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Best of 2017

The 20 Best Songs of 2017

From breakthrough K-pop to the best from K.Dot, these are the tracks that spoke to both the masses and small communities to ultimately soar above the rest

20 / 20

BTS, Desiigner & Steve Aoki - "Mic Drop (Remix)"

BTS scored their biggest breakthrough hit yet with their Steve Aoki remix of "Mic Drop" that wasn't just brilliant for its blending of different genres and styles, but how all those elements enhance one another. Desiigner's ridiculously awesome flow fits perfectly alongside BTS' braggadocio, with it all backed by a mainstream-accessible Aoki beat. Not to mention,the   guys crafted a slew of unforgettable lyrics like...and just try to pick your favorite between..."Did you see my bag? / It's hella trophies and it's hella thick" or "Baby watch your mouth / It comes back around" or "She like Apple Jacks / I like applesauce." Jeff Benjamin

19 / 20

Lady Gaga - "The Cure"

The only new piece of music Mother Monster shared in 2017, “The Cure” was a noticeable departure from the Americana-esque Joanne-era tunes she was busy promoting and touring throughout the year...and perhaps that’s why fans loved it so much. Gaga’s latest single follows the route that acts like The Chainsmokers have paved with their signature brand of electronic pop, and she not only pulls it off, she elevates it. “The Cure” wasn’t a blockbuster, and it wasn’t featured on an album, but it was a welcome sign that the singer might not be done with her signature pop after all. Hugh McIntyre

18 / 20

J Balvin, Willy Willam & Beyonce - "Mi Gente (Remix)"

Already one of the biggest Latin smashes of the year around the world, J Balvin and Willy Willam's “Mi Gente” jumped to the next level with the addition of perhaps the most famous musician on the planet: Beyoncé. The Queen unexpectedly hopped on a revamped version of the tune, and the fact that she sings in both English and Spanish (and that she brought her daughter Blue Ivy along for a quick cameo towards the end) shows how much even she believed in the electronically-aimed reggaeton song. Hugh McIntyre

17 / 20

Rita Ora - "Your Song"

If anyone thought Rita Ora's music career had taken a backseat to her multiple acting, hosting and fashion gigs, well, consider "Your Song" as her true comeback to music. The slick, subtle house-pop track declared an exciting new direction for the British songbird and proves that when the right song and right personality connect, pop magic can happen. Jeff Benjamin

16 / 20

DJ Khaled, Rihanna & Bryson Tiller - "Wild Thoughts"

Yes, yes: We all know that “Wild Thoughts” is a direct rip off of  Carlos Santana’s 1999 hit “Maria Maria.” But that rush of nostalgia that hits within the first few seconds is what brings you back to a carefree time filled with sunsets, backyard parties and passionate kisses.  Rihanna totally owns the song with her sultriness, shining alongside  DJ Khaled's shoutouts and  Bryson Tiller's verse. Bianca Gracie

15 / 20

Dua Lipa & Miguel - "Lost in Your Light"

“New Rules” might have been the breakout hit from Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut album this year, but don’t sleep: “Lost in Your Light” with Miguel is just as flawless. All summer I told anyone who would listen that “Lost in Your Light” is a perfect pop song. As 2018 creeps near I feel exactly the same about this undeniable bop. Dua and Miguel harmonizing on the infectious hook is basically the sound of angels singing directly into your ear. The production, which Miguel also had a hand in, is simultaneously bouncy, fun and sexy. I dare you to try not tapping your foot or nodding your head (or doing a flirty dance) to this jam. Mark Sundstrom

14 / 20

Drake - "Passionfruit"

“Passionfruit” is one of the few tender moments on Drake’s More Life that shows off the Toronto guy’s, well, passionate side. Never one to hide his emotions, the artist muses about trying to not to lose grip on a long-distance relationship. It’s equal parts somber, loving and hopeful. Fun fact: “Passionfruit” also features vocals by Zoë Kravitz.Bianca Gracie

13 / 20

SZA & Travis Scott - "Love Galore"

Already one of the most exciting up-and-comers in the music industry, SZA proved all the hype was correct when she finally dropped her debut album Ctrl. The record has quietly produced a handful of hit singles, including “Love Galore,” which has served as a low-key, chill introduction to the R&B talent for many new fans. With Travis Scott on board delivering an equally-as-calm verse of his own, the two perfectly complement each other, and they make “Love Galore” one of the standout tracks on one of the best albums of 2017. Hugh McIntyre

12 / 20

Kelela - "LMK"

Kelela’s “LMK” is an anthem for dealing with dudes who always play games instead of just saying what they mean and meaning what they say. So… all men. Kelela speaks for all of us with “LMK” telling a dude “listen, I don’t care if we’re just hooking up. I don’t need this to be about feelings, but damnit, LET ME KNOW!” The message resonates through Kelela’s assertive vocals over the booming, spacey production. Music in 2017 was better for having Kelela’s brand of R&B in it.Mark Sundstrom

11 / 20

Taylor Swift - "New Year's Day"

The “old Taylor,” thankfully, isn’t totally dead. Unlike the rest of Reputation, “New Year’s Day” doesn’t suffer from overproduction, consisting of a simple piano accompaniment and the finest of storytelling reminiscent of Swift’s Red days. There’s something incredibly intimate and earnest about the lyrics, which instantly transport you to the slightly messy—but cautiously hopeful—aftermath of New Year’s Eve. From the “Polaroids on the hardwood floor” to the hand squeezes in the back of a cab, Swift proves without a doubt that she’s still the ultimate wordsmith. Tina Xu

