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Aux Cord: The Best Songs of 2017 (So Far)

Kendrick, Carly, Khaled & more!

Welcome to AUX CORD, TRL’s weekly playlist feature celebrating the latest and greatest in music. Each week, someone in the TRL orbit will be providing you with a completely custom playlist starring their current sonic faves. This week, TRL’s Senior Director of Social, Terron Moore, highlights his picks for 10 of the best songs of 2017.

  • “HUMBLE."- Kendrick Lamar

    Despite Lamar being arguably the best rapper alive, he’s not always radio friendly. But his return to gritty hip-hop after dabbling in jazz for To Pimp a Butterfly takes a trap-thumping Mike Will Made It beat and delivers the come-up anthem of the year.

  • “Pink”- Julia Michaels

    “Pink” takes the recipe of Selena Gomez’s whisper-hush hit “Bad Liar”—which Michaels co-wrote—and bakes it to perfection: a jazzed-up Blondie-style production with wink-y tributes to her vagina (“he loves the color pink”) that Gomez couldn’t utter on her best day.

  • “Test Me”- The xx

    The xx’s I See You is an examination of two people in tumultuous relationships—both with each other and themselves. And its final track, “Test Me”, isn’t the resolution you might expect: instead, a painfully soft realization that a dangerous cycle may continue.

  • “Love Galore”- SZA feat. Travis Scott

    In the belly of SZA’s very good CTRL—an album constantly grappling with insecurity and doubt in the face in love—sits this careless kiss-off to a guy who who wasn’t much more than a fling. It also features the single best lyric of the year: “Why you bother me when you know you don’t want me?”

  • “Party People”- Vince Staples

    Big Fish Theory shouldn’t be forgotten as one of the year’s best rap albums: on the stuttering syncopation of “Party People”, Vince juxtaposes club-friendly lyrics with puncturing lines about suicide and a crumbling world.

  • “Bellyache (Marian Hill Remix)“- Billie Eilish

    Pop’s most deranged 15-year-old—in the best way—sings a coyly dark tune about murdering her friends without much remorse. “I’m too young to go to jail,” she notes. Then: “It’s kinda funny.”

  • “Wild Thoughts”- DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller

    On top of Khaled’s very good year and Tiller’s breakout season, Rihanna glides over this bouncy Santana interpolation with a thoroughly quotable pair of verses. A strong contender for the best phrase: “Kitty, kitty, baby give that thing some rest; ‘Cause you done beat it like the ’68 Jets.”

  • “Ever Since New York”- Harry Styles

    I don’t know that a betting man would have picked Harry Styles would have been the One Direction member with the strongest solo catalog, but here we are: in a heavily folk and classic rock-inspired debut, this somber calling for a stronger explanation for a relationship’s end is a standout.

  • “Cut to the Feeling”- Carly Rae Jepsen

    In a tumultuous year full of complicated emotional music, leave it to Carly Rae Jepsen—forever a beacon of pure pop joy—to produce the year’s most shamelessly happy record about desperately needing every ounce of love one can offer.

  • “Forever Young”- Lil Yachty featuring Diplo

    When I first heard this song, I had no idea what to think or feel. But Yachty and Diplo create a weirdly giddy song about falling in love that is a rare sonic display of black boy joy, and a tiny expansion of what hip-hop music can sound like in 2017.