Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at #PopHatesFlops! We hope you have an incredible holiday season with your family and friends and get all the gifts you ever wanted.
By Skinny Legend
Now that 2016 has finally arrived - and any hopes of a surprise release ala Beyoncé have been completely dashed - we thought it was the perfect time to look back at what made last year in music great. Although the bigger names in pop such as Gaga, RiRi and Katy all took unexpected hiatuses for the majority of 2015, these breaks only made room for newcomer artists and previously unpolished gems to dominate the charts. Read on below to find out how!
In fifth place...
In fourth place...
In third place...
In second place...
And in first place...
What do you think of PHF's official list of the five best albums of 2015? Have we covered all the bases, or are you ready to hunt us down for not including your favourite project? Let us know in the comments section down below!
By Skinny Legend
Every year around this time, the #PopHatesFlops community comes together to celebrate the year in pop music and to compile our annual list of our favourite songs of the year. While previous years lists have been microcosms of the genres that populated them - last year focused heavily on country-pop, while 2016 was big on slinky synthpop and 2015 was loving the tropical pop trend - this year's list is remarkable for it's lack of trendiness, showing that in 2018 there's no longer any such thing as an era in pop music. It's a testament to how fractured the industry is in the age of streaming apps and the dwindling importance of radio that our members have chosen such wide ranging songs as piano ballads, acoustic guitar work and 90s-styled R&B, and that all of them sound current and fresh.
For the first time ever, we've included a Spotify playlist of this year's entries so you can listen along to the songs while you read our thoughts. Whether you're out partying it up at your local New Year's celebrations or spending a quiet day nursing your hangover at home, we hope that this list will bring you joy as you celebrate the coming of another year. And once again, we have to say a big thank you to the amazing members who make not only this list, but also this forum possible. We love you all and we wish you only the best in 2019!
18. Clean Bandit - Baby (Feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi)
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Little had been heard of the artist previously known as Marina and the Diamonds since 2015's experimental Froot album, which is why it was all the more surprising that she decided to make her long-awaited comeback with dance-pop sensations Clean Bandit and generic Hispanic stereotype Luis Fonsi. 'Baby' is just as generic as it's composers would imply, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best-produced and straight up fun songs of the year. Marina handles the change from squeaky sex kitten in the verse to acoustic guitar balladeer in the pre-chorus to triumphant Selena impersonator in the chorus with style, and even the typically irritating Fonsi manages to impress with his brand of Latin flair. Hopefully 'Baby' is a sign that Marina's ready to give up her pretentions of making alternative music in favour of a more laidback, carefree style.
17. Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water
Submitted By: @kallumlavigne
Avril Lavigne's powerful comeback after a long hiatus 'Head Above Water' - apart from the obvious green screen and body double in the video - is stunning. The song itself is quiet: a powerful, slow ballad that finds redemption towards it's last chorus, and it's a very different sound from the in your face guitar-based pop-punk tunes she's known for. But the piano delivers well, the instrumental is a euphoric experience and Avril's semi-soft vocals take the crown this year for me. Also, its low, but it's on Billboard's list of the best songs of 2018.
16. Kim Petras - Tell Me It's a Nightmare
Submitted By: @Turn Ya Head
Kim Petras, perhaps the most promising upcoming singer from the past three years, has released numerous buzz singles between 2017 and 2018; but in my opinion, her best work so far is one of the tracks from her Halloween-themed EP Turn Off The Light, Vol. 1.
'Tell Me It's a Nightmare' is a dark dance-oriented track which follows a remarkable instrumental song on the EP, creating an ethereal flow that some albums seem to lack these days. The ambiguous, yet intriguing lyrics, manage to convey a sense of horror and desperation that slightly contrasts with the rest of the EP.
"Tell me it's a nightmare/And you ain't going nowhere/Try to save ya, warn ya, keep you alive/Try to stop ya, but you paid the price", sings Petras in a pleading manner. Who is she trying to save? What is she trying to save them from? Only her and the person who this song is dedicated to will ever know. Maybe she's trying to save them from herself. Maybe she's trying to save them from a potentially abusive relationship. The mystery allows the listener to apply the lyrics to their own personal life and therefore makes them relatable to almost anyone.
The high-pitched vocals showcase Petras's singing ability and charisma. The production allows her crystal clear voice to shine and complement the haunting bass that's so prominent in the instrumental. The song ends with a haunting segment, in which she repeatedly sings non-lexical vocals in a catchy tune.
