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Doof's Top Songs 2017

Unlikely anything in the rest of December is going to crash this list considering it stayed almost identical over November, so up it goes. This year my SOTY is very different to my AOTY list which is a bit of a turn up. Enjoy! (...or don't). In rough n' reverse order.
1Aimee Mann
Mental Illness

'Goose Snow Cone'

The ultimate grower of the year, this gentle song seems harmless enough at first, some simple melodies and the inclusion of a few sleigh bells. You could call it 'cute'. Only later do you start recognising the sadness, oh the resigned sweet sadness. The only song of 2017 I effortlessly clocked up well over a hundred listens of.
2Stevens / Dessner / Muhly / McAlister


The parent album was far too rich a confection for my tastes, but this closer was otherworldly in an all together more palatable way. A stunningly pretty set of Sufjan vocals eventually recede to the sort of instrumental work Radiohead would be proud of.
3The National
Sleep Well Beast

'The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness'

Most of the creative departures on 'Sleep Well Beast' were made in the sleepy end of the spectrum of their sound but this tune is the exception. This rocker ushers in a whole new approach to Dessner’s guitar playing with robotic stabs and even a widescreen guitar solo. The catchiest song on the album by a country mile, so an essential.
4Mark Eitzel
Hey Mr Ferryman

'In My Role as Professional Singer and Ham'

A top ten all-time Eitzel song no less, and what's even better is on 'Hey Mr Ferryman' it's given the 'full band' treatment. Bernard Butler whips up an apocalyptic guitar storm behind an increasingly impassioned Marky Mark.
5Mac DeMarco
This Old Dog

'Moonlight on the River'

Mac's take on the human condition, I'm thinking this is the man's boldest artistic statement yet. The musical backing for this one is suitably ambitious, the song eventually drowned out by creaking electric guitar and echoing feedback.
6Cigarettes After Sex
Cigarettes After Sex


If there wasn't a 'one song per artist' rule in effect no doubt this song would have been joined by its nine other 'album mates' such is the consistency of the Cigarettes After Sex debut. Why did 'Apocalypse' get the nod? It was a close call but this song feels like the perfect distillation of the album's sound in a single effort.


This retro trip hop number harks back to Portishead and includes the very Beth Gibbons sentiment 'I don't love you anymore'. The song really builds a head of steam, inexorably drawn towards a climax that never fails to create a creepy ASMR-like sensation. Intense and addictive.
8Craig Finn
We All Want the Same Things

'God in Chicago'

More 'it's all in the small details' heartbreaking storytelling from that dude from The Hold Steady.
9The Dream Syndicate
How Did I Find Myself Here?


It's like the '90s never ended.
The Road, Pt. 1


Really impressive vocals from guest folky Keaton Henson and surely the best slow building Unkle song since 'Lonely Soul'.
The Journey Man


Goldie shows he's still got the ol' magic on this 18 minute 'might as well have just been the entire album released as this one tune' quality of track.


A hugely addictive slice of slow motion cinematic house.
13Andrew Hung

'Open Your Eyes'

Soothing album closer with a melancholy undercurrent, those multi layered vocals really let the emotion spill out.
14Future Islands
The Far Field

'Time On Her Side'

There's a seeming effortlessness to Future Island's songwriting when they're at their best, and in particular the way the orchestration is added as the song progresses here is ingenious.


Very much business as usual from Rhye but those androgynous vocals have rarely sounded better than when intoning 'oh baby please' in that sensual hushed tone.

'Don't Know Why'

Propulsive drumming and a perfect breathy Cocteau Twins-y lead vocal set the stage before some glorious sweeping guitar work shoots this one through the stratosphere.
17The The
Radio Cineola, Volume 4: The End of the Day

'This is the Day (feat. Thomas Feiner)'

One of those perfect combinations that pop up from time to time, Feiner applying his trademark sad sack sensibility to one of Matt Johnson's greatest ever, nay legendary, songs.

