Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Top 117 Songs of 2017 - #30 to #21

by Gang of Youths

I will love you, but love not the powers you serve
Do not grow complacent and take less than what you deserve. 

Oh hey ARIA Album of the Year winners, Gang of Youths. How you doin? Pretty damn well I imagine. And what deserving winners GoY were for their incredible sophomore LP, Go Farther In Lightness. It covers a lot of ground and puts you through an emotional gauntlet. There’s highs and there’s lows, with each of the sixteen tracks that make up to album leaving you breathless for one reason or another. ‘Atlas Drowned’ falls into the ‘high’ category with its defiant nature positioning David Le’aupepe as the ultimate rebel refusing to back down. Joji Malani drives the track’s momentum on the guitar with an energy that will have you pumping your fist in the air. This is one hell of a roller coaster ride that you’re never going to want to get off. And it’s not even the best song on the album... (Matt Bond) 

by Amanda Palmer

Standing where the ocean meets the land
We cross even though we understand
We cross even though we see the child in the sand. 

We write a lot about powerful music, music with a message, music that’s important. Music can be all of those things (and so much more) on a personal level; songs about love, loss and belonging. Music can also shine on a light on social issues and allow you to gain perspective on something you know is going on in the world but doesn’t directly affect you. In the weeks leading up to the release of ‘In Harm’s Way’, Amanda Palmer’s collaboration with Abel Azcona, the conversation around refugees was at its peak in Australia with the closure of the Manus Island detention centre. Everyone will (should?) have an opinion on the insanely high number of displaced people in the world and ‘In Harm’s Way’ beautifully attempts to create a reminder of the impact this is really having on the world and on humanity. “Why would you bother with all of these others when there’s always you you can save?” Powerful and important stuff right here from Amanda Palmer. (Matt Bond) 

It actually seems a little trivial to be including this song in our list, and it certainly seems a little pointless writing words about this song, and it feels a little more than hopeless listening to this song. If it's hard to hear the words and hard to face the truth and if it's difficult to answer the questions in this song, than just imagine what it's like to be the people Amanda Palmer manages to sing about, literally 'In Harm's Way'. I'm one of the lucky ones. Amanda Palmer is one of the lucky ones. Chances are if you're reading this, you are too. We are lucky to hear the difficult words and the powerful notes and see the intense thoughts of artists like Amanda Palmer. And it's important artists like her bring stories and issues like these to our attention. We need to talk about them, because we are the most lucky of all to simply be alive. (Jo Michelmore)

by Amy Shark


You switch from vodka, lime and soda
And I hate every girl that's ever known you. 

The rise and rise of Amy Shark since the release of her breakthrough track ‘Adore’ has been one of the best things in all of music this year. Radio play on every station, the release of the stunning Night Thinker EP, international tours and a bajillion ARIA Award nominations, with two wins. How was your 2017? Shark’s first release since ‘Adore’ had a lot to live up to and showing she was more than up to the task of creating musical gold again (like there was any doubt), ‘Weekends’ was released early in the year to cheers from her legion of fans. Love songs with depth are Shark’s wheelhouse and ‘Weekends’ doesn’t move away from that, instead offering a fresh take with smart lyrics and a genuine performance the likes of which we’ve come to appreciate very much. (Matt Bond) 

Ooh how she does it so well, making us feel a million bucks and a million oh fucks all at once, with all of her damn songs, but especially this one; 'Weekends'. In what I now consider true Shark style, her mid tempo heart hurt is captured perfectly in three minutes of words and worries, her guitar hidden nicely amongst a bed of synths and voices and her lyrics describing perfectly the toxic need for company taking over ones sense of self. On another note, let's take a minute to appreciate the talent of one singer/songwriter who has sold an enormous amount of records and won a bunch of awards without the release of a debut album, but a stunning six track EP. I can't imagine what else she has in store for us in 2018. (Jo Michelmore)

#27. WHO AM I
by London Grammar

I am trying my best to fit in with the rest.

They really do write the beautiful music, these London Grammar types do. Fitting in with the accidental theme of the ten songs in our twenties comes one of the most chilled, stunningly composed, beautifully arranged and subtly strong tracks on this whole long list of songs. It's almost unbelievable that a song like this can come from only their second album, but it seems this is the London Grammar we should come to expect and get used to, because they know their sound and their talent and are more than comfortable with it. While the lyrics suggest a whole lot of self doubt, who you are London Grammar, is a truly talented trio. (Jo Michelmore)

by Ecca Vandal

I watched the world burn down, but since I've been with you
I don't feel the cold of the world. 

