Top 100 songs of 2017.

This is now my fifth annual ranking of the top 100 songs of the year, the sixth year I’ve done such a ranking at all, and they don’t get any easier, really, given the sheer volume of new music released each year – I don’t know if it’s actually more than ever, or if it’s just easier to find it as artists can release singles and EPs directly, even going years before putting out a full-length album. The year in music was a good one, I think, certainly the best year for full albums in ages (despite some huge letdowns from artists who’ve made my rankings before), with far more songs I liked than I could cram on to this list. My list of my favorite albums of 2017 went up a little later.

Previous lists: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.

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100. Wavves – Daisy. I’m constantly amazed by Wavves’ prolific output; this year brought You’re Welcome, the band’s sixth album, plus two non-album singles. This track opened the album, released in May.

99. Spoon – Hot Thoughts. The title track from Spoon’s ninth album was a rare highlight for me on an album that felt a little mailed-in after the stronger They Want My Soul from 2014.

98. Lucius – The Punisher. This quintet became a quartet late in 2016, then released this non-album single back in January, although it would have fit in just fine on their latest album, last year’s Good Grief, which placed “Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain” at #10 on last year’s list.

97. Japanese Breakfast – Machinist. This is the nom de chanson of Michelle Zauner of Little Big League, and the song comes from her second album, which is kind of dark and moody, like industrial wedded to early gothic new wave.

96. The New Pornographers – Darling Shade. I loved TNP’s album Whiteout Conditions, which came out in April, but it seemed to miss its audience, charting lower than their last two albums did both in the U.S. and in Canada.

95. Liam Gallagher – Wall of Glass. The brothers Gallagher both released records this year, and both albums were mostly sad, derivative reminders of what used to be. This was my favorite song from either of the records.

94. The Districts – If Before I Wake. The line “I’m just a narcissist” feels like it speaks so much to our current times, doesn’t it?

93. Sløtface – Nancy Drew. The first of three songs on this list from the Norwegian punk-pop band; I love their hooks but I think I enjoy their witty lyrics even more.

92. Sleater-Kinney – Here We Come. This felt more like a strong album track from the trio than a lead single for a new record, but we’ll take it.

91. Van William – The Country. The lead singer of WATERS (who appear twice further up this list) is working on his solo album, with this the first of two singles to appear thus far from it. Full disclosure: I’ve met Van once and talked coffee & baseball with him, as he’s a diehard Dodgers fan. I believe he is also the second tallest person ever to ride in my car.

90. The Night Game – The Outfield. It’s catchy, and it gets extra points for the baseball reference, but in particular I locked in on how the chorus sounds so much like something the band The Outfield would have sang.

89. Quicksand – Illuminant. Quicksand’s record Interiors was probably the biggest surprise for me in music this year – that it existed at all, and that it was their best album ever. (They hadn’t released an album in 22 years.) They were one of the defining bands of the post-hardcore movement, but rather than just returning to their original sound, they’ve mellowed slightly and added more melodic elements.

88. Sundara Karma – She Said. The Guardian once said this Reading act aspired to the sound of Bruce Springsteen, but I think Oscar “Lulu” Pollock and company are much more of a pure pop act, especially on joyous tracks like this one.

87. Washed Out – Hard to Say Goodbye. I would not say I was a fan of Washed Out’s previous album, Paracosm, but Mister Mellow, while inconsistent, had a slew of tracks I really liked; it seems like Mr. Greene focused more on songcraft this time around instead of creating soundscapes.

86. Confidence Man – Boyfriend (Repeat). I’ll guess now that this will be the first song that folks listening to the playlist in order decide to skip; for me, it’s annoyingly catchy, but if you think it’s catchily annoying I understand that too.

85. Kid Astray – Roads. This Norwegian band, who placed “The Diver” (#39 in 2015) and “The Mess” (#8 in 2013) on previous year-end lists, put out two singles this year, with this my favorite of the pair, ahead of what I presume will be a new album in 2018.

84. Earl St. Clair – Ain’t Got It Like That. I don’t know what to call this song – it’s soulful, but it’s not soul; it’s jazzy, but it’s not jazz – other than to say it’s not a genre I typically even listen to. I do love St. Clair’s singing style and the main hook in this song.

83. Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Remember when they were the industry’s darlings in 2012 with Celebration Rock? Their January release, also called Near to the Wild Heart of Life, didn’t sell as well, didn’t get the same critical acclaim, and barely even got much airplay. I wonder if the nearly five-year gap did them in. Anyway, I’m somewhat alone in that I liked this album much more than their previous one.

82. Wild Beasts – Punk Drunk & Trembling. Wild Beasts announced their breakup in September and released an EP of unreleased tracks from the recording of Boy King, my #2 album of 2016. I guess they’re going out on a huge high note.

81. DJ Shadow with Nas – Systematic. Definitely the best rap song ever to include a recipe for a cranberry cocktail.

80. Artificial Pleasure – Wound Up Tight. I’m expecting big things from this London electronic-rock outfit, who have put out a handful of upbeat, artsy, danceable singles so far, with synth lines to make the Human League proud.

79. Splashh – Closer. Yeah, another band from the “let’s misspell a word by one letter just to annoy Keith” school of nomenclature. Splashh has a bit of a shoegaze sound that really fit in a year when many of the giants of the original shoegaze put out comeback albums.

78. Ten Fe – Twist Your Arm. I thought Ten Fe’s album, Hit the Light, was one of the best of the year, but they’re only on this list twice because two of the album’s best tracks were released as singles in 2016. It’s soft rock, just done really well.

77. The Pale White – Downer. A driving, bluesy rock song, in the vein of last year’s “Down We Go” by With Lions, which showed up in the trailer for Logan Lucky.

76. Daughter – Glass. Daughter’s album this year was the soundtrack to a video game, Music from Before the Storm, yet it worked extremely well as its own work of art apart from the game. The band’s atmospheric sound seems to have translated to the video game world just fine, and this record may have more hooks than their last album, Not to Disappear.

75. No Win – You’ll Be Fine. Former FIDLAR drummer Danny Nogueiras helms this new power-pop act that draws from early emo bands like Jimmy Eat World and earlier acts like Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet.

74. Goldfrapp – Anymore. Goldfrapp has lost all the trappings of their earlier rock-tinged records, with their sound now fully in the electronic/house arena; this hypnotic track led off their 2017 album Silver Eye.

73. INHEAVEN – Bitter Town. INHEAVEN had one of the best rock debuts of the year with their self-titled album; this was my second favorite track from the record, a brief downshift that gets the desolation of the title across in both music and vocals, along with an allusion to “Baba O’Riley.”

72. White Reaper – Judy French. White Reaper does not lack for confidence, naming their sophomore album The World’s Best American Band; I guess I wouldn’t quite go that far, but the record did include two banger pop-rock tracks, this one and another higher up the list.

71. Everything Everything – Can’t Do. E2’s album A Fever Dream was a bit disappointing to me, as it lacked some of the musical freneticism of songs like “Cough Cough” and “Kemosabe” or the breathtaking ambition of “I Believe It Now,” but it still had its moments, including this single, which features some stutter-stop percussion and the vocal gymnastics of Jonathan Higgs. I’m lovin’ the bass, I’m lovin’ the drums, indeed.

70. Hundred Waters – Wave to Anchor. Hundred Waters’ sophomore album, The Moon Rang Like a Bell was my #1 record of 2014 thanks to its combination of subtle but strong melodies and the use of vocals as an additional instrument rather than a mere complement to the synths and percussion. Their 2017 follow-up, Communicating, felt a little safe in comparison, still good but lacking the highs of the previous record. This was the most accessible song on the album.

69. Sløtface – Pitted. Few bands on this list – or anywhere in music now – sound like they’re having as much fun as Sløtface does. The earworm in this song is the line about “playing Marry, Fuck, Kill/with every actor that’s ever played James Bond.”

68. Royal Blood – Hook, Line & Sinker. When these guys get heavy, they get heavy, and it’s so damn good. The main riff here could come from a Black Sabbath album track, but the vocals and the riffs behind the chorus turn it into a tremendous piece of hard rock bordering on pop.

67. The Preatures – Girlhood. I still don’t know what the repeated line in the verses is – whatever makes me a modern girl? A moddie girl? – but it doesn’t matter. It feels very ’90s college rock in a good way.

