Jim's Best of 2017 Countdown: #1

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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:53 am

It's that time of year again! I want to get this done while I'm on holidays, so it's an opportune time to start.

Firstly a recap of last year's top ten...

Top 10 of 2016
01. Tom Odell - Magnetised
02. Delta Goodrem - Enough ft Gizzle
03. Adele - When We Were Young
04. Mike Posner - Be As You Are (Remix)
05. Adele - Water Under The Bridge
06. The Chainsmokers - Closer ft Halsey
07. The Chainsmokers - Don't Let Me Down ft Daya
08. Lady Gaga - Million Reasons
09. Delta Goodrem - Heavy
10. Meghan Trainor - No


2017: Music Year in Review

In 2017, we saw the music scene start to transition away from the "tropical pop" sound that dominated 2015-16. Although this sound was still very much present in the earlier months of the year, such as Ed Sheeran's mammoth hit 'Shape of You'. If you were going to collaborate in 2017, oh boy did you collaborate. We had some ridiculous song credits to type out such as these hits...

• DJ Khaled - I'm The One ft Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper & Lil Wayne
• Luis Fonsi - Despacito (Remix) ft Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber
• Calvin Harris - Feels ft Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean
• David Guetta & Afrojack - Dirty Sexy Money ft Charli XCX & French Montana
• Louis Tomlinson - Back To You ft Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals

You could be forgiven for thinking we had transported back to the late 90s, as latino-flavoured pop was en vogue. 'Despacito' was already a massive hit in Spanish-speaking countries when it was first released in January. The song already had about 500 million views on YouTube before the storm came, the Bieber remix. The remix pushed the song into English-speaking territories and was a colossal hit, now sitting at a whopping 4.5 billion views for the main video and 600 million for the Bieber audio track. This spurred on more latino success and copycat marketing strategies. J Balvin & Willy William got Beyoncé to push 'Mi Gente' further and CNCO got Little Mix to push 'Reggaton Lento' into the UK market.

We can't discuss 'Despacito' without also discussing the aforementioned 'Shape of You', as you could argue which was the bigger hit of the year. 'Shape of You' had several factors working in its favour:
a) Ed Sheeran is very popular
b) It was a lead single from an anticipated album
c) A copied its beat from 2016 hit 'Cheap Thrills'
d) It got in on the tropical pop bandwagon just before it died and;
e) An unintentional but acknowledged TLC interpolation

The song is now one the biggest hits of all-time. Some of its credentials include:
• 3 billion+ views on YouTube
• 15 weeks at #1 in Australia, 14 weeks at #1 in the UK, 12 weeks at #1 in the USA
• Most streamed song of all-time on Spotify

...I don't even like the song, but kudos to Ed!

2017 was not really the year for female popstars, with just a sprinkling of hits from the a-list of pop princesses. Some new generation females did firmly establish themselves as hit makers, such as Camila Cabello, Hailee Steinfeld, Dua Lipa & Alessia Cara, but none were able to cause a stir like we've seen in past years with artists like Adele, Taylor Swift or back-in-the-day, Britney Spears.

Streaming reigned supreme in 2017 as the album format stumbled on its last legs and digital downloads dipped their toes in the grave. Spotify playlists became the BBC Radio 1 playlists of old - a way to guarantee yourself an audience and get the best chance of a hit. Of course, Spotify isn't the be-all, end-all of hit making, none of these platforms ever are, but darn is it much harder to get a hit without Spotify helping you out.

In the world of streaming, urban music is considerably more popular than it ever was amongst paid digital downloads. Artists such as Future, French Montana, Post Malone and the evergreen Drake, expanded their reach considerably, breaking into charts all around the world. Tracks were able to break the top twenty without even cracking the top 40 on iTunes or getting any radio play. This marks a shift in the chart landscape that will only continue to change in 2018 onward.

2017 marked the year of One Direction solo careers, as each member dropped music in an attempt to establish themselves outside the group. Zayn continued over his previous success with a #1 hit early in the year ('I Don't Wanna Live Forever'), whilst Harry Styles took a more serious route, releasing a classic rock album that may not light up the charts, but establish him as a serious performer. Liam Payne tried to promote himself as the Justin Timberlake for the new generation and it worked momentarily ('Strip That Down' was a huge international hit), but has since struggled with underperformances from 'Get Low' and 'Bedroom Floor'. Niall Horan proved himself the surprise package of the group, the underdog achieved a worldwide hit with 'Slow Hands', after the modest success of lead single 'This Town'. Finally, Louis Tomlinson struggled to establish his sound, dabbling first with Steve Aoki ('Just Hold On'), before landing a hit largely thanks to Bebe Rexha on 'Back To You'. Perhaps what is most striking about all of this was that all five members of the group have been able to achieve at least one hit single each. Not since the Spice Girls have we seen such solo success to come out of a group. Who will be in for the long run though?

