Half of 2017 is already gone. In terms of music, new stars have emerged and old favorites have returned. To highlight the best songs of the year so far, here's a month-by-month breakdown.
Before 2017, Michaels was known as a hit-making songwriter for pop stars like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. Julia kicked off the year as the one in the spotlight with "Issues." Over strings and light bass, she delicately tiptoed the line between love and dysfunction, the key ingredients of her single. "Yeah, I got issues and one of them is how bad I need you," Michaels sang on this boldly beautiful ballad.
Perry heralded the woke pop era with Witness lead single "Chained to the Rhythm" featuring Skip Marley. Atop a blend of reggae vibes and disco glow, Katy called out blissful ignorance while beckoning listeners to the dance floor. "So put your rose-colored glasses on and party on," she sang. Marley's fiery call-to-action kicked it up a few notches. "Chained" was a colorful club cut built on social commentary.
U.K. group Steps returned with a pop vengeance on comeback single "Scared of the Dark." Backed by a blast of majestic yet melodramatic production, the quintet delivered hot-and-heavy come-ons with absolutely haunting performances. "Come on, baby / Come and take me in your arms / I'll never be scared of the dark," they sang. Steps strutted into 2017 with something fierce, familiar yet still fresh.
Colombian superstar Maluma capitalized on his breakthrough last year with recent single "Felices Los 4" (English: "Happy All 4 of Us"). His reggaeton sound was sweetened with Latin pop elements. Maluma's swagger remained intact with a soaring endorsement of trading partners à la bedroom square dancing. "Felices Los 4" hit the spot as Maluma's slickest, sexiest and sunniest offering yet.
Del Rey linked up with The Weeknd once again for the "Lust for Life" music video. The Born to Die songstress let the light in with a positive outlook on life. Atop doo-wop beats and sparkling synths, she reiterated, "And a lust for life keeps us alive." The Weeknd's angelic voice made the intoxicating collaboration even more of a spiritual experience. "Lust" was Lana's pop vision of love realized.
June - Blackpink's "As If It's Your Last" / "As If It's Your Last" single
Is there life in K-Pop after 2NE1, 4Minute and Wonder Girls? Blackpink proved it with this year's "As If It's Your Last," which saw the ladies sonically traverse time. On the moombahton-infused banger, the sounds shifted from '60s Woodstock vibes to a rush of '80s-inspired synth-pop. Member Lisa's lit rap grounded it in contemporary times. Blackpink's "Last" was at the forefront of making K-pop exciting again.