66. Maisie Peters – The Place We Were Made. Peters is a Youtube star who released this, her debut single, shortly after she turned 17. It’s quite a bit mellower than what I usually like, but I love both the fretwork and the melody in the chorus, and this feels like it’s the announcement of a huge talent.

65. Bully – Kills to Be Resistant. I can’t get behind the critical love for Alicia Bognanno’s band, but this song is a bit more accessible – she doesn’t screech the way she does on some of their other singles – and the theme feels quite relevant at the moment.

64. Hoops – On Letting Go. Lo-fi dream pop from an Indiana quartet that can be quite hypnotic, with that high-pitched synth line repeating like a mantra and taking this song back about 45 years.

63. Portugal. The Man – Easy Tiger. Portugal. The Man had the biggest breakout hit of the year with “Feel It Still,” but their whole album, Woodstock, is excellent, my favorite from them so far (surpassing In the Mountain in the Cloud). They haven’t lost their flair for the dramatic at all, evident on several tracks from the album including this one, “Tidal Wave,” and “Rich Friends.”

62. Black Map – Ruin. This hard-rock trio made my top 100 last year in almost the same spot, as “Run Rabbit Run” landed at #65; that song and this one are both on their newest album In Droves.

61. Ten Fe – In the Air. I don’t usually think of this kind of soft-rock/adult contemporary as ‘driving’ music, but this song absolutely has that feel from how the drum and bass lines establish the tempo from the outset.

60. Are We Static – Heartbreaker. This Manchester band calls itself “alt-rock” and cites some mainstream artists as influences, but this song, by far the heaviest on their album Embers, is more into the shoegaze/Madchester vein than the rest of the record, which is why it’s my favorite.

59. Panama – Hope for Something. Upbeat dance-pop from the Australian quintet led by Jarrah McCleary; this is from their third EP, also called Hope for Something. Their last record produced “Always,” which was #51 on my 2013 list.

58. Afghan Whigs – Demon in Profile. The Whigs’ comeback album, In Spades, was one of several shocking returns this year – Quicksand, Slowdive, and Ride all come to mind – and all of those records turned out to be pretty good. In Spades had two standout tracks, this one and “Toy Automatic.”

57. The New Pornographers – High Ticket Attractions. The second of three songs here from this album, I think this one got the most airplay and it was the lead single from the record, but I preferred the title track.

56. The Riff – Weekend Schemes. It starts out like a Madchester track, but when the vocals come in, it’s more like The Hold Steady, not least because the lead singer sounds a hell of a lot like Craig Finn. I would suggest to these fine lads that they work on their lyrics, though.

55. Quicksand – Fire This Time. Quicksand struck a great balance on this album, Interiors between the heavy, hardcore-inspired riffs fans of their earlier work expect and the need or desire to produce something accessible. The minor-key guitar line that powers this song is a perfect example, as it’s dark and inherently heavy, but also memorable enough that it moves the song forward rather than dragging it into sludge-metal territory.

54. Slowdive – Star Roving. Slowdive’s first album in 22 years had two standout songs on, including this one, which sounds like vintage shoegaze with a little bit of Olivia Tremor Control’s “The Opera House” thrown in for good measure.

53. WATERS – Something More. Van Pierszalowski is pretty good at crafting little earworms for his songs; their latest album, also called Something More!, had two lines in particular that stuck in my head, both of which, coincidentally, included the F word.

52. Coast Modern – Comb My Hair. When I first heard this, I thought it was a new WATERS track, as it has that same sort of laconic California vibe and a similar sound from the lead vocalist. That’s all to the good.

51. Beck – Dear Life. Beck’s album Colors was one of my favorites this year, with my #1 song of 2015 (“Dreams”) and a slew of other great singles, and not just the uptempo songs I tend to prefer from him. This has a more relaxed pace but still works for me due to the recurring piano riff that gives it a different sort of rhythm.

50. Birdtalker – One. Old school folk-rock like the Mamas & the Papas or the Byrds used to make.

49. Death from Above – Never Swim Alone. The heavy, whining guitar lick that starts off this song could have come off one of Royal Blood’s albums, and it marks DfA’s progression on their third record, Outrage! Is Now, to crafting complete songs rather than just pushing an intriguing sound.

