Like my favorite albums this year, my favorite songs were largely unprecedented, though I couldn’t bring it upon myself to rank these. Each one is so different and arrived at such a unique moment that ordering them one to ten would be futile, let alone narrowing them down to the ten you see here. See if any of these stick in your head as much as they did for me, and enjoy the full playlist of my favorite tracks at the bottom.
Mura Masa, Charli XCX
Mura Masa and Charli XCX struck gold with this one. The pop appeal and tropical dance energy creates a crossover value off the charts. If you can’t find a way to enjoy this one, then frankly you’re doing something wrong.
Baby I Don’t Know Oh Oh (ft. Charles Jones)
The Vulfpeck dudes throw down a simple groove that lays the foundation for Charles Jones to knock your socks off with his voice and keyboard skills.
Good Drank 2.0 (ft. Gucci Mane, Quavo, The Trap Choir)
You mean there’s a second version? Yes there is, and it’s everything this song was meant to be. Mike Dean’s fantastic production was begging for a choir, so they answered it’s call. Everyone involved here executed their role to a T, and the final product shines as bright as the smile it puts on your face.
Come Down (ft. Chief Keef, Rae Sremmurd)
Mike WiLL Made-It
This hidden gem from Mike WiLL’s Ransom 2 is one of those songs that just feels good. Over a brisk and bouncy beat, the chemistry between Chief Keef and Rae Sremmurd is undeniable, and all three rappers deliver an awesome performance, including the former singing the hook quite eloquently.
Picking a definitive favorite from this album was nearly impossible, but I can certainly argue that this is objectively SZA’s best performance on Ctrl. Her voice crashes over the sombre instrumental like waves on a rocky coast, majestic yet vulnerable, essentially epitomizing the pathos of the entire album.
Feels So Good
If you told me this song was nothing special, I couldn’t really argue with you. But for some reason, it’s apathetic, lazy, and slimy aesthetic really works for me. Maybe it just caught me at the right moment, but I had this on repeat for months from the first time I heard it. Long enough, actually, for it to be my most streamed song of the year, according to Spotify.
Talk about a tough decision. Every song on DAMN. has probably been my favorite at some point, but ultimately it had to be this one that took the cake. It’s got everything you want: a catchy hook with an unusual vibe, a nasally Kendrick, and a neatly engineered beat from the guys of BadBadNotGood.
*2 Weeks Later*
Deepak: “Hey Zach, what’s your favorite song off DAMN.?”
Me: “ELEMENT. Hands down.”
Sticking To My Guns
I am unofficially dubbing this the Hottest Track of 2017™. It sounds like craziest live band dancy party in New Orleans in the midst of Mardi Gras.
Thank you Frank for blessing us with some very impressive singles to tide us over for the year. “Provider,” for example, is that exquisite, rap-singing, mellow trap vibe on a level that only Mr. Ocean himself can deliver.
It’s so weird, but it’s so good. Thugger shows us he can sing rather beautifully over a strangely happy, guitar-infused trap beat that works incredibly well. Unfortunately, now I am always sadly reminded that I missed him perform it for the first time ever at The Metro during the Red Bull 30 Days in Chicago.