Packed with high-quality releases from some of the biggest names in the industry, the first half of 2017 has been a prolific period for new music.
From the songs of Kendrick Lamar’s instant-classic album “DAMN.,” to a few stellar singles from R&B artist Frank Ocean, to numerous indie gems, the list of our favorite songs of the year turned out to be an eclectic one.
Check out the 25 best songs of 2017 so far:
25. Drake — “Passionfruit”
The hit single from his “playlist” album, “More Life,” Drake’s “Passionfruit” finds the Toronto rapper in the familiar confines of the catchy melancholia he’s exhibited on previous hits like “Take Care” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
24. The xx – “Say Something Loving”
On “Say Something Loving,” the English indie-rock trio The xx adds a newfound, welcomed vibrancy to their minimalist production for a compelling song about the “thrill of affection.”
23. Lorde – “Green Light” (Chromeo Remix)
Stripping away the bulk of the melodramatic baggage from Lorde’s “Melodrama” single “Green Light,” the Canadian duo Chromeo builds a fresh, electro-funk track around Lorde’s cryptic lyrics about love and nightlife.
22. Syd — “Nothin to Somethin”
The talented lead singer of the California alt-R&B band The Internet, Syd glides over a pulsating beat with a versatile, melodic flow on “Nothin to Somethin,” a standout from her first solo album, “Fin.”
21. Parcels — “Overnight” (feat. Daft Punk)
“Overnight,” the breakout single from the Australian band Parcels, features a funk guitar riff from Daft Punk that would fit right in on the French duo’s Grammy-winning 2013 album “Random Access Memories.”
20. SZA — “Love Galore” (feat. Travis Scott)
Kendrick Lamar’s labelmate SZA comes into her own as one of the most idiosyncratic songwriters in modern R&B on her strongest single to date, the post-breakup ballad “Love Galore,” featuring Travis Scott.
19. Major Lazer — “Know No Better” (feat. Travis Scott, Camila Cabello, and Quavo)
The electronic trio Major Lazer links up with Travis Scott, Migos’ Quavo, and the singer Camila Cabello on “Know No Better,” a synth-heavy pop anthem with high replay value.
18. Mac Demarco — “For The First Time”
- Facebook/Mac Demarco
The Canadian singer-songwriter-hooligan Mac Demarco dials in an array of gleaming synths and beguiling, heartbroken lyrics on “For The First Time” from his third full-length album, “This Old Dog.”
17. Steve Lacy — “Dark Red”
- Steve Lacy/YouTuve
A member of The Internet and a producer for Kendrick Lamar, 18-year-old Steve Lacy is a talented songwriter in his own right. His single “Dark Red” best displays his signature guitar and memorable harmonies.
16. DJ Khaled — “Don’t Quit” (feat. Calvin Harris, Travis Scott, and Jeremih)
- DJ Khaled
“Don’t Quit” is an upbeat, Calvin Harris-produced ode to thick women, anchored by Travis Scott and Jeremih. It’s one of the few standout tracks from “Grateful,” DJ Khaled’s new mess of a 23-track album.
15. Joey Bada$$ — “Temptation”
The Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ crafts one of the most profound and accessible songs of his career on the introspective and racially charged single “Temptation” from his second LP, “All-Amerikkkan Badass.”
14. Frank Ocean — “Chanel”
- Boys Don’t Cry
Frank Ocean explores the myriad dualities of his life and stunts about owning bundles of thousand-dollar Delta Air Lines gift cards on his dynamic single “Chanel.”
13. Kendrick Lamar — “HUMBLE.”
The first No. 1 single of Kendrick Lamar’s career, “HUMBLE.” gripped the collective consciousness with its thundering beat (courtesy of Mike Will Made It), deft verses, and arguably the most stunning and captivating mainstream music video released in years.
12. Toro y Moi — “Girl Like You”
- Carpark Records
The indie producer-singer Chaz Bundick (Toro y Moi) brings the many facets of his diverse musical catalog together and adds a slathering of well-executed autotune on his crisp and innovative single “Girl Like You.”
11. Buddy — “World of Wonders”
The Montreal producer Kaytranada laces the versatile and melodically inventive Compton rapper Buddy with a tropical dance groove on their immensely enjoyable “World of Wonders.”
10. Gorillaz — “Ascension” (feat. Vince Staples)
- Warner Bros.
Damon Albarn’s animated band, Gorillaz, teams up with the Long Beach rapper Vince Staples for a radical protest song that takes aim at what Albarn refers to as our world’s troubling “times of sedition.”
9. Grizzly Bear — “Mourning Sound”
- Facebook/Grizzly Bear
A shape-shifting and haunting tune from the Brooklyn quartet Grizzly Bear, “Mourning Sound” is an affecting and enthralling listen.
8. Frank Ocean — “Lens”
- Jason Merritt/Getty
On his startling and minimalist “Lens,” Frank Ocean confronts – through autotuned anguish and a brilliant, building beat – lost love, personal demons, and the trials of memory.
7. Thundercat — “Show You The Way” (feat. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins)
With stellar contributions from yacht-rock veterans Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, the bassist and musical virtuoso Thundercat melds some deceptively cheery instrumentation into a metaphysical exploration of the lightness in darkness.
6. Fleet Foxes — “Fool’s Errand”
- Facebook/Fleet Foxes
The mystical and poignant folk harmonies of Fleet Foxes reach a stirring apex on “Fool’s Errand,” one of the best songs in the band’s catalog.
5. Vince Staples — “Big Fish”
“Big Fish,” the standout track from Vince Staples’ incredible second LP, “Big Fish Theory,” features visceral verses, a propulsive electro beat, and a superb, uncredited hook from the rapper Juicy J.
4. LCD Soundsystem — “Call The Police”
LCD Soundsystem’s frontman, James Murphy, channels the spirit of David Bowie on the expansive, seven-minute “Call The Police,” a rock manifesto that feels like the most important song in the band’s discography.
3. Calvin Harris — “Slide” (feat. Frank Ocean and Migos)
The artistic renaissance of the Scottish producer Calvin Harris in the year 2017 has been remarkable. On his hit single “Slide,” Harris moved away from his customary realm of EDM and embraced the sounds of disco and funk for a wholly original pop song that ingeniously pairs a Picasso-referencing Frank Ocean with the Atlanta rap trio Migos.
2. Kamasi Washington — “Truth”
Kamasi Washington, a jazz legend in the making, pulls out all the stops on “Truth,” his 13-minute masterpiece of a single. With its pleasant guitar and piano, ghostly choral background vocals, and wailing horns, the epic track sounds like falling in love in an elevator while plummeting to an imminent death.
1. Kendrick Lamar — “DNA.”
A radical, gripping, and inspired takedown of Fox News, racial inequality, and tepid rap music, “DNA.” is the most electric and potent performance on Kendrick Lamar’s outstanding 2017 album, “DAMN.,” and (in my opinion) of the entire year in music thus far.