Favourites from a variety of genres
By Joshua Toevs, Columnist
With the end of the year comes the time for lists. I personally am not a fan of making lists when it comes to things like songs or albums; instead I like to use my time writing about the songs or albums that I jammed to a lot or that made me feel something. With that being said, here are eight songs that I loved in 2017.
“The Deep” by clipping.
A story told through song, “The Deep” finds abstract rapper clipping. sharing the adventure of African women thrown into the water to live on the surface floor and their trip to reach land again. The song is a four-part act until they finally reach that break in the water, with the production and flow rapidly increasing in speed. The production features a lot of industrial sounds to give you the feeling of being underwater. The nondescript drum loop mixed with these sounds and clipping.’s storytelling makes for a very replayable record.
“As If It’s Your Last” by BlackPink
BlackPink strikes again with the most infectious bop in K-Pop for 2017. It has a sound of K-Pops past infused with a little bit more of an electronic vibe to make it feel fresh. The chorus has a tantalizing melody to it, while Jennie’s rap verse is cocky and oozing with charisma. Fans of K-Pop already know what BlackPink brings to the table but even an outsider would respect this pop banger.
“Taste” by Rhye
“Taste” is Rhye’s return to music after a four-year hiatus. The beautiful vocal melodies are still perfectly intact, giving a sense of familiarity, but the production adds an extra layer of depth to an already beautiful sound. The bassline is groovy while the piano lines are absolutely gorgeous. This record is fun and danceable, which is a nice progression into Rhye’s overall sound.
“Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B
The song that put a female rapper on the top of the charts for the first time in 19 years is an absolute club banger. The stripper-turned-rapper flows her ass off. Cardi is confident and she weaves through and dominates the glossy trap beat. The hi-hats are rattling while the key loop is super infectious. Cardi uses a repeatable hook to keep the track playing in clubs and radio alike, but it is her verses that keep me coming back. She is Nicki Minaj if Nicki showed off her street side more often. “Bodak Yellow” is so much fun to rap to and a song that I continually come back to.
“Midnight” by Jessie Ware
The first track from Jessie Ware’s album Glasshouse is a silky starter with beautiful arrangements and even more encapsulating melodies. Ware’s vocals have a quiet power to them as she maps out a rendezvous with her love. The chorus brings in some smouldering drums and a beautiful refrain from Ware. This is adult contemporary pop music at its absolute finest.
“Star” by Brockhampton
“Star” is a genre-bending, pop-culture-referencing hip hop track that is outrageously fun. The ragtag group that met on a Kanye West fan forum come together and flow over a grime-influenced trap beat. People mentioned on this song include Heath Ledger, Beyoncé, Jason Statham, Liam Neeson, and Chris Paul, just to name a few. Dom McLennon steals the show with his opening verse, and the overall ethos of wanting to attain certain aspects from each celebrity mentioned makes for a unique idea in the hip hop landscape.
“(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” by Sampha
This song is the most breathtaking record I have heard all year as it is just Sampha and his mastery of the piano. It is low-key and sweet, and it allows Sampha’s unique vocals to breathe throughout the entire song. He sounds his most comfortable in this realm of music and the stripped away melodies lend to his vocal strengths.
On this track, Sampha uses the piano to represent two different things. The surface level role is that the physical aspect of the piano helped him find his creative spark and his talent as an artist. The other role the piano plays is actually something that ties Sampha and his mother together. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and when the disease returned in 2014, the artist put his music on the back burner to take care of her and used the piano as a mode of escapism for both of them. You can really hear the emotion in Sampha’s voice on this track and how much he cares for his mother. It is a truly beautiful song that should be getting more recognition than it has.
“Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” by Rina Sawayama
My favorite song of 2017 is one that feels so out of place in the age of electronic and trap. UK pop artist Rina Sawayama brings the sounds of early 2000s R&B and blends it with some new age pop, producing something familiar yet still fresh and all of its own. The production sounds like something off of a Destiny’s Child album, and Sawayama’s vocals will give you a Mariah Carey mixed with Britney Spears vibe. The record is so layered sonically, while the subject about the trials and tribulations of online dating brings the song into the present. Sawayama’s refrain on the bridge is enrapturing, and her ability to craft a great chorus keeps me hitting that repeat button. This track is easily the best of the year.