Ecca Vandal has always wowed us with her more frenetic tracks. They're in your face and explosive, almost confrontational. Being used to and loving that kind of sound makes 'Cold of the World' stand out all the more on Vandal's brilliant self-titled debut. Backed by stark electronic beats and performed with a reservation that builds to a fiery and passionate close, 'Cold of the World' proves that there's still so much ground for Vandal to explore as an artist. Vocally, she's never sounded better than right here, putting the focus on her singing abilities in a way we haven't seen before. As she lays down that, "not even the end can do us part," you'll find yourself holding your breath for a couple of time-stopping seconds before that lyrically golden chorus snaps you back to reality. Ecca Vandal, killing it on her debut to the surprise of absolutely no one. Where she goes next should make for some very interesting listens. (Matt Bond)  

by Alex Lahey

I'll make any compromise if it keeps you by my side
I don't know why. 

It's the yearning, the needing, it's the heaviest weight in the depth of your stomach and the lightest of heads every time you see them that makes the addiction so damn addictive. It's the thinking and the stalking and the entire pizza and a bottle of wine kind of feeling that only comes by once in a while which is part of why it seems so special but it's when the once in a while turns into 24 hours a day of obsession that things get tricky. If you're lucky, eventually some sense of self will kick in and Alex Lahey will come along with the catchiest of pop songs and make everything better by making your life sound almost normal. (Jo Michelmore)

by Ali Barter

If I shaved my head would you
Tell your friends you don't really care, really care. 

Everything about ‘Cigarette’ is so 90s revisited in the most perfect way. Even the video, with healthy amounts of double denim, camcorder scenes and grungey rock performances on tennis courts. Barter’s even pulling off that detached ‘whatever’ attitude, complete with vacant stares into the distance and twirling of the hair. Those were the days, my friend. At least I’m assuming they were, I was like 12 when the 90s ended and probably still watching Power Rangers or something. Effortlessly cool I was and am not, but Ali Barter certainly is. You can picture her going through with the threat to shave her head off, all the while giving the middle finger to the boring dude who considers her a prize. Another year, another song where Ali Barter refuses to take any shit. More in 2018 and beyond please. (Matt Bond) 

She may have got to number 58 on last years hottest 100 with that awesome 'Girlie Bits' song, but let's be honest about what she's going to be more excited about. Number 58 there, voted by millions or number 24 here, because Matt and I are fans? Ok, it will probably more likely be the hottest 100 position she gets this year with her single 'Cigarette', a poppy grungey rocky take of things gone wrong, with its big guitars and big attitude, it's Ali Barter being her screw-you best and that's an Ali Barter I love to relate to. Also, don't smoke kids. It's not good for you. Or your bank balance. Or your reputation should you hook up with Ali Barter. (Jo Michelmore)


I'll take the fall and the fault in us
I'll give you all the love I never gave before I left you. 

Sure it might have felt like the sisters Haim went away for a long, long time. But when they return with a song like ‘Want You Back’ you can only appreciate that they took the time to make something so full of musical joy that made the wait more than worth it. If you’re not strutting down the street in a poor imitation of the video by the time the song is over, who do you think you are? You think you’re better than me? You probably are, but that’s not the point. ‘Want You Back’ was a triumphant return from our fave sisterly band and had us singing along at the top of our lungs and dancing in the streets. Hopefully it won’t be so long between albums the next time around because who wouldn’t want more of this in their lives? (Matt Bond) 

by Slotface

Thoughts that aren't mine
Keep running through my head, my head, my head. 

I wish I was as awesome as this song makes me think I could be. It's pretty fucking exhausting chasing the voices that are running and talking and trying to take over, but let's call those jerks for who they are and remember an important thing. "I'm not getting roped in". Let's be honest, I didn't know who Sløtface were until I heard this song, but they're a band who are going to have defined and defended my summer with their anthem for anyone who's ever felt a little less than anything and put up with someone making them feel more than less than anyone. This Norwegian four piece have also given me a new life mantra, which I will probably call on more often than not. "Patti Smith would never put up with this shit." She wouldn't. Neither will I. (Jo Michelmore)

#21. ALONE
by Jessie Ware

Just say I'm the one that you need
Say that you're the one who's taking me home.

Jessie Ware, ballad Queen! So soulful, so charming, so Jessie Ware. She really is in a league of her own these days, making mature and timeless pop that will blow you away. And she does it while looking more fashionable than you’re ever going to, so there’s that too. Well, not more than Jo... Jo is fashion. ‘Alone’ is a song I know I’m going to be loving forever. It’s sweet and sincere, charming in every way and soars to epic heights on the strength of Ware’s delightful performance. It’s not about not wanting to be alone, it’s about choosing to make memories with someone. And as far as modern love songs go, that makes this one pretty darn special. (Matt Bond)

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