What else could a pop fan ask from a song? Good lyrics, stellar production, a carefully engineered instrumental and outstanding vocals. 'Tell Me It's a Nightmare' might not be a mainstream hit or a chart topper, but it surely is a masterpiece.
15. Kacey Musgraves - Happy & Sad
Submitted By: @nanapop99
I used to hate country music and I probably still do, but the good sis Kacey really did that with her latest album Golden Hour. In my opinion the album deserves to win Album of the Year at the Grammy's, but that's another subject. Anyways, country music is a genre I don't really listen to but these past few years we've seen pop divas like Gaga, Miley, Kesha and Kylie bringing their yeehaw out of nowhere, so you could say that I've gotten used to that type of music.
I first heard of Kacey in a meme comparing Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION to Golden Hour and I was really wondering what was so special about that country girl. A few months after that, I heard a snippet of 'High Horse' and it was a bop at first listen so I decided to download the album while preparing for my trip to Vietnam and South Korea. I listened to the first half of the album on the plane and it really was so good! I was shook and my wig definitely flew to Texas or Tennessee or whatever yeehaw place you can think of.
But the track that really stood out for me was 'Happy & Sad'. I don't think that there's anything special sonically about the track but the vibe, the lyrics, and the E•MO•TION of it that meant I couldn't stop my tears from falling while listening to the track for the first time. Unfortunately, my moment had to be cut short because the plane was about to land and I had to pretend that I was crying because of the loud noises.
I was lowkey a mess back in July because I've just graduated high school and I didn't really know where I'd end up in September, study-wise. And while I was happy to travel with my family, I was kinda sad at the same time within my personal life so you could say that I was "lost.mp3". But this song and the album in general were like a warm hug for me. Golden Hour is the soundtrack to my summer 2018 and 'Happy & Sad' is definitely my song of the year! Who knew I had to become a space cowboy in order to survive this year?
14. Little Mix - Wasabi
Submitted By: @Ari
2018 saw the release of LM5 from legendary iconic girl group Little Mix. After the massive success of their previous album Glory Days, they had big boots to fill but they did not disappoint!
Many songs on this album are very different to their previous sound which has received some mixed reactions, but one song we can all hopefully agree on is the iconic bop that is 'Wasabi'. Penned by none other than legendary group member and LGBTQ icon Jade Thirlwall, as well as written and produced by the iconic MNEK, 'Wasabi' is the hoe anthem that we all need in our lives.
From the catchy lyrics to the boppy beat and bass to even the harmonising "oh oh"'s, Little Mix show us that they will never be limited to one sound as a girl group and that each album they give us will be unique and fresh and work with all four members no matter the style of song. And that is why 'Wasabi' is one of the best songs of 2018.
13. Mariah Carey - GTFO
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Mariah Carey was never entirely gone from the music scene, with releases like the festive 'The Star' and the messy 'I Don't' holding fans over since her last album, 2014's Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. Even so, our first offering from this year's Caution plays out just like a comeback single should, harking back to the classics that made gave Mariah her 18 #1's while propelling her unique form of balladry into the modern age. Don't let the title fool you; 'GTFO' is a down-tempo, moody heartbreak song, which is only slightly offset by it's angsty and comedic chorus of "How 'bout you get the fuck out?". While 'GTFO' was far from a hit, it did reach meme status pretty quickly and it's sound is probably the closest thing to a smash song that Mariah could get to in 2018. Fingers crossed that the next release from Caution will do a little better.
12. Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry
Submitted By: @Fetish
My favorite song of this year has to be the gorgeous introduction to Ariana Grande's fourth album Sweetener. 'No Tears Left To Cry' almost instantly became a hit due to its beautiful production and even dreamier music video. The track defied expectations for Ariana, as she took inspiration from the Manchester tragedy to curate both a meaningful hard-hitting track and a seemingly lighthearted dance track. The upbeat nature of the production secures the song as a beautiful track filled with the celebration of all things, as Ariana twists the idea of no longer being able to cry into a transition towards happiness. With a catchy instrumental and even catchier lyrics by Max Martin, the song has easily established itself as one of the best songs of 2018 in my books.
