17. Savages, “Fuckers”
A live performance released has a single has to be mind-blowingly great to warrant inclusion on my year-end list, and seeing that Savages have wasted no time in established a reputation as one of the most intense rock bands in the world, it’s understandable that “Fuckers”, released as a seven-inch back in May, is such a song. There’s not much to the song lyrically – singer Jehnny Beth rarely deviating from the line, “Don’t let the fuckers get you down” – but the way it builds from hushed, muted anger, to confrontation, to full-on rage, is astonishing. Ayse Hassan and Faye Milton anchor the song, forming a krautrock-style rhythm section so taut, so groovy, that it gives guitarist Gemma Thomson – arguably the best woman guitarist in rock right now – the freedom to improvise with roars, drones, and rising and descending atonal riffs. It is a master class in post-punk aesthetics, taking that German innovation and tweaking it into something primal, savage, and a little acerbic, not unlike Public Image, Ltd., The Fall, and Killing Joke. Coming from me, that’s about as high praise as I can give.