Top 30 Songs for November 27-December 3, 2022

It’s hard to believe another holiday season is upon us, and we’re approaching the end of 2022! There are no significant changes to this week’s Top 30. “Party4One” by Canadian artist dwi holds the #1 spot for a second week, while Beach Weather‘s “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” holds at #2 for a second week after spending three weeks at #1. Rosa Linn climbs two spots to #3 with her bittersweet “SNAP”, and the haunting “White Horses” by British artist Art Block enters the top 10 at #10.

Despite lots of new music still being released late in the year, I have no new songs debuting on my chart this week, as I dislike having too many songs crossing over from one year to the next. There will be lots of chart movement in the coming weeks.

  1. PARTY4ONE – dwi (1)
  2. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (2)
  3. SNAP – Rosa Linn (5)
  4. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (3)
  5. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (4)
  6. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (8)
  7. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (9)
  8. SISTERS – pMad (7)
  9. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (6)
  10. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (11)
  11. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (12)
  12. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (13)
  13. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (14)
  14. TONIGHT – Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig (15)
  15. UNHOLY – Sam Smith featuring Kim Petras (16)
  16. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU – The 1975 (17)
  17. OFFCUTS – Mount Famine (18)
  18. THIS IS WHY – Paramore (22)
  19. SHADOWS IN THE DARK – The Star Crumbles (20)
  20. I.N.V.U. – Kid Kapichi (19)
  21. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (10)
  22. ANTI-HERO – Taylor Swift (27)
  23. SAIL AWAY – lovelytheband (26)
  24. LOVE DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – Crystal Cities (28)
  25. OUT OF MY SYSTEM – Louis Tomlinson (29)
  26. NATURAL BORN KILLER – Highly Suspect (21)
  27. NIGHT BUS – Caitlin Lavagna (30)
  28. MY BABE – Spoon (23)
  29. BOY – The Killers (24)
  30. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (25)

Top 30 Songs for November 20-26, 2022

One of the more fascinating artists making music today is dwi, the music project of Canadian singer-songwriter Dwight Abell. He’s also bassist for Canadian alternative/power pop band The Zolas. Based in Vancouver, B.C., the fearless and talented guy lets his creativity and imagination run totally wild with his zany alter ago, making outstanding music that’s innovative, quirky and fun. Last year, dwi released his brilliant debut album Mild Fantasy Violence, which I loved at first listen. One of the album’s tracks, “Good Friend”, spent four months on my Weekly Top 30, going all the way to #1 this past January. Now he reaches the pinnacle of my list for a second time with his wonderful “Party4One“. dwi says the song is “about falling in love with yourself during an intense state of cabin fever. Love yourself, make out with yourself, and for the love of gawd, scare yourself. The weirdos are in charge now!” Accompanied by a deliriously wacky video, it’s a riotous blast from start to finish, with an infectious bouncy groove and dwi’s relentlessly endearing vocals.

In other chart news, the biggest upward movers this week are “SNAP” by Rosa Linn, climbing five spots to #5, and “Unholy” by Sam Smith featuring Kim Petras, jumping eight spots to #16. Debuting this week are “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift, finally entering my chart at #27 (the song has been #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the entire three weeks it’s been on that chart); “Out of My System” by former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson, at #29; and “Night Bus” by immensely talented Welsh singer-songwriter Caitlin Lavagna.

  1. PARTY4ONE – dwi (4)
  2. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (1)
  3. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (2)
  4. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (3)
  5. SNAP – Rosa Linn (10)
  6. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (6)
  7. SISTERS – pMad (7)
  8. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (8)
  9. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (9)
  10. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (5)
  11. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (12)
  12. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (13)
  13. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (14)
  14. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (15)
  15. TONIGHT – Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig (18)
  16. UNHOLY – Sam Smith featuring Kim Petras (24)
  17. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU – The 1975 (20)
  18. OFFCUTS – Mount Famine (21)
  19. I.N.V.U. – Kid Kapichi (22)
  20. SHADOWS IN THE DARK – The Star Crumbles (23)
  21. NATURAL BORN KILLER – Highly Suspect (19)
  22. THIS IS WHY – Paramore (26)
  23. MY BABE – Spoon (11)
  24. BOY – The Killers (16)
  25. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (17)
  26. SAIL AWAY – lovelytheband (28)
  27. ANTI-HERO – Taylor Swift (N)
  28. LOVE DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – Crystal Cities (30)
  29. OUT OF MY SYSTEM – Louis Tomlinson (N)
  30. NIGHT BUS – Caitlin Lavagna (N)

