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Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2017

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Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2017

Brendan Walter

Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2017

Even the resilience of retroism was, this year, tinged with the irony of watching those not knowing the past being doomed to repeat it. But in a grasping-at-straws moment, grim reality checks, bubblicious-pop contraptions, stripped-down folk-soul, and, yes, Old Music 2.0 seemed to coexist on a playlist sending signals of life from the Upside Down, or at least one designed to help us feel some type of way. So even though, as our list of the year’s top singles reveals, we more often than not had to travel all the way to Japan and England to satisfy our memories of hip-thrusting better days that we may never see return, the pleasure of the perfect three- or four-minute escape will never be quashed. Though we’re at the point where even Katy Perry knows we’re all metaphorically in chains.

Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Best New Artist

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Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Best New Artist
Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Best New Artist

There are a few sure bets in life: rain, taxes, and, until recently, a female artist winning the Grammy for Best New Artist. Just over a decade ago, the resistance to testosterone in this category was so potent that even when Heather Headley, the only female solo act nominated that year, lost her bid, it was to a female-fronted band: Evanescence, who, I’d like to note, we predicted when other outlets were naïvely throwing around names like 50 Cent. There’s no shortage of ladies nominated in 2015, so we’d be remiss not to consider critical darlings like country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark or pop-rock trio Haim. (Iggy Azalea is a non-factor, as far more respected rappers—Kanye West, Nicki Minaj—have lost in this race despite less competition.) And the fact that bands have done surprisingly well in this category of late, with fun., Bon Iver, and Zac Brown Band among recent victors, means Bastille shouldn’t be counted out either, though they lack the commercial and critical clout usually required to win here. Which would make this a tough year to predict if not for a clear frontrunner in U.K. soul singer Sam Smith, whose vulnerable performances, powerhouse vocals, and classic R&B flair put him in the same league as past winners Adele, Amy Winehouse, and John Legend. That he’s nominated for six awards, including the Big Four, makes this as sure a bet as snow in winter.

Listen to Slant‘s 25 Best Singles of 2013

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Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2013

Andrew Whitton/High Rise PR

Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2013

Last year’s biggest hits heralded the return of good times unto perpetuity, eternal youth and the enduring pleasure of receiving your first phone call from the set of washboard abs next door. Perhaps taking a cue from Britney Spears’s prescriptive “Till the World Ends,” maybe just drunk on borrowed time, 2013’s biggest singles took the pleasure principle to reckless new, solipsistic heights. It was the sort of year when the real-life counterpart to Mike Seaver could slick his thick hair up and let the devil horns sprout, betting the farm that nothing unlocks a good girl faster than “agreeing” with her with a wink in your eye that lets you both know you’re lying. Still, the year’s best tracks invariably stared down the lies of the moment and opted instead for sincerity and honesty. And the truth often hurts. This embittered sincerity gave listeners a whole new set of hashtags to test out in the hope that, next year, everybody will be dancing and be doin’ it right.

Bonnaroo 2013 Photo Diary Ariel Pink, Father John Misty, Alt-J, Futurebirds, Haim, Milo Green, & Nicki Bluhm

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Bonnaroo 2013 Photo Diary: Ariel Pink, Father John Misty, Alt-J, Futurebirds, Haim, Milo Green, & Nicki Bluhm
Bonnaroo 2013 Photo Diary: Ariel Pink, Father John Misty, Alt-J, Futurebirds, Haim, Milo Green, & Nicki Bluhm

Photographer Chris Jorgensen has set up shot at Bonnaroo, a four-day, multi-stage music and arts festival held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. Each day we’ll be posting some of his up-close-and-personal shots of the bands, the fans, and the press events. And check out Bonnaroo’s live social webcast schedule here.