It has been a terrible year for humanity, but a good year for jams. Between the release of SZA’s debut album CTRL, the 10-year commemoration of Tegan & Sara’s groundbreaking album The Con, and the unexpected ascension of Cardi B., the music industry really hit its stride and gave us tunes to bop to all 2017. While this list isn’t exhaustive, this BitchTape features the 15 songs we truly enjoyed. Happy listening!
1. Kendrick Lamar featuring Zacari - “LOVE.”
This song might get pigeonholed because Kendrick Lamar revealed a softer side, but his genius is precisely that vulnerability permeates everything he does. Love is everywhere on this record; think of this as the title track.
2. SZA - “Broken Clocks”
SZA is the next permutation of the Knowles model, wherein ragged honesty meets flawless presentation. We all need SZA’s message right now.
3. Kesha - “Praying”
I still sob at that high note that holds years of darkness and a glimpse of brand new light inside of it. Thank the goddess for this song.
4. Allison Pierce - “Fool Him”
Pierce cradles country, folk, pop, and a little church on Sunday. This song has stayed with me for months, with its return to simple, piercing (sorryyyy) lyrics and a killer country chord progression.
5. Sylvan Esso - “Die Young”
Sylvan Esso paired dark and light in all the best ways. Heavy beats, light electronics, sweet love songs framed by a death wish. This band might take over the world.
6. Joan Shelley - “We’d Be Home”
If your prescription for the blood pressure medication you’ve needed since Election Day 2016 lapses, might I recommend any and everything by Joan Shelley until you get to the pharmacy?
7. St. Vincent - “Los Ageless”
St. Vincent took a hard turn into, well, hardness this year. This record is all edges and epoxy shine. I already can’t wait to see what else her beautiful musical brain creates.
8. Big Thief - “Shark Smile”
This is the kind of song that will make you hold very, very still while you listen, to make sure you catch every whisper and every lick of guitar.
9. Lizzo - “Truth Hurts”
“Truth Hurts” is the song that spawned 1,000 killer feminist embroidery projects with the line “I just took a DNA test/ turns out I’m 100 percent that bitch.”
10. Dessa - “Fire Drills”
New sounds from Dessa, and a new record coming in 2018? Next year really is looking up. If you like your feminism, philosophy, and razor-sharp raps in a Venn diagram, Dessa is for you.
11. H.E.R. - “Lights On”
“Lights On” is sexy and smart, and something constructive to do with all the darkness in the world today.
12. Beth Ditto - “Fire”
Beth Ditto’s voice is all simmering heat blowing up into open flame. Oh, how I love this woman and everything she stands for in the world.
13. Jesca Hoop - “Cut Connection”
“Cut Connection” wasn’t one of the hits from Hoop’s fabulous new record, but it’s the one that seared itself into my memory. “Cut Connection” is an excellent reminder to cut ties with the modern world every once in a while.
14. Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber - “Despacito”
Don’t @ me. Viva Puerto Rico siempre!
15. Coldplay and The Chainsmokers - “Something Just Like This”
While still married to Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin advertised for a nanny for Apple and Moses, requiring that the nanny-to-be speak and read Ancient Greek and Roman. So when he says “he’s been reading books of old/ the legends and the myths,” he means in the original Hellenic Greek. Listen to this song and laugh. We all need a laugh this year. White dudes are still the worst.