NEW YORK – The top 10 songs of the year by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu.
1. SZA, “The Weekend”: Firstly, it samples Justin Timberlake’s masterpiece, “Set the Mood (Prelude)/Until the End of Time.” Secondly, SZA is singing vulnerable lyrics about sharing her man with another woman, or women (dating is a struggle, people!) And thirdly, SZA paints the picture vividly with her crisp vocals matched to a smooth beat. This is storytelling. It’s also creative, realistic and addictive. I listened to it Monday through Friday, and on the weekends.
2. Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”: Bruno Mars is perfect. That is all.
3. Remy Ma, “Shether”: The best seven minutes I’ve spent all year was listening to Remy Ma’s scorching, blazing, punchy and hard-hitting diss track toward Nicki Minaj. Over the beat of Nas’ incomparable “Ether” diss on Jay-Z, Remy’s rhymes remind you that female rappers shouldn’t be the only ones worried about her – her male peers need to be nervous, too.
4. Childish Gambino, “Redbone”: Donald Glover’s “Redbone” – reminiscent of George Clinton – is funky, trippy and groovy, and easily one of the year’s best tunes.
5. Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)”: “I don’t dance now, I make money moves,” Cardi B raps on her breakthrough hit, proving that her past as a stripper and reality TV star didn’t stop her from becoming music’s breakout star of the year. “Bodak Yellow” was just as addictive as Cardi B’s funny, silly and likable personality. But she’s also a serious rapper: She made money moves in 2017, and here’s to hoping she makes major grooves in 2018.
6. Dua Lipa, “New Rules”: When you need a reminder to leave that jerk you’re dating, put on Dua Lipa’s “New Rules.” And if you want to learn how to throw the ultimate slumber party, watch Dua Lipa’s awesome “New Rules” music video.
7. 2 Chainz featuring Jhene Aiko, Ty Dolla $ign and Trey Songz, “It’s a Vibe”: Issa vibe! No, really, it is, a vibe, indeed. A chill, head-bopping one.
8. Bleachers, “Don’t Take the Money”: Jack Antonoff continues to show he’s an epic music-maker: Whether it’s producing for Taylor Swift or writing with Lorde and Sara Barellies, he knows how to make the perfect pop song. And the best one he crafted this year was one you might have missed – “Don’t Take the Money,” from his Bleachers project, is a tasty upbeat tune best heard while dancing at a club or in front of the mirror.
9. Kesha, “Praying”: Coming after a tumultuous time in Kesha’s life, “Praying” showcases a side of the singer that is lyrically vulnerable, vocally capable, and overall exceptional. The song, deservingly, earned the pop singer her first Grammy nomination. If only she wasn’t competing with Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”
10. Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road”: Sam Hunt continues to bring swag to country music with his calm vocals and cool songwriting. “Body Like a Back Road” rode to the beat of 2017.
Honorable mentions: Kendrick Lamar, “Humble”; J Balvin and Willy William featuring Beyonce, “Mi Gente Remix”; Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, “Despacito”; Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, “1-800-273-8255”; Miguel featuring Travis Scott, “Sky Walker”; DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, “Wild Thoughts”; Little Big Town, “Better Man”; Maroon 5 featuring SZA, “What Lovers Do”; Niall Horan, “Too Much to Ask”; Fifth Harmony, “He Like That”; Jorja Smith, “Teenage Fantasy.”
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