11. Tinashe - Ooh La La
Submitted By: @Glamleska
Tinashe Jorgensen Kachingwe is the slept on R&B up-and-comer that's been championed as an unbeatable contender for seven years running, and this year she takes the stage with my favourite song 'Ooh La La'. Though this year has been considered a difficult one for Tinashe – from being dropped by RCA to going home earlier than deserved on Dancing With The Stars to the unjustly scrapped EP project NASHE – she still delivered one of my favorite R&B tracks of this decade.
Track number five, 'Ooh La La', off her sophomore album Joyride has remained at the top of my rotation since its release. Though the album was heavily criticized, I found this track to be an incredible standout. I didn’t mind the album either, with the exception of there being way too many features. Between the nostalgic squeaking sound effect reminiscent of Trillville’s 'Some Cut', the heavy pulsating 808s, and her smooth harmonies over the chorus, 'Ooh La La' was everything I needed from an R&B track in 2018. It’s a shame it wasn’t released as a single over some other questionable choices - *cough* 'Me So Bad' - but I digress. Here’s to 2019 and another year of hoping my Aquarian sister finds some success independently! STOP SLEEPING ON TINASHE 2K19. #BuyJoyrideOniTunes
10. Lady Gaga - I'll Never Love Again
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Although she's best known for her dance/pop tracks, Lady Gaga has always been an incredible balladeer, as she's shown countless times in fan favourite songs like 'Brown Eyes', 'Speechlees' and 'Angel Down'. But while she's explored rooting tooting rock ballads and unsettling acoustic work, Gaga had never lent her vocals to a straight up power ballad before the release of this year's A Star Is Born soundtrack. 'I'll Never Love Again' is the final track on that album, although it appears as the penultimate song on the tracklisting as well with a slightly different ending, and after the high energy rock and roll attitude of the soundtrack and the movie it's the perfect song to listen to as the audience reflects back on the events of the story. Although the lyrics can be slightly over-sentimental and cheesy, the beautiful orchestral work can't be faulted and Gaga's voice sounds the best it ever has, even without any hint of Autotune or post-production work. Put simply, 'I'll Never Love Again' is a masterpiece on par with Whitney's 'I Will Always Love You', Mariah's 'Without You' and Celine's 'All By Myself', and the only shame about the song is that the charts didn't revere it as such.
9. Cher - The Winner Takes It All
Submitted By: @Ruthless Love
Yes, the song itself is not from 2018, however Cher's rendition is and it is magically perfect. Following her role in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, the legendary Cher announced she'd be releasing an album full of ABBA covers, and the result was Dancing Queen. The album itself is flawlessly perfect from beginning to end, and the standout song for me is the second-to-last, 'The Winner Takes it All'. Originally released by ABBA in 1980 from their Super Trouper album, the song is magical in its lyrical content, and under the direction of Cher and music producer Mark Taylor, it's truly uplifting and easy-listening at its best. It's still ABBA, but with a special twist of Cher-riffic talent and gold. This song is not-to-be-missed.
8. Hailee Steinfeld & BloodPop® - Capital Letters
Submitted By: @Cypher
There were a lot of songs this year that were good in glimpses, but one that stood out is 'Capital Letters' by Hailee Steinfeld and BloodPop®. Coming down from his production on the Justin Bieber collaboration 'Friends', BloodPop® was able to capture the cinematics and emotions of a new romance. With Ellie Goulding thrown into the mix as a co-writer, the song comes together with some of the highest highs of 2018. 'Capital Letters' is a feel-good song about falling into the whirlwind that comes with any new relationship. After what seemed to be a melodramatic 2017 full of anticipation, this song kicked off 2018 with new goals, bright rays of light, and hope for a better tomorrow. Though the single did not become a smash hit in any region, it thrives as an underrated piece of pop perfection with a timeless sound.
7. Au/Ra - Emoji
Submitted By: @Cock Destroyer
'Emoji' is underrated and one of my most played songs this year. I thought 'Panic Room' would be Au/Ra's best song but then she released this masterpiece. I love the production, the melodies, everything. It's quite different from today's pop but still a pop song. I feel like if t.A.t.U released a song today, it would sound like this.
6. Demi Lovato - Sober
Submitted By: @Whoknowsmehere
I have listened to a lot of my favorite songs from 2018 (and there are a quite a few of them) over the last couple of days to determine my fave; but this one particular song just kept coming back to me over and over.
The fact that this song hit so close to home for me is my primary reason for choosing it. That, and I actually enjoyed listening to it very much over and over again. I have probably listened to it at least a hundred times since it came out. I will not get into a long drawn out explanation, other than to say I know what exactly Demi is talking about in this song.
I know this song did not get a lot of air time. Nor much, if any, acclaim. But for me that is not what makes a great song. The message is what did it for me.
5. Rina Sawayama - Cherry
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Rina Sawayama might still be a relative unknown in the pop music scene, but in the burgeoning realm of underground queer pop artists which includes Charli XCX and Kim Petras she's a frontrunner of the genre. Like these two artists she's fully capable of self-referential and ironic hyper-pop bops, as she proved last year with 'Cyber Stockholm Syndrome'; but with 'Cherry', the Japanese-English Sawayama proves that she has more up her sleeve than just that. 'Cherry' is not only a slice of alternative pop heaven in it's production, but a vulnerable admission of sexual curiosity that's rarely heard in pop music. "Down the subway, you looked my way/With your girl gaze, with your girl gaze/That was the day everything changed/Couldn't stay the same" introduces the song, and for the most part it's the perfect introduction of Sawayama herself - soft yet strong, insecure yet confident, and enigmatic yet honest. If Rina has more "cherries" like this on the way, then we get the feeling the sky's the limit for how far she'll go.
4. Mark Ronson - Nothing Breaks Like a Heart (Feat. Miley Cyrus)
Submitted By: @Tweener
After taking a social media hiatus, the legendary Miley Cyrus teamed up with the amazing producer Mark Ronson (known mostly for his work with Lady Gaga) and created the song of the millennium! Miley did what other girls wished to do and what they should've done a long time ago. The song and the powerful music video convey a very important message of contemporary society mindlessly following the news about the Kardashians, and other celebrities not paying enough attention to real problems like police brutality, racism, kids running around with guns, greed in stores, and clerks' hypocrisy. The video is comprised of many LGBTQ references as well, which doesn't come as a surprise considering Miley is an LGBTQ icon who, unlike many other pop girls nowadays, fight for our rights not for publicity but because she truly believes in our cause. This is a new gay anthem which charts high all around the world. It's undeniably one of the best songs of 2018 if not of all time.
3. Robyn - Honey
Submitted By: @BlackoutZone
Crowned the second best song of 2018 by Pitchfork for a reason, the title track of Robyn's recent album is a joyful journey of the senses. After two years of teasing, expectations for the track reached high heavens yet Robyn effortlessly exceeded them all and delivered the masterpiece we all wished for. The song itself is so juicy and so flourishing as it builds that you can almost taste it. The sound becomes the flavour of golden honey waves that your mind surfs on while listening. Though Mariah and Katy B already showed us how seductive honey can be, it's never been done with such delicacy, and Robyn totally elevated the concept of it being a pure sexual pleasure.
2. Kim Petras - Heart To Break
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Kim Petras first hit my radar with her insanely catchy ode to consumerism 'I Don't Want It At All', but it was with 'Heart To Break' that she truly claimed her position as one to watch. 'Heart To Break' went on to become my most listened song of 2018, but it's more than just an earworm. In describing the fairytale of a girl who gives her heart away even while knowing it will soon be broken, Petras ascends to the level of lyrical mastery shown by artists such as Robyn and Utada Hikaru, both of whom pen bittersweet pop songs with danceable beats made even more brilliant by their heartbreaking lyrics. 'Heart To Break' is impressive on it's own, but when you consider it in the context of Kim's strong voice, brilliant lyricism and unique image it makes you question why she isn't already #1 on every chart.
1. Christina Aguilera - Accelerate (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz)
Submitted By: @liberation
Six years after the not so well received album Lotus, Christina Aguilera released 'Accelerate', the first taste of her sixth album (or eighth if you count Mi Reflejo and My Kind of Christmas). When it was revealed that the song was produced by Kanye West and featured Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz, everyone knew that Urbantina was making her comeback, but I guess that we were all very surprised after our first listen, because the song is so...weird? The intro is very strange with hypnotic Ty vocals and heavy drums, and when Xtina starts with her verses there's a lot of ad libs by him. The song is pretty much a duet between two of them until the beat changes drastically and 2 Chainz joins with an iconic bridge.
