Top 5 and Bottom 5 of 2017

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

This gets harder to do each year, mostly because I listen almost entirely to BBC Radio 2, which doesn’t play certain types of popular music, i.e. Hip Hop, Dance, and R&B, that comprise such a vast majority of the top selling tunes. But as sort of a catch-up, I listened to Radio 1’s countdown of the Top 100 tunes of the year, and was surprised to see I was at least familiar with about 95 of them. I also discovered that putting together a top 5 was more difficult than a bottom 5 as there were more choices to make. Honourable mention on the plus side goes to “Feels” by Calvin Harris, “Everything Now” by Arcade Fire, “New Rules” by Dua Lupa, and “Sun Comes Up” by Rudimental and James Arthur. Dishonourable mention goes to “Rockstar” by Post Malone and “Bestie” by Yungen featuring Yxng Bane (not a typo!) So what’s left? Here we go!


5. HAVANA – Camila Cabello – #1 UK, #2 US – A bit drony, but the former Fifth Harmony singer sounded sexy as well. Maybe it’s the (deliberate?) out-of-tune piano backing that works for me.

4. I’M THE ONE – DJ Khaled, feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Wayne –  #1 both countries – So everybody and their uncle got in on this one. Again, can’t pinpoint why I like this one as much as I did, but Chance rhyming “Gucci Belt” with “coochie melt” is funny enough that even he pauses shortly after for a little giggle.

3. DESPACITO – Luis Fonzi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber – #1 both countries – Wow, TWO Bieber tunes in my top five!? This one popularised the music genre called Reggaeton, though the form has been around in Puerto Rico since the late 90’s. Still, it was a kick to hear the Bieb singing in Spanish, and many followed suit over the ensuing months, some with terrible results (see bottom 5). When I was driving through Spain this summer, it seemed like every other song on the radio was trying to copy it.

2. PERFECT – Ed Sheeran (with or without Beyoncé) – #1 UK, #3 UK – Ed does doo-wopp, and it works well for him. Me and my girlfriend seem to be the only people I know who actually like him. He made a full album of accessible pop tunes and reaped massive rewards for it. Why hate him for that?

1. 1-800-273-8255 – Logic feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid – #9 UK, #3 US – The best message song in a long time. The number is that of the Suicide Hotline, the last four numbers spelling out T-A-L-K. Khalid’s vocal speaks of desperation at first, then through the course of the song, decides life is worth living after all. Nobody I know offed themselves this year, but I bet the song touched the many who did know someone.  

Now for the Bottom 5

5. DUSK TIL DAWN – Zayn feat. Sia – #5 UK, #44 US – Sia’s voice sounds like she last smiled in about 2003. Pair that voice of urgency with the former One Direction-er’s voice going many directions, and it becomes a no-brainer for my shit list. Redemption for Sia, though. Her Christmas album was actually, dare I say it, enjoyable.

4. DID YOU SEE – J Hus – #9 UK, –US – The legacy of Drake followed into 2017 with the four-note vocal range of the former Momodou Jallow, an English rapper/singer of Gambian descent. Somehow the meagre story of coming in a black Benz and leaving in a white one is worth an entire song? The line “I’d be a genius if I didn’t think with my penis” is about its only redeeming quality.

3. SIGN OF THE TIMES – Harry Styles – #1 UK, #4 US – A big long boring piece that goes nowhere from its opening line. Harry could sing the farm reports and it would sell, so artistry wasn’t that important. He was surprisingly good as an actor in the film “Dunkirk,” and perhaps that’s where his priorities are at the moment. However, a couple of his One Direction mates, well at least Niall Horan, managed a decent solo hit (“Slow Hands”).

2. SUBEME LA RADIO (Remix) – Enrique Iglesias feat. Sean Paul & Matt Terry – #10 UK, — US – This is the beast unleashed by Despacito. I thought it was bad enough when Little Mix joined the Spanish parade, but this one is far worse. It wasn’t enough that the original Spanish version had topped the Latin charts, they had to redo it with the ubiquitous and annoying Sean Paul (who at least kept to his own Jamaican gibberish rather than trying to sing in Spanish) and immediate has-been, X Factor 2016 winner Matt Terry. Enrique, you’re an original. You don’t need to jump on a bandwagon.

1. BODAK YELLOW – Cardi B – #24 UK, #1 US – The former stripper, real name Belcalis Almanzar, directs her invective at some unknown adversary, telling her right out of the box “Little bitch, you can’t fuck with me if you wanted to,” and we have to accept her word. Well, no, and after the 84th time hearing her proclaim “I don’t dance, I make money moves,” over a repetitive, non-musical backing, I profess not to care what point she’s trying to make. One hip-hop magazine rated this and the J Hus tune above in the top ten of greatest singles of the year. I guess us over-60’s just don’t get it.

Best to everyone in 2018, during which I’m sure there’ll be more great and awful music for all of us.

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