'The Hustle Unlimited'

Last year's best track transformed into a more traditional Lambchop number, it's a perfect companion piece to the original.
19Ariel Pink
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

'Feels Like Heaven'

Already sounds like a classic, the way Ariel sings the opening 'there I go again, falling in love again' line just gets you onside straight from the off. One of the man's most successful conventional pop efforts to date.

'Sky's Grey'

'I've been working on the new Oliver Twist'! Six years later Bejar's still got me, kaputt and indeed kerplunk, that's game set and match.


The steady pulse that lies at the heart of ‘Heimat’.
22Elder (USA-MA)
Reflections of a Floating World


An absolute beast of a track, at the 9 minute mark you think you've survived when {wallop} - the mutha of all codas lifts you up by the ankles and swings you around like Captain Caveman’s club.
Relatives In Descent

'The Chuckler'

The genius here is in how the bilious vocals never strain to be heard above the insistent instrumental backdrop, pure deadpan nonchalance with a dash of disdain.
24Michael Chapman


Timeless sounding folk balla(r)d that slowly transforms into an altogether different expansive beast by its conclusion.


From the two minute mark on this is just the most gloriously sad-times music committed to tape in 2017, I thought I was done with getting in any way worked up over post-rock but this made those ears prick up alright.
26Big Thief


A tender little ditty is elevated to the level of genius as at the 1:40 mark Big Thief reveal the sort of rambling vocal passage Joanna Newsom has girly wet dreams over.
27Avey Tare

'Ms. Secret'

Prime Avey material, this is one of the most effective pop songs he's penned so far. Plus all his very best vocal ticks are present and correct, whoop.
28Micah P. Hinson
Micah P. Hinson Presents The Holy Strangers

'The Last Song'

Micah's croak finds its perfect home on this woozily depressive slow burner. The man really has a knack for setting the scene and this is the best example on the magnificently moody 'The Holy Strangers'.
29Sun Kil Moon
Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood

'God Bless Ohio'

I'm not sure I needed anything more from Mark this year than this one lengthy heartfelt episode of laid back storytelling. Some of Kozelek's most interesting recent acoustic guitar work on this too.
30Fleet Foxes

'On Another Ocean'

A tough call picking the one song from this album, it works best 'as a piece' and pulling out individual tunes seems a little redundant...but here we are. At a push the second half of this song is the standout section of the album and grabs this song a space in my top 30 tunes of 2017.
31Our Ceasing Voice
Free Like Tonight


Taken from a strong album with a fair few candidates for best tune of the bunch, this one just gets the melancholic tone and cheese quotient dead on perfect.
32Flotation Toy Warning
The Machine That Made Us

'I Quite Like it When He Sings'

I just feel really sorry for Grandaddy most of all.
Miami Garden Club

'Running Away'

A propulsive 'pop goes Prefuse 73' highlight from a release that certainly had its share of contenders to make the cut.
34Father John Misty
Pure Comedy

'Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution'

Tongue in cheek post apocalyptic daydreaming from the King Hipster douche with the time share on Elton John’s pipes.
35Sleaford Mods
English Tapas

'Drayton Manored'

You can almost smell the stale cigarettes and double strength cider, nearly feel the blinding fluorescent tubes of the your local Spar 'convenience' store. From start to finish, funny as fuck.
36Cloud Nothings
Life Without Sound

'Realize My Fate'

An absolute stillborn turkey of an album was somewhat rescued by this ominous slow building epic. More of this sort of thing next time.
Gang Signs and Prayer

'Lay Me Bare'

The weepy on 'Gang Signs & Prayer', the big man laying it all down - beef with his dad, depression, mortality, the lot. 'Airplane mode on my phone sometimes' ;_;
38Animal Collective
Meeting of the Waters

'Man of Oil'

A good year for Avey, and the redemption of AnCo is nearly complete. A round of Um Bongos on the house.
39The Mountain Goats

'Rain in Soho'

Cutesy goth pop song with a chorus of 'no, no, no, no's rising from the Hot Topic crypt. Adorable and twee enough to rot your fangs.
Thin Black Duke

'A Gentleman's Gentleman'

