Sunday, 24 December 2017

Top 117 Songs of 2017 - #10 to #1

by Alex Lahey

My hands are cold but my feet are not
Are you leaving me or have you just forgot?

No, but like seriously, how good would it be? No morning alarm, long cups of coffee, hours of whatever the hell you want, tasty beverages and probably some cheese. Over sunset. With someone you like. Every day! It might have been a bit of a challenge for Alex Lahey to include "tasty beverages and some cheese" in her lyrics, but she's done a good job nonetheless. Her rapid beat and fuzzy guitars combined with her fabulous way with words, take what is one damn catchy pop track to an almost heartbreaking kind of tale of obsession and self loss, and like Alex Lahey has had a way of doing all year, she makes you feel good about it. That's the kind of music I love. And Alex Lahey, I love. (Jo Michelmore)

Alex Lahey had a huge year. She cracked the Hottest 100 in January with 'You Don't Think You Look People Like Me', toured up a storm at home and abroad, dominated the radio waves over at triple J and released her debut album, I Love You Like A Brother. Her down to earth brand of rock has earned Lahey a steadily rising legion of fans, which really shouldn't come as a surprise when the music is as catchy, witty and relatable as songs like 'Every Day's The Weekend'. A transfer of good vibes are guaranteed when it comes to listening to this one and whether you like it or not, you're going to be jumping around and singing, "woah-oh, woah-oh, woah-ohhhhh," along with our leading lady. But you're going to like it. You're going to like it a whole lot. Fun and carefree with just the right amount of self-deprecation and honest assessments, it's songs like 'Every Day's The Weekend' that will see Alex Lahey's star only continue to rise in the years to come. (Matt Bond)

by Vera Blue

Now she's alone, dancing like nobody is home
Free on her own, not attached and ready to roam.

Don't you just want to travel to beautiful places with Vera Blue and dance in the snow and always be happy? If you don't, you'll want to after watching the video for 'Regular Touch'. The song was Blue's epic, singalong moment from her album Perennial. You would more than likely be familiar with it since it's all over the radio and a lock for the Hottest 100. Because it's the awesome pick-me-up song we all needed in 2017. 'Regular Touch' captures those feels following a break-up, where you go from wanting to be with pretty much anyone to get over someone to wanting to be with no one. At least for a little while. Because you are a strong, independent woman (or man, I am a man... or am I?) and you don't need nobody. You're going to live your life like Shania Twain in 'That Don't Impress Me Much'. Or, more relevant to today, like Vera Blue in 'Regular Touch'. (Matt Bond)

A big singalong chorus, an electronic beat with some catchy synths and what sounds like a choir but is probably a button, Vera Blue knows how to pull a good song together. Beside all of that you throw a lyric in about being secure in your own skin for all those who need reminding of it, and a good song becomes a great song. The clip is stunningly shot and while I have no idea why she's wearing such beautiful gowns in the middle of fields with herds of horses, you put it with a song like 'Regular Touch' and then you've turned what was a great song, into an incredible song and you really can't get much better than that. (Jo Michelmore)

by Gang of Youths

And if everything is temporary
I will bear the unbearable, terrible triteness of being.

For a band that didn't exist five years ago, Gang Of Youths have certainly found their place in the ears, eyes and hearts of their audience, and that audience is growing day by day. And for a band of boys who all have their own stories of struggle to tell, they've certainly managed to survive and make music to question and explain it all. And for a band that have already had a bunch of nominations and awards thrown at them in their short career, they have remained so thankful and humble and pleasant about the whole process. And for a song that has more words than some books I've read, they've made their story mine, and my story theirs, and it's that sense of welcoming, that sense of hell and comfort that make this one of my favourite songs, from one of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands of the year. Of ever. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Tired Lion

Idiot, you'll never try
Sometimes I think the world's a lie.

I like it when bands like Tired Lion exist, because they allow me the to like the music I liked back in the day without actually listening to that music and making me feel like that was a million years ago. But beside that, they're so really, really good at their grungy things I can't fault them for playing it. It was good then, it's good now. This four piece from Perth seem to have mastered the art of rock and grunge and pop in the last seven years, and they always remind me of all the rock music I've loved. 'Fresh' is made to be a live masterpiece, it's a song that will play as well in a bar just as well as it will at a festival or in a stadium, and those slightly depressing, slightly amusing lyrics capture the spirit of what it was like twenty years ago anyway. Except it's not. It's better. And Tired Lion is here, not then, so I'm happy for now with here thanks. (Jo Michelmore)

by E^ST

We go on by ourselves and hope that we won't be for long
Then we find someone else, it starts again and life goes on.

