After much deliberation including additions and subtractions, here are my five favorite tracks of the year. It’s worth noting the political mood of a few of these tracks as well as the dominance of female artist. All of these tracks meant something special for my ’17 and I hope they resonate with you as well.
#5 “The Apology Song” / Wolfy
This is both a lullaby and an extremely uncomfortable track in some points. We love the unhindered songwriting by the LA artist and this track is the standout of her Blood EP. The songwriting is clever, while being a glimpse into the soul of the artist. It is a panoramic picture of the heights and depths of human emotion and love. “The Apology Song” is a bittersweet millennial love song that works on every level. From the gentle electric guitar to the backing vocals, it is near songwriting perfection and definitely one of the most intriguing tracks we came across this year.
#4 “Send The Sun” / Nikki Lane
We loved Lane’s Highway Queen album this year and found it difficult to pick our favorite track. The Nashville artist beautifully captures the new alt rambling country sound that is currently thriving. Perhaps criminally overlooked this year, we could not get enough of the gentle romantic sway of “Send The Sun”. This is ideal songwriting in every sense of the word.
#3 “Police State” / Pussy Riot
So we owe this act a sincere apology. For years, we have absolutely loved what they have stood for as voices against authoritarianism and hatred, yet we haven’t looked past their spot on message to the music they create. Honestly, we hurt ourselves. “Police State” might be our favorite pop song of the year, and maybe our favorite punk driven message. It takes a true artist to be able to communicate something of substance in an incredible catchy medium. The talented group of rebel artists does just this on the track. They will only gain listeners with their stubborn freedom, and tread ground similar to Phantogram and Sleigh Bells on this one. They are one of the few artists whose message matches the quality of their sound. Provocative and incredible; we are not sleeping on this act again.
#2 “Stone Age” / David Ramirez
2017 was ridiculous. If any year needed the vulnerable and punching thoughts of one of this generations greatest songwriters, it was this. Tackling consumerism, Internet trolls, and racist leaders, Ramirez is at the peak of his art on “Stone Age”. His latest album marks a different direction, but never lacks his incredible artistic integrity that bounces between folk, country, and rock with a conscience. While we love the new album, it took us awhile to fully appreciate it due to our devotion to his earlier work. Tracks like “Stone Age” bridge the years nicely with his enduring sardonic lyrics sung with his weary and incredible voice.
#1 “No Roots” / Alice Merton
What more can we say about this track? In recent months, “No Roots” has gained in much deserved exposure and airplay, garnering KROQ status while earning countless Florence and the Machine comparisons. Merton is fantastic and blending sounds into a surprising sound that draws listeners in and leaves them hanging on every dynamic note. The chorus is ridiculously catchy and the gospel/soul flare is unmatched. We luckily came across this one through an endless sea of promo emails, and on a destined whim, we checked it out. We have been reaping the musical fruit ever since. This is a no-brainer of a best track pick that gets better with every spin.