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Top 20 Songs Of 2017

From a pure pop tour de force to a quintessential Kaapstad anthem.

12 Dec 2017 / Opinion / written by TATC Staff

Every single song on this list is a banger of the highest order. All year long we’ve sifted through countless releases and submissions and these were the ones that our earholes couldn’t get enough of. So, in no particular order, enjoy our cut about the rest picks.

1. Easy Freak: Moves On You. Featuring fellow Durbanite Raheem Kemet, whose natural funk fits perfectly with Dominic Hurd’s smooth vocal delivery, this track stands at the forefront of the duo’s groove-filled body of work. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

2. YoungstaCPT: YASIS. From the outset, with the ‘Hard Knock Life’ like intro and the infectious beat, there was no doubt the track was going to pop off as a summer anthem. And like all YoungstaCPT’s tracks, the bars are filled with local pride, a piece of his story and an homage to his influences. Listen here. Angela Weickl

3. Shortstraw: Our Simple Minds. Showcasing chaotic disarrays and carefully-composed harmonies accompanied by an unconventional structure, this track is a huge transition from the band’s notoriously jolly rhetoric. Listen here. Timothy Kohler

4. Lucy Kruger: Winter. There’s a quiet grace to everything that Kruger does and this track is near-perfect in its vocal delivery and construction, elevated by a hopeful trumpet line courtesy of Lee Thomson. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

5. Janie Bay: Wag Vir Jou. Its been a long road for this pop songstress en route to the release of her bilingual debut album and this track stands firmly ahead of the pack. With a tender verse feature courtesy of Hunter Kennedy, this single has only just begun its peak. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

6. Dutchkid: Temporary. Ridiculously killer pop construction, harmonious layers of warm and seductive vocals and a coercive rhythm – I loved this song from the first few seconds. You really don’t want to know how many times I’ve let this play on repeat but you will understand as soon as you press play. Listen here. Angela Weickl

7. Jack Mantis: Radiate. Released in support for Standing Rock, Jack Mantis released this pivotal offering, alongside an equally arresting music video and accompanying speech. Shot in seven countries, featuring twenty musicians, and produced by the Sailing Conductors, the six minute track is a staggering collaborative which, in a sense, encompasses music and all it stands for. Listen here. Skye Mallac

8. Nicpreen: Never Ever. Soon after ridding ourselves of Al Bairre-induced grief, ex-frontman Nic Preen’s inaugural solo effort subtly entwines familiar characteristics of jovial instrumentals and melancholy lyricism with a refreshingly enticing dynamic. Listen here. Timothy Kohler

9. Southern Wild: Time Eraser (Album Version). The breakout single from Southern Wild’s Popsicle TV performance returned as a studio version on the band’s debut “Lead Role In A Classic Horror”. It’s honest to the point of being heart-rending- no small feat even by modern standards. Listen here. Stian Maritz

10. Kimon Rayne & MOONGA K.: Mellow. What’s immediately striking about this track is MOONGA’s ability to shape-shift his pitch between octaves, while the lethargic backwards and forward swing of Rayne’s soul and electronic stylings lend themselves to the title. Also, the name MOONGA K. may not be one that you’re familiar with but that’s all about to change. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

11. Stoker: Forever Drive. Band of brothers Stoker channelled the rock vigour and swagger of Queens Of The Stone Age for this track. It’s equal parts sinister and funky and while the influences are obvious, they still manages to put their own spin on the genre. Listen here. Stian Maritz

12. Brynn: About Time. Oozing in kaleidoscope soundscapes and brass influences, Brynn’s debut single is a dreamy powerhouse of a track – Jules Terea, Dave Van Vuuren and Hezron Chetty marry their vastly contrasting sounds to produce a folk-rock offering steeped in classical influences in their effortless introduction to their sound. Listen here. Skye Mallac

13. Twin Weaver: Wholesome. They seemed to have appeared out of nowhere to ruin my life in the most welcome manner, gritty shoe gaze guitars, hip shaking drum rhythms and smooth harmonies. Twin Weaver tap into the nostalgia of misspent youth, the idea that you’ll be young forever and the desire to have the sun never set on your favourite day with all your favourite people. Listen here. Angela Weickl

14. Bye Beneco: Jungle Drums. One of the things I admire most about this band is their chameleon-like ability to transform from release to release, single to single. This track is characterised by Lenny-Dee Doucha’s hypnotic vocals and a sensual coming-of-age video, which offers an expressive exploration of one’s sexual self. Listen here. Elmarie Kruger

15. Yum Yuck: Synth Exploration. Lavish low slug basslines, dreamy synths and chaotic refrains that create a Tame Impala and Daft Punk cocktail of emotion. I recall the first time Pascal mentioned he was working on a new project, there was no way he could have explained the impending magic as well as letting the music speak for itself. Listen here. Angela Weickl

16. Noble: Shook. Featuring a groovy, progressive bassline and honey-like vocals from Ndumiso Manana that elevate the danceable melody, how this track didn’t become one of the biggest of 2017 is beyond me. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

17. Stone Jets: I Can’t Live Without You. A list like this is not complete without Stone Jets. Spearheaded by Given Nkanyane’s powerful, joyous vocal, this track seamlessly combines pop and African influences. Listen here. Elmarie Kruger

18. Darkie: Selula. While Xhosa lyrics bleed into their English counterparts with an effortless ease which compliments the multi-layered simplicity of the track, the song simultaneously gravitates towards bridging still prevalent cultural and language barriers with drop of a few verses. Listen here. Skye Mallac

19. Opposite The Other: My Body Moves. South Africa’s new golden group released one song this year and it’s a pop tour de force. And while the melody is as peppy as it comes the lyrics reflect a more sombre state of mind. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

20. ByLwansta: Oh Well. The chronicle of a love lost never sounded so sardonic. ByLwansta has a way of making a tired universal theme sound fresh and you feel his frustration through his phrasing as he spits about getting high to ease the pain. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi