In a year that’s seen some releases from the music world’s biggest artists from Drake to Ed Sheeran to Taylor Swift, as well as a number of strong offerings from the likes of SZA, Stormzy, Bicep and Tyler, The Creator, 2017 has been blessed with a world of top-classic music. Narrowing that world down to just 25 tracks proved difficult, with no stone unturned, and no genre ignored, but here you go- the best songs of 2017, as told by the west review.
25. French Montana – Unforgettable (ft Swae Lee)
In what could be called French Montana’s international breakthrough, Unforgettable enlisted help from Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee, charting within the top 20 in over 15 countries.
24. Rex Orange County – Loving Is Easy (ft Benny Sings)
Having been given something of a platform by Tyler, The Creator with his features on Flower Boy, Rex Orange County’s follow-up single oozed classy songwriting and vibey soul.
23. Stormzy – Blinded By Your Grace Pt2 (ft MNEK)
A world away from the brash grime yesteryears of Shut Up, Blinded By Your Grace had a laundry list of admirers, including none other than Bono of U2.
22. Calvin Harris – Slide (ft Frank Ocean & Migos)
Trading the tired pop-drops of his last two albums, Calvin Harris injected funk, soul and substance into his latest project, giving birth to the irresistible lead single Slide.
21. Drake – Passionfruit
Passionfruit was the ipso-facto lead single from Drake’s album/mixtape/playlist released earlier this year, and easily remains one of the project’s best tracks.
20. Charli XCX – Boys
Squeaky clean and shimmering with poppy goodness, Charli XCX continues to carve out a sub-genre of her own, and with help from one of the best videos of the year, Boys easily grabs another hit for the Brit.
19. Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still
Hitting notes across an array of audiences, Portual. The Man’s following continues to flourish, no doubt with the help of breakthrough single Feel It Still.
18. Bicep – Aura
An electronic duo continuing to receive deserved acclaim the industry over, and as closing track of their debut album, Aura kept the Bicep sound ticking over, even after the album came to a close.
17. Lil Uzi Vert – XO TOUR Llife3
An artist whose rise to stardom has undoubtedly ruffled more than a few feathers, Lil Uzi Vert still managed to deliver one of 2017’s best tracks- an instant modern-day hip-hop anthem.
16. Four Tet – SW9 9SL
A skillset as long as his arm, Keiran Hebden otherwise known as Four Tet returned with a long-awaited new album this year. And with a title that looks to be a postcode close to home, SW9 9SL drew inspiration from a catalogue of Four Tet’s capabilities, incorporating dreamy synths and glitchy IDM percussion.
15. The xx – Replica
Revitalising their sound for their third album, Jamie, Romy and Oliver of The xx traded breathy bores for punchy production, and besides the incredible lead single On Hold, Replica was the best example of their new fresh sound.
14. Run The Jewels – Talk To Me
Run The Jewels continue to be one of popular music’s most consistent contributors. On the acclaimed third project from El-P and Killer Mike, Talk To Me shone out as the most memorable moment.
13. Loyle Carner – The Isle of Arran
Loyle Carner, the sole proprietor of mainstream UK hip-hop in 2017, delivered a outstanding debut project back in January. Isle of Arran was among the album’s standout moments, colliding dynamic lyricism with gospel-tinged anthemic hip-hop.
12. King Krule – The Cadet Leaps
Arguably one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and perhaps the most encapsulating track on the album, a track that draws inspiration from jazz, trip-hop and alt rock.
11. Radiohead – Lift
Deemed below par for a feature on the original Ok Computer, Radiohead’s Lift saw a release as part of the album’s 20th anniversary reissue, and who knows why it was left out.
Kiasmos – Blurred
Bafta-award winning score-crafter Olafur Arnalds, and electro-minded partner-in-crime Janus Rasmussen, better known as Kiasmos, returned with a new EP this year. The project’s title track could easily be called the duo’s brightest moment as a double act.
Kendrick Lamar – Humble
‘Nobody pray for me, Even a day for me’- the introductory lines that presented us to the world of Kung Fu Kenny, the next chapter of the Kendrick Lamar legacy. Instantly iconic, Humble quickly became Kendrick’s best selling moment as an artist.
Gorillaz – Ascension (ft Vince Staples)
Gorillaz’s return after many years of absence was in reality something of a whimper rather than a triumph. Perhaps that was due to the album not meeting the standards set by the Vince Staples-featuring lead single Ascension, easily the album’s best moment.
IDLES – Well Done
Scarily relevant to all too many millennials out there in 2017, Bristol punk outfit IDLES took aim at the pressure of expectancy, and left us all wanting to punch Tarquin in the nose, and don’t we all know one.
Vince Staples – Crabs In A Bucket
Turning heads as opening track of his outstanding new album Big Fish Theory, Crabs In A Bucket saw nods at IDM and house, giving Vince a platform for one of his experimental moments as a rapper.
Tyler, The Creator – Boredom (ft Rex Orange County and Anna of The North)
Now a world away from his Yonkers/Sandwitches days, Tyler, The Creator’s second coming as a downtempo experimental jazz rapper, was no more epitomised by one of Flower Boy’s best moments.
Mount Kimbie – Blue Train Lines (ft King Krule)
A gritty blur of electronica meeting rock, Mount Kimbie’s outstanding lead single saw King Krule outperforming his own material, with brit-pop-nodding, lo-fi production from the duo themselves.
Sampha – (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano
Hypnotic vocals and poetic songwriting are what’s made Sampha one of the most important new artists in the world. Sampha’s debut album was the worthy recipient of the Mercury Prize, and Piano was among Process’s many highlights.