502017: 10-6

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

10. “Late Nights & Heartbreak” Hannah Williams & the Affirmations

My number 10 selection is a year old song from the perspective of someone who knows she’s no good. As the foundation for Shawn’s title track, Williams’ voice is paralyzing as she paints her sins out on a canvas for her lover to read. No wonder Jay chose this track to apologize. Apology accepted.

9. “don’t choose” dvsn

Aww yes, the push and pull of today’s talking perfectly described. dvsn’s single from Morning After flipped from bumpin’ production to a soulful 60s vocal. At first it was a bit jarring, but the two sounds work beautifully together illustrating the struggle between love and lust our suitor faces.

8. “Don’t Go” Kevin Ross

With one of the year’s strongest R&B efforts, newcomer Kevin Ross crooned his way to the Soul Train Awards and more with this Off the Wall sounding midtempo song. A bright and shinning talent that deserves your attention.

7. “Thinking” Great Good Fine OK

This band appeared on my Spotify Discover Daily, and I know why. Sounding like a white boy band’s early traverse into R&B, it sounded like nothing else this year. The simple melody, soft vocals. It felt like seeing your school crush enter the gymnasium at your first dance. Whatcha gonna do?

6. “Cave Me In” Gallant, Tablo & Eric Nam

If “Thinking” captures the crush you let get away, “Cave Me In” is the joy of owning the love after a lifetime of wins and losses. Intricately written it’s one of the year’s brightest collaborations. R&B is live and well and in good hands.

502107: 30-26

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

30. “No Limit” G-Eazy ft. A$AP Rocky & Cardi B

The West Coast’s white rapper came a long way since a random Bonnaroo appearance and that awkward encounter with Britney. He’s remarkably made some good moves. From the 3-6 sample, to snagging Rookie of the Year, “No Limit” was a certified banger.

29. “P.O.V.” dvsn

The vocalist/producer duo returned with Morning After and proved they are here to stay. Atop a chopped-n-slopped “Fortunate,” dvsn pleads his case for a lover’s affection. Certified bangher.

28. “Bam” Jay-Z ft. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley

Halfway through 4:44 50-something Shawn Carter pauses his cause to bring back the gutter shit – Hov. He trades bars with Damian’s signature vocals for an any-hood anthem.

27. “Sideline” Niia ft. Jazmine Sullivan

 

Anything with Jazmine attached gets a spin from me (except that fucking “Insecure” song) and this slow burn story of a woman playing second fiddle to her man’s ex was worth it. Newcomer Niia’s voice mixed with Sullivan’s is magic – and the video feels old Hollywood as the other women finally meet. Sidenote: 1:09 to the end >

26. “In the Moment” 1-O.A.K.

One of my favorite artists dropped his long-awaited sophomore project with this tale of situation-ship as the leading single. The interlude let’s you know the nigga ain’t shit, but the song is so nostalgically beautifully. Feeling half 2000s neo-soul, half R&B now. The melody will be on rotation in your head long after the song is over.

Halfway there. The top 25 begins Monday.

50217: 35-31

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

35. “Slow Me Down” Jessie Ware

First came love. Then came marriage. Then came the UK vocalist with the first album since adding a baby carriage. Glasshouse demonstrates Ware’s most honest work yet, and this beautiful song is first dance of matrimony ready. Depicts the vulnerability one acquires when you let love takeover.

34. “Love So Soft” Kelly Clarkson 

Another woman embracing her art as a mother was American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson. Boasting a soul-inspired sound, the underrated vocalist showcased her pipes on the first single from The Meaning of Life. One of my favorite hooks of the year.

33. “Sky Walker” Miguel ft. Travis Scott

Not since “Adorn” have I been so excited about a Miguel single or project. I bought the Star Wars-influenced track after one listen. It’s trappy, yet classy. The theme song for any situation. Would have been better minus Travis, but hey, it’s for the kids.

32. “Love Yourself” Mary J. Blige ft. Kanye West

2017 began rough for the Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul. After a public divorce from former manager Kendu Issacs, Mary’s Strength of A Woman was delayed. Despite the negative press she persevered on tour, promoting the new album and coping as only she knows how: through song. The opening track is a majestic orchestration of soul, hip-hop and honesty. Mary is her best – back to her roots – singing about the pain of a love lost. Fortunately she never stopped loving herself.

