Another new year has arrived, which means it’s a good (arbitrary) time to reflect on the 12 months past. As has been tradition on my blog, a new year means participation in the Year End Music List Industry. And now that it’s late January, I have completely missed the wave of clicks in prime Year End scheduling, so you can trust my subjective judgement. Or something like that.
2017 was weird. I’m sure that statement isn’t news to you (or you’ve accepted that idea thanks to countless thinkpieces in December). In my own life, I got to experience several positive personal milestones that were tempered by really depressing news. I finally finished grad school (PhD!), got a research article published in a journal, and found a job. In negative news, I had to leave my beloved Ohio, my parents’ dogs both died, and I had to confront a severe sickness in my family.
At the end of 2016, I was steeped in uncertainty, not knowing what 2017 would bring. At the start of 2018, I’m now in a more stable place, with fewer obvious forks in the road. Although, as 2017 taught me, the unexpected still lurks. Even the least likely can become reality.
Turning my attention to music: 2017 was a surprising disappointment for me. In part, I’m to blame. I was busy with dissertation work most of the year, and this kept me from full musical immersion. I didn’t attend many live shows, and I spent December and January playing catch-up with critical darlings I had missed the first time around.
Even accounting for my own shortcomings, some of my most anticipated albums fell flat to my ears. Japandroids “leads” this charge; the follow-up to the perfect Celebration Rock was something I consider unlistenable. Arcade Fire continued their pattern of releasing an album worse than the one before it, now reaching lamentable lows. LCD Soundsystem Version Two was merely okay, and St. Vincent’s change in sound just didn’t click with me.
Luckily, I still kept my ears open long enough to find some new favorites (even if they don’t all seem poised to be classics). As I did the past two years, I’m qualifying all this music as “my favorite” of 2017 not “the best.” I can’t possibly listen to all the music in the world, so I won’t claim to be comprehensive. Even if I could find time for every song? I doubt my tastes completely align with yours. And that’s okay!
To kick things off, today I’ll list my 25 Favorite Songs of 2017, complete with reasons why I like the song, reasons why you might enjoy the song, and a Spotify playlist. That list is at the end of the article, so you’re forced to scroll and (maybe) accidentally read the post anyway.
(Arbitrary rules time: only one song per artist, and if the song was part of a proper album, the album must have been released in 2017. I’ve made an exception for Run the Jewels who are cheating at this game by releasing in both 2016 and 2017.)