14 under-appreciated songs that deserved more love this year
It’s not too late to discover new music from 2017.
Frank Ocean f. Young Thug, "Slide On Me (Remix)"
If you thought the original "Slide On Me" was perfect (and it was), consider the addition of Young Thug. In a verse that charms alongside Frank's lucid storytelling, Thug offers up a scream — well, more of a yelp, actually — about, among other things, Janet Jackson's breasteses. It's kind of nuts that, in 2017, we got a remix of one of 2016's best songs and, to feed two birds with one seed, we finally got to hear Frank Ocean and Young Thug on a track together. Good luck finding a CDQ. — Rawiya Kameir
Shy Glizzy, "Take Me Away"
On the now-removed intro to Shy Glizzy’s somber banger “Take Me Away,” the faint voice of an Imam recites Surah Al-Fil, a Quranic chapter that at its core tells a story of treachery, redemption, war, and the emancipation of a people. The deliberateness of the passage choice is made obvious in the progression of Jefe’s verses and their subject matter. Glizzy weaves in and out of harmonizing bleak lines like “It’s a war started outside, don’t wanna talk about it but somebody might die” and “That money alright I don’t need me a friend / we took a loss now we eating’ again” over sparse production from TM88 and Rex Kudo. Shy Glizzy is back on his deen, and I for one, am very here for it. Everybody say Ameen. — Ali Suliman
Sabrina Claudio, “Everlasting Love”
Sabrina Claudio’s “Everlasting Love” from her latest project About Time, is an airy ballad with smooth and silky vocals reminiscent of Amel Larrieux. The song feels like being under a warm blanket in the winter as your man massages your feet. — Juliana Pache
Call Super & Beatrice Dillon,"Inkjet"
Two London-based techno faves, both known for creating warm, enveloping textures, came together for the release of Inkjet/Fluo earlier this year. Made up of two mind-cushioning, eight-minute tracks, the EP is a meandering joy. The bouncy opener "Inkjet" in particular — with its handclaps and skittering, glitchy surface — taps into a happy place. — Aimee Cliff
Dougie Poole, “Don’t You Think I’m Funny Anymore?”
I’m not sure why more synth heads and DIY types haven’t tapped into the weird, sleepy, modulated sound of a teenaged Elvis Presley’s first recordings on the Sun label — "Blue Moon,” in particular. Brooklyn musician Dougie Poole’s 2017 debut album is as close as I’ve heard recently, maybe ever? Using synths and drum machines unavailable in the Sun days, he sounds just as wistful and confused. Plus I love the album name: Wideass Highway. — Duncan Cooper
Ramriddlz, "Summer Bummer"
I listened to Ramriddlz's Sweeter Dreams about a billion times this year. It's a project about what happens when you break a boy toy's heart. Towards the end of the album is "Summer Bummer," where Ram says he's "blue like Sonic," feeling abandoned and wistful that his short-term lover never got to meet his mom. But he's is still the same lovable sex-obsessed weirdo, using the song's climax to interpolate Gotye and sing the very iconic line "Now I’m just somebody that you used to blow." It's stunning. — Myles Tanzer
Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”
“I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% That Bitch.” That’s all I have to say about that. —Juliana
PARTYNEXTDOOR & Halsey, "Damage"
This song sounds like the last song in every ’80s romantic teen comedy and every mistake I've ever made past 3 a.m. in the last five years. — Myles
Wizkid f. Ty Dolla $ign, "One For Me"
This song sounds like the feeling when a warm beach breeze blows over you in the summertime! Wizkid's "One For Me" is one of my favorite songs from his "Sounds From The Other Side" album, which dropped this summer. It's a happy, honeymoon-phase ass song, grounded in a hip-swing friendly rhythm, super sweet call and response from the Starboy, and a teethy-smile-inducing Ty Dolla $ign hook. I wish I heard it more while I was out, or playing on whatever the equivalent of radio is nowadays. Here's to hoping Ty and Wiz get together for a collaborative EP or something, because the world needs it. — Nazuk Kochhar
Miley Cyrus, “Miss You So Much”
This year Miley Cyrus made a back-to-basics country-pop record, and it wasn’t great. But it did have great songs, my favorite of which is called “Miss You So Much.” An earnest guitar ballad with a big wave-crash for a chorus, it’s about the kind of romantic feelings that make you feel crazy. The titular sentiment — “how can I miss you so much when you’re right here?” — is a legitimately tear-jerking reminder that being in a loving relationship is straight-up terrifying, because it means you have something to lose. — Patrick D. McDermott
LOOΠΔ Odd Eye Circle, "LOONATIC"
I clicked on this because someone on my TL compared it to Grimes’s synth-pop-punk opus Art Angels. For once, it wasn’t just Twitter hyperbole. LOOΠΔ Odd Eye Circle are a sub-unit of 12-member Korean pop group LOOΠΔ, whose individual members have released some brilliant solo songs this year ahead of the full band’s debut in 2018. But “LOONATIC” is the most in-your-face of them all, with imagistic lyrics about stargazing, an elaborate color-saturated video, and an addictive riff-fueled chorus. It all adds up to create one of the most deliriously fun pop songs of the year. — Owen Myers
ILoveMakonnen, “Dark Blue”
Makonnen, cozied up in Portland, OR, had a quietly innovative year. Before he released "Love," his anti-romance stoner jam collab with Mike WiLL Made-It, Rae Sremmurd and Travis Barker, he put out a tape called Fun Summer Vol. 1, back in June. Honestly, the whole tape is pure slept-on fire. But there's a crazy song on there that Skepta produced, "Dark Blue," whose twinkly minimalist beat is comprised of glitchy-sounding staccato keys, and looped echoes of Makonnen's lil' shouts. When I first heard it I remember freaking out and thinking Makonnen sounded like a pitched-up Lou Reed over a slowed-down and stretched-out Dark Day hook. There's nothing like being pleasantly surprised by an artist you love. — Leah Mandel
Ty Dolla $ign, "All The Time"
Beach House 3 arrived near the end of 2017, but it came just in time, and with the right energy, to carry us out of the year. The third release from Ty's infamous party-perfect series is made of 20 songs that slap — but it also offers moods and emotions. Ty croons hard on my favorite cut, "All The Time," using his sandpaper-like vocals to smooth out velvety R&B runs. His melodies are playful but also urgent, capturing that dizzying rush you get when you tell your crush how much time you spend thinking about them. Even if you don't have the range to hit every note like Ty, singing this tune in your feelings with your eyes closed feels good. — Lakin Starling
Emily Yacina, "Clue"
Emily Yacina writes my favorite kind of songs, ones that seem to effortlessly capture a feeling or a mood that the English language can't. Heart Sky, her out-of-nowhere 2017 full-length, is full of gorgeous, drowsy dream-rock that does exactly that. The songs are definitely best experienced all together, but “Clue,” a music-box-paced breakup lullaby, is something of a standout. It’s hinged on a sing-song melody and some unassumingly devastating poetry: “In the neighbor's yard / sink into the mud / can't be what it was.” Yeesh. — Patrick