first heard “Scared to Be Lonely”, I had little clue about who Dua Lipa was. In hindsight, she is the best think to come out of this single. Objectively, I cared little about her then and I felt it was Martin Garrix continuing to make the right moves that made this song popular. His beats, while intended for clubs, managed to creep into mainstream radio and for good reason. He has collaborated with some of the best up and coming artists and is not afraid to experiment with his sound.
68 – The Cure by Lady Gaga
Even the biggest pop stars like Madonna and Beyonce eventually fall out of favor with pop radio. But I did not imagine Lady Gaga’s day to come so soon. In any case, the regard for her voice and artistry has shot up in the last few years. It is catapulted by her consecutive demonstration of her in the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl. She made a comeback this year with “The Cure”. While she was known for her out of this world concept, lyrics and beats, this cut is another step in her now refined and polished catalog.
67 – Rockstar by Post Malone featuring 21 Savage
I’ve never attended a pot session. But I’d imagine, the music playing in the background would be something like “Rockstar”. You know when you feel like a king but do not have to make an outright declaration. People around the party are just aware. The lazy mood surrounding his track proved that hip-hop could sound less fiery and angry but still full of confidence and cockiness.
66 – Rich Love by OneRepublic featuring Seeb
OneRepublic has been responsible for “If I Lose Myself”, the perfect ingredient to the remix made so well by Alesso. And when we talk of Seeb, we must remember he is the DJ to thank for Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill” in Ibiza taking off. Put the two together, it’s almost impossible they will mess it up. They came up with the ultimate club jam meant to be danced, and at the same time, makes you wonder about the priorities we make in life.
65 – Hoping by X Ambassadors
Can we ever get enough of songs about hope and making the world a better place? Many would say the theme is overutilized in pop culture and the lyrics tend to be preachy. But in my view, our aversion is largely our desire to be above it all and rarely about music’s quality. X Ambassadors’ “Hoping” is both simple and exquisite. And I admire anyone who uses their craft to change people’s disposition for the better, regardless of how effective they end up being.
64 – Still Feel Like Your Man by John Mayer
John Mayer’s talent lies in his ability to translate into song facets of human experiences we have a hard time verbalizing for ourselves. Take “Still Feel Like Your Man” and “My Stupid Mouth” as examples. Both are simple enough that we’ve all been through them. Yet, no one has perfectly captured and put it into words the way he has. He’s known for being a serial dater. But it doesn’t exempt him from feeling emptiness. I guess he found a match in Katy Perry that he couldn’t find in Taylor Swift.
63 – Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man
I erroneously predicted this would make the cut for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards. After all, this was an alternative pop track that a majority could root for. It was a safe choice that wasn’t a product of a pop giant or a hip-hop artist. Think Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” without any connotation of shooting or massacre. I was obviously wrong. But it’s still a delight to listen to. This is a “Get up. It’s going to be a great day” kind of song. If you ever dance in the shower, this could be your soundtrack.
62 – Sign of the Times by Harry Styles
Did Harry Styles bite off more than he can chew? Many year-end lists seem to disagree as “Sign of the Times” seem to be the most underrated treasure of 2017. Compared to what radio stations and streaming services play today, this sounds a bit dated. But something as epic as this is certain to be timeless. It might not create the same excitement and hype as your EDM and hip-hop tunes but it will certainly age well. Half a year in, it hasn’t worn out.
61 – Mi Gente by J Balvin and Willy William
I’m a big fan of Beyonce. But in no way do I feel the remix with her as a featured artist enhanced the track’s quality or improved its catchiness. If there is any credit I can give her, the star power she possesses managed to put a spotlight on one of the top Latin tunes in 2017. It also helped that “Despacito” exploded like crazy and that had a halo effect on this. If you ask me, “Mi Gente” is no different from singles by Pitbull and Sean Paul. And the two being points of comparison are not necessarily bad things.