The Best Songs Of 2017, So Far

Photo courtesy of Interscope Records; RCA Records; via @lorde/Twitter; Def Jam Recordings

It’s listicle time

Congratulations, friends. We are officially halfway through 2017, a year that has truly been, well, a thing. (The Oxford English Dictionary now defines "thing" as "a genuine or established phenomenon or practice." Ten points for Internet Gryffindor.) The music that's come out of it, though, has been exceptional. Between Lorde's return, Gaga's pop 180, Frank Ocean's omnipresence, and walking rap prophet Kendrick Lamar, this year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting sonically since Lorde first hit the scene. So, let's take a moment to reflect on what we've been gifted thus far, as voted on by NYLON staffers. The rest of 2017 has a lot to live up to.

10. "The Cure" by Lady Gaga
How Gaga managed to keep the recording of this under wraps, especially from her Little Monsters, is anyone's guess. She debuted it during her headlining Coachella performance and swiftly dropped it on all digital platforms soon after. After the country-tinged Joanne album, which is more or less an album for her, "The Cure" is a gift to her fans and those begging her for the sweet, sweet pop anthems she built her name on. Welcome back, Gaga. 

9. "Slide feat. Frank Ocean and Migos" by Calvin Harris
What the funk is up, Calvin Harris? This return to form is the most welcomed. You know he's doing something right if Frank Ocean hopped on.

8. "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man
It's the little song that could! Portugal. The Man earned their first number one billing on the alternative charts with this one. It's easy to hear why: The swing elements sound like nothing on the radio right now. "Rebel just for kicks"? Sure, why not.

7. "Slip Away" by Perfume Genius
Mike Hadreas really went there with Perfume Genius' latest LP, No Shape. "Slip Away" is an escapist fantasy, urging its protagonist (and listeners) to stick it to the naysayers and live their lives wholly and truly themselves. With the wall of sound that blasts through the chorus, it's easy to think you can. 

6. "Chanel" by Frank Ocean
Once you pop, you can't stop. After what felt like an eternity, Frank Ocean dropped Blonde last year and hasn't stopped releasing singles since. "Chanel," an unexpected gift in March, is a whiskey-smooth love song exploring the duality of the emotion and his subject. No one pours their heart into their craft the way Ocean does, and he's wearing it proudly on his sleeve here.

5. "I Know A Place" by MUNA
Though released as a single last December, "I Know A Place" became an anthem this year following the release of MUNA's debut album, About U, in February. Its '80s-tinged pop soars through a cascade of emotions, all in an effort to uplift and provide comfort. With lyrics like "You think being yourself means being unworthy" and lead singer, Katie Gavin, singing soon after that she knows a place where you can safely be your true self, the song's message is vital for today's world that's still stripping marginalized people of their rights. MUNA is the sound of the future and, thankfully, the future sounds bright.

4. "Love" by Lana Del Rey
Leave it to Lana Del Rey to perfectly capture the romance of youthful ennui. What's more 2017 than that?

3. "Cut To The Feeling" by Carly Rae Jepsen
It is truly a shame more people aren't clued into the majesty that is Carly Rae Jepsen. She's making the best, sweetest pop music there is today, and "Cut To The Feeling" is a masterclass. Jepsen wastes almost no time (30 seconds, in fact) to deliver a chorus that blasts off to stars and doesn't let up for the rest of the song's duration. Like the rest of her music, "Cut To The Feeling" celebrates the possibility of big love, twirling away any negative or cynical thought that tries to take her off cloud nine. Do you want to know what those butterflies you get before a first date with a crush sound like? This. This is what they sound like.

2. "Supercut" by Lorde
Nestled at the tail end of Lorde's stunning sophomore album Melodrama is "Supercut," the most Robyn-like song this year has seen outside of Robyn's "Honey" snippet on Girls. It's the song that finds the true sweet spot between Lorde's wunderkind introspection and Jack Antonoff's production, something we consider to be the sound of 2017. Never has young love been defined so concisely than when Lorde sings of it being "wild" and "fluorescent." Gosh. 

1. "HUMBLE." by Kendrick Lamar
"HUMBLE." takes no prisoners. Between Lamar bragging about Obama paging him, the necessity for Photoshop-less bodies, and subtle digs as his peers, there's nothing humble about this. Sit down, though. Lamar deserves it. 

Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, and Agyness Deyn also star

Elisabeth Moss is trying to keep it together as punk rock artist Becky Something in the trailer for forthcoming movie Her Smell. She's surrounded by iconic faces who make up her band Something She, Gayle Rankin as Ali van der Wolff and Agyness Deyn as Marielle Hell, as she grapples with the fact that her musical prowess just doesn't draw as big a crowd as it used to.

In addition to the wavering fame, Becky is "grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom," according to a press release. "When Becky's chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success." And what's clear from the trailer, Moss is absolutely meant for this role, transforming into the punk on the brink of collapse.

Rounding out the cast are Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens. Watch the official trailer, below. Her Smell hits theaters on April 12 in New York and 14 in L.A., with "national expansion to follow."




Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In an acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards

As The 1975 accepted the BRIT Award for Best British group, outspoken frontman Matty Healy shared the words of journalist Laura Snapes as a way of calling out misogyny that remains ever-present in the music industry. Healy lifted a powerful quote from Snapes' coverage of allegations against Ryan Adams for The Guardian: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art."

Snapes reacted almost immediately on Twitter, saying she was "gobsmacked, and honoured that he'd use his platform to make this statement." Snapes had originally written the line for an interview she published with Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek back in 2015, in response to Kozelek publicly calling her a "bitch" who "totally wants to have my babies" because she requested to speak in person rather than via e-mail, which she brought up in the more recent piece on Adams. Kozelek's vile response, and the misogyny that allowed it to play out without real consequences, it could be argued, could have easily played out in the same way in 2019, which makes her reiteration of the line, and Healy's quoting it on such a large platform, all the more important.

It should be noted that back in December, Healy caught a bit of heat himself on Twitter for an interview with The Fader in which he insinuated that misogyny was an issue exclusive to hip-hop, and that rock 'n' roll had freed itself of it. He clarified at length on Twitter and apologized, saying, "I kinda forget that I'm not very educated on feminism and misogyny and I cant just 'figure stuff out' in public and end up trivializing the complexities of such enormous, experienced issues."