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Year-End List 2017: 25 Songs

It is an annual tradition here in DAM NATION to compile all the songs that made the year an entertaining one in terms of songs. Just a recap, in 2010 we loved the way Eminem and Rihanna lied. We roll in the deep with Adele in 2011 while maybe calling Carly Rae Jepsen in 2012. Lorde made us feel like royals in 2013 and bang, banged with Nicki, Ariana and Jessie in 2014. Charlie Puth reminds us to see him again in 2015 and Drake offered his one dance in 2016.


As the year 2017 comes to its conclusion, we look back at the songs that define and peaked it. In 2017 we had new rules: be a bad liar and hope that you are somewhere praying. We fell in love with a shape of you while there is no holding us back in needing some attention. Look what you made us do but who said that we are angels? We got issues and we're only human after all.

Yup. I think that somehow describes the songs of 2017 in a nutshell. Just like every year, here is a countdown of songs that made an impact in 2017. From odes to after break-ups  impact to ditties of love confessions, 2017 is a good mix emerging new artists and staple favorites of pop mainstream music. The list is very subjective and open to some civilized discussion.


25. Bodak Yellow
Cardi B

Breaking barriers and setting records, Cardi B's Bodak Yellow is as confident as it can be with spit fire rap verses that is full of braggadocio and a celebration of woman empowerment. Cardi raps cutthroat verses in her slick tone and smooth flow making Bodak Yellow a summer jam you didn't expect to appreciate.

24. No Promises
Cheat Codes x Demi Lovato

It's simple. No Promises is a trans, dance hall pop tune that is feel good and infectious. From the catchy hook to the fun build, No Promises is a surprise hit from Cheat Codes and Demi Lovato.

23. Cold
Maroon 5 (ft. Future)

As the Adam Levine fronted group delved more on the electronic pop genre, Cold actually doesn't feel cold. Its Caribbean-themed tune with some elevated falsetto work and Future's rap verse is a welcoming surprise and Adam's impeccable falsetto actually worked on the single.

22. Strip That Down
Liam Payne (ft. Quavo)

As formulaic as it is, Liam Payne plays safe to a more radio friendly dance beat but an inescapable summer jam. Strip That Down founds himself declaring that he used to be in 1D and now he's free, and the shy underrated good boy of One Direction is more confident as ever with this slick banger.

21. Stay
Zedd (ft. Alessia Cara)

As the Canadian songstress sings the catchy hook of Stay, Zedd's slinky, precise infectious beats looms over this dance hall tune that made this unlikely collaboration a surprising radio hit. Alessia Cara's soulful, R&B take on this tune is refreshing but not too polarizing and this set a new side of her that made her more appealing to the pop crowd. In the end, Stay is hook laden with infectious beat that sets a sonic tone of memorable verses.

20. He Like That
Fifth Harmony

From a perspective of vocals alone, the women of Fifth Harmony showcased various set of tones that gives He Like That an element of variety but it jives all too well together. He Like That is a sexy ear worm with its unabashedly charming innuendos and hook laden beats a step forward to a more matured, sure and cohesive unit of a now quartet girl group.

19. Rockabye
Clean Bandit (ft. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie)

An ode to the single mothers out there, Rockabye is dance tune that perfectly blends Clean Bandit's solid instrumentation, Sean Paul's ditties and Anne-Marie's impeccable vocals. As a result, this pop tune is an infectious hit.

18. Praying

Praying feels personal and the comeback single from the once pop radio mainstay decided to deviate from her generic uptempo tunes to a more vulnerable pop ballad. In the end, Praying slays all her demons and was able to send a message where her voice is in her loudest and her meaning is in its monumental celebration!

17. That's What I Like
Bruno Mars

That's What I Like is a slick tune from Bruno that brings the silky vibes of classic R&B while mixing it up to the modern era. It has some catchy feat without being repetitive and it's kinda a refreshing note.

16. Bad Liar
Selena Gomez

There is too much going on in Bad Liar but its not something to complain about. Selena Gomez finds an understated beauty to this musical jam-packed singled with interpolation of Talking Head's Psycho Killer. Bad Liar finds Gomez in a more restrained manner allowing her to be front and center and the song's production more as a supporting act. 

15. Too Good At Goodbyes
Sam Smith

A more confident Sam Smith sings her heart out on this almost gospel themed comeback single. Too Good At Goodbyes may find the British singer in his comfort zone - power ballad - but it feels more sure and alright that Too Good At Goodbyes seems more like a celebratory win rather than emotional statement.

