The X

The 100 Best Songs Of 2017

Dec 14, 2017

The best songs we heard this year reflected a deep sense of collective need. For safety, for respect, for self-definition. For money or sex or revolution. Maybe we just hear what we crave, but on huge hits and semi-obscure album cuts alike, it seemed that musicians in 2017 were facing down eternity or the possibility of annihilation. Both Sylvan Esso and Jason Isbell linked love with death. Kendrick Lamar gave us his most tender song yet, as well as his harshest condemnation. Ibeyi and Kesha gave us righteous anger and forgiveness. Sharon Jones faced the end.

Flowers surround a photo of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES

Wilco has released a new song against ignorance and violence in the wake of last weekend's unrest in Charlottesville, VA. The track, called "All Lives, You Say?" is a short country shuffle that takes aim at the slogan "All Lives Matter," designed as a counter-protest to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jeff Tweedy playing guitar on stage
Adam Kissick / NPR

At this stage, it feels like Wilco has headlined nearly every festival — including its own Solid Sound Festival. But the band's sunset Saturday Newport Folk Festival demonstrated why, year after year, Wilco gets top billing: Twenty years in, the Chicago band has staying power without sacrificing a sense of sonic exploration.

New Mix: Beck, Best Coast, Joanna Gruesome, More

Sep 17, 2013

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share a brand new song from Beck. The new cut, called "Gimme," is the third single he's released since June and by far the strangest (i.e., best) of the bunch. None of the songs will be on the new full-length record Beck hopes to release before the end of the year.

The new documentary Muscle Shoals recalls how interracial harmony in tumultuous times made possible a new kind of music. Leading African-American artists traveled to North Alabama — not exactly a place they thought they'd be welcome in the civil rights era — to jam with an all-white crew of session players. In little rooms near the wide Tennessee River, they perfected soul and anticipated Southern rock.

Our September edition of Heavy Rotation features an African legend, an indie-folk orchestra from Portland, and a French band ready to catch on in America. But first, our panelists:

  • David Dye, host of WXPN's World Cafe
  • Anne Litt, a host on KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Kevin Cole, program director at KEXP in Seattle