2017 was surprisingly great for pop music, while there was a lot of schlock to wade through, there ware some great tracks that were so good that they stayed in my rotation from their release up til now.
‘OMG’ – Camila Cabello (Feat. Quavo)
This single was released at the same time as ‘Havana’ but didn’t gain the traction that it deserved. I realized in the club that you can’t really dance to ‘Havana’ whereas ‘OMG’ was made for dancing to. The heavy base, angelic choir on loop and that sticky staccato is everything. There’s something really Charli XCX about this mid-tempo banger, which considering she was a co-writer with Noonie Bao makes sense. Camila has really made steps to release quality music this year and make her debut an event to not be missed. With her pre-release singles all showing great promise, I can’t wait to hear a full body of work from her.
‘Rockets’ – Lion Babe (Feat. Moe Moks)
Lion Babe have been on my radar, since their debut Begin and their collab with Disclosure ‘Hourglass’ however, it was the release of ‘Rockets’ that made me really listen to their stuff this year. It’s almost like elevator music in it’s realxed approach production-wise and Jillian Hervey’s ethereal vocals, but that melody is an addictive earworm that is is intriguing on first listen. The lyrics are essentially nonsensical but the whole package is like walking through a room filled with blunt smoke. The best way to describe it is… Delicious.
‘Normal Girl’, ‘The Weekend’ and ‘Go Gina’ – SZA
First off, all of CTRL is amazing, this is one of the best debut albums that i have heard from anyone in a long time. It’s so cohesive in its artistic unity and the themes of love, pain, growing up and being twenty-something are so clear and well articulated. These three songs, are the ones that spoke to me personally. As someone in their early-mid twenties I just have never has music that so bluntly spoke to the experience of being a young, messy woman. Also, SZA is everything.
‘Boys’ and ‘Baby Girl’ (Feat. Uffie) – Charli XCX
After the drastic pivot of last years Vroom Vroom EP, Charli found a middle ground with the Number 1 Angel Mixtape. It’s a really strong body of work that I think was a great antidote after ‘After the Afterparty’ which undermined everything that Vroom Vroom put in place. Charli XCX’s strength is catchy, off-centre pop that explores different genres. ‘Baby Girl’ stood out on the record for me because of that Uffie verse, it’s a WTF moment that kind of stops the record and you have to listen to again just because of her delivery. ‘Boys’ is just a jam and it lives in its simplicity.
‘Disco Tits’ – Tove Lo
Only Tove Lo would name a song after her tits, a performance trademark. This funk tinged track about getting high and dancing until you’re dripping with sweat. I love pop songs that don’t try to complicate the premise, ‘Disco Tits’ is an infectious pop song that plays with levels of intoxication through the layers of production i.e. that affected voice that mutters “I say hi, you say hi, we stay high, you look so pretty yeah.”
‘Heatstroke’ – Calvin Harris (Feat. Young Thug, Pharell & Ariana Grande) and ‘Hard To Love’ (Feat. Jessie Reyez)
Is summer back? Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1 is was my album of the summer, I killed this record even when it got colder because the production is beautiful. ‘Heatstroke’ is sweltering, it is summer captured in a song. The production of this track is so perfectly done, that from the first five seconds I need an ice lolly. ‘Hard To Love’ is the slightly cooler summer evening. Jessie’s blunt, honest lyrics work and sweet voice contrast so perfectly with that groaning, male voice in that loves just beneath her vocals it gives a sadness to the production that ends the record on such a bittersweet note.
‘End Game’ – Taylor Swift (Feat. Future & Ed Sheeran)
This song shouldn’t have worked for me. 2017 has been the year of Ed Sheeran, a long year that overwhelmed me with Ed Sheeran songs that all started to meld together. Never-the-less, the hook ‘big reputation’ is such an earworm that the first few times i listened to this I didn’t even know that Taylor had a verse because I kept rewinding to hear that hook. It’s a standout from Reputation, this track is the best from this record for me. The texture that Sheeran and Future bring and the bombastic production are icing on the cake of an almost perfect pop record.