Monday, 18 December 2017

Top 117 Songs of 2017 - #40 to #31






#40. WOMAN'S WORLD
by OKENYO


 


Wear my heels not to appeal to your senses
I'm not covered up because you're senseless, they can put that shit on the census.


The amount of lyrics that jump out in this song like I could have written them myself is amazing. "You can call me feminazi, go ahead and call me nasty" well that's happened more than once or twice, "wear my heels not to appeal to your senses" well I'm certainly not putting myself through that pain of for anyone else, ain't that the truth...and the words they just go on and on. You put them over a hip hop beat, you match them with a stunning and simply shot clip, and there you have an anthem of sorts, with a powerful message. I guess because it feels like it's true "I'm a very busy woman with a lot on my plate so you better eat it up before I take it away..." (Jo Michelmore) 


#39. HEY LOVE
by Emily Wurramara


 


But the winds will guide you back
To mother, to mother, to mother.


We already knew what a beautiful talent Emily Wurramara has, with songs from last year like 'Black Smoke' and 'Blue Moon, Black Sea' earning the Brisbane-based artist critical praise and the support of triple J. We loved the warmth and positive vibes that radiated from 'Black Smoke' so much, we named it the #1 song in last year's countdown. In 2017, Wurramara grew even more as a songwriter by bringing a voice to the racial and physical abuse her mother endured as a child simply for having a full blood Aboriginal mother. Wurramara has the voice of a true storyteller and her performance throughout 'Hey Love' commands your attention with evocative lines like, "her mum was the skin of the blanket of the night, the stars were inside her so she could follow the light back home to where she belong." Another powerful addition to Emily Wurramara's collection of tracks. We can't wait to hear more from one of our favourite emerging artists and we also wish her all the best and all of the happiness for next year as she welcomes her first bub into the world! (Matt Bond)  


#38. WHAT CAN I DO IF THE FIRE GOES OUT?
by Gang of Youths


 


Can you still show me the way? Can you still show me a light?
'Cause I was only a kid when I fell and you left me behind.


There is a certain kind of controlled mania in those first few notes of 'What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out' that seems to be the perfect musical description of exactly the way I feel about this band. Those quickfire drums echoing my heartbeat and the intense high pitched melodies matching the feelings of happiness and melancholy and recognition and acceptance in my stomach whenever I hear their tones. This is a rock anthem, a combination of desperation and acceptance, a tale of acknowledgement and defeat, a story of bittersweet that these five boys from all over the world tell so well, over and over again. It amazes me that this is a band of boys in their 20s, because within their songs lies a maturity much older and wiser, but I guess that's part of the magic of music. I think I recall hearing one of them recently say they believed in the power of rock n roll, and it's questioning but confident songs like this one that make me still believe in that power too. (Jo Michelmore)


#37. LOVE
by Lana Del Rey


 


You're part of the past, but now you're the future
Signals crossing can get confusing.


Lana Del Rey will always be an artist that exists in a romantically melancholic world. Gestures of commitment have been defined by a willingness to die for the one she loves, questions of fidelity as she ages and her looks fade have been raised and she's prone to getting those summertime blues when her paramour goes away for like a weekend or something. But those are all exaggerated stories, a bit of drama... great for a song, but once you're over say the age of nineteen you might be able to appreciate the tales, but you can hardly relate to them. If I told someone they were my 'ride or die', I imagine we'd both laugh and laugh and then never be able to see each other again. We wouldn't want Lana Del Rey any other way than how she's been thus far, but you might have noticed something a little different throughout this Lust for Life era. She's happy. As genuinely happy as I think she'll be able to sound on a record. Perhaps it's because she's in love, but I don't know what gave that away... maybe the lead single being called 'Love'? Reflecting, offering advice and saying love really can be enough. And she's smiling. The incredible cinematography in the video is the icing on the cake for one of LDR's best singles yet. (Matt Bond)  


#36. CILANTRO
by Tired Lion


 


Should of asked you, should of asked you to
Should of asked you to come clean.


Tired Lion more than delivered with their debut album Dumb Days.  They've continuously improved since arriving on the scene in 2013 and I doubt anyone would be disputing the fact they're now one of the best rock outfits in the country. And if you find someone that does dispute that, you just play them 'Cilantro' and then tell them to run away and never return, like you're Scar in The Lion King, but you're totally justified and not evil. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to why the track is called 'Cilantro', but something about it fits. Maybe it's got something to do with a lot of people really hating coriander or cilantro or whatever you want to call it. It makes people angry and Sophie Hopes is fueling her rage on the track into that epic chorus. As a unit, Tired Lion work so well together that you'll find yourself picking up on so many little things they're doing throughout 'Cilantro' that add up to it being one of their best tracks yet. Was it the best song on Dumb Days? I don't know... maybe we'll see them show up again sometime soon. I do know though. They're showing up again. (Matt Bond)


Tired Lion are a band that make song after song that make me say "YES" in caps with each and every release. Like, it doesn't even matter what the lyrical content is, every dirty guitar and every manic beat makes me wish I was 17 and angry again, which is weird because I didn't particularly enjoy 17 anyway. Oh screw it, it can't be denied, there'll always be a part of me that relates far too well to that line "happy when I'm fucking up..." which means as long as Tired Lion keep writing about such things, I'll keep listening. (Jo Michelmore)
 


#35. I'LL NEVER WANT A BF
by Bec Sandridge


 


I'll never have a boyfriend
Just because you think I should, Just because you think I will...


