The Billboard Hot 100 in 2017 was filled with mainstream and underground hip-hop, emergent Latin pop that straddles language, and sadness. I’ve been listening.
Just like last year, I took valuable time out of my life to rank every song on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 in order of my preference. There is nothing definitive or objective on this list, and I often felt no need to explain my choices. Some things speak for themselves.
I disqualified the following songs because I hadn’t heard them enough to make a “fair” “judgment”: Ayo & Teo’s “Rolex”; YFN Lucci’s “Everyday We Lit”; Blackbear’s “Do Re Mi”; and XXXTentacion’s “Look At Me!”
I disqualified the following songs because I associated them more with 2016, or because they appeared on my ranking last year: The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” feat. Halsey; The Weeknd’s “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming,” both feat. Daft Punk; Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” feat. Nicki Minaj; DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber’s “Let Me Love You”; D.R.A.M.’s “Broccoli” feat. Lil Yachty; Hailee Steinfeld & Zedd’s “Starving” feat. Grey; Shawn Mendes’s “Treat You Better”; Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”; Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens”; and Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” feat. Gucci Mane.
Without further ado…
As I wrote when The Late Show with Stephen Colbert premiered last Tuesday — was it really such a short time ago? — late-night shows are evolving creatures. To judge them on their first episode is the equivalent of evaluating a new employee on his first day of work. To judge them after two weeks still isn’t entirely fair, but the nine Late Show episodes that have aired so far give a slightly more accurate picture of what the appeals and setbacks of this show are, might be and could become.
The standard caveat with the analysis that follows: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will almost certainly look very different in six months’ time. Many of the people involved with making the show likely already have a sense of its flaws, even if they haven’t come up with practical fixes yet. These opinions are subject to change without warning.
Taylor Swift set us up to talk about the music video for “Bad Blood” for two full weeks before it premiered during last Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards. Despite Swift’s stacked Rolodex and the overstimulating aesthetics of the video, though, I’d much rather talk about something most people seem to have ignored: Kendrick Lamar’s guest verses.
First of all, it’s worth stepping back and realizing that ten years ago, Taylor Swift released a charming, low-key country single called “Tim McGraw,” and no one had the slightest idea who Kendrick Lamar was. (The top-selling rappers of that year were 50 Cent and some guy named Kanye West. If only we knew then what we know now.) Even at the onset of Kendrick Lamar’s rise to the top of the rap game, it was unthinkable that he would appear on the fourth single from any pop star’s new album. It was also unthinkable that Taylor Swift could be called, without irony or qualification, a “pop star,” as she is today.
In the immediate aftermath of this year’s Grammy Awards, I churned out a 750-word review for The Eagle. I don’t have much more to say – awards shows like this one are best enjoyed and debated as they happen and immediately afterward – but I want to spotlight three great performances that are worth checking out even if you didn’t see the entire show.
First, a snippet of my review: “Last night’s Grammys proved that some things do change. Robots can win Album of the Year. Thirty-three couples can get married in a hasty ceremony officiated by Queen Latifah. A 17-year-old New Zealander with curly hair and a sultry voice can win Song of the Year for a tune that critiques the very establishment that provided her with the award. The 2014 Grammy Awards were rarely boring, but they were often baffling.”
Read on for three catchup-worthy performances.