2017 is coming to a close, and it's that time of year where we all look back and reflect on the past. We are all different people than we were at the start, for better or for worse. By the same token, music is different than it was at the start of the year. We've watched music change and morph with the times from beginning to the end, and perhaps there's a beauty how specific moments are chronicled in the sound.
From the urgent release of Lorde's 'Green Light' to the heartbreaking tragedy of Linkin Park's 'One More Light,' we have grown and changed with the music throughout the year. This is Immortal Reviews' Top 50 Songs of 2017. Let us know what your favorite songs of the year are in the comments or on our social media!
Click on the links to read our full reviews of the songs/albums in which the songs are found on.
Six years after their last record, Evanescence returned with beautiful orchestral reimaginations of previous tracks, as well as some new numbers such as the anthemic and haunting 'Imperfection.'
Blackbear's Cybersex was laced with many pictures of the state of relationships and interactions, and the wonderfully innocent yet worrysome 'anxiety' tied it all together.
While 'Paraffin' was Meadowlark's breakout single last year, it certainly held up it's message. The sweet, melodic indie pop track is infectious in every way, keeping its meaning at its core to tie in with its sweetness.
47. Björk - 'Losss'
Chaotic yet enchanting in the perfect way only Björk knows how to create, 'Losss' was the culmination of the soulful, industrial dream she explored in Utopia.
Concrete & Gold was a big change in pace for Foo Fighters, who sought after a more upfront and grandiose production on this record. At the heart of the band's more driven sound is 'The Line,' an anthem that's truly one for the record books.
Death From Above had an interesting year, breaking out from a lot of barriers. Finally able to drop the "1979" label after previous legal drama and breaking through the radio barriers with 'Freeze Me' as their new anthem, the duo's more alternative sound really took them to a new level, without dropping their signature anger and groove.
Sam Smith made his long-awaited comeback this year, and not without tragedy. 'HIM' battles the struggle of being gay, facing expectations, and trying not to disappoint. It's a hard track to swallow for anyone who's ever been in love, let alone someone who is part of the LGBTQ community. It's a powerful one in the name of love
Many events in the music world of 2017 led to a bigger - and needed - discussion of mental health, a theme that is largely discussed in XXXTentacion's 17. 'Save Me' is a raw track with an inside look on being depressed, and perhaps it should serve as another insight into the big discussion of mental health.
We do not condone nor endorse the actions of XXXTentacion, we merely are commenting on the message behind the music.
When you pair Coldplay's anthemic presence with The Chainsmokers' ability to make pop bangers, and you get a beautifully personal track where Chris Martin begs for someone to hit that right connection again. Regardless of what you feel about either band, this track is a wonderful anthem that's bound to hit home somewhere for you, whether it be from the childlike curiosity of wanting to be the best or the idea of searching for that right feeling once more.
2017 ushered in a new era of hip-hop with the trap scene, and a lot of music was lost in the need to make useless hype. Vince Staples made sure he didn't follow that trend, 'BagBak' taking the best of this new era of hip-hop and making an incredible anthemic track where the beat and delivery are both just as powerful as the other.
Atmosphere in music is and art, and few artists harness it like Bonobo can. 'Second Sun' is the sound of being lost on a foreign planet, wandering aimlessly in awe of the deserts in front of you. You get a lot out of this track, including a sense of insignificance in this wide universe. It's good to get that beautiful knock of reality once in awhile, though.
Sometimes, emptiness is just as important as layers. Nadia Reid captured the mysterious nature of her home country, New Zealand, in Preservation, 'Te Aro' wonderfully tying together her wonderful storytelling lyrics and minimalist production into one unforgettable track.
Imagine bringing together four of music's smartest minds, and then putting them to work on a concept album involving space. Well, that happened. Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, The National's Bryce Dessner, and James McAlister release Planetarium this year, employing the vast and mysterious nature of space to create a truly beautiful adventure of an album, and 'Jupiter' beautifully captures the essence of it all.