48. Alvvays – Plimsoll Punks. I don’t care for Alvvays’ lead singer’s voice, and didn’t really like their latest album, Antisocialites, other than this song, which is also more rock-influenced than the rest of the record.

47. Allie X – Vintage. Allie X’s debut album, Collxtion II, came out in June, and it veers more towards the twee end of electropop than I tend to favor, but this song’s chorus is too damn catchy for me to ignore.

46. Wavves – No Shade. I think this is the shortest song on the list at 1:47, but that’s Nathan Williams’ style: get in, drop the hook, get out.

45. Grandaddy – Brush with the Wild. I remember some newspaper music critic saying Grandaddy would be the next Radiohead right around the turn of the century; that didn’t really work out, did it? They split in 2006 and their album Last Place, their first in eleven years, came out in March.

44. Foster the People – Lotus Eater. I liked their 2014 album Supermodel more than most listeners did, I think, but their latest record, Sacred Hearts Club, mostly just bored me – the big ideas from FtP’s last record seemed absent. This one track takes a different, harder-edged direction, really the only song from the album I even wanted to listen to twice.

43. Anteros – Cherry Drop. Wikipedia has this London quartet tagged as “dream pop,” but this song certainly isn’t that – the thumping, serpentine guitar line behind the vocals is almost punkish and gives the song an urgency that you don’t find in dream-pop tracks.

42. White Reaper – The Stack. If you make the girls dance, then the boys’ll dance with ’em.

41. The DMAs – Dawning. They’re constantly compared to Oasis, which is neither apt nor particularly fair; they’re influenced by Oasis, certainly, but by lots of other Britpop and Australian acts who were in turn influenced by classic rock of the ’70s.

40. Ride – All I Want. Ride’s debut album, Nowhere, was a landmark in the shoegaze scene in England, but by their second album they’d already started to shift more into traditional alternative rock territory, with cleaner production and decipherable vocals. Their comeback this year, Weather Diaries, continues in that vein, almost like their final two pre-breakup albums (which weren’t well received by fans or critics) never happened.

39. Hippo Campus – Baseball. I mean, how could I resist?

38. Washed Out – Get Lost. The beginning does sound like a kid playing with his first Casiotone keyboard, but I promise, once the drum beat kicks in, it’s a real song, my favorite from Mister Mellow.

37. Yonaka – Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya. It’s obnoxious, but in a good way, both from the lyrics and the droning stoner-rock guitars.

36. Wolf Alice – Beautifully Unconventional. I didn’t think Visions of a Life delivered at all on the promise of Wolf Alice’s first record, with a bunch of songs that sounded like someone imitating My Love is Cool rather than building on its foundation. I did like “Heavenward,” the first track, although it goes on a bit too long.

35. Portugal. The Man – So Young. As I said above, this was one of my favorite albums of the year; it’s a shame it’ll be remembered for That One Hit and not for the complete body of work.

34. WATERS – Hiccups. Another extremely catchy, summery track; this one caught some airplay on alternative stations and I think it might have done better if it had come out when the weather warmed up.

33. Waxahatchee – Never Been Wrong. I like Katie Crutchfield’s musical style more than her individual songs, as she has a great country/folk/rock hybrid sound going on but doesn’t always hit the melodies for me. This one does, of course, since it’s here, including the harmonies in the chorus and the big guitar-driven build in the song’s bridges.

32. Black Honey – Somebody Better. Black Honey appeared twice on my top 100 last year (not including the song “Black Honey” by Thrice, which also made the list), and I have compared them repeatedly to the power-pop act Velocity Girl from the 1990s, which is very high praise from me. Black Honey dropped three more songs this year, but I’m still waiting eagerly for their full-length debut.

31. Versing – Body Chamber. It takes some stones for a Seattle band to name its debut album Nirvana, especially since they might be influenced a bit by Kurt Cobain but certainly don’t sound much like the grunge icons. Their lead singer, Daniel Salas, is a huge fan of the Mars Volta, and I can hear bits of Sonic Youth, Hum, and the Sheila Divine here. The big selling point here is the melancholy passage behind the chorus, which provides a tension that’s never fully resolved.

