The year is pretty much over, but it did bring out great music from returning acts who made triumphant comebacks and some new artists who carved out a name for themselves. To highlight the best of 2017, here's a list of 30 songs that really made this past year an amazing one for music.
30. Vardaan Arora's "Like a Polaroid"
Pop rookie Vardaan Arora developed "Like a Polaroid" into a sexy and sophisticated club track. With his breathy vocals, he detailed a picturesque lover turning his life from negative to positive. Backed by a slithering drop, Arora crooned, "You left me shook / Got me shook like a Polaroid." Vardaan captured dance floor glory with this flashy number.
Following a rough year after getting "exposed" by Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift rose from the dead with the wickedly epic "Look What You Made Me Do." Dark electronic beats soundtracked Swift owning her snake persona and striking back. "I'll be the actress starring in your bad dreams," she dementedly sang. Taylor snapped on this banger with plenty of bite.
Russian-German DJ Zedd teamed up with former One Direction singer Liam Payne on "Get Low," a slinky and satisfying pop romp. Zedd supplied the track with tropical and intergalactic synths that Payne rode into euphoria. "Bet I could take you there whispering in your ear," Liam sang. The two commandeered a dreamy and undeniable EDM banger.
Trey Songs returned this year with the self-titled Tremaine album lead by "Nobody Else But You," his breezy R&B bop. Backed by tropical beats, Songz divulged a love dilemma that had him rethinking his playboy lifestyle. "You got me falling / Even when I try and the game keep calling," he belted. With this breath of fresh air, Trey was still at his best breaking hearts.
U.K. singer-songwriter Dua Lipa experienced a breakthrough hit with "New Rules," her groovy guide on dealing with feelings for an ex. Tropical beats and an electro swing drop backed Lipa counting the ways. "And if you're under him, you ain't getting over him," she warned. Dua's cautionary tale made for an electric and empowering dance track.
Following a four year break from music, former "The Voice" winner Danielle Bradbery made her return with the plucky single "Sway." Her country music met the perfect mix of doo-wop, resulting in a charming and timeless-sounding tune. "Find something smooth on the radio that makes you want to sway," she sang. Bradbery delivered exactly that with an audible smile.
Miguel turned one of "Star Wars" biggest heroes into a chill party anthem with "Sky Walker." He took on trap music with the genre's king, Travis Scott, and the two coasted on feel good vibes. "Take a shot / Make a friend / Just enjoy the moment / I'm Luke Sky Walkin' on these haters," Miguel sang. Using Skywalker's namesake, he made a splash with this wavy banger. #Splish.
Colombian superstar Shakira got her reggaeton on with genre veteran Nicky Jam on El Dorado standout "Perro Fiel" (English: "Loyal Dog"). Backed by hip-hop beats with influences of Asian music, the two acts traded verses about fighting their feelings for each other with plenty of sexual tension in the mix. Shakira unleashed a majestic collaboration with Nicky at her beck and call.
U.K. pop star Rita Ora landed one of the year's best dance tracks with "Anywhere," her ode to running away with that special someone. Swedish DJ Alesso produced it with pulsating synths and piano backing Ora's plea for new scenery and beginnings. "I know we've got to get away someplace where no one knows our name," she sang. "Anywhere" was beautifully breathtaking pop.
Among the singles from former One Direction members, Louis Tomlinson bounced back with "Back to You" featuring Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals. Backed by piano, slinky synths and trap-lite beats, Tomlinson and Rexha detailed their dangerous codependency on each other. Louis came through with an emotionally-charged performance matched by Bebe on their woefully wonderful anthem.
Former Big Time Rush member Logan Henderson made his mark with solo single "Bite My Tongue." He took on the trop-pop trend of the moment with his own angst-driven twist. Atop lofty beats and guitar reverb, Henderson cut the small talk and got straight to the point. "But I love that hurts whenever you bite my tongue," he sang. "Tongue" was a dark pop bop armed with teeth.
Maroon 5 and SZA hooked up for their collaboration "What Lovers Do." The band lightened up with sleek synths and bubbly beats backing Adam Levine and SZA's duet. Levine's falsetto hit heavenly highs while SZA's sultry vocals played the perfect complement. "Been wishing for you / Trying to do what lovers do," Adam crooned. The chase made for an alluring and otherworldly love song.
Latin pop star Becky G shed her bubblegum pop beginnings and wielded her womanhood on "Mayores" English: ("Older Guys") with Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny. Slinky synths and tropical beats soundtracked Becky flexing her preference for grown men. Bad Bunny rounded out the sultry and scintillating banger with a fresh guest verse. Ms. G found her reggaeton groove.
Selena Gomez teamed up with Kygo on "It Ain't Me," her best collaboration this year. Kygo supplied her with a unique blend of folk-pop and tropical house. Atop the waves of synth, Selena mustered up the strength to move on from an unhealthy relationship. "We stopped seeing eye-to-eye / You were staying out all night and I had enough," she sang. Gomez went all in on this lullaby-like kiss-off.
Irish singer-songwriter Niall Horan came through with one of the best post-One Direction singles when he dropped "Slow Hands." Backed by a funky and gritty groove, Horan found himself getting hit on hard. "We should take this back to my place / That's what she said to my face," he crooned. Niall eased nice and slow into the sultry banger that bumped with rustic, retro vibes.