14. Human
Rag 'n' Bone

The electronic handclaps and an almost gospel production makes this ode to vulnerability a surprising hit of 2017. Human is emotional and rootsy. The textured grit is admirable and the pop ballad is a solid effort from the Brit singer.

13. Issues
Julia Michaels

Songwriter turned hit maker Julia Michaels has 99 issues but making a hit is not one of them. As she successfully cross over from writing to other people to making a name for herself, Issues is a quality work. From her unique vocals to the crisp plucks of notes, Julia Michaels showcased dynamics and vulnerability without being too emotional. In the end, Issues is an infectious tune that was perfectly produced.

12. Thunder
Imagine Dragons

The thumping quality and catchy backdrop made Imagine Dragon's Thunder an infectious, solid hit. It doesn't elevate pop music but it rolls through the formula, familiar to Imagine Dragon's discography. It is not too bland but it is also not to polarizing. It has the right mix of edge and pop bop that catches you in singing along.

11. Attention
Charlie Puth

Calling out an ex will for sure create some hype but Charlie Puth actually focuses the energy more on creating an infectious pop hit. Attention brought some needed "attention" from the songwriter which is a step forward from his previous singles. It's more mature, confident and the falsetto which is his strongest suit is more evident and beautiful.

10. Wild Thoughts
DJ Khaled (ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller)

Despite some obvious innuendos and sexual references, Wild Thoughts is sweet and sexy without being too raunchy. Rihanna provided some restrained, memorable vocal work while Bryson Tilelr added some color to a tune that obviously relied on a sample of Santana's Maria, Maria.

09. There's Nothing Holding Me Back
Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes brought some edge with the spit fire verse and an almost pleading quality of vocals, There's Nothing Holding Me Back is a more feisty tune from the Canadian singer allowing us to enjoy more of his textured vocals and colored production.

08. Feel It Still
Portugal. The Man

The interpolation of Mr. Postman is evident but Feel It Still brassiness and unabashedly vintage vibe allows us to enjoy a classic tune with a modern soulful twist.

07. Havana
Camila Cabello (ft. Young Thug)

What a way to turn things around! Camila got her groove when she went back to her heritage and provided a more natural outing that leads up to this late end of Summer jam. Havana is simple, infectious and catchy. It is not pretentious and Camila sounded at home. Not to mention, the tropical production is refreshing feat.

06. Sign of the Times
Harry Styles

To be fair, Harry Styles may have produced the best post 1D single out of all them. Given that the 1D main man found his stride on a classic-rock artistry, he was able to mimic a vintage feel to a modern, current vibe that somehow made Sign of the Times appealing. There is a brazen confidence from the crooner as he sings around the melody of this pop-rock ballad. It is a charming and dazzling effort.

05. New Rules
Dua Lipa

Let's be real, everyone should listen to Dua Lipa's New Rules post break-up. The single which enjoys a current successful run in pop radio is an infectious banger. From the undeniably catchy hooks to the beat friendly production, it makes this certain "rules" memorable and something one should not forget... at all.

04. Slow Hands
Niall Horan

Niall knows his artistry and Slow Hands is a step away from his previous single. As he drops the restrained, acoustic guitar, Slow Hands is more funky but not too much. It allows him to show his seductive vocals while enjoying some stomp and clap beats and muted guitar in production. Slow Hands also wins where it matters most: It is catchy as hell!

03. Slide
Calvin Harris (ft. Frank Ocean & Migos)

Who could one go wrong from having Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean and two-thirds of America's poplar rap group right now? There could be a lot that can happen but one thing is for sure: this collaboration is an impeccable taste of solid musical fest. From the Frank Ocean's breezy vocals to Calvin Harris exchanging his braggadocio house throb instrumentation to a more California-inspired funky production to Migos textured rap verses, Slide is slick and infectious without trying to much.

02. Despacito (Remix)
Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee (ft. Justin Bieber)

Despacito can get away on its own but the remix version created a different buzz and color. Blame it to Justin Bieber, Despacito found success into his sweet vocal interpretation that made this uptempo tune an inescapable summer all year jam. It is infectious, earthy and not pretentious.

01. Shape of You
Ed Sheeran

Riding on the post effect of Sia's Cheap Thrills, Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You could be criticized with such unoriginality but the single thrived well more than that. The instrumentation work is genius and Ed's vocal delivery is impeccable. It is an infectious jam that doesn't rely on big production.
Year-End List 2017: 25 Songs Reviewed by Etan Musni on 11:30 PM Rating: 5

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