There's a series of words in this song at the beginning and the end that almost completely describes the way I felt some days this year. "Momentary. Temporary. Transient. Impermanent. Fugitive. Short-lived. Fleeting." Then you throw that together with the way E^ST sings those high notes "you seem happy, guess that I am too, but I can't forget about you..." and the anthemic chant of "life goes on" and you've pretty much summed up life in 2017. It's a song made to be played at festivals, in cars on hot sunny days, and it's a song with so many highs and lows, It's one of those songs made for a film, a high school drama, a twenty-thirty-forty-something searching for love rom-com. Which is kind of indicative of the kind of audience E^ST deserves, which is to say, a big one. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Stella Donnelly

My friend told me of a secret
Told me that she blames herself.

I didn't know Stella Donnelly's name before listening to her Thrush Metal EP from earlier in the year. But after hearing 'Boys Will Be Boys', I'm never going to forget it. As powerful as any song you're ever likely to hear, the track takes a look at instances of victim blaming in cases of sexual assault and rape and the excuses often made for perpetrators. Confronting, timely and conversation starting, 'Boys Will Be Boys' will be ticking over in your mind long after it finishes. "Time to pay the fucking rent." Too fucking right, Stella Donnelly. Since the voting opened for the next Hottest 100, it's been amazing to see how many people have got 'Boys Will Be Boys' on their list of ten picks. It would be an incredibly powerful statement to see this one go all the way. If not that, then hopefully like the Amy Shark push from last year, we'll see a very strong finish for Stella Donnelly. (Matt Bond)

I don't walk down the street where my confidence was stolen. I can't look at the door where the fear began. I avoid the corner where I was told what I was supposedly worth and I've never been back to the place where what was taken couldn't be given back. I can't say out loud the things that weren't my fault and I can't hashtag the words because the damage is bigger than four little lines of a symbol on a keyboard. The important part is this. That street cannot remember, the door was knocked down, the corner leads to somewhere else these days. The place remains but the time has changed, and the damage is done but my strength is bar none. What I'm saying is exactly what Stella Donnelly is saying, without saying anything at all. It's not ok to take something from someone, whether that be physical or emotional. And it's almost less ok to dismiss the actions of someone who takes and does those things. And what has been done cannot be undone, but songs like this make it easier to realise the slight possibility that those who think they have the power, who do things that are reprehensible, will one day soon enough find out the power is not in their actions, it is in reaction, and that means the reactions of everyone. Every. Single. Person. My own reaction is being lived, regardless of what I have faced. Some moments that reaction is anger and fear, some moments that reaction is doubt, some moments it is strength and courage and so much love, but when that reaction is the same as so many others, and is inspired by music, and songs like Stella Donnelly's, well that is the reaction I am able to live with the most. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Gretta Ray

Was never my intention to, grow overly attached
Although I'm unsure of what else one's supposed to do
When they are made to feel like that...

It's the oldest story in the book. Boy meets girl or boy or non binary person. They fall in love. Something happens that makes one of them fall out of love with the other. The other person doesn't know why. Questions are asked. Answers aren't given. Drinks are consumed. Text messages are sent at an ungodly hour. The one that called it off wants back in. Return to the 'fall in love' section and repeat through to text messages section. The cycle continue until one calls it off. A feeling of freedom and relief is felt. And they can both move on. Like I said, it's the oldest story in the book. If you want to hear it told in a much, much, much better way, I suggest listening to Gretta Ray's 'Towers'. She's a far better storyteller than you or (especially) I will ever be. This song is absolutely beautiful. (Matt Bond)

by Portugal. The Man

I'm a rebel just for kicks now
I been feeling it since 1966 now.

Do you think Portugal. The Man knew 'Feel It Still' was going to be as big of a hit as it has been? Do you think they would have even cared? I mean, this is a band that's released eight albums throughout a career that's lasted over a decade. It's also the first and possibly last time they've ever hit it big on the charts. But if this is their fifteen minutes, it's safe to say they've made the most of their time in the music world's spotlight. 'Feel It Still' has all the right hooks to get those feet tapping along. It's a slow burn, but once it's in your head, you won't be getting it out anytime soon. This is best supported by the gradual climb up charts all over the world to Top 5 glory. Sure, the charts aren't an actual reflection on how 'good' music is. But at least we can say Portugal. The Man should a little bit of an increase in cash flow from this. And if that means they get to make music as good as this for many years to come, that can only be a good thing. (Matt Bond)

by Lorde

Oh, honey I'll come get my things
But I can't let go.