Son Lux is no stranger to drama, and 'Dangerous' is a testament to that. The dark synths and frantic production helps 'Dangerous' find its way into a horror setting, yet the drama is still inherently sensual and romanticized all the same.
36. Soen - 'Opal'
Soen's Lykaia took an in-depth look at the most visceral emotions we feel within ourselves, and 'Opal' brought out some of the angriest of those thoughts. Combine powerful passages of intense sonic moments and searching, internal lyrics and the brilliance of Soen really shines thorugh in 'Opal.'
35. SOHN - 'Rennen'
SOHN is the master of atmosphere, and the title track of his new album, 'Rennen,' was all the proof needed for that. The tragic lyrics and vocal layers above the somber piano help make 'Rennen' a dark and heartwrenching track that won't leave your mind any time soon.
Nothing is more thrilling than dark pop music. Zola Blood's Infinite Games took that sound and morphed it into a brilliant collection of mystifying and dark tracks, 'The Only Thing' being the core of the sound. Sensual at heart yet haunting on its outside, it's an enchanting track from start to finish.
All Time Low are the masters of anthems, and 'Drugs & Candy' is one of the finer moments. With nothing but sweet memories and sweeter melodies to back its wonderful atmosphere, 'Drugs & Candy' stands at the center of everything that made Last Young Renegade so fun and powerful.
Nothing But Thieves returned with a vengeance this year, their new record Broken Machines taking their sound a step further. 'Live Like Animals' has a much more forward and aggressive drive than a lot of their discography, though with the big choruses and the electronic punches to pair, you won't have to think twice about whether or not that was the right path for them to travel (the answer is yes, it was).
Brockhampton are a collective of production geniuses, and tha idea is spearheaded by 'Summer.' Hip-hop's boy band created a trilogy of brilliant albums with the three-part Saturation this year, and 'Summer' ended the band's second part of the trilogy. Soulful and pretty in every way, the song is an uplifting and dreamy testament to love and the future.
Lorde was another artist who had to live up to an iconic debut this year, and she blew it out of the park. Lead single 'Green Light' shows maturity in a graceful way, a dark and haunting intro changing into a big pop anthem that channels all sorts of energies. It's a song about overcoming your own anxieties put into the perspective of one night, and there's no one who could've done this better than Lorde (and, of course, the brilliant mind of Jack Antonoff).
Say what you will about The Chainsmokers, but its unquestionable that they know how to write some truly catchy songs. Take one of their songs that aren't overplayed ad nauseam and you can find some real gems, like 'Young.' It's another song about millennial love, but there's something familiar in the song's premise: "It's hard when you're young." It's all about the thrill and uncertainty of being in love when you're young, and with beautiful orchestras and wonderful builds to promise, this is a song that shows what the duo are capable of. Perhaps it's better that this one stays a hidden gem, though; we don't want what's good being overplayed to death, too.
28. Halsey - 'Sorry'
Halsey's modern telling of Romeo & Juliet came with a lot of different and interesting messages, but the one that came off the strongest was in 'Sorry.' Take the song out of the context of the record and you have a heartwrenching apology to anyone you've ever loved. It's a track that's hard to swallow for anyone who's ever felt heartbreak before, and it perfectly captures the emotions you feel in the wake of one, or fears the future of one: "So I'm sorry to my unknown lover / Sorry that I can't believe that anybody ever really / Starts to fall in love with me."
Incubus returned to their anthemic roots this year in 8, with 'Nimble Bastard' holding the helm of it all for them. A badass, taunting intro and giant choruses to follow suit with, Incubus really came back with guns blazing. Everything about 'Nimble Bastard' just screams epic, and it's certainly an awesome ride from start to finish.
Mastodon is no stranger to intensity. 'Steambreather' is the sonic representation of an angry demon, stomping impatiently during the choruses before charging and exploding in the massive choruses that anthemically chant, "I wonder who I am... I'm afraid of myself." Every note is like a punch to the face and not a second is wasted to channel every aspect of the nature of anger, every moment of the song brilliant capturing the inner workings of an enraged mind. The ending is just pure madness.