Top 30 Songs for November 13-19, 2022

I still can’t get enough of Beach Weather‘s “Sex, Drugs, Etc.”, and it holds the #1 spot on my chart for a third week. They also dropped a gorgeous new single “Trouble With This Bed” last Friday, November 11th, and it might very likely be topping my chart in the coming weeks. Veteran artist Gorillaz slides into #2, inching ever closer to the top spot with “Cracker Island”, featuring Thundercat. The delightful “Party4One” by Canadian artist dwi, and the hauntingly beautiful “The Echo” by British singer-songwriter A.A. Williams, advance a notch to #4 and #5 respectively.

Three songs enter the top 10 as older ones move down after their long runs: the exuberant “These Are the Days” by Inhaler, the bittersweet “Spit of You” by Sam Fender” and the poignant “SNAP” by Rosa Linn, each climbing three spots to #s 8, 9 & 10. Two new songs make their debut this week: “This is Why” by Paramore, which enters at #26. I’ve never been much of a fan of theirs, consequently this song took a while to connect with me. But I have to concede it’s pretty good. And entering at #30 is “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”, by one of my favorite Australian bands Crystal Cities, which I reviewed a few weeks ago.

  1. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (1)
  2. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (3)
  3. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (2)
  4. PARTY4ONE – dwi (5)
  5. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (6)
  6. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (9)
  7. SISTERS – pMad (10)
  8. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (11)
  9. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (12)
  10. SNAP – Rosa Linn (13)
  11. MY BABE – Spoon (4)
  12. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (14)
  13. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (15)
  14. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (16)
  15. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (17)
  16. BOY – The Killers (7)
  17. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (8)
  18. TONIGHT – Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig (19)
  19. NATURAL BORN KILLER – Highly Suspect (22)
  20. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU – The 1975 (23)
  21. OFFCUTS – Mount Famine (24)
  22. I.N.V.U. – Kid Kapichi (25)
  23. SHADOWS IN THE DARK – The Star Crumbles (26)
  24. UNHOLY – Sam Smith featuring Kim Petras (27)
  25. TIPPA MY TONGUE – Red Hot Chili Peppers (21)
  26. THIS IS WHY – Paramore (N)
  27. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (18)
  28. SAIL AWAY – lovelytheband (30)
  29. TEK IT – Cafuné (20)
  30. LOVE DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – Crystal Cities (N)

Top 30 Songs for November 6-12, 2022

The beautiful “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” by Beach Weather remains my favorite song again this week, while Steve Lacy‘s “Bad Habit” holds at #2 for a second week after spending two weeks at #1. “Cracker Island” by Gorillaz featuring Thundercat moves up a notch to #3, while “Party4One” by Canadian artist dwi, and “The Echo” by British singer-songwriter A.A. Williams, each climb two spots to #5 and #6. “Sisters” by Irish artist pMad enters the top 10 at #10. Debuting this week are the sultry and cinematic “Unholy” by British singer-songwriter Sam Smith, featuring German singer-songwriter Kim Petras, which enters at #27, and “sail away” by Los Angeles-based alternative pop trio lovelytheband, at #30 (I find it interesting that some artists and bands spell their names and songs in all lower-case letters).

  1. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (1)
  2. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (2)
  3. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (4)
  4. MY BABE – Spoon (3)
  5. PARTY4ONE – dwi (7)
  6. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (8)
  7. BOY – The Killers (5)
  8. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (6)
  9. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (10)
  10. SISTERS – pMad (11)
  11. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (12)
  12. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (14)
  13. SNAP – Rosa Linn (19)
  14. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (15)
  15. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (16)
  16. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (17)
  17. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (18)
  18. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (9)
  19. TONIGHT – Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig (21)
  20. TEK IT – Cafuné (13)
  21. TIPPA MY TONGUE – Red Hot Chili Peppers (23)
  22. NATURAL BORN KILLER – Highly Suspect (25)
  23. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU – The 1975 (26)
  24. OFFCUTS – Mount Famine (27)
  25. I.N.V.U. – Kid Kapichi (28)
  26. SHADOWS IN THE DARK – The Star Crumbles (29)
  27. UNHOLY – Sam Smith featuring Kim Petras (N)
  28. BITTER – Wild Horse (20)
  29. SCARED TOGETHER – Silversun Pickups (30)
  30. SAIL AWAY – lovelytheband (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 30-November 5, 2022