When the song ended I was shocked because it was the messiest thing I've ever heard, but that's the reason why I loved it. I'm pretty sure that the reason why XTina is my favorite artist is because she's not afraid of taking risks. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When it comes to 'Accelerate', I think it's the best song off Liberation and also her best song in a very long time, so I guess it worked for me. The video is very simple and sometimes it even looks a bit low budget, but I don't mind; I think it's sexy and fits the song very well, and it shows that she still owns her sexuality and doesn't give two fucks about what people think of her. At the end of the day, 'Accelerate' is a 10/10 song that is not predictable at all and I believe that it will age very well, and that’s why it is my song of the year.
What songs did we forget about in our hunt for 2018's best track? Let us know in the comments down below!
By Skinny Legend
It's hard to believe it, but 2017 is already coming to an end - and what a year it's been. Between endless headlines of political incompetencies, tragic natural disasters and groundbreaking exposés of sexual abuse, one thing has, like always, remained our constant comfort and saviour - music.
Pop in 2017 has been a pretty varied affair, although the running theme has been the odd fusion we predicted last year of country music, tropical beats and EDM drops. It's those undercurrents that birthed some of the most annoying, repetitious songs of the year - 'Despacito', 'Shape Of You' and 'Meant To Be', we're calling you all out - but it's the same sounds that created some of the catchiest, most powerful and most groundbreaking tracks of the year too.
In previous years we've run this list as a dictatorship, with the editors telling you our opinions on the best tracks of the year with no external advice sought. This year, we decided to branch out into a democracy by inviting some of our favourite members to submit their songs of the year, limiting our input to just the ordering of each song in a (semi-)ranked list. We hope you enjoy our collection of songs, and that you ring in the New Year's with joy, love, safety and most importantly, lots of music.
17. Lana Del Rey - Tomorrow Never Came (Feat. Sean Ono Lennon)
Submitted by @Countess
Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life was a marked departure from her debut album Born To Die not just in name, but also in intent; the album was less about Del Rey's own personal demons and more about the demons facing our society in 2017. But that's not to say that the album is impersonal, and 'Tomorrow Never Came' is a stunning example of that. The lyrics are typical Lana, lamenting a lost love through a simple metaphor - "I waited for you in the spot you said to wait/In the city on the park bench in the middle of the pouring rain/You said to meet me out there tomorrow, but tomorrow never came" - but the production is more gentle, hopeful and soft than Lana has explored in her albums before. The song is made all the more heartbreaking due to the song's feature of Sean Ono Lennon, who - as you might have guessed - is the son of Yoko Ono, who famously frequents the memorial to her late husband John Lennon in Central Park as much as she can. The Beatles may never be able to get back together, but if this song proves anything it's that their spirit lives on.
16. Steps - Scared of the Dark
Submitted by @coolaideonfire
UK pop superstars Steps returned in 2017 to celebrate their 20th anniversary and kicked things off with comeback single 'Scared Of The Dark', their first released since 2012's poorly received holiday album Light Up The World. The single commands the listener's attention immediately with a dramatic string introduction before Faye and Claire, arguably the groups strongest singers, take on its brooding first verse. You'd be forgiven for mistaking the single as a middling ballad at first, but the chorus signals a change in direction as the song explodes into the unashamed brand of pop the band were popular for the first time they entered the charts back in the late 90s. "Scared Of The Dark" should serve as a masterclass for any nostalgic act aiming to stage a comeback so many years after their initial success. The song is clearly cut from the same cloth as the band's biggest hits, and should please any Steps fan (or any fan of 90s pop for that matter), but it doesn't sound dated at all. This is a slice of pop heaven from an equally well produced and pop-heavy album, Tears On The Dancefloor.
15. K.I.D - Elevator
Submitted by @Caolicolor
'Elevator' transcended every normcore stan Twitter gay who slept on K.I.D for the past three years into an instant stan. With it's heavy paced, dark, and atmospheric sound, it's a great getting ready to fuck song worth listening to.
14. Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft
Submitted by @Ruthless Love
Since September 4, 2002, Kelly Clarkson has been a staple in the music industry. She became the winner of the inaugural season of the now-defunct Fox reality competition series, American Idol (which returns March 2018 on ABC), and has since become one of the most forceful performers in today's generation. Since winning, she signed an immediate deal between 19 Recordings, RCA and S Records and released her debut album, Thankful (2003). Following her debut release and still under her Idol contract (which later became solely associated with RCA), she gave us six additional albums: Breakaway (2004); My December (2007); All I Ever Wanted (2009); Stronger (2011); Wrapped in Red (2013) and Piece by Piece (2015), as well as a greatest hits compilation in 2012. In 2016, Clarkson announced the end of her partnership with RCA, citing the relationship as an "arranged marriage," and signed a deal with Warner Music's Atlantic Records. Under this deal, Clarkson promised us a "soul-influenced" album. And, in 2017, she gave us just that. Meaning of Life marks the first release from Clarkson free from her Idol deal and showcases the singer at her strongest and most secure. The album's first single, 'Love So Soft' proved a departure for Clarkson. Known for giving us angst-driven pop rock songs, 'Love So Soft' is drenched as a soulful R&B track, matched with superior vocals and a confidence that only Clarkson could maintain. It's safe to say that fifteen years after being named our American Idol that Clarkson is still the Idol of our hearts and of the music industry. She is proving to us that she is no longer accepting the idea of conforming to what society and the industry believes a modern day pop star should look, sound and maintain herself as, and is instead doing what she feels is right: being Kelly Clarkson.
13. Katy Perry - Tsunami
Submitted by @BlackoutZone
Katy's latest record may or may not be a musical masterpiece consisting of "woke" (as she likes to describe them) pop songs and original, groundbreaking, multi-genre efforts, but either way there is one significant track that stands out not only from the rest of the album, but the whole musical scene of 2017. 'Tsunami' is about Katy's magnificent sexual experience with her lover. She compares their love to swimming in open waters and his sexual power hitting her like a tsunami. The track is really well written and Katy totally nails the ocean theme with her beautiful lyrical references, such as: "Anchor in me, and get lost at sea/The world's your oyster/I am the pearl/Open waters/Sink into me slowly." The production is simply marvellous! Mike Will Made It channels typical Tame Impala synths mixed with his usual style and it works perfectly. The dreamy instrumental is building, progressing and flowing like an ocean wave which makes the track delicate yet very haunting. When Lady Gaga announced her collaboration with Kevin Parker, the leader of Tame Impala, which later gave birth to her lead single 'Perfect Illusion', this track is exactly what I expected it to be. Mike recently shared the demo instrumental to the song, and it's interesting to see how the track changed in its production states and hear all the sounds lost under Katy's voice in the final product. 'Tsunami' is undoubtedly my song of the year and Katy's best effort to date, sadly it will probably remain unnoticed by the general public and Grammy committee as I can't see it being released as a single or getting any real success...
12. Aly & AJ - I Know
Submitted by @Kim Craig
Going into 2017, who'd have known it would finally be the year best friends and sister duo, Aly & AJ, would get their shit together and release an appetiser sized EP, Ten Years, marking the rebirth of their long lost musical career since 2007's Insomniatic. The sister duo returned with a viciously infectious 80's synth pop sound which left heads around the globe bald. My song of the year, I Know, included on this EP release, talks about friendship and the commitment everyone is capable of giving to those in need. With distorted echoes and a fluttering backbeat, I Know offers the best and most valuable piece of music the duo has released since, well, ever. With a full LP due out by Summer 2018, Aly & AJ should be on everybody's radar because they're back to slay.
11. Kesha - Rainbow
Submitted by @Ari
The past three years have seen a very public and serious legal battle between Kesha Rose and her former producer and manager Dr. Luke over years of alleged sexual assault. After losing her case last year and being denied a retrial, Kesha forged onwards by releasing the massively critically acclaimed album Rainbow on the 11th of August. My favourite song of 2017 has to be the title track off that album. The song begins with a key description of tough times and feelings which are clearly straight from Kesha's heart (she wrote this song all by herself). The song then swiftly moves into an upbeat movement about the good times and how life can and will get better. The live orchestra in the studio along with the background vocals that harmonise with the chorus give it a massively joyful and warm feeling which by the end of it is sure to leave you with a strong buzzing sense inside. In a year where a lot of truths have come out in the industry thanks to the powerful #MeToo movement, I think Kesha gives us a much needed reminder in 'Rainbow' that "in every tunnel, there's always a light at the other end".