30. Everything Everything – Desire. A Fever Dream had a few highlights, but I thought the back half of the record was pretty thin; in fairness, E2 has more ideas in two singles than most bands put on an entire album. The title track from the record didn’t make my top 100, mostly because at six minutes it’s about 25% too long, but they do get points for the ambition of the latter half of the song.

29. alt-J – In Cold Blood. There was only one bigger disappointment for me in music in 2017 than alt-J’s Relaxer — I’ll get to the other one in a bit – as the English trio has moved further away from their minimalist leanings on An Awesome Wave and more into self-consciously weird yet radio-friendly alternative rock. They still nabbed a Mercury Prize nomination for the album, which I assume is sort of like how Rafael Palmeiro won a Gold Glove the year he spent as a DH.

28. Beck – Colors. The title track from Beck’s album is the second of three songs from the record to make this list, and if you add “Dreams” from the 2015 top 100, which appears on this album in two forms (one of which has clean lyrics, because the F-word is so scary). There’s no one like Prince out there now, nor will there every truly be, but Beck is the closest we’ve got – a musical savant who can jump between and meld styles like virtually nobody else.

27. The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions. Carl Newman is a fountain of great pop ideas and bold arrangements for his supergroup (although this album didn’t include Dan Bejar, who also records as Destroyer). The rising vocal lines here give you the sense that you’re always ascending, something Franz Ferdinand could learn from.

26. Space Above – Let It Still. The new project from the keyboardist for The Naked and Famous, Space Above is … well, spacier than TNaF’s output. It’s atmospheric without sounding like something you’d find on a New Age station, boosted by vocals from Maddie North of So Below.

25. Bad Sounds – Wages. I’ve got my guilty pleasures in music too, although I was bummed that Bad Sounds’ subsequent singles didn’t carry forward this Soupdragons/Space Monkeys kind of pop ebullience. If any song on this list is going to get you moving, this is it.

24. Daughter – Burn It Down. More from their soundtack to Before the Storm and easily the best use of Elena Tonra’s voice, which ripples with angst and keeps the tension going for the whole song. I really need to try this game.

23. Sløtface – Backyard. That’s three songs on the list from their debut album Try Not to Freak Out; “Magazine” just missed, and the album didn’t include 2016’s “Empire Records” (#29 last year). I guess I’m a fan.

22. The Amazons – Black Magic. I heard this song and thought we had another great bombastic British rock act … but there isn’t another guitar riff to rival this one on the rest of their self-titled album.

21. Death from Above – Freeze Me. This song had me right from that introductory keyboard riff, which is just syncopated enough that it throws me off balance and never quite lets me regain it until the song ends.

20. Ride – Lannoy Point. I believe this is the longest track on the list at nearly six minutes, although it doesn’t feel quite that long because the drums keep things zipping along. “Chrome Waves” was one of my favorite Ride songs from their 1990s run, and this has a very similar vibe.

19. Phoenix – Ti Amo. I get the sense the moment for Phoenix has passed, as their album Ti Amo didn’t sell like 2013’s Bankrupt! even though this was a much better record start to finish; they’re not going back to the sound of their Grammy-winning 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, nor should they. The French popsters incorporate more international/world music rhythms on this album, including the two-step percussion line on this track, as well as on lead single “J-Boy” and “Goodbye Soleil.”

18. Manchester Orchestra – The Gold. Manchester Orchestra is at its best when they swing for the fences – they’re like the George Springer of rock groups: swing hard or go home. They connected on this one, with the gigantic chorus nicely offsetting the soft-rock verses.

17. The Wombats – Lemon to a Knife Fight. I won’t lie – I’m pretty well in the tank for these guys, as they keep churning out great pop hooks and silly lyrics that nearly always get a laugh out of me. Their next album is due in February, although I am not as enamored of the second single, “Turn.”

16. Hatchie – Sure. If the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan had partnered with early Lush, you might have gotten this song.

15. Alice Merton – No Roots. Other than the two songs at the top, this is probably the most-played song on the list on commercial or satellite radio. It was an immediate hit with my daughter, whose musical tastes are definitely independent of mine … but when we both like a song, I figure that’s a good reason to stuff it on this rankings.