Photo by Kirsten Barnett

It’s not often I fall in love with a song the moment I hear it (it usually takes a couple of listens for most songs to grow on me, even from artists and bands I love), but I fell head over heels for the gorgeous “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” by Beach Weather the instant it hit my ears. I’m certain I’ve listened to it over 100 times on Spotify! Interestingly, the song was originally recorded in 2016, and was featured on their debut EP Chit Chat. After releasing a second EP What a Drag, the band went on hiatus as the three members – Nick Santino, Reeve Powers, and Sean Silverman – relocated to different cities and began working on their own solo projects.

They reunited late last year, and began recording their forthcoming debut album Pineapple Sunrise, featuring their single “Unlovable”, which dropped August 11, their first release in five years. In the meantime, “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” went viral on TikTok, and started getting airplay on AltNation and alternative radio stations. I was immediately struck by the song’s dreamy melody, Nick’s captivating vocals and the guys’ beautiful harmonies, and it debuted on both the Billboard Alternative Airplay and my own Top 30 chart in early September. Now, after hovering in the top 5 the past few weeks, the song takes over the #1 spot on my Weekly Top 30. It’s also now #1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart. “Floating on my low-key vibe” indeed!

In other chart developments, Wet Leg‘s delightfully cheeky “Wet Dream” enters the top 10, while the lovely “SNAP” by Rosa Linn is this week’s biggest upward mover, climbing seven spots to #19. Four songs enter my chart this week. Debuting at #26 is The 1975‘s “I’m in Love With You”, replacing “Part of the Band” which dropped off the chart; “I.N.V.U.” by British band Kid Kapichi at #28; “Shadows in the Dark” by the amazing duo The Star Crumbles at #29; and “Scared Together” by Silversun Pickups at #30.

  1. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (2)
  2. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (1)
  3. MY BABE – Spoon (3)
  4. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (6)
  5. BOY – The Killers (4)
  6. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (5)
  7. PARTY4ONE – dwi (9)
  8. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (10)
  9. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (7)
  10. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (11)
  11. SISTERS – pMad (13)
  12. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (14)
  13. TEK IT – Cafuné (8)
  14. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (17)
  15. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (18)
  16. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (19)
  17. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (20)
  18. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (22)
  19. SNAP – Rosa Linn (26)
  20. BITTER – Wild Horse (16)
  21. TONIGHT – Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig (27)
  22. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (12)
  23. TIPPA MY TONGUE – Red Hot Chili Peppers (25)
  24. BONES – Imagine Dragons (15)
  25. NATURAL BORN KILLER – Highly Suspect (28)
  26. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU – The 1975 (N)
  27. OFFCUTS – Mount Famine (30)
  28. I.N.V.U. – Kid Kapichi (N)
  29. SHADOWS IN THE DARK – The Star Crumbles (N)
  30. SCARED TOGETHER – Silversun Pickups (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 23-29, 2022

Steve Lacy remains at #1 for a second week on my Top 30 chart with his endearing single “Bad Habit”, while Beach Weather‘s dreamy “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” moves up to #2, with Spoon‘s “My Babe” right behind at #3. Entering the top 10 are the delightful “Party4One” by the wildly creative Canadian artist dwi, climbing three spots to #9, and the magnificent “The Echo” by immensely talented British singer-songwriter A.A. Williams, leaping eight spots to #10.

Two songs make their debut this week: the lovely ballad “SNAP” by Armenian singer-songwriter Rosa Linn (aka Roza Kostandyan), who represented her country with the song at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, enters at #26; and “Offcuts” by British alternative pop-rock band Mount Famine, which enters at #30. It’s their second appearance on my Top 30 chart this year; their previous single “Distance” spent 11 weeks on my chart this past April-June.

