the best music

There’s still a lot of time left in 2017, but it’s never too early to start keeping a list of truly memorable bangers. And later on down the line, when Taylor Swift releases her 1989 follow-up and swallows up every available inch of the radio, you’ll be glad you have a list to remind you, “Oh yeah, DJ Khaled did make a song with Beyoncé and Jay Z in 2017.”


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1. “Love,” Lana Del Rey

If you’re not into Lana’s particular brand of Instagram-filtered nostalgia, then I’m sorry your life is so joyless, but if you are, “Love” is everything you’ve ever wanted from your queen. It’s somehow more cinematic than even her most cinematic songs, and comes with a music video where people go to space or something? Also, she’s traded her flower crown for loose daisies strewn all over her head, and it’s flawless.

2. “Green Light,” Lorde

Lorde has said that the first single from her long-in-the-making second album is about her “first major heartbreak,” a fact that’s clear in lyrics like, “She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar.” She must have written this after the wallowing period was over, though, because “Green Light” is almost impossible to listen to without dancing in your seat.

3. “Slip Away,” Perfume Genius



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This song is truly everything, and that’s all there is to say about that.

4. “Pleasure,” Feist

“Pleasure” starts off quiet and sparse, but eventually builds up to a raw, guitar-filled climax that’s PJ Harvey–like in spirit and sound. Feist says this song is a good example of what to expect from her new album, also called Pleasure: “It’s an indication of the range that’s going to happen over the eleven songs.”

5. “Flame,” Tinashe

Tinashe’s second album Joyride may or may not come out this year, but for now, she’s at least blessed us with “Flame,” a dramatic but still upbeat ode to one of those relationships you’re holding on to even though you know it’s over. Please, please let Joyride come out this year.

6. “Shether,” Remy Ma



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No matter where you stand on Nicki vs. Remy, there’s no denying that this nearly seven-minute takedown is epic in scope and execution. The same can’t be said for the follow-up “Another One,” but they can’t all be winners.

7. “No Frauds,” Nicki Minaj feat. Drake and Lil Wayne

Nicki waited almost two weeks to respond to “Shether,” but the wait was worth it. Not only did she come up with barbs of her own (“what type of bum bitch shoot a friend over a rack?”), but she enlisted her friends Drake and Lil Wayne to make sure the song is as big a hit as possible. Expect this to be as inescapable as Drake’s “Back to Back” was in 2015.

8. “Shakedown,” Valerie June

A lot of Valerie June’s best songs are plaintive ballads about love and loss, but “Shakedown” is all party — the bluesiest, hand-clapping-est party you’ve ever attended.

9. “Show You the Way,” Thundercat feat. Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald



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This genius collaboration between Thundercat and yacht rock legends Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald is almost too smooth to be believed. By the time Thundercat introduces Kenny with the line, “Tell ’em how you feel, Kenny,” you’ll think you’ve taken a time machine back to the most chill 1970s boat party you can imagine.

10. “Chained to the Rhythm,” Katy Perry feat. Skip Marley

If you were feeling generous, you could maybe point to inspirational anthems like “Firework” and “Rise” as Katy Perry’s “political” songs, but with “Chained to the Rhythm,” she’s finally getting a little more explicit. The song and the video are about distracting yourself with music when everything’s going to shit, which might sound familiar if you’ve paid any attention at all to the news this year. It’s not exactly a protest song, but it is catchy as hell.

11. “Selfish,” Future feat. Rihanna

Future has already had a super-prolific 2017, releasing not one but two albums in February, because doing only one album every couple of years is for slackers. One of the standouts is this HNDRXX duet with Rihanna, who has a knack for improving every song she’s on by about 5,000 percent.

12. “Shining,” DJ Khaled feat. Beyoncé and Jay Z

The perennially whispered-about Beyoncé and Jay Z collaborative album is still mythical, but at least DJ Khaled managed to unite them for this one track, which is exactly the type of song you might want playing as you’re driving your Jet Ski around in the dark Miami night. Major key alert, get a Jet Ski with speakers.