The ferocity of rock wasn't captured so perfectly by any other band than Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes this year. 'Snake Eyes' has it all, with thrilling drums, giant riffs, and cavernous vocals to make this alternative anthem not only immense, but also visceral and carnivorous in its nature.
Though we lost David Bowie last year, he is long from being forgotten. The posthumous EP, No Plan, was full of interesting outtakes from the Blackstar sessions, one gem being the dark, gritty, and rocking 'Killing A Little Time.' Perfectly capturing the gritty, knowing aspects of Blackstar and injecting some of his own ghastly theatrical presence into it, David Bowie made sure his influence wasn't ready to die out any time soon.
Brockhampton isn't the only outfit to make the list twice, but 'Team' is perhaps all the reason you need to see why. The beautiful first part has wonderfully heartbreaking crooning above chill guitars, before the grittier second half comes in seamlessly to bring the conclusion of the Saturation trio to a powerful end. Brockhampton's brilliance is captured in one angelic final track, and definitely serves as a standard for what should be expected of hip-hop.
2017 was undoubtedly the year of important sophomore releases, yet there was not band quite like Royal Blood who so surely blew out all the expectations. Without dropping any of their charm or niche, the band returned with the powerful, upfront, and driven 'Lights Out,' complete with simply giant choruses, enormous low end, and loads of swagger to back one of music's biggest follow ups.
The feeling of stepping out into the world for the first time is both exhilarating and scary, and also serves as the subject of Frances' Things I've Never Said. 'Don't Worry About Me' is the opening track of the record, capturing those initial insecurities everyone feels when stepping out into the world, and the insecurities the ones who love you feel all the same. It's a track about reassurance, and something to connect to whether or not you're yet to step out into the world or if you've done it a long time ago. It's important to remember where it all started, and 'Don't Worry About Me' promises that even though it's scary, everything will work out in the end; an important sentiment to remember.
Sorority Noise's sense of tragedy was what made You're Not As _____ As You Think so impactful. At the center of it all is 'First Letter From St. Sean,' a dejected, somber track that has traces of optimism in its sound but screams out in pain. The ominous lyrics chant "I am not alive, I didn't mean to leave you when I died / I was too scared you might be the one to leave / There's so much more to life than the flick of a knife / I am alive 'cause I'm alive inside of this," a clear cry for help but lost under apparent hope that it takes some digging to find that answer.
Linkin Park was amidst one of their best tours in years before Chester Bennington tragically committed suicide this year. With the world holding them up, the band refuesd to let his spirit die and be forgotten. From an incredible memorial show to countless fan-created memorials, Linkin Park and their community made sure his spirit was alive in our hearts. Linkin Park only hit Europe on their One More Light European Tour this summer, and they wanted to share, at least in part, how magically those shows were. The piano version of 'Crawling' the band performed is perhaps one of the most beautiful moments on One More Light Live, stripping down one of the band's classics to reveal the song's more personal tragic nature, millions of fans singing along with Chester the lyrics that meant so much to every one of them. The track doesn't only highlight the incredible voice of Bennington, but just how important the songs they made were to an innumerable number of fans.
When you make a jamming track, an element of intensity is important. 10 Years does it perfectly with 'Ghosts,' an explosive track with giant vocals, giant riffs, and everything that excites and thrills you is part of this song. The alternative presence makes this song a staple for any rock radio, and is bound to get you ready to rock and take on anything ahead.
There's an unforgiving sense of reality in Mount Eerie's A Crow Looked At Me, an album all about losing the most important person to you to the demon that is cancer. 'Swims' is the saddest, realest moment on the record, where Phil Elverum recounts watching his wife die in his arms. The pain is evident in every note he plays, the lyrics making the story even harder to swallow; the track's title derives from the innocence of a question his daughter asked him: "Today our daughter asked me if mama swims. I told her, 'Yes, she does, and that's probably all she does now.'"
