10 Songs I Danced To Or Cried To In 2017

 

 

In no particular order, here are ten songs that I danced to or cried to in 2017. - Max Mertens


Cardi B - “Bodak Yellow (Zora Jones & Sinjin Hawke Bootleg)”

Not since Nelly’s “Air Force Ones,” has a song done so much for the footwear industry. The following is an incomplete list of places where I’ve enjoyed Cardi B’s chart-topping, take-no-prisoners, all-seasons anthem this year:

- Riding in the backseat of a NYC taxi during a sticky June heatwave
- Atlanta strip club mecca Magic City while enjoying a plate of lemon pepper wings
- A DIY basement venue in a Toronto industrial neighbourhood, courtesy of Fractal Fantasy first couple Zora Jones and Sinjin Hawke

(Honourable mention to Jersey Club torchbearer UNIIQU3’s “Bodak Yellow” flip.)
 

Yaeji - “Passionfruit”

The best songs by New York-based hip-house producer Yaeji feel like the head rush you get after drinking cheap champagne too quickly, leaving your body with euphoric and dizzying sensations. Her cover of the More Life highlight dials back the original’s tropical vibes in favour of something softer and more pensive.

 

Calvin Harris feat. Frank Ocean & Migos - “Slide”

Calvin Harris’ “How I made Slide” tutorial video has almost six million views on Twitter, but it takes a special Rolodex to get 2017’s hottest rap trio and most elusive R&B star together on a track. That’s not a knock at the Scottish producer either—who else could make a California sun-kissed, radio-ready disco-pop anthem this massive? In a year which saw no shortage of memorable Migos bars, Offset’s “Good gracious, starin’ at my diamonds while I’m hoppin’ out a spaceship” might be my favourite.

 

Cousin Stizz feat. Offset - “Headlock”

And speaking of Migos… Cardi B’s fiancé also appears on Boston MC Cousin Stizz’s braggadocious “Headlock,” the best rap single of this year featuring flutes not named “Mask Off.”

Ryan Hemsworth feat. Yakki & E-40 - “Hunnid”

I’m biased because I’ve known him for a few years (we Nova Scotia transplants have to stick together), but “Hunnid” is one of my favourite songs that Ryan’s ever made, and he got a guest verse from none other than Captain Save a Hoe aka Charlie Hustle aka Forty Fonzarelli aka Earl Stevens aka E-40.

Mount Eerie - “Ravens”

In September, I saw one of America’s greatest storytellers, Phil Elverum, play to a full house at a Ukrainian cultural centre in Montreal to close out the city’s POP Montreal festival. He had a bare-bones setup—just an acoustic guitar, mic, and a Charlie Brown Christmas tree as the sole stage prop—and performed songs from A Crow Looked at Me, his gut-wrenching 2017 album about his wife Geneviève passing away after being diagnosed with cancer. The venue was sweltering inside and there was something vaguely uncomfortable about listening to his stories of loss, like overhearing a private conversation that you weren’t supposed to, but no other concert I attended in 2017 felt so cathartic.

Kali Uchis feat. Jorja Smith - “Tyrant”

While mainstream dance-pop was kind of a snoozefest this year (Camila Cabello’s “Havana” excluded), this smoldering collaboration between Columbian-American singer Kali Uchis and rising British R&B star Jorja Smith (who became a household name after being featured on Drake’s “Get It Together”) should have been way bigger, and bodes well for the former’s forthcoming debut album. Great video too.

Young Thug feat. Millie Go Lightly - “Family Don’t Matter”

Taylor Swift might have fully abandoned country music in 2017, but Young Thug showing off a cowboy drawl on Beautiful Thugger Girls opener “Family Don’t Matter” proved the chameleonic Atlanta rapper’s still got plenty of tricks up his sleeves. Yee-haw indeed.

NewAgeMuzik - “DM’s”

A catchy-as-hell Afrobeats ode to shooting your (digital) shot. Shout out to Cam Reed for putting me onto this one.  

Kara-Lis Coverdale - “Grafts”

Putting this intricate, new age-leaning 22-minute instrumental piece by Montreal composer Kara-Lis Coverdale on this list might be cheating slightly, but I found myself repeatedly finding solace in it this year when the din of the 24-hour news cycle grew too loud.


Follow Max on Twitter: @Max_Mertens

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CultureElizabeth Arlow2017