2017 was another one for the books! So many great albums, EPs, and singles sprinkled throughout an otherwise chaotic and politically alarming year. While I'm sure I've missed half a dozen or so tracks, here is a list of my 50 favorites of the year. Some with 90 plays, others with over a million. This list is my opinion and my opinion only. Soak them in with an open mind in hopes of finding a new jam as you enter into 2018.
01. Smino – “Netflix & Dusse”
The hottest song off of the hottest album of the year is "Netflix & Dusse." It's a true groover, one that properly showcases the chemistry and talents of lyrical assailant Smino and producer extraordinaire Monte Booker. Nothing touches this song this year.
02. TSUKI - “Pareidolia”
Kickstarting the full-length album, Severance Package, is the dreamy and atmospheric track "Pareidolia" by TSUKI. This is one that stuck in my head all year long and never grew tiring or uninteresting. What a monster of a track.
03. Morimoto - “People Watching”
Yes, my third favorite song of the year is a live Sofar Sounds recording. The track was never released as a proper single, but it didn't stop me from ripping it to mp3 and spending a great deal of time with it in my car. What a poetic and beautiful track. Hopefully we get the proper release of this in 2018.
04. Spooky Mansion - “I'm the Moon”
The San Francisco band's single "I'm the Moon" is the first time that I was impressed with Spotify's Discover playlist. Following that first listen, I felt like I spent the rest of the year looping their two tracks "I'm the Moon" and "You're the Wave", the latter of which is also on this list.
05. Frank Ocean - “Chanel”
Without dropping an album in 2017, Frank Ocean managed to have one hell of a year. His singles like "Lens" and "Biking" and "Chanel" kept him in the conversation all year long. Something tells me he's coming even harder once 2018 hits. Also shout-out to the remix of this with A$AP Rocky.
06. Smino – “Anita” // "Anita" (Remix) (Ft. T-Pain)
You're damn right I'm including two Smino tracks in my top 10. "Anita" is the smash hit that directly follows "Netflix & Dusse" on his album blkswn, and those two back-to-back remain unstoppable. While it received its own music video, it was revitalized with a remix and a new video with help from T-Pain. What more do you need?
07. Iris Temple - “Ashes”
Chicago duo Iris Temple had one hell of a year and all of their attention and acclaim is well deserved. After an EP and a single, the two creatives released their final track of 2017 shortly before touring the country alongside Xavier Omar. "Ashes" is a daydream that progresses and flows so beautifully, adding to an already strong portfolio of work.
08. Bemos w. Omar Apollo & Maxwell Young - “12:34”
Omar Apollo had such a killer 2017. Releasing a dozen tracks throughout the year, he managed to continue to hold my attention, making his mark as one of my favorite 'finds' of the calendar year. While plenty are worthy of this list (and another can be find down below), it's his track with Billy Lemos and Maxwell Young that keeps me on my feet, forever bouncing around the house.
09. Leslie Marie - “Ruby”
Leslie Marie is a Chicago singer/songwriter I can't stop talking about. She owned 2017 with the one-two combo of "On Baby" and "Da Vinci" but it was her stripped down solo piece "Ruby" that was released on Dec. 29 of last year (close enough to be considered a 2017 track, fight me) that remains my favorite work of hers. What a tune.
10. Joe Nora - “Jaguaar”
Prolific producer Joe Nora went wild all 2017, with almost 30 songs to his name. With one solo EP, a collaborative EP, and a high-speed, aquatic playlist known as Caars, it's safe to say that Joe Nora was the producer I paid the most attention to this year. And he only seems to be getting started. Hell, he released a song on my final Sleep compilation earlier today.
11. J.I.D. - “Never”
This song feels like driving 90 mph on my way home from work every night. The switch-up halfway through is unstoppable.
12. Monte Booker - “Kompany” (Ft. Smino & Phoelix)
This collaborative track feels like a sunny day without a care in the world. Hard to not feel on top of the world while listening to this one.
13. Ravyn Lenae - “Spice” // "Spice" (Remix) (Ft. Smino)
The finest track on Ravyn Lenae's sophomore EP comes complete with a remix from Smino. This track feels like seduction.
14. Spooky Mansion - “You're the Wave”
Spooky Mansion released one of my favorite EPs of the year and this song along with "I'm the Moon" (featured earlier on this list) are near perfect. I can't wait to see what this band does in 2018.
15. Iris Temple - "Theatre"
The lead single from their EP, Vistas, is a progressive rocket ship hurtling toward the chopped and screwed moon. Don't sleep on the IT.