  1. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (1)
  2. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (4)
  3. MY BABE – Spoon (5)
  4. BOY – The Killers (2)
  5. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (3)
  6. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (7)
  7. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (6)
  8. TEK IT – Cafuné (8)
  9. PARTY4ONE – dwi (12)
  10. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (18)
  11. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (15)
  12. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (9)
  13. SISTERS – pMad (16)
  14. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (17)
  15. BONES – Imagine Dragons (10)
  16. BITTER – Wild Horse (19)
  17. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (21)
  18. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (22)
  19. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (23)
  20. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (24)
  21. PART OF THE BAND – The 1975 (11)
  22. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (27)
  23. FREE – Florence + the Machine (13)
  24. SOMETHING LOUD – Jimmy Eat World (14)
  25. TIPPA MY TONGUE – Red Hot Chili Peppers (28)
  26. SNAP – Rosa Linn (N)
  27. TONIGHT – Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig (30)
  28. NATURAL BORN KILLER – Highly Suspect (29)
  29. BROKEN RECORD – NAVE (20)
  30. OFFCUTS – Mount Famine (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 16-22, 2022

Southern California-based singer-songwriter Steve Lacy has been making music since his teens, not only as a solo act and guitarist for alternative R&B band The Internet, but also as a producer who’s worked with such acts as Denzel Curry, Kendrick Lamar, Ravyn Lenae, Solange, Mac Miller and Vampire Weekend. But it’s his monster hit “Bad Habit”, from his second album Gemini Rights, that’s finally catapulted the 24-year old to stardom. Not only is it his first song as a solo artist to chart in the U.S., it’s gone all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, also becoming the first song ever to simultaneously top the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot R&B Songs and Hot Rock & Alternative Songs charts. And this week, it also tops my own Top 30 chart.

It’s a sweet song, with lyrics directed to someone he finds attractive, but thinking he wasn’t good enough, never had to courage to make a move: “I bite my tongue, it’s a bad habit. Kinda mad that I didn’t take a stab at it. Thought you were too good for me, my dear. Never gave me time of day, my dear. It’s okay, things happen for reasons that I think are sure, yeah.” But later in the song, he calls her out for toying with his emotions: “You grabbin’ me hard ’cause you know what you found. It’s biscuits, it’s gravy, babe.” It has an irresistible lo-fi funk-pop vibe, and as someone on YouTube put it so perfectly, it’s “one of those songs that feels nostalgic even though it’s new”.

In other chart developments, “Cracker Island” by Gorillaz, featuring Thundercat, finally enters the top 10 at #7, and three songs make their debut at #s 28-30: “Tippa My Tongue” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (which just reached #1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, but took a while to click with me), “Natural Born Killer” by Highly Suspect, and “Tonight” by Phoenix, featuring Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend. I didn’t care for their odd previous single “Alpha Zulu”, but really like “Tonight”, and Ezra Koenig’s pleasing vocals are a nice addition.

  1. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (3)
  2. BOY – The Killers (1)
  3. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (2)
  4. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (4)
  5. MY BABE – Spoon (5)
  6. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (7)
  7. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (11)
  8. TEK IT – Cafuné (6)
  9. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (8)
  10. BONES – Imagine Dragons (9)
  11. PART OF THE BAND – The 1975 (10)
  12. PARTY4ONE – dwi (16)
  13. FREE – Florence + the Machine (13)
  14. SOMETHING LOUD – Jimmy Eat World (14)
  15. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (19)
  16. SISTERS – pMad (18)
  17. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (21)
  18. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (22)
  19. BITTER – Wild Horse (20)
  20. BROKEN RECORD – NAVE (12)
  21. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (24)
  22. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (25)
  23. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (26)
  24. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (27)
  25. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (15)
  26. GIANTS – WALK THE MOON (17)
  27. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (30)
  28. TIPPA MY TONGUE – Red Hot Chili Peppers (N)
  29. NATURAL BORN KILLER – Highly Suspect (N)
  30. TONIGHT – Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 9-15, 2022

Not a lot of big changes on my latest Weekly Top 30. The Killers remain on top for a third week with “boy”, and Death Cab for Cutie‘s “Here to Forever” holds at #2. It’s interesting that the top two artists have rather malevolent-sounding names, yet make such lovely music. Steve Lacy‘s “Bad Habit” inches up a notch to #3, and Beach Weather‘s “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” moves into 4th place. Spoon continue their rapid climb up my chart with “My Babe”, jumping five spots to #5, and indie pop duo Cafuné‘s “Tek It” inches up to #6. Granfalloon‘s wonderful “Please Write Responsibly” moves up two spots to #7, and The 1975 finally enter the top 10 with their cerebral “Part of the Band”. In contrast to last week’s jackpot of six new entries, only one song makes its debut this week, the beautiful “Weird Goodbyes” by The National featuring Bon Iver. Such a marvelous melding of two distinctive voices!