Nothing's quite as epic as a space epic, and that's the entire premise of Starset's sound. Vessels was the follow up to their giant debut, and it certainly lived up to expectations. 'Back To The Earth' is urgent, grand, and beautiful, sounding like a war being fought in space or the sound of returning home after a long journey into the great unknown. It's almost tragic, but the orchestras in the final, giant explosion of ending help it achieve that triumphant feel.
Imagine a perfect sunset where the sun is setting over the sea, the sky violet, scarlet, and blue all at once. Imagine being along on a paradise island, by yourself with nothing but the ambience of the ocean and the warmth of the final rays of sunlight washing over you. That's the atmosphere 'Maya' creates, it's lo-fi sound so familiar and nostalgic yet captured in such a perfect atmosphere that it seems almost too sweet to be real. Not even the sweetest dreams could emulate the perfect sound of this track.
Kendrick Lamar is the unquestioned king of hip-hop, and for good reason. There's urgency in his music, often along with comments about the state of society. 'DNA.' is not only delivered in an epic fashion, but delivers a scathing picture of the stigmas that still exist against hip-hop and the daunting state of racism. Take that with an epic beat and unstoppable flow, and it's clear to see why Kendrick owns hip-hop.
Coldplay isn't the first band you think of when thinking of artists who make bold statements about society in their music, but they are certainly capable of it. 'A L I E N S' is a beautiful, atmospheric track about the refugee crisis taking over the world right now in the midst of tragedies taking place in the Middle East right now. It's from a refugee's perspective, in their search for a new home in unfamiliar lands once their previous home is gone. It's a very complex track performance wise and an even more powerful track meaning-wise, proving to be one of Coldplay's most unique tracks.
Ed Sheeran's Divide came out at the start of the year, before tragedy struck the industry, yet that didn't stop anyone from releasing heartbreaking tracks about loss. 'Supermarket Flowers' ended his record, a beautiful, piano-driven goodbye to his grandmother. Sheeran gets incredibly intimate about the moments he shared with her and sends her off in an angelic and heartbreaking way. 'Supermarket Flowers' is sure to hit you hard if you've ever lost someone important to you. The song beautifully ends with one final, bittersweet sentiment: "You got to see the person I have become / Spread your wings and I know / That when God took you back / He said, "Hallelujah, you're home."
'Friends' wasn't the first jaunt between Justin Bieber and BloodPop; the two previously collaborated on the mega-hit 'Sorry,' so it's a no-brainer that the duo are capable of huge things. 'Friends' is a sweet song about love, Bieber asking almost tragically, "and if it ends, can we be friends?" The song wasn't an enormous hit, but perhaps that's for the best. 'Friends' is a beautiful capturing of that emotion of wanting someone to still be a part of your life, and paired with BloodPop's masterful production, it's a song that has earned a reputation as a hidden pop gem.
Paramore's big return came with a surprising new face. Stripped from their angstier past, Paramore's After Laughter explored that inescapable emotion that the good moments are fleeting. There's always that moment after laughing where you realize that moment is no longer there, and perhaps never will be again. The inward searching record revolves around the themes of 'Fake Happy,' where Hayley Williams so honestly cries out, "Oh please, don't ask me how I've been, don't make me play pretend... I bet everyone here is fake happy too."
Julien Baker is a tortured soul, and she wore her heart on her sleeve in this year's Turn Out The Lights. A heartbreaking album dealing with every tragedy one can face while walking through life, from heartbreak to addiction to loss, it's perhaps most wonderfully summed up in 'Appointments.' There's little words can do to describe the quiet beauty of the song, though you can perhaps get a full sense of all the tragedy of the song from the sobering lines: "How I disappoint you / Suggest that I talk to somebody again / That knows how to help me get better / And 'til then I should just try not to miss any more appointments."
Gorillaz had a lot to say upon their big comeback, but nothing stood out as grandly as 'Saturnz Barz.' Employing the Jamaican emcee Popcaan to add an element to the song that few songs can claim, Gorillaz explore space with dark melodies and borderline-schizophrenic sounds to back their psychedelic dream.
