We’ve listened to so many great songs this year, we couldn’t let the year close without hand picking some of the best individual tracks that stood out to us over the last 12 months.
Most were released in 2017, but not all. Many had multiple tracks we were obsessed with, so we just chose one.
Read on for the artists and their creations (across multiple genres) that impressed the heck out of us in 2017, as well as a snippet of how we felt about it.
You can also watch the music video or click on the track name to go back in time to see what we wrote about the track in full.
Spotify fans, these tracks are now in a playlist right HERE.
“The drop in “Things Could Be Different” involves a slamming on of the metallurgic brakes before a matrix-shattering, tear-a-hole-in-the-time-space-continuum experience. And it happens twice. ”
“The track “Chlorine” was for me an impressive introduction to the potency of Trophy Eyes’ music, not having heard any of the tracks of their previous album (Mend, Move On) beforehand.”
““Intimate Alien” is a great nu metal track, with a 90s Korn feel with a repeating melody, funky bass, heavy guitar and vocals, as well as rapped vocals.”
“A track I wear like a hug: It’s comforting, it’s a kickass song, it’s also catchy and singable (“Woahh ohhh”).”
“Musically you can just lose yourself in this: Piano and wide open silences. Electro-shattering choruses. Vulnerable vocals. Pained urgency at the bridge. And an outro that says difficult acceptance.”
“So on 20th January we were at the Corner Hotel (Melbourne), up against the barrier, and seeing the band we’d been waiting for, playing the song we’d been waiting for: “The Suspend”.”
“As a song, it has a feel like we’ve tried and tried and it’s not enough. It’s an invitation to take a guiding hand and run together, through shattered pieces of mistakes and tribulations, away from challenges and expectations and into something brighter and full of hope and possibility.”
““This Is Goodbye” is a heavy and rocking statement of ‘look what you did to me’, and it makes for one hell of a last word.”
“The continued clarity and beauty in the vocals is captivating, hitting direct to the feels like an arrow, as is the tender story of searching which is also played out musically. It’s a heart-wrenching and powerful track and we are in love.”
““Invisible Hands” is so beautifully melodic in its grasp onto hope, as well as having crushing breakdowns in fight and refusal to see someone self-destruct.”
““The Meadows” feels like an anthem for anyone falling into a spiral of misery that they can’t get out of.”
“The video’s use of effects captures the non-reality of what’s being shown, exploring themes of connection, vulnerability, mortality and loss. The dark creatures of the video seem to represent fears that are waiting in the wings, attacking, taking over and trying to control.”
“”Weak” starts with piano simplicity and plainly spoken self-judgement and regret, before sliding sweetly into an electro pop land where pleasures and temptations reside.”
““Without You” feels like a painful dissection of an emotional disconnect of a relationship. Both the confusion-heavy speech and long-held notes brilliantly capture all the differing aspects that go on in such an experience.”
“I watched the video for “Out of the Dark” open mouthed, immersed in the soundscape and visuals. It was all so beautiful and blissful that I cried, without knowing why, exactly. And then did the same on every re-listen. The process of writing had to be paused for more crying. Something about this track resonates deeply to my core.”
“”Resolve” thunders from the outset and doesn’t hold back, feeling like we’re being dragged down a rabbit hole we’ve not noticed was even there. It’s a wake-up call, shaking us out of lives that we just keep marching through, unhappily. Lives we’ve adopted that don’t fit who we are.”
“The track hits so hard, in more ways than one. This is intense self-blame for the choice that a friend made to take their life. This is emotional pain set to melodic heaviness and you’ll feel it as you listen. The agony is pouring out, along with the frenetic drumming and low and ominous guitar riffs that seem to amplify that pain.”
“”The Carving Knife” captures the suffocating monotony of being trapped in a metaphorical cage of being with a controlling and manipulative partner. The song powerfully captures very real elements of being in an emotionally abusive relationship: Feeling something for someone, being invested in them, recognising the pain they’re causing and finally letting them go. It’s an authentic description from someone who’s been at ground zero in relationship hell and lived to tell the tale.”