  1. BOY – The Killers (1)
  2. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab for Cutie (2)
  3. BAD HABIT – Steve Lacy (4)
  4. SEX, DRUGS, ETC. – Beach Weather (5)
  5. MY BABE – Spoon (10)
  6. TEK IT – Cafuné (7)
  7. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (9)
  8. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (3)
  9. BONES – Imagine Dragons (6)
  10. PART OF THE BAND – The 1975 (11)
  11. CRACKER ISLAND – Gorillaz featuring Thundercat (14)
  12. BROKEN RECORD – NAVE (8)
  13. FREE – Florence + the Machine (15)
  14. SOMETHING LOUD – Jimmy Eat World (17)
  15. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (12)
  16. PARTY4ONE – dwi (20)
  17. GIANTS – WALK THE MOON (19)
  18. SISTERS – pMad (22)
  19. WET DREAM – Wet Leg (24)
  20. BITTER – Wild Horse (23)
  21. THESE ARE THE DAYS – Inhaler (25)
  22. THE ECHO – A.A. Williams (26)
  23. VIVA LAS VENGEANCE – Panic! At the Disco (13)
  24. SPIT OF YOU – Sam Fender (27)
  25. WHITE HORSES – Art Block (28)
  26. CREST OF THE WAVE – Foals (29)
  27. I LIKE YOU (A HAPPIER SONG) – Post Malone & Doja Cat (30)
  28. FAILURE TO COMPLY – MISSIO (16)
  29. BREAK MY SOUL – Beyoncé (18)
  30. WEIRD GOODBYES – The National featuring Bon Iver (N)

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #33: “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” by The National

The song at #33 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is the gorgeous “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” by American alternative folk-rock band The National. The group have been putting out consistently good and well-received music for over 20 years, and one of their finest works was their critically acclaimed and Grammy-winning seventh studio album Sleep Well Beast. The lead single from that album, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” is a phenomenal track, and one of the best of 2017. I was shocked to learn this was the band’s very first single to ever appear on any Billboard chart, going all the way to #1 on the Adult Alternative chart.

The song opens with a dreamy a cappella female vocal, then lovely piano chords and gnarly guitars ensue, propelled by an urgent drumbeat. The band uses a palette of richly-layered instrumentals, including a subtle trumpet fluttering over propulsive percussion to create a dramatic backdrop for singer Matt Berninger stunning and heartfelt baritone vocals. Aaron Dessner’s blistering guitar solo in the bridge, unusual for The National, is a highlight of the song.

The band has never been afraid to express their liberal political views in their songs, and while “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” is not political per se, it was inspired by the political mood in America and the election of Trump. In an interview with Pitchfork, Berninger stated that the song is generally about “the strange way our world and our idea of identity mutates—sometimes overnight, as we’ve seen recently. It’s an abstract portrait of a weird time we’re in.”

Maybe I listen more than you think
I can tell that somebody sold you
We said we’ve never let anyone in
We said we’d only die of lonely secrets

The system only dreams in total darkness
Why are you hiding from me?
We’re in a different kind of thing now
All night you’re talking to God

I thought that this would all work out after a while
Now you’re saying that I’m asking for too much attention
Also no other faith is light enough for this place
We said we’d only die of lonely secrets

The system only dreams in total darkness
Why are you hiding from me?
We’re in a different kind of thing now
All night you’re talking to God

I cannot explain it
Any other, any other way
I cannot explain it
Any other, any other way

The song’s surreal video features digitally-altered imagery in mostly black and blue colors.

100 Best Songs of 2017

2017 was an especially emotional year in music, due to the tragic suicides of two of rock’s most important and beloved artists: Chris Cornell, front man of Soundgarden and Audioslave, as well as a successful solo artist, and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. I, along with millions of their collective fans, are still heartbroken over their untimely deaths. Other notable passings include the legendary Chuck BerryFats Domino, Al Jarreau, Gregg Allman, J. Geils, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, Malcolm Young, Prodigy, David Cassidy, Della Reese, Mel Tillis and Keely Smith.

As with every year, a number of new or breakthrough artists emerged on the music scene, and two of my favorites were Greta Van Fleet and Liverpool, UK foursome Wide Eyed Boy. Other good ones who finally had huge breakout hits include Portugal. The Man, Highly Suspect, Sir Sly, MISSIO and Mondo Cozmo to name but a few. There were a great many albums released, and there was no way I could listen to them all, but I sure gave it my best! A few standouts for me were A Deeper Understanding by The War on Drugs, Hot Thoughts by Spoon, Villains by Queens of the Stone Age, LA DIVINE by Cold War Kids, Sacred Hearts Club by Foster the People, The Rise and Fall of Babylon by Disciples of Babylon, and Into the Back Room by Oli Barton & the Movement. I also recognize the artistic and cultural significance of Kendrick Lamar’s highly-acclaimed DAMN..