10. Miley Cyrus - Malibu
Submitted by @Whoknowsmehere
After much consideration and re-listening to many songs over the last couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that the one song that just seems to stick with me is be 'Malibu' by Miley Cyrus. It was a tough choice for me between 'Malibu', Shania Twain's 'Life's About To Get Good', Camila Cabello's 'Havana' and Rita Ora's 'Anywhere'. When I first heard 'Malibu' I was not all that thrilled about it to be honest. However, after listening to it numerous times it really grew on me. I think what did it for me was the simplicity of the song and yet how catchy it was. I do not know exactly what message she was trying to get through with the song - we each get different things from it - but what I took away from it is how much she has grown as a person and an artist, and that she may have finally figured out who or what she wants to be. I have to be honest though: if this is the new Miley, a part of me will miss the old Miley. She sure had the entertainment factor down to a science.
9. Odd Eye Circle - LOONATIC
Submitted by @nanapop99
While the majority of people don't listen to K-Pop, I've been a fan of this genre for a few years now and I don't think I've been this hooked on a girl group debut since 2NE1. LOONA has a really unique concept which consists of debuting a new member every month with a solo song: for now the label has revealed ten members out of the full twelve (for those who want to hear more, here's a solo song which I really love). The full group has yet to debut but Odd Eye Circle is the second sub-unit of LOONA and it consists of three members. 'LOONATIC' is technically not a single off their EP but it's definitely the song that got me into this group. The moment I listened to it for the first time, I knew that it would be my favourite! It has a very unique sound that I've personally never heard in any other songs and it's also very catchy. The lyrics are kinda difficult to hear and understand but the instrumental is really what's best: it has a really dreamy feel to it that I love. The track was originally released in Korean but they later released an English version as a gift for international fans which you can listen to above.
8. Rita Ora - Your Song
Submitted by @Dayfid
'Your Song' is the lead single from Rita Ora's second album which may actually get released and promoted! It's written by Ed Sheeran who provides background vocals and Steve Mac who also produced the track. The best part is that driving intro synth or whatever that thing is with those background snaps that loop throughout the song without getting boring. The song was performed and promoted literally anywhere. It's been performed live 9+ times and has become Rita's most promoted body of work besides her own actual body (along with an acoustic performance uploaded to YouTube with that random writer). Slay, Rita Oral!
7. Kesha - Learn To Let Go
Submitted by @Joe
"Your past only has as much effect on your future as you want it to." - Kesha, Huffington Post. My song of the year is the one that made me feel the most emotion upon first hearing it. On July 2nd, Kesha released 'Praying', her triumphant return to music. But it’s what she followed up with that truly took my breath away. Kesha has said that 'Learn To Let Go' played a big part in Rainbow as a whole and was one of the first songs written for the album. I vividly remember waking up to the song and music video being released. I immediately broke down crying. I felt like Kesha had written the song just for me. I related to every line. She refers to the bitterness she’s held onto and that there’s this voice that’s always telling her that she isn’t strong, that’s it’s her fault. When in fact, you choose to play the victim or to be the survivor. It’s so easy to give others advice, but to follow it yourself? Not many "practice what they preach" and I’ll admit to this. This song helped me let go of the pain and the hatred I held towards myself for far to long. Back to Kesha...The music video is a collection of home movies and shots of Kesha dancing in a forest. I took the music video as Kesha reclaiming her innocence. Reclaiming who she once was. She dropped the dollar sign and came back better and more real than ever. This song is a testament to just that: accept the shit, accept that it doesn’t define you, accept that you are yourself at the end of the day, and let yourself move on.
6. Selena Gomez - Bad Liar
Submitted by @Fetish
My song of the year is, by a long shot, 'Bad Liar' by Selena Gomez. With 'Bad Liar', Selena introduced a new image, sound and style to her music and bought an alternative twist to her mostly bubblegum-pop centred discography by sampling one of the best bands of all time, Talking Heads. The song was a huge step for Selena, showing both the general public and her diehard fans that she could explore new sounds and pull them off both brilliantly and effortlessly. The stripped back production and mid-tempo flow of the song accentuates her voice, allowing her to capitalize on her infamously restricted vocal ability; while the lyrics - handled by Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter and Selena herself - are genius, featuring bizarre lines like, "But just like the battle of Troy, there's nothing subtle here." There's also no ignoring the amazing music video which paired with the song, in which Selena plays numerous characters, crafting a fun and interesting storyline while giving the song a whole other meaning. There's no denying that this was easily the catchiest song released this year, and although it was ignored by the Grammy's...It was definitely receiving attention elsewhere, as the song is now Selena's most acclaimed piece of work.