Music pundits often predict a comeback for rock music, but 2017 certainly wasn't that year. Production continued to be dominated by electronic producers and the closest thing to traditional bands on the charts are Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5.

Coming Up Next: The bubbling under chart
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:13 am

Image

Songs that I quite enjoyed, but fell just short of the main countdown...

Avicii - Lonely Together ft Rita Ora
Calvin Harris - Feels ft Everyone
Camila Cabello - Crying in the Club
Camila Cabello - Havana
Charlie Puth - Attention
David Guetta - 2U ft Justin Bieber
David Guetta & Afrojack - Dirty Sexy Money ft Charli & French Montana
Dean Lewis - Need You Now
Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry
Ed Sheeran - Galway Girl
Fergie - Save It Til Morning
Hailee Steinfeld - Most Girls
Hanson - I Was Born
Jax Jones - Instruction ft Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don
Lorde - Perfect Places
Louis Tomlinson - Back To You ft Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals
Macklemore - Glorious ft Skylar Grey
Macklemore - Good Old Days ft Kesha
Miley Cyrus - Malibu
Neon Trees - Feel Good
P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
Paramore - Hard Times
Rita Ora - Your Song
Selena Gomez & Marshmello - Wolves
Sigrid - Strangers
Taylor Swift - Call It What You Want
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:21 am


#50
STEPS DANCING WITH A BROKEN HEART


A cover is nothing new for Steps, but I must say I was surprised when I heard that the lead single of their re-release was going to be a Delta Goodrem cover. It's especially an interesting choice, because the original version wasn't even a hit, so this didn't likely ever stand a chance. The track is fairly similar to the original, although not superior. The original version was #81 on my best of 2012 countdown. The video from Steps is so cringeworthy and camp, but I wouldn't expect anything less from them :lol:
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:25 am


#49
RICKY MARTIN VENTE PA' CA FT DELTA GOODREM


The original version of 'Vente Pa' Ca' features Maluma and was released in 2016. Several other versions were then released around the turn of the new year, my favourite of course had to be the Delta Goodrem version. As the English version, it was a bit more accessible. Unfortunately unlike 'Despacito', this track was unable to break into English-speaking markets, despite being an enormous hit in latin countries.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:29 am


#48
KESHA RAINBOW


2017 was a real comeback year for Kesha and the title track of her album was one of several highlights. 'Rainbow' is a cutesy, somewhat by-the-numbers ballad. However, within context of the album and her situation leading up to this moment, it has a bit more depth than it may have otherwise had. It's like a Disney empowerment anthem, but with the odd swear word thrown in.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:35 am


#47
HAILEE STEINFELD & ALESSO LET ME GO FT FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE & WATT


Hailee Steinfeld is the low-key success popstar of 2016-17. She had two fairly substantial hits in 2017, 'Most Girls' and 'Let Me Go', although both were certainly slow burners on the charts. 'Let Me Go' contrasts Hailee's sweet vocals with a big multi-layered sing-a-long chorus, which somehow also works with FGL's country twang. Honestly, the biggest surprise of all is that Florida Georgia Line got themselves on two hit singles outside of the USA in 2017.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:38 am


#46
NOAH CYRUS I'M STUCK


Noah Cyrus is a total hit-and-miss artist for me, delivering bops in equal measure to flops. She hasn't quite lived up to her potential just yet, but maybe 2018 will be her year. One of her best releases (and least successful) is 'I'm Stuck', a track which meanders somewhere between pop, country and folk styles. The song is too left-field for the charts, but it's catchy af and a lot of fun.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:43 am


#45
ZEDD & LIAM PAYNE GET LOW


I had really high hopes for Liam Payne's solo career which weren't really met in 2017, but luckily Zedd can't really go wrong. 'Get Low' is harmless dance-pop, it's a lot of fun and easy on the ears. These two boys are also easy on the eyes.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:44 am


#44
PALOMA FAITH CRYBABY


Paloma Faith dances a fine-line between being a critical darling and a popstar. She doesn't come across as someone seeking desperately chasing hit records, but her tracks are accessible and have great pop sensibility about them. 'Crybaby' served as a solid lead single for 'The Architect', it has an upbeat, but calm groove about it and is just an overall easy listen.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:47 am


