Sunday, December 3, 2017

Favorite Songs of 2017 (Part One)

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. Below are my honorable mentions; check back for the rest of my list in the coming days.

Honorable mention: "Stay" by Zedd feat. Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara has had quite a good year, hasn't she? "Scars to Your Beautiful" made itself a home in the rotation lists on adult contemporary radio, and her collaborations with Logic and Zedd both found their footing and were nominated for Grammy Awards. Though it rips its opening chop pattern from Banks' "Poltergeist" and nobody wanted to point it out, "Stay" was the traditional EDM track we all needed this year, especially when David Guetta was shut out of the Top 40 and Calvin Harris renovated his production style into something unrecognizable.

Honorable mention: "Cut to the Feeling" by Carly Rae Jepsen

Would a year-end pop music countdown be complete without Carly Rae Jepsen? Of course not, especially when she continues to pump out tracks like this. "Cut to the Feeling," an E•MO•TION b-side that was somehow deemed unworthy of E•MO•TION: Side B, danced its way onto the soundtrack of an animated children's movie that flew under the radar. In tradition Jeppo fashion, she jumps alive in the song's chorus, shouting her way through its lyrics. What a tune.

Honorable mention: "Getaway Car" by Taylor Swift

The closest Taylor Swift brushes into an airy synthpop palette on Reputation, "Getaway Car" stands as the record's magnum opus. Employing Swift's signature storytelling for her best self-deprecating track yet, she parallels her string of short romantic flames to jumps from one getaway car to the next. "You were drivin' the getaway car. We were flyin’, but we'd never get far. Don't pretend it's such a mystery; Think about the place where you first met me," she sings over a soaring soundscape. The track is a subtle reminder that Swift still has a sense of humor about her reputation, despite an entire album dedicated to it, and glaring proof that she can still write one hell of a song, even as a brand new Taylor Swift.

Honorable mention: "Imaginary Parties" by Superfruit

Superfruit as a music group is the same as Superfruit as a YouTube collective: A bit frivolous and conscious as its states as light entertainment, but undeniably fun. Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi's tight-knit harmonies on "Imaginary Parties" carry lyrics that burst at the seams with fun as they chronicle a night in the bedroom: "Baby, let's get fresh; it's like we just met. If you wanna catch fire, we'll get a little hotter. Wanna keep you satisfied," they sing. A prepackaged party in a box meant to be played on repeat, the song crossbreeds a rhythmic heartbeat with sleek pop production.

Honorable mention: "Bellyache" by Billie Eilish

With an image and voice not far from Melanie Martinez sans baby rattle, 15-year-old Billie Eilish was bound for success in the viral pop universe. Her music is an in-house product, co-written and produced with her brother, age 19. Her debut extended play, Don't Smile at Me, doesn't concrete her as a defining musical force just yet, but "Bellyache" sure is a good start. With its silky build-up and low-riding chorus, it unexpectedly grows into a low-maintenance banger.

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