My music tastes, while eclectic, lean toward Alternative Rock, Hard Rock, Folk-Rock, Punk, R&B and Pop-Rock, so my Top 100 song choices generally reflect those genres. Followers of my blog know I publish a Weekly Top 20, and how songs ranked on those weekly lists, as well as how long they spent in the top 20, generally helps determine their year-end ranking. I invariably come across some great songs late in the year that I somehow missed earlier, and thus never appeared on my Weekly Top 20, so I’ve included those. There were so many fantastic songs in 2017, and it frustrated me to have to cut my favorites down to only 100. All the songs on this list could easily be in the top 40.

Some of the year’s most popular hits – the ubiquitous “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, et. al., the horrific “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B, or many of the other shitty rap, hip hop, pop and bro country songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 Chart – will not be found on my list.

Many bloggers and critics list songs in the year they were released, while Billboard and other charts generally place them in the year they were ‘hits,’ which is what I prefer. Most of the songs on this list were released in 2017, however, a number of them were released in 2016, and Lord Huron’s “The Night We Met” is from 2015, but didn’t chart until 2017. Because there are always a few songs that overlap from one year to the next, I always wrestle with how to rank them, as well as whether to list them in only one year or two. It seems the fairest thing to do is include those songs on lists for both years if they spent enough time on the charts in each year, although it can diminish their ranking on each list. For example, The Weeknd’s “Starboy” spent the last two weeks of 2016 and the first week of 2017 at #1, so how to rank it on each list is a dilemma, and I’m seldom pleased with the outcome. The songs in this Top 100 that also appeared on the list for 2016 are indicated with an *

OK, I’ve rambled on long enough, so let’s get to the songs already!

1. FEEL IT STILL – Portugal. The Man
“Feel It Still” is one of those songs that virtually everyone loves, thanks to an irresistibly catchy retro dance beat and deep bass line, that awesome little guitar riff, and lead singer John Gourley’s delightful falsetto. It’s a short track, only 2 minutes and 43 seconds long, but was a massive hit for Portugal. The Man, spending an astonishing 18 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Alternative Chart, as well as many weeks at #1 on the Adult Alternative and Adult Pop charts.  The band, now based in Portland, Oregon (they refer to themselves as ‘Lords of Portland’) is originally from Wasilla, Alaska. They released a number of albums since forming in 2004, but “Feel It Still,” from their album Woodstock, was their breakthrough single. It’s a fantastic song and an instant classic.

2. MY NAME IS HUMAN – Highly Suspect
I fucking love this song! “My Name is Human” features some of the best guitar work of any song on this list (after Metallica’s “Atlas, Rise!”). The heavy, gravelly bass riff at the opening sends shivers down my spine, then spooky guitars, percussion and otherworldly synths enter along with Johnny Stevens’ intense, breathtaking vocals that go from seductive to wailing, adding goosebumps to the ones already covering my body. The track is perfection from start to finish. It was released in September 2016 in advance of release of their superb album The Boy Who Died Wolf, and debuted on my Weekly Top 20 at the end of November, but peaked at #1 in late January-early February, so lands on my Top 100 of 2017. The song’s brilliant video showing a human being built by robots and then given finishing touches by Stevens is a little creepy, yet stylish and riveting.

3. THE MAN – The Killers
I’m a huge fan of The Killers, so was thrilled when they released “The Man,” in advance of their first studio album in over five years Wonderful, Wonderful. Though it received mixed reviews from critics and bloggers, I love it, and it spent five weeks at #1 on my Weekly Top 20. I love how the song winds up at the beginning, then explodes into a pounding dance beat courtesy of Ronnie Vannucci’s power drums. Throw in a sturdy bass line, sweeping synths and Brandon Flowers’ soaring tenor vocals, and you’ve got a fun, exhilarating track. I also love when Flowers pays homage to David Bowie late in the song with the line “headed for the hall of…FAME!” The fantastically entertaining video shows Flowers playing several different characters who are full of themselves, all thinking they’re ‘the man’.