16. Mounika - “Cut My Hair” (ft. Cavetown)
This song needs to be my ringtone so that I wake up dancing every morning. It's worth mentioning how Mounika's track "Winter" is worthy of this list, but I tried my best to keep it to actual singles and not simply cuts from the album.
17. Milo - “Sorcerer”
Milo went apeshit this year, with multiple projects, a tour, a record store, and enough visuals to keep our eyes properly dilated. The first video from his solo album was "Sorcerer" which goes.very.hard.in.the.tennis.court.paint.
18. Mellow Fellow - “Dancing”
Dance your ass off with this crooner by singer/songwriter Mellow Fellow, one of my favorite artists that I discovered this calendar year. His track with Clairo, "How Was Your Day?", is also worthy of this list, but it was a 2016 release, despite me not hearing it until earlier this year.
19. Frank Ocean - “Biking (Solo)”
When I first heard "Biking" with Jay Z and Tyler, I was underwhelmed. Months later, I can't stop listening to the solo rendition. Let's talk about when the drums come in. What a jam.
20. Aminé - "Redmercedes" (Remix) (Ft. Missy Elliott & AJ Tracey)
This was my song of the summer. Any time that Missy Elliott is on a remix, especially when she mentions how her sub in her trunk goes apeshit, I, too, have to go apeshit. Much love to Aminé for working with both Missy and Nelly this calendar year.
21. Naji & Thomas White - “Hurt”
Grab the Kleenex and cry to this masterpiece from vocalist Naji and producer Thomas White, off of their split single Luna, which didn't get nearly enough attention.
22. Omar Apollo - “Ugotme”
I tried to only include two songs by the same artist on my list. If I didn't give myself that rule, I would have also included "Brakelights", "Beauty Boy", "JRUGZ", and about five other songs from Omar Apollo that dropped this year.
23. Hec - “Golden Sheets”
It was great trying to keep up with Hector Morlet aka Hec this year. On top of releasing a handful of tracks with vocals, he also went wild on his side account by releasing a strong batch of relaxed instrumentals. Don't sleep on Hec.
24. Earthgang & J.I.D. - “Meditate”
Atlanta's own Earthgang and J.I.D. both went crazy all 2017. Music videos, EPs, full-lengths, and more from the Spillage Village affiliates. As mentioned in my feature story on these artists, they are at their finest when they collaborate, like on the four-and-a-half minute doozy "Meditate".
25. Olivia Prado & barnes & blvd. - “Lovers Lullaby”
This tweet says it all. Olivia Prado and barnes blvd. had a great year full of quality collaborations, the first of which that caught my ear was the hypnotic number "Lovers Lullaby."
26. Joey Pecoraro - “Naps”
Producer Joey Pecoraro came correct with Tired Boy, one of my favorite instrumental albums of the year. But he didn't stop there; shortly after releasing the album, he continued with an onslaught of cinematic and moving instrumentals, the first of which is the sleepy and fittingly titled "Naps".
27. Leslie Marie - “Da Vinci”
I told myself I wouldn't include any tracks that I assisted with, or else Leslie Marie's "On Baby" would have made the cut. That being said, the same collaborators (Joe Nora, Banks the Genius, and Jaro) assisted with "Da Vinci", a song which I referred to as "On Baby 2.0" on more than one occasion.
28. Yellow Days - “I Believe in Love”
Yellow Days received a significant amount of plays through my speakers this year. After releasing his EP at the end of 2016, he followed it up with this year's full-length, whose finest moment is the bouncing single "I Believe in Love", which would make for one hell of a drunk karaoke. Honorable mention: "A Bag of Dutch".
29. Keshi – “Over U”
Yet another track that I first heard thanks to Spotify's Discover playlist. No matter how many times I play this one, I can never seem to hit the high note.
30. Naji ft. Homies - “Olu's House”
Naji released so many loose singles this year that it was (almost) too hard to keep up. One of the finer moments was his posse cut of a single "Olu's House", which made for one hell of a fun music video.
31. Qari - “Pants From Japan”
It's easy to forget Qari and Mulatto's EP, Space Jam, on your end of the year list, since it dropped back in January, but the songs still hold up nicely after eleven months. The stand-out here is "Pants From Japan" which is perfectly acceptable to revisit by playing on loop until the new year.
32. THEMpeople ft. Smino, theMIND, Via Rosa - “Young & Restless”
Don't you dare forget that THEMpeople released two of the hottest tracks of the year, both of which came complete with Smino, theMIND, and Via Rosa. It's a soap opera-themed teaser for what they plan on cooking up in 2018.
33. Earthgang & Sir - “Underwater”
This song feels like punching through glass. Earthgang can do no wrong in my eyes, and having an assist from TDE's Sir is simply icing on the cake. Can we talk about this beat from Insightful? Sheesh.
