40 – Want You Back by HAIM
I have not listened to HAIM’s music until this year. Before this, I only know of them as Taylor Swift’s friends. But I do not regret giving it a try. “Want You Back” is in the same vein as most songs making a plea for a second chance. Except this one sounds full of bliss and hope. Not to mention, the group created harmonies with their voices that you rarely hear on the radio today.
39 – Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers featuring Coldplay
Word has been going around that The Chainsmokers is the new Nickelback. But is the comparison horrible considering the band has been responsible for some iconic hits like “How You Remind Me” and “Photograph”? I remember avoiding listening to this collaboration when it was initially released. The irrational part of my brain cringed at the thought of Coldplay going to this extent of selling out. But watching them perform this live made me believe that my faith in them could never be shaken.
38 – Love So Soft by Kelly Clarkson
If Christina Aguilera had done Back to Basics correctly, I felt it would’ve sounded a lot like “Love So Soft”. This is the most refreshed and full of vitality Kelly Clarkson has sounded. Her shift in record label is a step in the right direction. The song sounds timeless and is a departure from her angsty heartbroken anthems. It’s upbeat, full of soul and it does justice to Kelly Clarkson’s voice that is fully capable of belting out notes her contemporaries would have a hard time reaching.
37 – Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt
Every year, there will be that one country song to crossover and dominate formats outside of its home genre. In recent memory, we’ve had “Cruise”, “Need You Now” and some would argue, Taylor Swift singles. For 2017, it is Sam Hunt’s turn with the bubbly and sunshine-filled “Body Like a Back Road”. It is simple enough to have people outside the community to relate to it and equipped with the right amount of cheese and sugar to get others to gush.
36 – LOYALTY. by Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna
Fans of Rihanna managed to survive 2017 without an album release. We did get features she decided to grace, including this one and collaborations with Future, DJ Khaled and N.E.R.D. Who can blame her or her collaborators? Her track record is impressive – Eminem, Drake, Kanye West, David Guetta, T.I, Calvin Harris and Coldplay – just to name a few. “Loyalty” extends her streak. Even though Kendrick Lamar’s singles are often filled with aggression, Rihanna helps him slow it down and show another side of him.
35 – I’m the One by DJ Khaled featuring Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne and Quavo
DJ Khaled has been around for some time. All it took for his popularity to take off was employing high profile musicians. Now, the rest of the mainstream world is onboard to appreciate his genius. Specifically, on “I’m the One”, if any artist other than Justin Bieber delivered the chorus, I sincerely doubt the song would have maintained its appeal. As I hate to admit it, it’s not his star power that is his contribution. Rather, it is his …artistry.
34 – Stay by Zedd featuring Alessia Cara
Not that I didn’t enjoy “Clarity” or “Stay the Night”. But I feel like I’ve had enough dose of the two to last me a decade. Hence, I’m grateful that Zedd mixed it up with “Stay”. For one, you don’t feel as emotionally charged as the two singles I just mentioned. But also, infusing a new artist like Alessia Cara helped put some breath of fresh air in his music. This has got to be one of the top club jams in 2017!
33 – Suit and Jacket by Judah & the Lion
After hearing the first line “I ain’t trading my youth for no suit and jacket”, I knew the song and I would click. It’s not about rebellion. It’s about comfort and identity. But a lot of what the track stands for resonates with me. Since I refuse to acknowledge I’m far from what I thought I would be by age 27, I actively ignore my biological time block and constantly reinforce the thought in my head that I’m young. I prefer a life written by myself and not by others. And like the group, I haven’t figured it out all yet.
32 – Lust for Life by Lana del Rey featuring The Weeknd
If vampires were real, this would be the song they’d make love to. On one end, you have Lana del Rey. She can be the queen of the underworld. On the other, you have The Weeknd. There’s no doubt his voice can be haunting and can take a life of its own. “The Hills” has proven it. Pair the two together and you’d get chills. If only True Blood was still on air.
31 – 1-800-273-8255 by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid
I’m a firm believer in music and its ability to make a difference in people’s lives. I applaud Logic for his efforts in heightening conversation about suicide and mental wellness. Some find his release generic and formulaic. I find it courageous and commendable. To sing about simple yet tragic thoughts people foster is not as commonplace as it should be. If the song helped at least one person, that should be more than enough to make us feel proud about his work.