“Musically the heavy bass chugging and nu metal verses feel frantic, which only serve to have the wide-openness of the cleanly sung “MAKE IT HURT!” choruses feel even more reliefsome. The point is being artfully made here, that (to the version of Tyler that created the track at least) pain is relief. But hurt is still hurt and it’s still not freedom – and that is felt too.”
“”Numb” is poetic lyrics and an angelic voice screaming out into the infinite universe for aliveness. “Numb” is also burning agony and sandpapered screams, with irreversible actions being felt like a punch to the guts. There aren’t really enough words for this one, and it’s easy to see how the two lead singles from the band already gained them a strong following.”
“The weight is felt musically also, as are the wide open spaces and silence. This isn’t a song that’s just thrashed out. We’re given darkness and stillness too, and are asked to sit with it… before a light comes in and shares a beautiful resolution to this journey.”
““Smooth Talkers” captures Mirage’s full spectrum from gentle and sweet rock (at the introduction) through to heavy djent bombardment and growls. Lyrically it’s also full spectrum; containing whispers of hope for change, through to ‘You’d better shut the fuck up!’.”
“The video is surreal, amusing, and horrifying, all at the same time. The characters demonstrate a hopeless futility of existence, even when a spark of change or resistance occurs. This observation, manipulation and control by powerful forces (whether seen or not) also hits close to home, as does seeing the shiny happy well-polished faces and knowing there’s a darker truth behind them.”
“In listening to “Drain”, an ethereal introduction slips us into something otherworldly. Eerie and distorted riffs combine with openly voiced lyrics to reveal that we’ve fallen into memories. There’s a weight of feeling bound by life as it has happened to us, and not in a good way.”
“It’s tender with reminiscing and storytelling vibes, tapping into sparks of unexpected connections in the thick of challenging times. The flowingness exists despite an undercurrent of chaoticness, perhaps relating to relationships and how we exist in each other’s lives. I want to get my hands on the lyrics.”
““Black & Blue” opens with cinematic and soaring pulses before clear vocals over gentle beats pull our focus toward love. It’s not a Hallmark love, it’s a love that’s been defined by experience. A metaphor for all that went wrong in the name of ‘love’.”
““Unknown” immediately sparks a sensation of duskiness as a person attempts to learn who they are. Gentle electro and orchestral rock sound expands into massiveness as they admit they ‘don’t want to be saved’, rendering them uncomfortably stuck.”
“With impressive sky-tearing clean vocals, emotion-soaked screams, bone-shaking beats, and the sexiest breakdown section I’ve heard in awhile, we’re taken on a journey by way of weathering a storm. An emotional storm and an experience of trying to find something to hold onto in a world where what they thought they had has gone.”
““Fantasy” opens smoothly before dropping into satisfying grittiness and aggression. Landmvrks go hard at it, sharing raw frustration, trying to wake people up to what they can’t see. I’m hooked on the riffs, the intensity of the vocals, and the ‘keep the fuck up with us’ vibe.”
“Tender and cautious vocals from the outset reflect a vulnerable and broken state, and the gravity of the situation in needing to break free. Basically: You’ve wrecked me and now I have to stand back up on my own two feet. With the wavering vocals and encouraging beats, I picture a depleted shell of a person trying to find strength to get up and walk away.”
“Heavily weighed down under the veil of abandonment, “Loveover” starts gently, slowly and clean vocally. The ‘loveover’ is intense, feeling like waking alone in a place with no familiar comforts, and is making it hard to move or think clearly, feeling stuck.”
“The lyrical imagery is amazing, capturing the ‘colorblind’ lover’s unaffectedness in the face of their partner trying unsuccessfully to get through to them. We are right there with them.”
“Distorted sound at the introduction barely prepares you for the fire that’s coming. Once it hits, your ears barely know what to pay attention to first, captivated by intricate guitar work, relentless drumming and Jamie Hails’ intensity. And it’s not separate competing pieces, but impressiveness coming from one fluid machine that we’re being asked to keep up with.”
“”Appointments” is one gigantic heartache. The feeling where you know something is going to be gone soon, but you’re not entirely willing to be at that ‘done’ state. In her honeyed voice, accompanied by sparse sound, Julien shares authentically the thoughts and truths of her flawed self in this state of pain. She’s questioning and wondering about herself, and the situation, but the weight of an inevitable end lingers on.”