Review: looking back on the best songs and artists of 2017

by Ileana Sung | 1/5/18 12:00am

The start of 2018 means the beginning of #NewYearNewMe routines and looking forward to new beginnings, but there’s also no better time than now to reminisce on the year that just ended. Even if 2017 wasn’t a particularly amazing year, it definitely saw the release of some amazing music and the rise of great new artists. Here are my top songs from 2017 for you to nod (or shake) your head to. 

“I Don’t Want It at All” by Kim Petras

This new artist released “I Don’t Want It at All” as her debut single, and her sassiness and simple, addictive beat caught many people’s attention. The song reminds me of Kesha’s old sound, and I was skeptical about it at first, but its catchiness and bouncy, energetic quality makes it a perfect summertime song. I can easily imagine myself driving down the road under the searing sun with this song playing. If you are desperately in need of summer vibes in -30°F Hanover weather, this song might deliver a bit of warmth. 

While, like me, you may be unsure at first whether you love it or hate it, you’ll soon find yourself singing along to those sassy lyrics. 

“I want all my clothes designer, OOH! / I want someone else to buy ‘em, YEAH! / If I cannot get it right now, (NOW) / I don’t want it, I don’t want it, I don’t want it at all!” 

Honestly, attitude goals. 

“Honey” by Kehlani

If you’re looking for an interesting but simple, quiet song, this is it. The song consists of only a minimalist acoustic guitar pattern, and, of course, Kehlani’s amazing voice, which shines in this ballad about finding someone who knows and understands you. The lyrics are beautiful: “Cause I’m a beautiful wreck / A colorful mess, but I’m funny.” The song has a certain floating quality to it — if that description is too abstract to understand, open your Spotify and listen to it. The song’s simplicity is what makes it shine; it’s a great song to listen to at night or when you’re working alone in your room with a cup of tea.

“Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi” by Cardi B

Cardi B recently shared that she named herself after Bacardi because her sister is named Hennessy. If that doesn’t get your attention, then how about her lyrics. One line in “Bartier Cardi” reads: “Them diamonds gon’ hit like a b— on a b—y-a— b—.” Cardi B is definitely one of the major breakout artists of 2017 — her debut song “Bodak Yellow” rose to number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, which made her the first female rapper to accomplish this feat since Lauryn Hill in 1998. Although her songs may be met with very different reactions depending on differing musical tastes, she definitely has a distinct character and presence that is apparent in her music.  

Her newest song, “Bartier Cardi,” is also very defiant and audacious, with over-the-top lyrics. If you want to have a good time or feel like throwing out strong words, why don’t you try rapping along to Cardi B?

“Rolex” by Ayo & Teo

Hip-hop and trap music duo Ayo & Teo’s 2017 release “Rolex” is the definition of chill and catchy. One of my personal favorites from last year, it’s a “good vibes” song with a familiar and simple tune that anyone can vibe to.

“H.E.R. Volume 2” by H.E.R.

Many people know H.E.R. as the “breakup artist”— she’s known for songs that are great for anyone experiencing post-breakup blues. After her first album “H.E.R. Volume 1” came out in 2016, she released “H.E.R. Volume 2” in 2017. This new album added to her résumé but does not match up to her first album. Thus far, her songs so far have a dark beat and atmosphere that she pushed to the boundary of overly depressing with her second album, but the sound definitely has its place, especially in the Hanover winter.

“It Ain’t Me” by Kygo featuring Selena Gomez

After hitting the charts following weeks of Instagram teasing by Selena Gomez, “It Ain’t Me” tells the classic story of a relationship that is ruined by alcohol. The track does not particularly stand out musically; there are probably hundreds of songs with similar beats and melodies. Nevertheless, it is a good song to thoughtlessly listen to and has a nostalgic quality to it worthy to make the list.

“New Rules” by Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa is an artist who made great progress in 2017. While previously immensely successful in the United Kingdom, she entered the United States music scene with a bang last year, hitting the Billboard charts and gathering an audience that is still rapidly growing. She’s also all about female empowerment, and her songs showcase her own brand of feminism.

“MIC Drop” by BTS (Steve Aoki remix) 

South Korean boy band BTS skyrocketed in popularity this year, probably because the sight of seven Korean guys singing while dancing intense choreography in perfect synchronicity is not something Americans are used to seeing every day. The group even went on to perform at the 2017 American Music Awards. This Steve Aoki remix is a good representation of its sound.

“Havana” by Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug

“Havana, Ooh na-na (ay)!” One of the most addictive songs of 2017 and also one of my favorites. If you haven’t listened to it at least once, you are not living in the 21st century. Go listen immediately — I promise it’ll be stuck in your head for a solid month.  

“HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar 

None of you are surprised to see Kendrick Lamar here, I hope. His album “DAMN.” made him one of the most talked-about artists of 2017, and you probably heard him say “be humble” more times than you would ever have imagined. While I’m not in love with his voice and don’t find myself wanting to listen to his music for an extended period of time, his artistic lyrics are definitely worth at least three minutes of your time.