Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Favorite Songs of 2017 (Part Four)

It is not only time for us all to get holly, jolly, merry, and bright, but also time for us to compile all of the tracks that made this year a bit more enjoyable. For reference, one musical act is allowed to have only one track on my countdown. Click the hyperlinks to read parts one, two, and three, and check back for the rest of my list in the coming days.

15. "Malibu" by Miley Cyrus

Though Younger Now unsuccessfully tries to stretch its magic across 10 tracks, "Malibu" is undeniably one of Top 40’s best offerings this year. An unexpected move after Miley Cyrus' detour into hip-hop on Bangerz and obscure alternative rock static on Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, acoustic country-pop blossoms into SoCal soft rock on "Malibu" to successful results. It radiates with a newfound happiness, mirroring Cyrus' life as a re-engaged woman.

14. "Chained to the Rhythm" by Katy Perry feat. Skip Marley

Katy Perry said to expect woke-pop from her fourth major label studio album, and “Chained to the Rhythm” was a positive sign that she could make good on the promise. Utilizing a popular ironic approach to social commentary, it hypnotizes listeners with a looped neo-disco sample, despite its own warnings against the attraction to an arbitrary beat. Witness may have fallen flat of expectations and been no more than typical fodder, but "Chained to the Rhythm" remains one of Perry’s brightest, most self-aware highlights.

13. "Underdog" by Banks

Traditionally a somber artist who unleashes either sorrow or fury in her tracks, Banks has let loose. She strips away sexual inhibition, admitting she is a daunting lover. “Even though I got a reputation unaccompanied, baby, you could make this, maybe you could make it as the underdog,” she over-enunciates over jolting electronic keys and smooth bass. In signature Banks style, she gulps through most of her words as sharp beats kick beneath her.

12. "Something to Tell You" by Haim

The title track to Haim's sophomore record is the antithesis to their debut's magic formula: It allows dead space for the song's elements to breathe. Accompanied by a groovy bass line and deep drums, the track bleeds a summery '70s vibe that the Haim sisters align with effortlessly. Meanwhile, Danielle, Este, and Alana spurt into thick harmonies against little instrumental to support them, accentuating their vocal lines and intensifying the urgency behind the lines, "'Cause I got something to tell you, but I don't know why it's so hard to let you know that we're not seeing eye to eye."

11. "Heroin" by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey’s fourth major label studio album, Lust for Life, is strangely optimistic – something uncharacteristic of the usually gloomy Del Rey. Zeroing in on society as it stands today, it acts, in part, as a protest record, but it often fine-tunes itself with a brighter outlook than expected. However, not all is well in Del Rey's world, especially in her personal life. Paralleling heroin for fame, “Heroin” follows both sides of the metaphor; a booming ballad, it unpacks the destruction caused by heroin in society and fame in her life. She flies over the cinematic soundscape in imperfect harmonies, projecting the organic, raw guise she has boasted since Ultraviolence.

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