2017 has been a pretty awful year so far, and honestly, it’s on track to be even worse than 2016. Who knew that was possible? Despite the rising tensions regarding diversity in America, there is still one thing that can bring people from all walks of life together: music. Music has the ability to transcend barriers of language, culture, politics or anything that seeks to divide people on a daily basis. Music is a form of self-expression. Whether you create it or listen to it, you can learn a lot about others and yourself.
I am an avid music listener. My Spotify is filled with playlist after playlist of music ranging from classical to rap to pop. I often have a hard time answering people when they ask what type of music I like the most because I listen to just about anything (except for country because country music is actually the worst).
While 2017 has been a bad year, the music of this year has been quite solid. As my girlfriend would say, it’s been the year of bops, and she’s not wrong. There are several songs that have been chart-topping jams, those that may or may not have driven you crazy after hearing them on the radio ten times in one day.
Some specific songs that come to mind first are “Despacito” and “I’m The One.” Both feature Justin Bieber and they absolutely dominated the radio for weeks. While “I’m The One” with DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo and Lil Wayne (is there a limit to features on a song) never quite grew on me, it’s success is unmistakable with over six hundred million plays on Spotify and number one position on “Billboard” Hot 100 back in May. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee was my car ride jam, and arguably the song of the summer. The beat was irresistible and I know enough Spanish to be able to sing along.
Another song I really enjoyed this year is Selena Gomez’s “Bad Liar.” The style of the song is interesting because it lacks a distinct chorus. You know the part of the song that is easiest to remember, while the rest of it you can only awkwardly mumble along because no matter how many times you hear it, the lyrics just don’t stick. Of course, “Bad Liar” has a chorus, it just doesn’t stick out as much, but I think that makes the song even better. Its unique wordplay makes a refreshing take and Selena Gomez delivers it perfectly.
As I said earlier, music is a unifier, but it can also be used to make a statement. The song currently holding number three of “Billboard” Hot 100 is “1-800-273-8255” by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. The song took me by surprise the first time I heard it. Its message in a way that was refreshing and eye-opening to the issue at hand. I had never heard a song, or any form of media, that had addressed such a sensitive topic explicitly and realistically. The Suicide Prevention Hotline even credits the song with raising its call volume. It’s a good, meaningful song that is making a difference.
I really enjoy Lorde’s “Green Light,” and most of the other songs on her new album “Melodrama.” The album has a lot of deep, raw emotions behind it and Lorde’s mellow, calming voice tackles them rather well. Still, like most of Lorde’s songs, “Green Light” was quite unconventional, but no less amazing. The song addresses a recent heartbreak of hers, but takes on a rather upbeat style by focusing on the rebellious feelings afterwards rather than the initial sadness. The catchy lyrics and lilting piano background help make it a good dance song for whether playing in your car or just jamming at home and a chart-topper.
Dua Lipa released her self-named debut album released in June this year and I’m honestly upset with myself for not listening to it until about a week ago. The most recent song of hers, “New Rules,” one of my favorites, is climbing the charts and making appearances on mainstream radio. She tells the stories of her trying to follow a series of rules in order to get over, presumably, an ex. The song has a catchy bass line throughout and uses sampling to add to its dance vibes. Not just “New Rules” but the entire album has great lyrics and melodies. “IDGAF” and “Blow Your Mind (Muah)” are also uplifting dance jams, while songs such as “Homesick” have gentler rhythms that showcase the ability of her singing voice. It’s an all-around great album that I highly recommend you checking out.
Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE” is definitely another great 2017 song. The flow and beat of this song are strong and make it a definite banger. From celebrating Lamar’s career successes to throwing in a criticism of America’s photo-shop obsession, the song is a quick three minutes that’ll have you bobbing your head and feeling empowered.
The return of Kesha to the music scene was one of the few good things to happen this year. I was a big fan of her music during my pre-teen years. Fun, quirky dance music for every twelve-year-old out there. While her music may have not aged well, there is no denying of Kesha’s talents and “Rainbow” highlights all of them. “Praying” was the first single released from the album and it’s so powerful, especially in the light of her three year legal battles. The song gives you that strength that makes you feel like you can take on the world, while in reality you’re just trying, and failing, to hit the high notes singing along in your room. The album has a mixture of fun, catchy songs and mellow, feel-good ones that shows a side of Kesha we have never been seen before.
I could keep going on and on. There are so many songs this year that have been truthfully awesome. Ed Sheeran’s third album “Divide” and Sam Smith’s return after a hiatus are also great. “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B, “Slow Hands” by Niall Horan and “rockstar” by Post Malone are recent successes. Sure, every year has it’s set of great songs, but 2017 has had a wide selection of jams. And let’s face it, because there’s not much else about 2017 that’s worth noting, it can have this one thing.