Same, Bec Sandridge. Same. But enough about me and my troubles, we should be talking about the infectious sounds of Bec Sandridge's 'I'll Never Want A BF'. The timing couldn't have been better for the release of this one, given that it sends a strong message about someone accepting who they are and not taking shit from those around them anymore because of it. I don't even have to imagine, I know it was something that a lot of LGBTI people needed to hear during the same sex marriage postal vote process. I like to think there were some kids (anyone younger than me is a kid) in Australia that turned on triple J in October and heard this song being played and smiled and danced and sang along and forgot how crappy thing can be, if even for a three and a half minute period. Thank you for that, Bec Sandridge. Also, boys are the worst and you're missing out on nothing. (Matt Bond)



Damn right Bec. Who actually wants one? Like seriously, regardless of who you like in life, how much effort are BFs anyway? As much as GFs, I suspect. Enough about my life though. Bec Sandridge's sense of theatre, her ability to flip and turn and spin her voice like vocal gymnastics is enough to love, let alone her ability to to make beats and synths that make me wanna bounce, but her absolute sense of self-assurance was and is the best; especially at a time when lots of people in the country I live in needed someone to say something, anything about being ok with being themselves. And back to my original point anyway. No one want a BF. They're boring.  (Jo Michelmore) 


#34. GROW
by Mark Harding


 


I'm not the man, that I could be
I wish I'd had someone here to break it to me.


If you're adverse to feeling all of the feelings, it's probably best you avoid listening to 'Grow'. Let me tell you though, if you skip over this one you are missing out my friend. Mark Harding has crafted something so pure and honest and absolutely perfect that you can't help but be moved by it. The choral flourishes (not sure if that's the actual term) against the guitar line are a nice touch, leading into Harding's opening lines, "fly through days in seconds, things I thought I'd have done." The emotional hits keep coming from there, as Harding takes a hard look at his life and realises there's so much more he had wanted for himself. It's a position many of us would have found ourselves in over the years, especially in those after school or university when life it at its most uncertain. What are you going to do with your life? Will this make you happy? Do you follow your head or your heart? On his best track yet, Mark Harding chooses the path that allows him to grow as a person. Bravo, Mark Harding. (Matt Bond


There was a time a few years back when someone was promoting bands and musicians playing gigs in cathedrals and churches, because, well, it was kind of cute I guess and let's face it, because acoustics. I saw someone once in such a venue. The start of Mark Harding's 'Grow' reminded me of that gig, with those voices almost chanting at the beginning and the simple, humble lyrics seemingly at home in a place of worship. If he keeps writing and releasing songs like this one, I'll be worshipping Mark Harding's talent for a long while yet. (Jo Michelmore) 


#33. OCEANS
by Vallis Alps


 


In the desert I will carry you
 I'll carry you and I'll carry you.


Making a statement in the form of shimmering electronic pop is something Vallis Alps should do all the time if it's going to result in brilliance like 'Oceans'. Envisaged as a track about "the daily sacrifices that women make in the fight for equality," and inspired by Tahirih, a 19th century campaigner for women's rights in Iran, 'Oceans' should be celebrated just as much for the message within as it is for Parissa Tosif's heartwarming vocal tones and David Ansari's party starting beats. It feels like the summer, like you should be in the car and on your way to the beach or dancing by the pool. But there's so much more to 'Oceans' underneath the surface... just like the actual ocean and if I was a better writer I'd be making something awesome out of that revelation. Another missed opportunity for me, another mighty fine song from Vallis Alps. (Matt Bond)


#32. TWO HEARTS
by Phebe Starr


 


Our lives entangled through time
With one desire.


Phebe Starr continues to astound and amaze with her brand of larger than life and out of this world pop. In 2017, Starr released the Chronicles EP, comprised of six tracks that showcase all that she has to offer the musical world. You should already know the explosive first single, 'Feel My Love' (#17 - Top 116 Songs of 2016). Hopefully you've already fallen in love with the follow-up, 'Two Hearts'. If not, get on board. Right now. Listen and love. Because this is epic super-pop that should be dominating the Australian airwaves and then the rest of the world and then the galaxy. Written as a take on Starr's self-doubt (nope, this is not a love song folks) and the internal battles she goes through as she creates her art, 'Two Hearts' nails it in every aspect. The writing, the performance the build to the final chorus... how is this not the number one song in the country right now? Please explain. (Matt Bond)


Ohmygoodness from the very first note this makes me happy. The synths and the beats, it takes me straight back to a time when I was much shorter than I am now, sitting in the backseat of my parents car while my Dad is tapping away on the steering wheel and I am staring out the window; imagining myself on stage with a bevy of back up singers, a band all dressed in well fitting pants, with a whole lot of spotlights and pyrotechnics. I'm not sure why my band are wearing such well fitting pants, but it was my childhood dream. The fact that Phebe Starr has written a song that immediately takes me back to my dreams of filling a stadium of fans means my Dad listened to great music when I was a child, and Phebe Starr has a way of making big 80s inspired pop music filled with big dreams, big vocals and big beats. (Jo Michelmore) 


#31. LOW BLOWS
by Meg Mac


 


You see I don't like it
Don't wanna be anyone again.


I heard my neighbour recently telling his teenage daughter he had a new favourite song by "some girl named Meg Mac, you should go Spotify it" to which I heard his daughter kind of grunt, then mutter "Daaaaaad" under her breath, which kind of made me smile, because Meg Mac has really swung full circle since her first upload to JJJ's unearthed almost five years ago, and now people are 'Spotifying' her (not an actual verb, by the way, for those interested) and uninteresting teenagers are rolling their eyes about her. 'Low Blows'; the title track from her debut album, is a bluesy, poppy track that sucks you in with her always soulful vocal and spits you out with it's punchy rhythm. It also has an incredible way of making it's way into and around and around your head, which might be just what my neighbour's daughter needs. (Jo Michelmore)
                  

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