According to the reaction as Lorde released 'Green Light', no one was expecting her to have as much talent as she actually does. It was all "oh she's taken a different turn" and "well we weren't expecting a banger (?)" and such things, but anyone who had listened to her so far small but very impressive back catalogue should have known. Filled with basic pop melody and all the right riffs, she's an artist who knows her music, and this, the first single from what became one of my fave albums of the year, proved that she's an artist who's not afraid of her skills. She'll take turns you don't expect, she'll make sounds you can't imagine and she'll do it all with that sense of doubt in her lyrics, that makes her oh so relatable. We like her. Luckily almost everyone else seems to as well. (Jo Michelmore)

21 years old and on top of the world. That's how Lorde ends her 2017, with her second album Melodrama out in the world, a world tour wrapped up and a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year secured. Everything that's led to those moments started with the release of 'Green Light' in March. It was as delicious as pop can be; with hand claps, piano loops and lyrical gold. It was moody and atmospheric, like the Lorde of old (or even younger Lorde), but it had an enthusiasm and energy that can only come with age and experience. Once upon a time, people were prone to laugh and make comment about Lorde's dancing. These days, it's her confidence and zero fucks given attitude that have the same people dancing along with the same sense of wild abandon. It's so good, it makes you want to hire an Uber just so you can dance on top of it like in the video. If that's not pop perfection, I don't know what is. One of my favourite music moments of the year was experiencing 'Green Light' performed live alongside 10,000 screaming fans at the Brisbane Riverstage last month. It's a moment I won't be forgetting anytime soon. And the same goes for the song. (Matt Bond)  

by Gang of Youths

You wanted to fight for a cause, then go out and fall in love
       Don't stop, don't stop believing, in truth and grace in the grievance.        

After 116 songs, we finally arrive at our number one song of the year. Gang of Youths have released so many excellent tracks from Go Farther In Lightness. We've already checked in with 'What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?', 'Atlast Drowned' and 'The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows.' You should remember the last one and if you don't, maybe try some brain trainer games or something because that was like seven songs ago, m8. It's this song right here that gets our top pick though, 'Let Me Down Easy'. Maybe it's the knockout arrangements, with strings and a driving bass line you start nodding your head to from the start. Maybe it's the open desire in the lyrics to be treated with something we all deserve. Kindness. Maybe it's the reminder that, "sometimes life sucks, everything is lame," which means that sometimes life doesn't suck and it's those moments you need to celebrate and hold onto. Maybe it's the evolution of Gang of Youths into one of the best bands in all of music. Maybe it's all of those things and maybe it's so many more. 2017 was the Gang of Youths' year. And they're still only getting started. (Matt Bond)

There are artists on this countdown that make me so very happy, that manage to lift me from my seat and force some (pretty bad) moves from me, that get into my hips and make 'em shake, and they are artists I really like. There are artists on this countdown that make me so very sad, that bring memories and moments rushing back, some of them faced and some of them feared, but all of them welcome, and they are artists that I adore. There are artists in this countdown that make me think, that inspire ways with words that visit places in my mind that I haven't been before, territories unchartered, and those are artists I really admire. And then there are artists like this one. Who, with their way with sound and words, do all of the above. Artists who piece together notes that make a physical difference to me. They make my skin tingle, make my heart beat a little faster, a little slower; they make me breathe in gulps and make the salty water fall from my eyes. They are the people I hold in the highest regard, right behind my family and my friends, they are the next in line as the people who make this life worth living. Which brings me to our number one song. 'Let Me Down Easy', by Gang Of Youths, a band that have become one of those very special artists to a lot of people this year. It's a song that, with its beats and percussion creates the goosebumps, a song that, with its guitars and strings makes me think I can throw on a pair of boots and place myself on a stage. A song that, with all its words makes me smile that bittersweet smile; "not everything's as easy as making lemonade..." and makes me reminisce; "from a loss and better years..." and a song that reminds me of all of the loved ones, "here's another toast, just to you..." But most of all, this is a song that, no matter which point, which day I'm facing, which thought I'm sitting with, this is a band and a song that reminds me what all of these 117 songs have somehow reminded me, each in their own way, that each day, each moment, that this life is worth it all; "don't stop, don't stop believing, in truth, in grace and in grievance.." (Jo Michelmore)

2017 Scene Award for Song of the Year
Winner: 'Let Me Down Easy' - Gang of Youths
Runner-Up: 'Green Light' - Lorde

Winner: 'Black Smoke' by Emily Wurramara
   Runner-Up: 'Simulation' by Tkay Maidza

Winner: 'Clip My Wings' by Montaigne
Runner-Up: 'Hold On Together' by Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff

Winner: 'Uh-Huh' by Tkay Maidza
Runner-Up: 'How Much Does Your Love Cost?' by Thelma Plum

Winner: 'Royals' by Lorde
Runner-Up: 'Get Lucky' by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams

Winner: 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No)' by Texas Tea
Runner-Up: '212' by Azealia Banks ft. Lazy Jay

Winner: 'Somebody That I Used To Know' by Gotye ft. Kimbra
Runner-Up: 'Cameo Lover' by Kimbra

Winner: 'Not In Love' by Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith
Runner-Up: 'XXXO' by M.I.A 

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