Friday, 19 January 2018

2017's Best Tunes


I forgot to post a favourite tunes of 2017 list. This list has been sitting in my drafts since mid December but it was only a top 5 or 6 anyway. I've added a handful of other tracks since the Christmas/New Year period. I didn't listen to the radio or watch any music video channels in 2017 but I did check out probably a couple of hundred singles/tracks on youtube. Not hearing them in a radio context doesn't allow for a tune to insidiously worm its way into your brain though. I thought pop's reign had halted and r&b, rap etc. were in poor shape. I still do.

I just couldn't hear any innovations in rap at all, at least not vocally. It all just seemed to be rehashing what Gucci Mane, Future and Young Thug had pioneered years earlier. In times like these sometimes that can be ok because often newer artists consolidate on what the pioneers have already blueprinted. However it just seems like every newcomer is rather pale by comparison to their forefathers. God, Young Thug & Future even did an album together which left not a trace in my memory, that was not a good sign. Jay-Z sounded tired. Geez Tyler, The Creator was even sounding fresh with his old school Neptunes/NERD shtick, it stood out because everyone else sounded the same. Too Much (Vocal) from v1984 was classic b-boys on E stuff plus I quite liked tracks from these new feisty rappers with potential Rico Nasty and Sheff G.

The beauty of hip hop a few years ago was the fact that somehow even in this post-geographical internet age a regional flavour still came through in a lot of leading artists material. So distinctive styles were developing throughout the different neighbourhoods of America. Now you get New Yorkers sounding like wannabe southern trappers, people from LA moving to Atlanta, Rappers from Brooklyn wishing they were from Chicago etc. Where are Rae Sremmunrd from? Cardi B? Vince Staples? Is Travis Scott from Atlanta?  Who knows anymore? It's probably a cyclical thing. I mean you did have g-funk coming out of all sorts of places in the 90s, not just LA.

I didn't think I'd heard any good pop/rock songs last year, not that I tried very hard or at all. However, I actually heard the infectious Imagine Dragons tune, Whatever It Takes, in Emma's car on Boxing Day which I thought was a state of the art soft-rock anthem for the FM airwaves of 2017. No apologies hipsters.

Indie rock is just plain embarrassing now. It's the trad jazz of the 2010s.

Most R&B and their inter-zones sounded staid but there were a couple of things that grabbed my attention. The obvious standout was Kelela's two singles and LP. Apparently there's a Steve Gurley dub of her Truth Or Dare floating around the internet too. Thundercat, SZA and NERD featuring Rihanna had their retro moments.

There were one or two disparate electronic things that caught my ear but they were mainly just little 90s nostalgia trips for me like Lanark Artefacts' Touch Absence, Bicep's Glue, Loft's Funemployed and a few others that have slipped my mind. Other track-y things like Your Kiss Is Sour by Parris and Ploy's Unruly had their charms while Object's Theme From Q was almost something new. Oh and I've only just realised Rudeboyz came back with an EP but I missed it.

So below is my belated best tunes of 2017 list.


BEST TUNES OF 2017
Frontline - Kelela
LMK - Kelela
Slippery - Migos feat. Gucci Mane
Blue Light - Kelela
Bodak Yellow - Cardi B (Zora Jones & Sinjin Hawke Bootleg)
Magnolia - Playboi Carti
Too Much (Vocal) - v1984
Goosebumps - Travis Scott feat. Kendrick Lamar
Dark Matter - Jlin & Zora Jones
Mask Off - Future
DNA - Kendrick Lamar
Lemon - NERD feat. Rihanna



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