- Frazer Harrison/Getty
Packed with high-quality releases from some of the biggest names in the industry, 2017 was a prolific period for new music.
From the sounds of Kendrick Lamar’s instant-classic album, “DAMN.,” to appearances from artists like SZA, Frank Ocean, and Jay-Z – as well as a few great indie acts – the list of our favorite songs of the year turned out to be an eclectic one.
Check out the 25 best songs of 2017:
25. Parcels — “Overnight” (feat. Daft Punk)
“Overnight,” the catchy breakout single from the Australian band Parcels, features a funk guitar riff from Daft Punk that would have fit right in on the French duo’s Grammy-winning 2013 album, “Random Access Memories.”
24. Miguel — “Told You So”
Miguel’s signature brand of atmospheric funk-rock shines on the anthemic “Told You So,” a high-powered single from his fourth studio album, “War & Leisure.”
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. 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,” a highlight from his third full-length album, “This Old Dog.”
21. Joey Bada$$ — “Temptation”
Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ crafted one of the most profound and accessible songs of his career on his culturally conscious single “Temptation,” from his acclaimed second LP, “All-Amerikkkan Badass.”
20. St. Vincent — “Pills”
- Nedda Afsari
St. Vincent’s Annie Clark embodies the spirit of the late great Prince on “Pills,” a frenetic, guitar-led ode to the troubles of drug addiction that finds her model ex-girlfriend, Cara Delevingne, singing a sardonic hook.
19. 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 inventive single, “Girl Like You.”
18. The xx — “On Hold” (Jamie xx Remix)
The xx’s 2016 single “On Hold” found the English trio sampling Hall & Oates to forge the most upbeat song of its career. In a 2017 remix of the song, Jamie xx, the band’s producer, breaks the track down into fragments and recombines them in the form of a jittery and electric house piece.
17. Syd — “Nothin to Somethin”
The talented lead singer of the California alt-R&B band The Internet, Syd coasts over a pulsating beat with a melodic flow on “Nothin to Somethin,” a standout from her first solo album, “Fin.”
16. Steve Lacy — “Dark Red”
- Steve Lacy/YouTuve
A member of the The Internet and a producer on Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.,” the 19-year-old Steve Lacy has become a dynamic songwriter in his own right. His single “Dark Red” best displays his signature guitar skills and memorable melodies.
15. Gorillaz — “Ascension” (feat. Vince Staples)
- Warner Bros.
Damon Albarn’s animated band, Gorillaz, teamed 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.”
14. Buddy — “World of Wonders”
Montreal producer Kaytranada laces the versatile and melodically inventive Compton rapper Buddy with a tropical dance groove on their immensely enjoyable “World of Wonders.”
13. King Krule — “Dum Surfer”
English singer-songwriter Archy Marshall (King Krule) nods to The Clash, one of Britain’s great punk-rock bands, on “Dum Surfer,” an emphatic track with hazy, guitar-led production and a surrealist music video.
12. 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 tracks on the band’s latest album, “Crack-Up,” and one of the most affecting in the group’s catalog.
11. SZA — “Love Galore” (feat. Travis Scott)
Kendrick Lamar labelmate SZA came into her own as one of the most idiosyncratic and captivating songwriters in the industry this year. Her post-breakup ballad “Love Galore,” featuring Travis Scott, is a standout track from her acclaimed album, “CTRL.”
10. Vince Staples — “Big Fish”
“Big Fish,” a stellar single from Vince Staples’ inventive second LP, “Big Fish Theory,” features visceral verses, a propulsive electronic beat, and a superb, uncredited hook from the rapper Juicy J.
9. Grizzly Bear — “Mourning Sound”
- Tom Hines for Grizzly Bear
A shape-shifting and haunting track by the Brooklyn quartet Grizzly Bear, “Mourning Sound” features spirited performances from the band’s two lead singers, Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen. Check out our review of the band’s excellent, fifth album, “Painted Ruins.”
8. Frank Ocean — “Chanel”
- Boys Don’t Cry
Frank Ocean mines the myriad dualities of his life and stunts about owning bundles of thousand-dollar Delta Air Lines gift cards on “Chanel,” one of the several dynamic singles that Ocean released this year.
7. LCD Soundsystem — “Call The Police”
LCD Soundsystem’s frontman, James Murphy, channels the spirit of David Bowie on the expansive, seven-minute song, “Call The Police,” a rock manifesto of social commentary that feels like the most impactful song in the band’s discography.
6. Thundercat — “Show You The Way” (feat. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins)
With quality contributions from yacht-rock veterans Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, the bassist and musical virtuoso Thundercat’s “Show You The Way” brings deceptively cheery instrumentation to a metaphysical exploration of the lightness in darkness.
5. Calvin Harris — “Slide” (feat. Frank Ocean and Migos)
On his latest album “Funk Wav Bounces, Vol. 1,” Scottish producer Calvin Harris moved away from his customary realm of EDM and embraced the sounds of disco and funk. His hit single “Slide” is a wholly original pop song that ingeniously pairs a Picasso-referencing Frank Ocean with the Atlanta rap trio Migos.
4. Kamasi Washington — “Truth”
Kamasi Washington, a modern jazz legend, pulls out all the stops on “Truth,” the 13-minute, climactic masterpiece of his “Harmony of Difference” EP. With its pleasant guitar and piano, ghostly choral background vocals, and wailing horns, the track sounds like falling in love in an elevator while simultaneously plummeting to an imminent death.
3. MGMT — “Little Dark Age”
- Brad Elterman
MGMT returned from a four-year hiatus with the repeat-worthy “Little Dark Age,” a gothic, ’80s-inspired single that melds alternately eerie and charged synths with cryptic, poetic verses – and one of the band’s best choruses to date.
2. Jay-Z — “Smile”
Among the many highlights on Jay-Z’s late-career classic “4:44,” “Smile” finds the rap great speaking openly over a Stevie Wonder-sampling beat about (among other compelling topics) his support for his mom’s late-in-life lesbianism. It’s one of the most candid songs in Jay’s discography, and it features a moving, spoken-word outro from his mother, Gloria Carter.
1. Kendrick Lamar — “DNA.”
A radical, gripping, and inspired takedown of Fox News, racial inequality, and tepid rap music, “DNA.” is the most potent performance on Kendrick Lamar’s intricate and outstanding 2017 album, “DAMN.,” and the most daring song of the year.