31. “Fashion Week” Wale ft. G-Eazy

As much as I try to avoid him, Wale always catches me with a single or two each album cycle. While I didn’t care for the project, I was obsessed with this fashion conscious bop. Overlooking the presence of Gerald, Wale had another hit on his hands. MY BIIIIITCH Sidenote: Had no idea this had a video until…now.

502017: 40-36

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

40. “Want You Back” Haim

This pleasurable bop felt nostalgic as shit. Pressing play directed me back to 1990 as Wilson Phillips blended harmonies ocean side. Very few make them like this anymore. Haim did THAT.

39. “Slide” Calvin Harris ft. Frank Ocean & Migos

I did not understand this collaboration. I don’t even care for Calvin Harris’ black moniker stealing ass. But Frank’s melody atop those stutter claps is irresistible. I can’t help but do a generic MJ two-step when it comes on.

38. “S.O.S.” Kelela

I waited for the proper return of R&B’s mysterious, genre-bending maven. While I loved her entire Take Me Apart, I was drawn to the album’s shortest track. Like the songs of \ Sirens, Kelela beckons for her lover. And just as you get settled, it’s over.

37. “Lonely” Demi Lovato ft. Lil Wayne

Ever since Demi ditched the Disney crowd she’s been trailblazing her own path as a Pop&B artist. Her latest Tell Me You Love Me steams with hearty choir-assisted bops, sexy ballads and Drake-ish breakups. While I’m not sure why she enlisted Dwayne Carter, the one is Instagram caption approved.

36. “Work It Out” Karizma

I remember listening to the sample every morning via The Russ Par Morning Show. The way Google lifted the dance remix for it’s Chromebook rubbed some the wrong way. But I am slain in the spirit every time I hear it.

 

502017: 45-41

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

45. “Vault” Keyshia Cole

R&B had a solid year with many worthy offerings. One being the return of Compton’s Keyshia Cole. With her strongest album since A Different Me, Keyshia glides on this short, sweet and sensual track from her 11:11 Reset. 

44. “Chi Chi” Azealia Banks

Ms. Banks was booked in 2017. No, not in twitter beefs, but actual work. Apart from cleaning up her public persona, she also shined in a rather dull film about a NYC female rapper. In between mending bridges and reading lines, she released this little track which I enjoyed. Wishing nothing but the best for her in 2018.

43. “Stingy” Elijah Blake

It had been a minute since singer/songwriter Elijah Blake had released any music. I really liked some of his earlier stuff, but nothing seemed to stick. Luckily his hiatus proved he improved his craft. A project boasting old school R&B flare, this funky track made the list.

42. “Icon” Jaden Smith

One of the biggest surprises of 2017 was a slice of left field from the middle Smith child. The strength of this project isn’t just the focus and musicality – believe the album is great to listen to – but the self-assuredness Jaden has within himself to make the art he does. Something a lot of artists and people in general could learn from.

41. “Think About That” Jessie J

Jessie J is one of the premier vocalists of this generation. The Brit was just seen paying homage to Toni Braxton at the Soul Train Awards, and has several viral videos singing soul standards of the 80s and 90s. Now, as the R&B artist she was meant to be, she’s releasing some of her best work. Painful. Honest. Soulful.

 

502017: Top 50 Songs Of 2017 – 50-46

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

50. “Bring Dem Things” French Montana ft. Pharrell

The solo star of Bad Boy Ent. returned with another album I couldn’t care less about. I did however take a liking to this Pharrell-assisted song. Most likely because it featured Montana the least.

49. “Dive” Tiffany Gouche

I had the pleasure of experiencing Tiffany as Daley’s opening act in November. She’s an R&B artist through and through – with vocals and an ear for music to match. Think Syd with a stronger range. Check out her past projects.

48. “Slay” Meek Mill ft. A$AP Ferg

It’s unfortunate the way 2017 ended for Meek Mill. Beneath the trivial legal woes, he had two major projects. While I’m not his biggest fan by any means, I did enjoy this track from his Weekend Music project.

47. “IMAGINATION” Adrian Marcel

The Bay Area artist released another strong project behind the strength of this sensual slow jam of lost love. Marcel has been next for a few years now. Hopefully R&B will reclaim a sense of prominence in mainstream soon.

46. “Tap In” Blaq Tuxedo

In the realm of trap&B, I stumbled across this duo shuffling through my Spotify Discover Daily playlist. While I usually don’t entertain these hybrid artists, the bop was too addictive. And they held enough of my attention vocally to care.