4. THE SYSTEM ONLY DREAMS IN TOTAL DARKNESS – The National
From their critically acclaimed seventh studio album Sleep Well Beast, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” is a gorgeous song by The National. The piano and gnarly guitar riffs, accompanied by an urgent drumbeat, are captivating, and when combined with singer Matt Berninger’s stunning, heartfelt baritone vocals, The National deliver a truly phenomenal track.

5. HUMAN – Rag’n’Bone Man
A magnificent, powerfully moving song with a gospel feel, “Human” was a huge, breakout hit for UK singer/songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man (born Rory Charles Graham). The song was released in July 2016, but didn’t chart in the U.S. until early 2017. It reached #1 in many countries, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Poland and Slovakia, as well as the Billboard Alternative and Adult Alternative charts. (Shockingly, it peaked at only #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 – a chart that’s been taken over by mostly hip-hop, country and bad pop, and thus now irrelevant to me.)

6. HIGHWAY TUNE – Greta Van Fleet
Greta Van Fleet literally blast through the speakers like an atom bomb with “Highway Tune.” ‘Wow, just wow!’ was my – and apparently everyone else’s – reaction upon first hearing this explosive head-banger from the young Michigan foursome. The band consists of the three Kiszka brothers Josh, Jake and Sam (Josh and Jake are twins), and drummer Danny Wagner, all of whom are in their late teens or early twenties. Despite their youth, these guys are highly skilled musicians, and lead vocalist Josh – a diminutive guy with a gargantuan bluesy voice – sounds disarmingly like an early Robert Plant. These guys are destined for greatness! Take a listen:

7.  HIGH – Sir Sly
There are a lot of humans and ‘H’ songs in my top 10, and another is the exuberant “High” by L.A. band Sir Sly. Led by a dominant buzzing bass line, the track lives up to its title, bopping along with a snappy dance beat and a cascade of jangly guitars. I love this gem, and the delightfully trippy video is my absolute favorite of 2017. How can anyone not like this band and song after watching them dancing about like marionettes channeling Cirque du Soleil! It’s all so deliriously upbeat, leaving us feeling – well, ‘high’.

8. SO TIED UP – Cold War Kids featuring Bishop Briggs
Cold War Kids are another one of my favorite bands, and Bishop Briggs is pretty awesome too, with a distinctive, powerhouse voice. So, combining her passionate vocals with those of Cold War Kids lead singer Nathan Willett results in auditory fireworks to match the biting lyrics about a destructive co-dependent relationship you can’t escape. I loved this hard-hitting song at first listen and never tired of hearing it.

9. HOLDING ON – The War on Drugs
I fell in love with the music of The War on Drugs a few years ago after I heard their mesmerizing song “Red Eyes.” So it was natural that I’d love their gorgeous epic track “Holding On” from their outstanding album A Deeper Understanding. Having six band members, including two guitarists, two keyboardists – one of whom also plays sax, a bassist and a drummer, gives their music a lush, full sound. The piano, guitar and synths on “Holding On” are stunning, and singer Adam Granduciel’s sublime vocals bear a striking resemblance to Bob Dylan.

10. SIGN OF THE TIMES – Harry Styles
Since the breakup of One Direction, each of the individual members have released their own material, some of it fairly respectable. But to me, the greatest single by far has been “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles. The deeply moving anthem aims straight for the heartstrings, and blew me away the moment I first heard it. The song gives ample proof of Styles’ singing talent, and how much he’s grown as an artist, both vocally and stylistically. The song starts off with a somber piano movement then, with tremendous emotion in his voice, Harry begins to sing “Just stop you’re crying, it’s a sign of the times. Welcome to the final show. Hope you’re wearing your best clothes.” He may be admonishing us to not cry, but boy it’s hard not to! His voice rises to a tender falsetto before the song bursts open with sweeping orchestration. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Harry explained that “Sign of the Times” is from the point of view of a mother giving birth to a child, but there’s a complication whereby the child is fine, but she’s not going to make it. “The mother has five minutes to tell the child, Go forth and conquer.

I really thought that given the immense popularity of One Direction and each of the individual members, this song would spend many weeks at #1, but I was wrong. It debuted on the Hot 100 Chart at #4, then quickly dropped off, which shocked and disappointed me. I guess it just didn’t click with very many of the young teens whose tastes dominate the charts, and seem to prefer bad pop and hip hop over quality songs with thoughtful lyrics.

11. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers

12. CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU – Spoon

13. LOVING YOU IS SO EASY – Wide Eyed Boy

14. SHINE – Mondo Cozmo

15. LOVE ON THE BRAIN – Rihanna

16. ON HOLD – The xx

17. WOLVES – Wide Eyed Boy

18. HOT THOUGHTS – Spoon

19. 24K MAGIC – Bruno Mars *

20. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People

21. UNFORGETTABLE – French Montana ft. Swae Lee
22. RUN – Foo Fighters
23. THE NIGHT WE MET – Lord Huron
24. BELIEVER – Imagine Dragons
25. FEELS LIKE SUMMER – Weezer
26. WITHOUT YOU – Disciples of Babylon
27. THE WAY YOU USED TO DO – Queens of the Stone Age
28. ATLAS, RISE! – Metallica
29. STILL BREATHING – Green Day
30. HEAVYDIRTYSOUL – twenty øne piløts
31. LOVE IS MYSTICAL – Cold War Kids
32. EVERYTHING NOW – Arcade Fire
33. STARBOY – The Weeknd, Daft Punk * (#17 song of 2016)
34. BOTTOM OF THE DEEP BLUE SEA – MISSIO
35. SUIT AND JACKET – Judah & the Lion
36. DOING IT FOR THE MONEY – Foster the People
37. LITTLE ONE – Highly Suspect
38. SHAPE OF YOU – Ed Sheeran
39. BLOOD IN THE CUT – K.Flay
40. SQUARE HAMMER – Ghost
41. LOST ON YOU – LP
42. THE SKY IS A NEIGHBORHOOD – Foo Fighters
43. J-BOY – Phoenix
44. BLAME – Bastille
45. DON’T TAKE THE MONEY – Bleachers
46. I LOVE YOU BUT I’M LOST – Tears For Fears
47. GREEN LIGHT – Lorde
48. HOW DID YOU LOVE – Shinedown
49. DON’T WANNA KNOW – Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar
50. SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS – The Chainsmokers, Coldplay
51. SCARS TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL – Alessia Cara
52. WALK ON WATER – 30 Seconds to Mars
53. MONSTER – Starset
54. BLACK BEATLES – Rae Sremmurd w/Gucci Mane
55. RUST TO GOLD – Council
56. I NEED A LIGHT – Run With It
57. TAKE IT ALL BACK – Judah & the Lion
58. COLD COLD COLD – Cage the Elephant
59. IN COLD BLOOD – alt-J
60. MIDDLE FINGERS – MISSIO
61. WISH I KNEW YOU – The Revivalists *
62. LIGHTS OUT – Royal Blood
63. 7 – Catfish and the Bottlemen
64. KINKY – Oli Barton & the Movement
65. ONE FOOT – WALK THE MOON
66. ONE OF US – New Politics
67. REDBONE – Childish Gambino
68. UP ALL NIGHT – Beck
69. SILENT SUN – Morning Fuzz
70. NO ROOTS – Alice Merton
71. BEFORE THE END – Fiction Peaks
72. NO SLEEP – Vox Eagle
73. LAY ME DOWN – Candid
74. CALIFORNIA DREAMING – Hollywood Undead
75. REVEREND – Kings of Leon
76. DIG DOWN – Muse
77. DEVIL IN THE DETAILS – VERIS
78. SHINE ON ME – Dan Auerbach
79. COLD LITTLE HEART – Michael Kiwanuka
80. WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE – Adele
81. WHO’S GONNA SAVE US NOW – Crystal Cities
82. XXX. FEAT. U2 – Kendrick Lamar ft. U2
83. GIVE ME REASON TO DIE – Dyslexic Postcards
84. SONG #3 – Stone Sour
85. JUDAS – Fozzy
86. THAT’S WHAT I LIKE – Bruno Mars
87. NOT JUST YOU – The Puss Puss Band
88. IT’S A TRIP! – Joywave
89. WHAT ABOUT US – P!nk
90. COME OVER – Vox Eagle
91. ENTER THE DREAMLAND – Meresha
92. LAY IT ON ME – Vance Joy
93. THE VIOLENCE – Rise Against
94. THUNDER – Imagine Dragons
95. GOSPEL – Raker
96. SIK’ HELLISH US – Cold Revive
97. SMOKE AND MIRRORS – Morosity
98. I FEEL IT COMING – The Weeknd, Daft Punk
99. SWEET DISASTER – Dreamers
100. THE ONE I WANT – The Trims