14. MisterWives – Machine. I find Mandy Lee’s lyrics a bit overwrought most of the time – even here, the “I believe in individuality” line makes me cringe – but they’ve hit on a huge, shout-along chorus here, and Lee sounds more than a little like Shakira while wending her voice around the horns.

13. Porches – Find Me. Porches’ music always feels a little creepy to me, but in the sense of, say, a gothic horror movie; I love how the drum machine is mixed towards the front of this song, setting the dark mood right out of the chute.

12. Beck – Up All Night. This is peak Beck for me; he’s at his best when he’s throwing everything against the wall like he does here, sounding like he’s leading a band of twenty musicians and turning it into a tight, cohesive three-minute pop gem.

11. Django Django – Tic Tac Toe. I suppose “Default” will always be their signature song, but the Djangos aren’t resting on the laurels from that Mercury Prize-nominated album; listen to the interplay between the guitar and the off-beat drum lines behind the chorus here, which is as inventive as anything on their last album.

10. Mastodon – Show Yourself. Mastodon d oesn’t usually get this accessible – and I do like much of their music – which is why I’ve often favored their albums as a whole but rarely highlighted singles like this one. Emperor of Sand has already made a few best-of-2017 lists, as they haven’t lost their progressive tendencies but harnessed them into some tighter and more radio-ready tracks.

9. Dan Croll – Bad Boy. The 27-year-old graduate of the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts released his sophomore album, Emerging Adulthood, this summer, featuring this overlooked gem of a track that features big hooks in the chorus and the bridge.

8. INHEAVEN – World on Fire. INHEAVEN absolutely kills it on this song, the best track on their generally strong self-titled debut album, a song that wouldn’t be out of place on a playlist of New Wave of British Heavy Metal tracks.

7. Cut Copy – Black Rainbows. Cut Copy have been around since at least 2004, but in all that time they’ve never quite produced a song I could say I liked and remembered – their style may be in my wheelhouse, but other than 2010’s “Where I’m Going” I don’t think I’ve ever had a song of theirs grab me for more than a listen or two. This song, however, is a hit, a little bit Vince Clarke, a little Spandau Ballet, and a little Heaven 17 all rolled into one.

6. Oh Wonder – Ultralife. Their new album, also called Ultralife, was very inconsistent, but brought two great singles in “High on Humans” and this title track with its whirling, jubilant chorus.

5. Slowdive – Sugar for the Pill. Sorry to bring things down a bit – everything else in the top twelve is upbeat – but of all the shoegaze-revival stuff released this year, this was the one song that did the best job of bringing me back to the early/mid-1990s when bands like Slowdive, Ride, Jesus & Mary Chain, Curve, and Lush were at their creative peaks.

4. Royal Blood – Lights Out. Appropriately sinister and heavy, not as slow as doom or sludge metal but every bit as dark, “Lights Out” gives us the best of Royal Blood and shows us, again, how much you can do with just a bass guitar, an octave pedal, and a drum kit.

3. Arcade Fire – Everything Now. Arcade Fire’s album of the same name was easily the biggest disappointment of 2017 in music for me; at several points, it was downright embarrassing, like the “Infinite Content” diptych, which felt like something from a 14-year-old’s poetry notebook. Winn Butler isn’t afraid to go after big themes on his albums, like suburban sprawl and the vapidity of its culture (The Suburbs) or alienation in the modern world (Reflektor), but this album’s swings at modern materialism were such a whiff that Butler ended up on his ass before the ball hit the catcher’s mitt. The album gave us one truly great song, the only one that works musically (aided by a sample from Cameroonian musician Francis Bebey) and lyrically; the fair “Signs of Life;” and a lot of dreck.

2. Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used to Do. When Josh Homme comes up with a great riff, clear the dance floor because we’re going to need some room. I was skeptical that a QotSA album produced by Mark Ronson (“Uptown Funk”) would work, but it absolutely does – Ronson encouraged Homme’s groove/funk tendencies and it gave one of the best songs in their catalogue.

1. Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still. It would be entirely disingenuous for me to put any other song here; “Feel It Still” made my March playlist, hit the Billboard Hot 100 in late June, reached #4 there, set the record for the most weeks any song has spent at #1 on the magazine’s alternative chart, and earned the band its first Grammy nomination. Spotify even confirmed for me that it’s the song I played the most this year, which I assume includes all the times I listened to their album Woodstock in its entirety. And if you missed it, they recorded a fantastic cover of Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger” back in September. I’d be lying if I said anything else was my favorite song of 2017.