34. Kendrick Lamar - “DNA”
"DNA" by K.dot is definitely the most mainstream and well-known track on this list, and rightfully so: it's the bar-heavy heater of the year that if played at a proper volume, might set your car on fire.
35. Zack Villere - “Cool”
Additionally featured in my list of favorite videos of the year is Zack Villere's viral track "Cool". It kickstarted his standout 2017 and he's been blossoming and blooming ever since. I wanted to include "Bloo" on this list, but I tried to confine this list to strictly songs released as singles.
36. Moses Sumney - “Don't Bother Calling”
The falsetto god! Boy is this song perfect. It might be higher on my list in the future, as I didn't discover it until recently and I can't seem to stop playing it. My dream for 2018 is this tweet.
37. Nick Hakim - “I Bet She Looks Like You”
This song sounds like the golden era of The Black Keys. Nick Hakim killed 2017 with his full-length, Green Twins, and this song made for one hell of a lead single. See write-up above about my dream for 2018.
38. Rare Treat ft. Jay IDK - “Pop!” (Eastghost Remix)
Find me a remix that smacks this year. Eastghost did his thing over the Rare Treat track "Pop!" which features The Last Artful, Dodgr, Myke Bogan, and an additional verse from Jay IDK.
39. Da-P & theMIND ft. Sun - “Ms. Communication”
theMIND's Summer Camp remains one of my favorite albums from 2016 and his hit single 'Ms. Communication" from earlier this year is a prime example his capabilities. I expect more greatness next year.
40. Portugal. The Man - “Feel it Still” (Medasin Remix)
As producer Medasin keeps his fans in anticipation for his upcoming EP, he managed to let loose a plethora of quality remixes this year, including a flip of "Feel it Still" by Portugal. The Man, which hits the spot every time. My mom loves this song.
41. Joy Again - “Winter Snakes”
At the top of the year, Pennsylvania band Joy Again released their self-titled EP, complete with the enchanting and endearing track "Winter Snakes", which builds up and breaks down so damn nicely.
42. Nick Hakim - “Cuffed”
Like I mentioned in the write-up for "I Bet She Looks Like You", Nick Hakim's Green Twins is a mesmerizing album, one that features the thumping single "Cuffed", which every person, regardless of musical tastes, is bound to enjoy.
43. Jaro - “4 in Da Mornin” // Cae Jones - “Garden”
Producer Jaro had no intentions of releasing a project this year, but he held my attention by steadily releasing loose singles and collaborative efforts (eleven in total). While his track with Leslie Marie was previously included, his solo highlight was the track "4 in Da Mornin", where he snags some Kanye vocals and later allowed Cae Jones to do his thing on the updated rendition known as "Garden."
44. Summer Salt - “Candy Wrappers”
I can't get enough of this Dallas band. It's been great seeing them climb and grow, and the song "Candy Wrappers", off of their So Polite EP, is a sunshine example of their brightly lit future.
45. Knox Fortune - “Lil Thing”
Knox had an MVP year, where he released his debut solo album which included a bounty of self-handled artwork, promo vids, and music videos. While "Help Myself" is also worthy of this list, it's his track "Lil Thing" that never seems to escape my head.
46. Xavier Omar - “The Title”
Stripped down and with a beat that is crafted simply with his voice, "The Title" is one of Xavier Omar's most intimate and soothing tracks. Put this on repeat and tweet him to release a music video for it.
47. Fantompower ft. pkt - "It's Raining in the Summer but it's All Good"
I spent a great deal of 2017 listening to producer Fantompower's SoundCloud all the way through. No weak tracks, I repeat: no weak tracks. One of the standouts is the instrumental "It's Raining in the Summer but it's All Good", which is a pretty strong manifesto to his emotional and moving body of work.
48. Sesh - "Torch Lake"
Sesh! It was this time last year that I really started listening to this talented producer. He released the instrumentals "Torch Lake" and "1:17 a.m." around the same time, and I get so lovestruck and nostalgic when either song plays. This one is a lullaby that manages to knock you to the ground.
49. Joe Nora ft. Lunah - "Extra Spicy Secret Song"
Joe Norah was featured earlier in this list, but it's also worth mentioning his collaborative EP with vocalist Lunah, where a particular shining moment is the smackin' track "Extra Spicy Secret Song."
50. Oatmello ft. Duendita - "Home"
If you give me a month, this song might be in the top 10 of this list. Oatmello reworked some unreleased Duendita vocals for the single "Home", which I haven't stopped looping, and which I think deserves a higher number than 50, but it's only a few weeks old, so only time will tell. Grab a tissue and bounce to this one as you cry.