And the award for best vocal of 2017 that sounds like 'Muttley chewing on a wasp' goes to...
41Everything Everything
A Fever Dream

'Put Me Together'

As close as they've ever come to mellow electronica Hot Chip territory, this sweet sounding lullaby cleverly distracts the listener from some worrying xenophobic sentiments expressed within the lyrics. Once again Everything Everything do a great job in pointing a finger at the sinister forces that are operating just under the surface of society today.
42Hundred Waters


In many ways the odd track out on the album, this short and largely unadorned piano ballad is the moment that certainly has the most emotional resonance for me.
43Jason Isbell
The Nashville Sound

'If We Were Vampires'

At least Isbell gave us one classic world weary sad sacks love song to clutch to our collective bosom in 2017.

'Spring Elevator'

A sprightly, elastic sort of pop song with a great selection of instrumentation. You could imagine David Byrne would be a fan of the atypical rhythms and coolly delivered vocals.
45The Shins

'The Fear'

The Shins attempt to write their own perfect closer to 'A Moon Shaped Pool'. Another 2017 example of a stellar closer on a butt average album.
46Fever Ray

‘To the Moon and Back’

The big 'pop' moment of 'Plunge' even if it self sabotages by fixing a 'parental advisory' sticker to itself with all the talk of pussy play and what have ye.
47Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile
Lotta Sea Lice

'Peepin Tom'

Surprisingly ten times better cover version of a Kurt Vile original that was already plenty neat as it was.
48Toby Driver


Some impressive castle-rampart-core from Sir Toby of House Rodentbeard.
49Keep Shelly in Athens


Almost too obvious in its attempts to take on the role of the big showpiece number, still there's something irresistible going on here.
50Crystal Fairy
Crystal Fairy

'Bent Teeth'

A proper teeth grinder of a rock assault with what sound like the occasional Native American war cries punctuating the silences between the riffing.
51Daniel Cavanagh

'The Silent Flight of the Raven Winged Hours'

A 'candle flame flickering in the breeze from the open window' atmospheric masterclass from 'the other Cavanagh brother'. Get ready for the intense finale starting at 7:25 on the clock.
52Benjamin Clementine
I Tell A Fly

'By the Ports of Europe'

Something life affirming about this stage-y singalong from Clementine, undeniably camp, but also batshit weird.


Airy fairy breathy dreamy pop tune that you'll feel you've heard before - in a good way.
54The Cameramen
Good Things Do Happen

'Drunken Serenade'

Most appropriately titled song of the year, like a gently swaying and bleary eyed Radiohead hugging strangers under the moonlight.
55The Tiger Lillies
Cold Night in Soho

'Let's Drink'

A brutal account of alcoholism with that typical mischievous Lillies twinkle in the eye, are they pitying this drunkard...or buying him another cheap bottle of vodka?
56Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales
Room 29

'Trick of the Light'

Jarvis having a breakdown in a hotel room realising he'll never be the matinee idol of his fantasies.


Great choice of guest vocalist, her efforts really elevate Aparde's warm toned n' slightly glitchy backing into something achingly soulful.
58death's dynamic shroud.wmv
Heavy Black Heart

'Tell Me Your Secret'

The most impressively bastardised vocals of the year. I'm a little worried this is the sort of thing I regard as 'catchy' two and a half years into my Sput life.
59John Garcia
The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues


An acoustic cover of 'Gardenia'? An acoustic cover of 'Gardenia' that makes Doof's 'favourite songs of 2017' list? it works.
60Neil Cicierega
Mouth Moods


Space at the back of the pack for a novelty entry, this mash up is all about that the verse that enters at 2:35 - who ever thought the Village People could sound so homicidally depressive?
61Alex Cameron
Forced Witness

Late Entries:

Alex Cameron / Country Figs : Top 20
1800HaightStreet / Past Life Memory : Top 30
RF Shannon / New Weimar Train : Top 40
Hans Chew / Open Sea : Top 50
Circuit des Yeux / Black Fly : Top 60
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