  1. Not a fan of The National? “Day I Die” was a lot of fun, even if you aren’t a fan.

    • I have never liked his singing voice. They’ve appeared on these lists before, but it takes a truly exceptional song.

  2. Hey Keith, very good list. A few thoughts/questions:
    1 – When you lamented Portugal. The Man’s ‘Woodstock’ only being known for its hit single, I thought you were dismissing that particular song; I was happy to see it show up at the top of the list.
    2 – I’m surprised you didn’t like Spoon’s ‘Hot Thoughts’ as much as their previous album. I liked ‘Hot Thoughts’ a bit more than you but I think their last two albums are both are well ahead of their truly-mailed-in predecessor, ‘Transference.’
    3 – Did you listen to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn?’ It’s been at the top of a few Best of 2017 lists (#1 for Spin & Rolling Stone off the top of my head) and it’s very good. If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen.
    4 – Did you listen to St Vincent’s ‘MASSEDUCATION?’ Again, a very good and very well-received piece if you haven’t given it a listen yet.
    5 – Thank you for staying away from U2. Just no.

    • I’ve listened to Kendrick’s and St. Vincent’s albums. I think Kendrick is horribly overrated as a rapper, and I find St. Vincent’s music pretentious and boring.

      I have not listened to the new U2 album … because everyone says pretty much what you say, and I haven’t particularly liked anything by them in 15 years. (I love their peak output, though. The Unforgettable Fire-Joshua Tree-Achtung troika has to be among the best three album runs in history.)

  3. cool list, much thanks… did you check out the wombats? Lemon to a knife fight. best title for a song this year too.

  4. I know you’re normally not a Run the Jewels guy, but did “2100” or “Legend Has It” even have a shot with you? I thought their 3rd offering was head and shoulders their best.

    • I’m not a big fan, but that album came out in 2016. I thought their collab with Danger Mouse and Big Boi, “Chase Me,” was better than their own stuff.

  5. Homme did a very unfortunate thing during a show last week — kicked a female photographer in the face as she was snapping pics from the edge of the stage.

    • The news reports say he was behaving strangely during the whole show. I don’t want to make any excuses for what he did, but I wonder if he’s suffering PTSD from the Paris attack. I doubt any of the survivors left that unscathed.

    • Keith, Josh wasn’t in Paris FWIW. Though it is certainly possible the events have left a lasting impression on him. I would imagine his issues have more to do with substance abuse.

    • I had no idea – I assumed he still toured with EoDM. Thanks.

  6. Chris Burfield

    Completely right on number 86 on this list. It was the first song I decided to skip when I was listening in order. I also read your comment about it being the first skip after actually skipping it so I wasn’t biased against it either, haha.

  7. Michael Sixel

    Like your list every year, but this one lines up particularly well with my tastes. Thanks!

  8. Always appreciate this list, lots of new stuff to check out. Have already stopped once to listen to the full Districts album.

    I know from Lost in the Dream that the song length and Dylan references turned you off. Songs were even longer on A Deeper Understanding, but I heard less Dylan on it. Any thoughts on it?

    Also, you have DFA on here twice, which makes sense given the new album’s quality but I’m curious if they’re on there with or without a caveat – do the externalities of the band impact how you listen?

  9. I agree that the Arcade Fire record was a huge disappointment, but I thought Creature Comfort was the best song on the record and a great song in general.

    • I really can’t stand Régine’s voice when she goes high and/or loud. She’s positively screeching on that song.

  10. No Foos making the grade? A little surprised – really like a LOT on that record.

    Solid list overall, agree on your Japandroids view – it’s my fav of theirs. And thanks for reminding me how great that White Reaper record is…gonna play that now.

    • Someone asked me about FF on Twitter; I don’t think I’ve really liked any of their music since their first album, which was such a pleasant surprise and had this weird grunge meets Beach Boys vibe that they dropped to just be a hard rock band.

  11. I notice very little rap/hip hop on the list. I know you’re generally a fan of the genre, but I believe your taste skews to more old school stuff. Where do you stand on Kendrick?