#43
MAROON 5 WHAT LOVERS DO FT SZA


As Maroon 5 become less and less of a "band" as time goes on, their output becomes more and more random. I'm fairly certain this song doesn't have lyrics, it's really just a series of pleasant sounds that go for about 3 minutes. I hadn't heard of SZA prior to this song, but she sounds great on this.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:55 am


#42
LORDE GREEN LIGHT


When you have such a breakthrough first album, a second album slump is a very real threat. It's gobbled up many "hot" artists of the past. Luckily Lorde was adept enough to choose the right producer (Jack Antonoff ) and the right song to lead the campaign. It was declared at the time that 'Green Light' didn't really represent the sound of the rest of the album (which is indeed, true), but it was the right choice. The track paints a Lorde who is angry and under control, but presents her most upbeat sound to date. There is a jarring mismatch between the melody and the beat in the chorus which is equal parts fascinating and off-putting, which is why it lands just out of the top 40 for me.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:02 am


#41
TAYLOR SWIFT END GAME FT FUTURE & ED SHEERAN


This is arguably the title track of Taylor Swift's 'Reputation', an album which marks the biggest change in her musical style to date. 'End Game' is a collaboration which sees each of the three artists rap about their reputation over a laid-back drum machine beat. There's a chorus here, but the real MVP is the "big reputation" refrain, which is a glorious chant-along moment.
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Postby JimJim » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:06 am


#40
ONEREPUBLIC & SEEB RICH LOVE


Ryan Tedder had a rather public meltdown during OneRepublic's 'Oh My My' album era. Part of this moment was the declaration that they weren't going to focus on albums anymore and instead just release singles if and when they felt like it. True to the word, OneRepublic released three stand-alone singles in 2017, the best of which was 'Rich Love'. Whilst the sound of the track did seem ironically dated, the pop drop here is just so blissfully nice to listen to, a real pleasure.
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Postby Thriller » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:39 pm

Nice write-up and presentation!

DWABH got old quick for me, it's a shame it didn't quite hit the mark and have the desired impact. I wish they'd pushed Happy for the album's re-release but I can get why they chose a new recording.

Noah's song was cute, Zedd's was good despite Liam (best solo thing from him yet), Crybaby is one of Paloma's best songs, Maroon 5 I can bear despite being a Sexual rip and Lorde was a strong comeback.
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Postby king_oxymoron » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:14 am

Yes very interesting read. Calvin Harris ft. Everyone :lol:
One of my very favourites crashed out in your bubbling under.

I did like the choice of DWABH for Steps and I don't hate it but it's nothing on Deltas version with some poor production and an unnecessary key change.

The 'big reputation' part is so the worst bit of End Game! I like it though, good tune.

Lorde came back with a bang, such a tune, if she didn't start so strongly with Royals, I think Green Light could have been her signature tune. I like it's weirdness.

What Lovers Do is undeniably cute.. I just wish Adam took more risks? SZA sounds so laid back and chill and yet does far more interesting stuff on her verse, she impressed me.
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Postby JSparksFan » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:10 am

Some huge losses in the missed set!

Spoiler:
Calvin Harris - Feels ft Everyone
Camila Cabello - Crying in the Club
Camila Cabello - Havana

Charlie Puth - Attention
David Guetta - 2U ft Justin Bieber
Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry
Ed Sheeran - Galway Girl
Lorde - Perfect Places
Miley Cyrus - Malibu
P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
Rita Ora - Your Song
Selena Gomez & Marshmello - Wolves
Taylor Swift - Call It What You Want


"Get Low" is really good. It deserved more success. "Crybaby" didn't resonate with me the way several of Paloma's past singles have.

"What Lovers Do" is great! I got into it late, though. SZA is an act worth exploration.

I still have trouble believing that Lorde recorded a song like "Green Light". It has a poppier chorus than most of my favourite pop songs this year, whilst retaining a quality standard of lyricism...though I have to cop up to only recently checking out what the lyrics actually were, as I was too spellbound by the chorus to care.

"End Game" is an apt representation of what I dislike about Reputation.
"Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes, and it will come."

Akini's Top 25 Artists of 2017: [#1 Revealed!]
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Postby Carbon » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:45 am

Rainbow was my least fave song from Kesha's new album, but now it's grown on me a lot and I can appreciate the sentiment and emotions behind it

Crybaby is great and its lack of success is yet another injustice in the pop world

Green Light is quality pop, but for some reason I was never as over the moon as other fans when I heard it
Ја кријам главата под шалот.
Само на веѓите ми се гледа
дека мислам на тебе.


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Carbon's 2017 Faves
- check it out!
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Postby UKMusicLova » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:55 am

'Green Light' is one of the pop anthems of the year. It's strange, I actually like it more every time I listen to it, and I'm still to get tired of it! A great introudciton to the wonderful 'Melodrama' era.