Miley Cyrus embraced countrified sounds on her Younger Now album and the title track best exemplified that. Atop guitar and a galloping beat, Cyrus reconciled her Disney past with the present. "Even though it's not who I am / I'm not afraid of who I used to be," she revealed. Miley sounded like a woman beyond her 25 years on this freewheeling bop.
14. Blackpink's "As If It's Your Last"
With much of the old guard of K-Pop girl groups gone, Blackpink made the genre great again with "As If It's Your Last." The moombahton-infused banger seamlessly time-warped the ladies from '60 Woodstock vibes to glossy '80s-inspired pop. Member Lisa's fire-in-the-hole rap verse set it off. "We ride or die / X's and O's," she spit. Blackpink brought the heat with this thrilling new wave of K-Pop.
Pop-rock band Paramore turned internal strife into an '80-inspired anthem with "Hard Times." Following the drama-filled departure of a founding member, frontwoman Hayley Williams carried on and sang, "You hit me with lightning / Maybe I'll come alive." Like a jolt to the band's system, "Times" was an electric and retro-tastic wake-up call powered by William's piercing voice.
Following "Starboy," The Weeknd and electronic legends Daft Punk collaborated again on "I Feel it Coming." Atop gloomy synths, The Weeknd channeled early Michael Jackson while putting the moves on the lady of his eye. "Just a simple touch and it could you free," he promised. The Weeknd came through with soulful disco delivered in the smoothest way possible.
Puerto Rican artist Luis Fonsi landed the biggest Latin hit worldwide since the "Macarena" with "Despacito" (English: "Slowly"), his tropical collaboration with Daddy Yankee. Fonsi's pop sound and Yankee's reggaeton edge collided and served as a backdrop to the duo's sexy lines about lust unfolding on the dance floor. "Despacito" was rhythmic and universally irresistible.
In this era of mumble rap, veteran rapper Remy Ma reinvigorated the hip-hop scene and made it about bars again on the Nicki Minaj diss "shEther." Over Nas' legendary Jay-Z takedown track "Ether," Remy took beefs off of Twitter and back into recording studio. She unloaded her lyrical clip filled with ruthless rhymes. The mic was magic once again with Remy's savage freestyle.
Bachata superstar Prince Royce bent the genre on his FIVE album, resulting in one of his best songs, "Ganas Locas" (English: "Mad Desire") with Farruko. Royce's breezy sound blended with reggaeton beats made for a refreshing backdrop to the duo's thirsty thoughts. Royce flexed his sensual side with a burning yearning for something more that translated into a hot-and-heavy banger.
For a lead-up into his next album, Zayn brought out the heavy artillery with "Dusk Till Dawn" featuring fellow vocal powerhouse Sia. Backed by military-like marching drums and piano, the two acts soared sky high while holding each other down. "I'll hold you when things go wrong / I'll be with you from dusk to dawn," they sang together. Zayn and Sia's sweet and soulful duet was a pop stunner.
Lana Del Rey let the light in on her Lust for LIfe album and she truly shined on the title track with The Weeknd. Doo-wop beats and shimmering synths backed her positive outlook on life. "And a lust for life keeps us alive," the two sang together. The Weeknd's angelic falsetto and Del Rey's hypnotic vocals made "Lust" an absolutely awe-inspiring offering.
Colombian superstar J Balvin jumped on a remix of Willy William's "Voodoo Song" under the new title "Mi Gente" (English: "My People"). The French DJ's tribal beats with Balvin's reggaeton swagger created a global groove that unified folks from all walks of life on the dance floor. J Balvin and William mobilized the people and made them move with this bananas club banger.
Former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello broke out in her own right with "Havana," an ode to the homeland she left behind. Atop hip-hop beats with Latin flair, Cabello embraced her Cuban roots and recounted a hot romance. "Half of my heart is in Havana," she divulged. The song sizzled even more with the Spanglish remix featuring Daddy Yankee. "Havana" was pop dynamite that hit the spot.
Pop songwriter extraordinaire Julia Michaels stepped to forefront with her debut single "Issues." Backed by strings and light bass, she delicately tiptoed the line between delight and dysfunction in a relationship. "Yeah I got issues and one of them is how bad I need you," she sang. "Issues" struck a chord as a bold and beautiful ballad from the heart and mind of Michaels.
Latin music's hottest artist Maluma kicked off the year with "Felices Los 4" (English: "Happy All 4 of Us"), a lighter affair from the reggaetonero. Spanish guitar and tropical synths backed Maluma's glowing endorsement of switching lovers out like a square dance. The Colombian rapper sang and soared on this sunny, slick and sexy number that he sealed with a kiss.
Following a difficult period in her life, Kesha re-emerged with a new lease on life and "Praying." Gone was the electro-pop of her previous efforts in favor of piano and sweeping production. Like a caged bird freed, she sang her heart out while pleading for peace. "I'm proud of who I am / No more monsters / I can breathe again," Kesha belted. She came out a survivor with a powerful hymn of hope.
Following years out of the spotlight, U.K. group Steps returned with a pop vengeance on "Scared of the Dark." The production shifted from majestic and melodramatic to undeniable disco banger with Steps offering strong come-ons in haunting performances. "If I shiver keep your body close to mine," the quintet sang. Steps found its footing in today's music scene with something familiar yet fresh and fierce.