50 – Rain by The Script
I have never imagined dancing salsa to The Script’s music until “Rain”. They are not making dance music. But for a change, the mood is not as defeated or as emotionally invested as it used to be. And since I’m watching them live next year, I’m excited to chant and party with everyone. Not that they haven’t had material in their catalog that an audience can sing along to. But this is the first one that doesn’t feel like a convention of the heartbroken.
49 – Your Song by Rita Ora
Who didn’t feel bad for Rita Ora when she thought she’d get recognized by the judges of The Voice France and didn’t? Charge it to experience and as an important lesson for her self-awareness. To be fair, she has now sung two uplifting anthems that I find extremely catchy. The first one was “I Will Never Let You Down” and the second is this one. If you ever need a song to brighten up your gloomy day, this will do the job.
48 – Look What You Made Me Do by Taylor Swift
The lead single from Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album is her most divisive. And I’m proud to be part of the half who thinks she made the right decision. “Look What You Made Me Do” is far from her strongest in Reputation. But coming off of 1989, and the slew of controversy surrounding her relationships with KimYe and Calvin Harris, it’s perfectly understandable why she had to address those issues first. This song will not go down in her catalog as one of her best. But it certainly beats most of what’s out there in the radio.
47 – Attention by Charlie Puth
Observing the change in Charlie Puth’s demeanor is like watching a little boy you knew grow up and learn to stand on his own two feet. He makes you feel proud of how far he’s come. But you wonder where all that resentment and heartache came from. Yes, he’s undergoing puberty. But he is still Charlie Puth. Who had the bright idea of breaking his heart? We will not admit it. But the appeal of this song is premised on the belief that some people’s lives are centered on our attention. How conceited of us.
46 – DNA. by Kendrick Lamar
With the release of DAMN., you can feel that Kendrick Lamar brought his A-Game. It wasn’t the content that significantly changed. But the album is his most engineered and commercially appealing to date. “DNA” is the perfect F U to those who look down and attack the African American heritage and culture. After all, Kendrick Lamar is always on fire and perfect when he’s unapologetic and unafraid.
45 – Perfect by Ed Sheeran
Am I the only one that found Beyonce’s inclusion in “Perfect” unnecessary? Don’t get me started with “It’s all hate” or “You’re a contrarian”. I treat Beyonce like a god and having Ed Sheeran on this list debunks any notion of me being a contrarian. This is the sequel to “Thinking Out Loud”. You remember you hated how inescapable and overexposed that became. But there was a time you actually loved it. And “Perfect” has the benefit of not being everywhere that you manage to enjoy it for the beautiful track that it is.
44 – Mama by Jonas Blue featuring William Singe
I was under the assumption that a lot of the DJs making it big in the last few years would not last. But time and again, I’ve been proven wrong. Another example in the already long list of DJs still having a career today is Jonas Blue. If only this had come out during my teenage years, it would have been my soundtrack to my mom who used to worry a lot.
43 – Hard Times by Paramore
Paramore has come a long way. The subject matter of heartbreak, betrayal and downfall recur. But if this happened years ago, the tone would have been completely different. You would have Hayley Williams sounding like an entitled teenager unable to control her emotions. But such is time and it has treated them well. The contrast between the upbeat melody and the depressing lyrics manages to cushion the blow. It makes us appreciate life’s tragedy even just a little.
42 – What About Us by Pink
It was inevitable that even artists like Pink had to infuse some semblance of EDM in her music. But unlike others who needed to fit in with what’s in the radio, Pink puts primacy in her words and voice, taking clear victory over EDM on how the finished product sounded like. “What About Us” is trademark Pink, emotionally charged, yet fully in control.
41 – Feels by Calvin Harris featuring Big Sean, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams
Am I reading too much into Calvin Harris’ choice of collaborators? He had a lot of female singers to choose from. The notes in the chorus weren’t exactly difficult to reach. But among all, he ended up choosing Katy Perry, Taylor Swift’s arch nemesis. Okay. Maybe I’m reaching too far out there. But honestly, this is Katy Perry’s best in 2017. That is saying a lot, considering she released an entire album during this period. “Feels” is easy on the ears, light and uplifting – the kind you’d expect from Witness but sadly had none of it.