10 / 20

Jay-Z - "The Story of OJ"

There are so many layers to "The Story of OJ," we'd be here a long time if we tried to dissect each and every one. At its core, the standout 4:44 cut sees Jay exploring Black culture and the successes and pitfalls of the community. The brilliant Nina Simone sample of "Four Women"—a racially charged song detailing the different-but-similar experiences of four Black women with four different skin tones—enhances lyrics that detail the struggles a race inevitably face as a whole. Jeff Benjamin

9 / 20

Dean & Syd - "Love"

Two of R&B's unlikely heroes came together for one of 2017's most effortlessly sexy cuts. South Korea's vocal wunderkind Dean teams up with The Internet songbird Syd for a smooth, sensual and (at times) sexual duet that highlights their knack for gorgeous harmony. The track brings a slew of surprises, including an explicit line from Dean and a quirky electro-R&B breakdown to close out the track.Jeff Benjamin

8 / 20

Travis Scott - "Butterfly Effect"

Although there’s no timetable for his next album, Travis kept his fans satisfied in 2017 with this Murda Beatz-produced banger. La Flame glorifies his new lavish lifestyle in L.A., but makes it clear that it won’t change his roots. Travis went from producing tracks on Yeezus to recently coming off tour with Kendrick Lamar, so his butterfly effect definitely came to fruition, making this track all the more important. Max Barlow

7 / 20

Daniel Caeser & H.E.R. - "Best Part"

The track that follows Daniel Caesar’s breakthrough song “Get You” effortlessly compares the Canadian singer and featured artist H.E.R.’s admiration for their lover to the necessities of life. “You're the coffee that I need in the morning. You're my sunshine in the rain when it's pouring.” When listening to “Best Part” you can’t help but sing along. It’s the love ballad we didn’t know we needed and a sweet highlight of the love story Caesar portrays on Freudian. Amissa Pitter 

6 / 20

Kendrick Lamar - "Humble."

After becoming the most critically-adored rapper on the planet, Lamar clearly had other goals on his mind when he crafted much of his new album DAMN., starting with “HUMBLE.” The lead single was built to be a smash, with a simple beat and a lightly boastful chorus that’s easy to sing along to. It bolted to No. 1 in no time, and there were few who had bad things to say about what turned out to be the hip-hop powerhouse’s biggest hit to date.Hugh McIntyre

5 / 20

Gallant, Tablo & Eric Nam - "Cave Me In"

Pairing Gallant’s signature falsetto with the talents of veteran emcee Tablo and pop-R&B singer Eric Nam, “Cave Me In” is, essentially, the perfect international collaboration. Painting a dreamy, cosmopolitan landscape of neon signs and quiet, 3AM city streets, the song feels blurred and crisp all at once. Its retro vibe is carefully balanced with an almost futuristic, ambient tone, making it quite the soothing soundtrack for an evening out. Issa mood. Tina Xu

4 / 20

Lil Uzi Vert - "XO Tour Lif3"

You couldn’t go to a party or turn out the radio without hearing the grumbles of “ALL MY FRIENDS ARE DEAD! PUSH ME TO THE EDGE!” blasting through the speakers. Lil Uzi Vert mastered the art of bringing raw pain to the mainstream scene, as “XO Tour Lif3” is about trying to get over a toxic breakup. He even blatantly references Xanax addiction, a controversial topic that has been making waves in hip-hop.–Bianca Gracie 

3 / 20

Cardi B - "Bodak Yellow"

Before 2017, the only people who had heard of Cardi B were those who saw her on Love & Hip Hop: New York or those who followed the hip-hop world very, very carefully. “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” which was named for friend and fellow rapper Kodak Black, changed all that and helped the New York native make history. The clever, catchy tune is almost as big as her personality, and after hitting No. 1, it established Cardi B as the new star to watch. Hugh McIntyre

2 / 20

Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean & Migos - "Slide"

Calvin Harris set the tone for the summer with “Slide,” one of the major highlights from his Funk Wav. Bounce Vol 1. album. The sun-kissed production will whisk you away to a blissful wonderland in mere seconds, as  Frank Ocean’s subdued vocals add a bit of sex appeal. Add in  Migos’ signature warbled flow and you have a surefire hit!Bianca Gracie

1 / 20

Kendrick Lamar - "D.N.A."

There are many intense moments on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. album, but few come close to the fiery opening chant of  “DNA.” When he spits “I GOT, I GOT, I GOT, I GOT LOYALTY, GOT ROYALTY INSIDE MY DNA!” that ferocity courses through your veins as sharp as lightning. Mike Will Made-It provides the absolutely chaotic production while K-Dot controls the direction of his cultural message. Bianca Gracie

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Photo of the day

HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 30: NSYNC is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30, 2018 in Hollywood, Californ

Apr 30: *NSYNC 4EVER

It’s been a while since the guys of *NSYNC reunited. Since their epic onstage reunion at the 2013 MTV VMAs and JC’s 40th birthday, the guys have been doing their own thing, until today! Justin, JC, Joey, Lance and Chris got together to celebrate their new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and as if the day couldn’t get any better, JC reminds us that tomorrow it’s gonna be MAY.