The 2017 Track of the Year

  1. Selena Gomez, “Bad Liar” Going back to Sugababes’ “Freak Like Me” many moons ago, I’ve always enjoyed pop music that deconstructs an existing piece of music and transforms it into something completely new. That’s exactly what Selena Gomez, songwriter Julia Michaels, and producer Justin Kirkpatrick do on the innovative and brilliant “Bad Liar”. […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #2

2. Paramore, “Told You So” For all the words written about Paramore’s struggles to keep the band intact amid a revolving door of supporting members, the bedrock has always ben the musical partnership between singer Hayley Williams and guitarist Taylor York. From the revelatory 2007 single “That’s What You Get” through 2013’s spectacular self-titled fourth […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #3

3. Lana Del Rey, “Love” In a year riddled with tragedy and unrest it was Lana Del Rey who came through with a song that cut through all the misery and offered a tiny glimmer of hope. It’s almost as if this world has gotten too cynical for a simple song about love to connect […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #4

                  4. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Cut to the Feeling” Nobody has cornered the effervescent side of North American pop music quite like Carly Rae Jepsen has in the past couple years. Arriving on the heels of 2015’s triumphant Emotion, “Cut to the Feeling” continues that soaring momentum. […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #5

5. Haim, “Want You Back” It’s always a little refreshing to hear a love song that doesn’t fixate on the whole “wronged victim” trope that permeates pop music. Haim’s shimmering “Want You Back” turns things around, and actually expresses remorse. There’s no hope of resolution, just regret and longing, which is conveyed so well by […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #6

6. Zola Jesus, “Siphon” I can’t remember hearing as eloquent, compassionate song about attempted suicide as what Nika Rosa Danilova has composed in the form of “Siphon”. It conveys a strong sense of urgency and tension, but for all the dark undertones lies a sense of support and positivity that steadily takes over the song. […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #7

7. Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Deadly Valentine” “Deadly Valentine” is simple in its approach: recited wedding vow text atop an airy electronic arrangement. What Charlotte Gainsbourg and producer SebastiAn create, however, is a fusion of romance, tragedy, light, and darkness…which you can dance to. It’s a track that bridges art and pop like few others this year, […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #8

8. Kelly Clarkson, “Meaning of Life” Kelly Clarkson continues to age more gracefully than any of her American pop peers from the 2000s, thanks to a willingness to show more maturity and not worry so much about following trends. The title track to her eighth album is straight-up soul music, and true to form, she […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #9

9. Partner, “Play the Field”  I’ve written a lot about how it feels as though real, good indie rock music has been ignored in favour of limp, non-committal music by fey white boys on cool record labels. Ontario duo Partner came through with a total gem of a debut album that brings such badly-needed energy […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #10

10. Kelela, “LMK” As strong as Kelela’s debut album Take Me Apart is, “LMK” is the one track that grabbed my attention the most. The hook is terrific (“All you gotta do is let me know”) but the production is spectacular, following the lead of fka twigs: ominous bass synth, skittering, glitchy percussion, and crystalline […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #11

  11. Wolf Alice, “Don’t Delete the Kisses” It’s great to see a young British rock band like Wolf Alice do so well for themselves, but wow, if “Don’t Delete the Kisses” came out in 1996 is would have been monstrous. Ting is, though, as indebted as it is to Stone Roses, Pulp, and Lush, […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #12

12. Kesha, “Let ‘em Talk” Of all of Kesha’s empowering statements on the triumphant comeback album Rainbow, “Let ‘em Talk” is by far the most powerful. Backed by Eagles of Death metal in a pairing so inspired it makes me wish she’d join the band as permanent singer, Kesha doesn’t hold back, and it is […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #13

13. Zola Jesus, “Soak” Nika Rosa Danilova mentioned on NPR that she wrote the ominous track “Soak” from the perspective of a serial killer’s victim. “I started to do thought experiments of what it would feel like to be a killer’s victim. What would I feel in those last minutes before my life was taken […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #14

14. Torres, “Three Futures” The title track from Torres’s ambitious third album is probably the saddest song I heard in 2017. Atop a dry, morose arrangement of drum machine, ambient synths, and a carefully plucked guitar melody, Mackenzie Scott’s protagonist confronts a former lover, expressing deep resentment (“You trusted me to love your parents”), regret […]

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The Best Tracks of 2017, #15

15. St. Vincent, “Los Ageless” Annie Clark dares to take on some well-worn themes on her excellent album MASSEDUCTION – depression, drugs, heartbreak, the vapidity of the material world – but she does it with such a fresh perspective that it feels original. “Los Ageless” is nowhere near the first song to complain about life in […]

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