Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Top 20 Songs of 2017, Part 1

Wow, I'm actually getting the first half of this list posted by the end of January. This may be a record for me.

For some reason (probably because I was working from so many damned albums), it was especially difficult to cut it down to 20 songs this year, and in fact, I think when I enter the list on Sputnik this year, I'm going to do it as a Top 25. This is because of two songs in particular that I can't bring myself to totally give up on, but I couldn't get rid of any of the ones in my Top 20 list either. I'll list these two as "Honorable Mentions" below.

I have fewer restrictions for songs than I have for albums. The songs can come from EPs or compilations as well as LPs, just as long as the LP the song is on was released during 2017. (I know sometimes some of these might have been released as singles in 2016, but if the album the song is on was released in 2017, it's a 2017 song).

For some reason, even more so than in previous years, I have a lot of songs on here from albums I thought were just mediocre or even poor, but they had that one great song. Oh well. Anyway, without further doo-doo:

Honorable Mentions: The two songs I couldn't let go of were "Righteous Woman" by Torres and "Obligatory Drugs" by Black Kids. The second one is a completely goofy song, but I can't help but smile every time I play it. And just so my blog readers don't miss out, the other three songs I'll be putting into the Top 25 list on Sputnik are "Tell Me a Story" by Grouplove, "Bad Company" by Jule Vera, and "Heaven" by Pvris.

And here's Part 1 of my list,in reverse order:

20. Coin - "Talk Too Much"

This one is just an alternapop bit of heaven. It's bouncy and it's catchy. It's not the deepest song ever, and if you don't like alternative pop, it won't do anything for you. But I like it. It's from the band's How Will You Know If You Never Try album.

19. Dia - "Gold and Silver"

This is from one of the first albums I listened to last year, Dia's (formerly known as Dia Frampton, of Meg & Dia, and Archis, fame) Bruises. It's a slow and dreamy pop number about Dia's musical dreams, and how much she misses working with her older sister (who has retired from music). The album came fairly close to making my Top 10, only dropping back near the end of the year.

18. The Flaming Lips - "There Should Be Unicorns"

This song is slow and strange, and reminds me of Bob Ross on acid. Except that instead of painting "happy little trees", he's painting unicorns (the ones with the purple eyes, not the ones with the green eyes), and paying huge sums of money to the police, so they can "quit their shitty, violent jobs, and live the greatest life they've ever lived." Ok then.

17. MisterWives - "Machine"

This is one of those cases where I was only so-so on the Connect the Dots album, but I love this song. (This band's "Our Own House" song almost made my Top 20 list in 2015). It's a song that makes you want to move along with it. It's also a Tour de Force for vocalist Mandy Lee, who proves during the bridge she can sing really, really fast, and remember a lot of words as well.

16. Styx - "Locomotive"

One of the advantages of becoming something of an old coot is that you can draw songs from older bands that the kids would never admit listening to because they're long past being cool. (As if "Come Sail Away" could ever go out of style! Hmph!). Anyway, this is a slow, somewhat despairing song that can't help but make me think of Bowie's "Space Oddity". It's sung to a lost spaceship from a sad technician at mission control.

15. Rainer Maria - "Ornaments of Empty"

This one is from this NYC indie rock band's first new studio album in eleven years, S/T (which actually stands for "self-titled", because the album is also simply known as Rainer Maria). It's the ultimate ode to finding yourself turned from a person into a sex object who is fit only to be decorated and displayed.

14. London Grammar - "Truth Is a Beautiful Thing"

This slow and quiet ballad is the title track of the album on which it is presented. While many rave about the vocals of lead singer Hannah Reid, for me, this one is all about the piano, which is absolutely ravishing on both the verses and the choruses. This is another case where I really didn't care much for the rest of the album, but this track is memorable.

13. Motionless in White - "Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2"

This is a hard-rocking (well, over-the-top, anyway) ode to necrophilia, as lead singer Chris Motionless explains, "If she's got a pulse, then she's not my type". The band's tongue is firmly embedded in their cheek for this one (and also in some less savory places that I won't go into). Completely silly and fun.

12. Said the Whale - "Step Into the Darkness"

This is another tasty alternapop anthem with a fetching pop hook. To quote my own album review re/this song, "On this track, the singer hears his lady love singing a song about 'Live long for the sweet light.' He starts to sing with her, but it feels wrong, 'Singing that song when the darkness feels so right.'" Good stuff.

11. Greywind - "Afterthoughts"

This is the title track from the debut album by this Irish sister/brother band. It's a rocky number, which sort of gives singer Steph O'Sullivan a good excuse to show off her pipes. And show them off she does. Her voice possesses a happy combination of beauty and power, and both of those attributes are on full display here.

So that's it for Part 1 of this list. I'll be back in a day or so to give you Part 2.