Imagine Dragons know how to deliver empowering anthems, and 'Believer' may be one of their most powerful tracks to do so yet. The driven percussion and guttural synths support Dan Reynolds' giant vocals and uplifting lyrics, the choruses immense in every aspect of the word. Every chorus gets grander, and every word makes the song's message more powerful. Imagine Dragons are all you'll need to find the power to believe in what you want to accomplish.
The art of groove is slowly being lost in alternative rock, yet the perfectionist mind of Brand New's Jesse Lacey managed to bring it back wonderfully in '451.' The bluesy verses lead into truly explosive choruses. Layers upon layers of percussion, guitars, and vocals build the expansive atmosphere of '451,' making it impossible to not get lost in the song's massive sound. The final chorus gets even higher, one final explosion of passion coming out with massive flair.
We do not endorse nor condone the actions of Jesse Lacey, we merely comment on the nature of the music.
Few bands can be so technical yet incredible anthemic like Arcane Roots are. Fully embracing electronica in Melancholia Hymns, 'Curtains' was the first taste of new music from them, and to say it was dramatic is an understatement. The theatrical swells of the synths and Andrew Groves' almost mechanical lyrics eerily overlie the darkness below leads into an epic, crushing breakdown that brings the song out on a massive note. This level of grandiose is only something Arcane Roots are capable of.
Thirty Seconds To Mars is a band that knows how to take things to the next level. That being said, it's no surprise that the lead single to the band's upcoming album, 'Walk On Water,' is one of the biggest tracks of the year. With confident chanting, a glorious gospel, giant synths, and huge vocals from Jared Leto, 'Walk On Water' is the anthem for any success story. It's the soundtrack of overcoming the highest mountains and rising to the largest occasions.
All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell was another album that came out at an important time for me. Major heartbreak is a dangerous thing, and PVRIS beautifully captured the essence of that. 'What's Wrong' was both one of the most impactful songs that I connected with, and at the some time one of the more powerful tracks on the record. It comes with a powerful, yet simple message: it's okay to not be okay. As Lynn Gunn so wonderfully claims in the chorus, "I don't need a metaphor for you to know I'm miserable." It's angry yet anthemic build perfectly pairs with the emotions the song discusses, leading to an all encompassing track that captures everything about that specific emotion, a quality in which only PVRIS are the masters of.
To say the loss of Chester Bennington was a tragedy for the music industry is an understatement. On July 20, the world lost a hero. A hero who brought life and hope back into millions upon millions of souls. One More Light was an album about battling depression and the effects it has on relationships and humanity, but unfortunately the world understood that too late. 'One More Light' has become the song of goodbyes this year. It's hard hearing Chester sing, and perhaps it'll never get easier to listen to this song. All the same, there's a reassuring nature in the chorus' heartbreaking lyrics: "Who cares if one more light goes out? Well I do." If we've learned anything about ourselves this year, it's that that sentiment will always reign true, no matter who you are. Chester lives on in our hearts, and his soul will never die.
Linkin Park is on this list three times for a good reason - there's no band with the vision that they have. Regardless of what you think of them, this band has defined everything great about music: evolution. 'Sorry For Now' is a song that means a lot to me personally, and was one of the songs that helped me through the darkest month of my life. After Chester's passing, I couldn't listen to the band's music for weeks, but when I finally came back to this one, I remembered there was still a future ahead of me. Heartbreak, loss, and confidence is interlaced into the beautiful anthemic synths and harmonies of 'Sorry For Now,' showcasing Mike Shinoda's ability to turn anything to gold, show the chemistry that made Linkin Park so impactful, and most of all, why they are and always will be one of the most important bands to ever exist. And to tie that all together, why they'll always be one of my favorite bands.
Want to hear all these songs? Check out our official Spotify Playlist:
You can check out how we ranked all of our favorite songs of 2017 on the full comprehensive list here. Stay tuned for our Best New Artists and Album Of The Year lists!