5. Dua Lipa - New Rules
Submitted by @Countess
I can't lie: before 2017, I had no idea what the hype over Dua Lipa was about or why Kendall Jenner with voice lessons was getting so much online buzz just for looking pretty and having one decent song (her breakthrough sleeper hit 'Be The One'). But then 'New Rules' came along, and everything changed. Backed by a unique production, the song is one of the best examples of the countdown chorus previously attempted by Brooke Candy and Sia and Beyoncé, and it's structured to pop perfection. The only thing that could have made it better is the music video, which with it's instantly Instagrammable scenes of flamingos by the pool and girl power hairbrushing immediately raised the song to memeable status. This one will be hard for Lipa to beat.
4. Lana Del Rey - Love
Submitted by @Speedy
"I made my first four albums for me, but this one is for my fans and about where I hope we are all headed." That's how Lana Del Rey introduced her latest album Lust For Life, and we couldn't wait to listen to the fan-devoted record. The first introduction to what seemed a new era of Del Rey's approach to music was the lead single 'Love' (initially called 'Young & In Love'), a dreamy song about the new generation of "kids" (as Del Rey calls them in the song) that are mesmerised by the past while surrounded by the future. The only thing that ties them is that feeling of dressing up just to go nowhere because they're "young and in love" - a total shift of perspective for Lana when it comes to the feelings she invests in her songs. There's no characterisation or melodrama here: just a direct approach to a basic human feeling, and a girl with a big bright smile and flowers in her hair, singing happily on the moon, because "it's enough to be young and in love with life".
3. Lorde - Green Light
Submitted by @Countess
Lorde took a break after the release of her 2013 breakthrough album Pure Heroine, and her absence was sorely obvious to some in the pop music world. But when she returned with the resounding 'Green Light' this year, it made the four year wait completely worth it. The perfect comeback single, 'Green Light' begins with a series of bizzarely personal, vulnerable lyrics such as "I know about what you did and I wanna scream the truth/She thinks you love the beach, you're such a damn liar". The build is up gradual, but it makes that explosive moment when the chorus first drops all the more glorious. Channeling the likes of Coldplay and Florence + The Machine, 'Green Light' is a slice of euphoric pop perfection which sees Lorde dancing through the sadness of a breakup, and it's orchestrated to perfection. If you've been looking for a new workout song, I think you might have found one.
2. Kesha - Woman
Submitted by @victorxcx
The last few years have been a crazy journey for Kesha, and as fans we naturally wondered how all these events would influence the sound of her third studio album (the first without Dr. Luke’s production). 'Praying', the first single, is for sure an epic song and a triumphant return; but 'Woman' is the bop that we were all waiting for, and the song that shows that while Kesha has grown a lot she still has that sassy attitude that made us fall in love with her back in the Animal days. Given her background, I'd guess that the meaning of 'Woman' is even more powerful than we can imagine just listening to it on the radio or at the clubs. After all the ups and downs, Kesha is stronger and more independent than ever and I’m definitely here for it. The production is pretty amazing as well: I love how laid-back it is, and my favorite part is the laugh before the second chorus and how it evolves to the flawless bridge. 'Woman' was also confirmed as the second official single from Rainbow so I'm hoping it will get the success it deserves (I’ll be definitely streaming and watching the music video all year long!).
1. Rita Ora - Anywhere
Submitted by @Cypher
A gem from 2017's pop catalogue, Rita Ora sings about finding gem locations "a million miles from LA" with a cherished friend. The beauty of the track is that the subjects referred to could very well be about non-romantic friends. With the world having been through a year of turmoil and natural disasters, this song gives the hope of freedom to the listener for 3 minutes and 42 seconds. The glitched vocals in the chorus give free-range interpretation and emotional fluidity for people seeking a temporary space away from reality. Without having to take a physical vacation, this song takes the listener on a ride through a journey of "fun, a little less fun", and "crowds of empty faces." Running through the woods of Estonia, climbing to a peak in the Alps, roaming the streets of New York, or swimming with sharks off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, this song has the potential to forever bring you back to those locations long after the trip is over. Take a listen to the song and let your mind roam free.
What was your favourite song of 2017? Let us know in the comments below! And for a trip down memory lane, check out the best songs of 2016 and 2015.