In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2017's playlists for our sixteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix.
1. Empires On Fire — BANNERS
This should be the theme song of 2017 — and on, as we continue to do very little to solve our climate change problem. Of course, it could double as an anthem to describe all of the horrible things happening right now under the Trump administration. Our empire is on fire, indeed.
2. Look At What The Light Did Now — Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White
There's something hypnotic and fascinating in the contrast between Matthew E. White's gruff vocals and Flo Morrissey's high-pitched response in their cover of the Little Wings song. I love how Matthew throws to Flo with a simple, "Flo?"
3. Stardust — Ásgeir
This is one where I already loved the light, Icelandic pop of Ásgeir. Add in the video, which seems straight out of a Wes Anderson film, and I love it even more.
4. First Time — Kygo & Ellie Goulding
A deeply personal song by Kygo, as voiced by Ellie Goulding.
5. Bike Dream — Rostam
Great track by Rostam about a complicated love affair, and breaking barriers along the way as he naturally sings about being gay and in love.
6. Never Give Up On Me — MisterWives
Catchy power pop from MisterWives, with a song that should have been a big hit.
7. The Gold — Manchester Orchestra
A beautiful song, and it's all about that harmonic chorus one minute in.
8. Noise Pollution (Feat. Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Zoe Manville) — Portugal. The Man
Everyone was all about Portugal. The Man's "Feel It Still" this year, but "Noise Pollution" was the much more interesting song — especially the vocals by Zoe Manville and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. This song takes on all the lies and propaganda coming out in the new, polluted environment. A year later, it's only worse.
9. Silence — Marshmello feat. Khalid
Khalid boasts so much soul for a singer so young. Add in Marshmello's signature drops, and this is a killer track.
10. The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness — The National
The National: dad rock at its finest.
11. Good Woman — Jade Bird
Rock on, Jade Bird!
12. Hard to Say Goodbye — Washed Out
The perfect song to simultaneously groove out on and also tap into your inner ennui.
13. Land Of The Free — Joey Bada$$
Joey Bada$$ is a bad ass, and "Land of the Free" is the perfect example of that. "The first step in the change is to take notice/ Realize the real games that they tried to show us/ 300 plus years of them cold shoulders/ Yet 300 million of us still got no focus/ Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier/ Obama just wasn't enough, I just need some more closure/ And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over/ Let’s face facts 'cause we know what’s the real motives."
14. So Tied Up (feat. Bishop Briggs) — Cold War Kids
Cold War Kids' Nathan Willett and Bishop Briggs go toe-to-toe, and I'm here for it.
15. Solo Si Es Contigo — Bombai feat Bebe
We heard this catchy tune non-stop while driving through Spain over the summer, and it became a must to include on this mix.
16. Ran — Future Islands
Future Islands boasts the best 1980s combined synth/bass/drum sound of 2017.
17. Fool — Fitz and The Tantrums
The Blogger Kid 2.0 couldn'y get enough of this song for a period of time in 2017, and it's not hard to see why: it's boppy, poppy fun.
18. The Game — Gabriel Garzón-Montano
Have a heart like a tangerine!
19. Holding On — The War On Drugs
Hold on to the past, or find a way to move on? The War on Drugs gives us a lot to chew on here.
20. Quiet — MILCK
An anthem for #MeToo and Time's Up, and also for anyone looking to find their voice.
21. May I Have This Dance (Remix) — Francis and the Lights feat. Chance the Rapper
Come for Francis and the Lights' Phil Collins/Genesis vibe, mixed with Chance's mellow rap, but stay for their dancing in the video.
22. This Song — RAC
Wrapping up the 2017 Choice Cuts, Rostam's back -- along with the high energy of a RAC mix.