This week we did songs instead of albums! Some contributors had too many to talk about, while others had one that stuck with them all year.

Bing & Ruth – Starwood Choker

Minimalistic piano over swells of string drone that lift you into the concrete yet uncertain emotional realm of the uplifting melancholia that you’re slowly realizing you’ve been searching for your entire life. The musical blanket your soul needs to go back to sleep.

–Adam Yawdoszyn

Logic – 1-800-273-8255

When I heard 1-800-273-8255, a literal switch inside me clicked. From something as simple as a track on his junior album, Logic used his platform to take something incredibly negative and make it a superpower and a call for action. Although everyone may not struggle with suicidal thoughts, most people could name at least one person who does. If one performance could increase calls to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by 50%, imagine the increase the song could have in a year. Thus, although suicide has become extremely stigmatized in modern culture, his awareness to this stigma proves that some sort of change needs to occur.

–Cassie Rosario

The Mountain Goats – Abandoned Flesh

The final track on The Mountain Goats’ latest record tells the story of the goth rock band Gene Loves Jezebel. This track highlights everything so fantastic about not just Goths, but also John Darnielle’s skill as a songwriter and storyteller. Using the analogy of this obscure goth band, he leaves the listener with a lesson about growing up and leaving your past in the past, but not in a cheesy or obvious way. Darnielle spends the entire album talking about themes of change through the lens of goth bands and subcultural symbols, and this final song wraps up the bittersweet emotions of becoming a new person, especially with the line “However big that chorused bass may throb, you and me and all of us, are gonna have to find a job.”

–Peter Henderson


I know what you’re thinking, “Really? 2017 has been a year packed with good hip-hop and this is your hip-hop song of the year? The first single released by the boy band who’s been hailed for their consistent improvement. A somewhat generic, sappy, feelsy love song stuck at the end of Brockhampton’s worst album. This really beats out FEEL, YAH, Bagbak, Drew Barrymore, Boredom, Take Care, Embroidering Machine, and all the other good hip-hop we’ve gotten. Really?? This?!?

Yes. Absolutely.

–Adam Yawdoszyn


Over the course of three fantastic albums in 2017, Saturation I, II, & III, the song “Sweet” captures Brockhampton’s essence as a group better than any other song in the trilogy. Each rapper in the group gets a chance to flow over an outlandish beat filled with whiny synths produced by Kiko Merley. This track showcases each member’s unique qualities: Dom McLennon’s intricate and skillful flow, JOBA’s strange voices and melodic rapping, Kevin Abstract’s catchy hooks, and of course Merlyn’s unforgettable screamed line, “THIS IS MERLYN WOOD MAN, EVERYWHERE I GO IS THE WOODLANDS”. “Sweet” is a quintessential Brockhampton track, and will definitely become a go-to for getting others into the group.

–Peter Henderson

Ghosted – Get Some ft. Kamille

“I don’t need no candle light, you just need to fuck me right” accurately conveys the theme of Get Some by Ghosted. In their first and only official release, Ghosted captures the essence of the gross, honry, passionate one night stand you’ve been daydreaming about for weeks. No? Just me? This recipe for an electro pop hit includes a sensual chorus, a synthy beat, and Kamille’s buttery vocals. It is the perfect song to bop all the way to your dick appointment. Be sure not to miss out on the horror-porn themed video either – truly a marvel of cinematography.

–Frankie Peake

Moses Sumney – Lonely World

Moses Sumney is from the same planet as Grouper.

His voice is incredible. The way he uses his voice is incredible. The way this song slowly builds into its dazzling release is incredible.

See him live at all costs.

–Adam Yawdoszyn

Kamasi Washington – Truth

The epic culmination of Kamasi Washington’s Whitney Biennial exhibit/EP is a lovely testament to the breadth of humanity. Truth is a combination of the five previous tracks on Harmony of Difference, and is thus meant to represent, well, the beautiful harmony of difference. It works. In addition to being the clear emotional peak of the EP, Truth is a people watcher’s wet dream. Walk through the busy streets of any American city while listening to the song and you will see Washington’s vision for the world. In some incredible feat of jazz music, Kamasi has made a song about the beauty of humanity that actually makes humanity look more beautiful.

–Adam Yawdoszyn

Rina Sawayama – Take Me As I Am

With a long string of interviews and features on publications’ “Best of the Year” lists (including this one), Rina Sawayama garnered her first true taste of budding stardom in 2017. After releasing a few stray singles and videos, the Japanese-British independent singer-songwriter debuted her first major project, RINA, this past October. Comprised of six tracks and two interludes (that can undoubtedly stand alone as their own songs), the EP colors the bubbly, digitized future that she says (and we agree) is in store for both her and pop music.

“So, this is what it takes to live it my way

So the world will take me as I am”

If Rina Sawayama is orange, stand out “Take Me As I Am” is the whole rainbow. Brash and unapologetic, the track stands as a testament to the world about what is sure to come, signed without sincerity.

–Eric Weck

Pinegrove – Intrepid

Although Pinegrove has always managed to bring out my emotions with their nostalgic and evocative lyrics, they have always played it safe, sticking to a similar formula for each track, and never really trying anything more experimental in the indie rock genre, especially on their compilation album Everything So Far, a collection of four self-released mixtapes. On their first single presumably for an upcoming album, “Intrepid,” they break new ground with an off-kilter ¾ time signature, and a polyrhythmic, reverb heavy guitar and drum pattern. Made complete with singers Evan Stephens Hall and Nandi Plunkett practically shouting the lyrics over the band towards the back half. This track signifies Pinegrove moving towards new musical territory and trying out things not many indie rock bands are trying, which could potentially set them apart in their forthcoming album.

–Peter Henderson

Angel Olsen – Special

After the success of My Woman in 2016, Angel Olsen faced the challenge of competing with her previous work. She took an interesting turn by releasing Phases, a compilation of B-sides and rarities. The album features different versions of previously released songs as well as new releases, for example the track “Special.” This one is a favorite, because not only does it allude to the more raw, slow sound of Olsen’s earlier music (i.e. Burn Your Fire For No Witness) but it also incorporates the long, technical guitar riffs and dramatic builds that play a huge part in My Woman. Lyrically, the song appears to be a deep self reflection, perhaps of how Olsen feels about her fame related anxieties.

–Natalie Straub