What Lovers Do, Get Low and Crybaby are all good songs too!
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Postby luckyONE » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:40 am

great start, i really like "crybaby", "end game" and love "what Lovers do". i just discovered the latter one a few days ago.
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Postby Tansike » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:09 pm

Time to catch up here!

From the missed ones, i like...
Spoiler:
Avicii - Lonely Together ft Rita Ora
Calvin Harris - Feels ft Everyone
Camila Cabello - Crying in the Club
Camila Cabello - Havana
Charlie Puth - Attention
Ed Sheeran - Galway Girl
Fergie - Save It Til Morning
Hailee Steinfeld - Most Girls
Jax Jones - Instruction ft Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don
Lorde - Perfect Places
Louis Tomlinson - Back To You ft Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals
Macklemore - Glorious ft Skylar Grey
Macklemore - Good Old Days ft Kesha
Miley Cyrus - Malibu
P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
Paramore - Hard Times
Rita Ora - Your Song
Selena Gomez & Marshmello - Wolves
Sigrid - Strangers
Taylor Swift - Call It What You Want

Quite a lot!
Sigrid's "Strangers" will most likely be a hit for me in 2018 as i only added it to my library yesterday :oops:
Shocked "Feels" missed out, as it's definitely a big highlight of the year for me. Nice to see "Perfect Places", should have been a big hit for Lorde :cry:

#48 KESHA RAINBOW
#47 HAILEE STEINFELD & ALESSO LET ME GO FT FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE & WATT
#46 NOAH CYRUS I'M STUCK
#45 ZEDD & LIAM PAYNE GET LOW
#44 PALOMA FAITH CRYBABY
#43 MAROON 5 WHAT LOVERS DO FT SZA
#42 LORDE GREEN LIGHT
#41 TAYLOR SWIFT END GAME FT FUTURE & ED SHEERAN
Okay, so this is an amazing start so far!
Really love to see "I'm Stuck" there. It's not my favorite single by Noah this year (that would be "Again"), but it's definitely a nice song which reminds me of Hilary Duff's "All About You", so it was quite funny how Australia was the only country again which low-key appreciated this song.
"Let Me Go" is great. Australia really showed some great taste in 2017 8-)
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Postby JimJim » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:10 am


#39
STEPS SCARED OF THE DARK


Steps are the epitome of tacky late 90s pop, where they vary from their contemporaries is their unashamed approach. They are cheesy af, camp as hell and they don't give a damn. 'Scared of the Dark' was the lead comeback single from Steps and a very welcome return of bubblegum pop. When most pop acts of the past reform, usually it's a poor quality shadow of their past (see: S Club 3). 'Scared of the Dark' however is just as good as any highlight of their early discography.
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Postby heppolo » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:13 am

Everyone loves Paloma.
''Crybaby'' is a gem.
Waffles are checked cookies
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Postby JimJim » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:17 am


#38
AJR WEAK [STAY STRONG MIX] FT LOUISA JOHNSON


I'll be honest, one-hit wonders AJR are hardly someone I was actively checking for in 2016-17, however, this track kept coming up in my path and I couldn't ignore it any longer. What really got me on board was when the new mix with Louise Johnson dropped in April 2017, a last ditch attempt to make this song a hit after bubbling below charts for quite a long time. This mix isn't extremely different to the original, however I think the added female vocal gives it a bit more depth and Louisa is a much better singer than the AJR guys. The track is a whack in the face and good fun to scream along to.
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Postby JimJim » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:22 am


#37
LUIS FONSI DESPACITO FT DADDY YANKEE


Is there really much to say? The most inescapable hit of 2017 and a true worldwide phenomenon. The chorus is ok, but the part I really cannot pass up is Daddy Yankee's refrain. This entry is for the original mix, the Bieber version really adds nothing to it. "Pasito a pasito, suave, suavecito
Nos vamos pegando poquito a poquito" has to be the catchiest 10 seconds of pop music in 2017.
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Postby JimJim » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:48 am


#36
CNCO & LITTLE MIX REGGAETON LENTO (REMIX)


From one Spanish cross-over smash to another, CNCO wisely recruited Little Mix for the Spanglish version of their hit 'Reggaeton Lento'. The chorus is infectious and the use of a boy group v girl group dynamic is something we haven't seen in quite some time. A highlight is the ridiculous "rrrrrreggaeTON len-to!" Peri does towards the end of the song, a low-light includes "our bodies on fire, full of desire, if you feel what I feel, throw your hands up higher" which is just dire pop 101 songwriting.
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