Top 20 of 2017

One of the few 'regular items' I have managed to keep going, I present without further ado my top 20 tracks of 2017, in no particular order, as ever. Happy New Year!

1 | You Will Be Found - Cast of Dear Evan Hansen
I wrote a little bit about Dear Evan Hansen for last year's list, when only one of the first songs had been released. The whole cast recording was released in February this year, and every song is beautiful. There is a long story somewhere about the many and varied reasons this song is so important to me, but the short version involves the fact that my beloved choir, Sing Tower Hamlets, performed a version of this song at the Christmas concert a few weeks ago, and I got to live out a lifelong, deeply-held dream of singing musical theatre on stage. It's honestly wish-fulfillment material and I don't have the words to express what it meant. But even if that hadn't happened, this song would still make it onto this list, because it's truly brilliant.

2 | New Year's Day - Taylor Swift
My blog literally has a Taylor Swift tag so it's fair to say I've said a lot about her over the years. I've even already given my thoughts on this song, and the album it comes from, here. This is the one song that makes the list because it feels like you can hear that it's by the same artist as all her greatest songs. This performance is one for the archive as all-time great Taylor Swift performances. I haven't given up yet... Here's to an all-acoustic album in 2019!

3 | Green Light - Lorde
If 'New Year's Day' is classic Taylor Swift, 'Green Light' is - now - classic Lorde. This is her third appearance on the top 20 lists, but for me personally, this year was when she really came into her own. Half of the tracks on Taylor Swift's album reputation (the better half) and almost all the tracks on Lorde's album Melodrama were produced by Jack Antonoff of the bands Bleachers and fun. He also co-wrote both Lorde songs on this list, as well as 'New Year's Day'. Thanks Jack!

Anyway, those are enough facts for you, it just matters that I listened to this song on repeat for one entire day while feeling angry and it was enough to make everything seem okay. I was lucky enough to go and see Lorde at Alexandra Palace in September, and it was incredible. Melodrama is the #1 album of the year for me. Go listen!

4 | Castle On A Hill - Ed Sheeran
[Do not drive at 90 on country roads]

5 | Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2 - Stormzy feat. MNEK
This is a beautiful song by the biggest grime/hip-hop artist in the UK right now, and yet somehow it's beloved by my mother and grandmother alike. It's quite a strange and personal fusion of contemporary popular music and the Christian music I spent a lot of time with and around in my teenage years; a strangely nostalgic listening experience.

6 | Joy To The Mountain - Hanson
2017 was a wonderful Hanson year! They released their second Christmas album, Finally It's Christmas, which featured this wonderful mashup. A delicious side-effect was that video of them performing this song went viral on Facebook this winter, bringing their infectious joy to millions more people.

7 | Wall In My Head - Dan Gillespie Sells & Tom MacRae
A beautiful song from a beautiful musical - read all about it!

8 | Almost Like Praying - Lin-Manuel Miranda
Listen to the linked podcast to hear the whole story of the remarkable feat that is this song, from the man himself.

9 | Cut To The Feeling - Carly Rae Jepsen

10 | It Ain't Me - Kygo & Selena Gomez
Just a great pop song.

11 | Girl Crush (At The BBC) - Harry Styles
The Harry Styles cover of this Little Big Town song somehow elevates it into a work of actual art. Country music is my longtime jam, and when it's this beautiful, how can you argue?

12 | New Rules - Dua Lipa
My sister and I went to Dubai to visit our newly ex-patriated brother and this song was on repeat - holiday vibez.

13 | Liability - Lorde
This is a beautiful, lovely song with very real lyrics. Plus, I learned to play it on the piano and it's not too hard, so that's always fun!

14 | Despacito (feat. Justin Beber) - Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee
In one of the more surreal moments of 2017, I first heard this song in a taxi driving down La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, and immediately loved it.

15 | Shape Of You (Stormzy Remix) - Ed Sheeran 
I was idly watching the BRITs, not really that impressed by much going on, and then this happened. Waheeeeeey!

16 | If I Had My Time Again - Cast of Groundhog Day The Musical
I loved the soundtrack to this musical, and this one is a particular standout.

17 | Sign Of The Times - Harry Styles
I have lowkey been on this train since 'Torn' at Judges' Houses, and this was - for me - the best solo effort in 2017. Plus Obama agreed with me, so take your judgement elsewhere.

18 | Rut - The Killers
In 2017, I finally, f i n a l l y got to see The Killers, something that has somehow evaded me since 2004. It was beautiful and magical and I scream-cried my way through this song from their latest album because it is an instant classic and I love it.

19 | Tight Connection To My Heart - Sheila Atim

This is taken from the 'play with songs' Girl From The North Country, which put Bob Dylan songs into a play set in a dusty guesthouse in 1930's Duluth, Minnesota. I saw it at the Old Vic this autumn, and this song blew me away. The harmonies are perfect, and Shelia Atim's voice is warm, rich and emotional. Gorgeous.

20 | I Was Born - Hanson
This is Hanson's non-Christmas new song, and has the wonderful message "I was born to be someone no-one's ever been before!" I was! And you were too!