For our next list in our 2017 roundup, we take a look at the best singles that this year had to offer, the tracks specifically chosen to promote and drum up hype for their albums, and the ones that ultimately succeeded the most.
Luke Nuttall (Editor / Writer)
5. Enter Shikari – Rabble Rouser
For anyone left confused or alienated by a harder focus on sleeker, more indie-leaning sounds from The Spark, Rabble Rouser represents a marriage between everything that made old and new Enter Shikari utterly brilliant. The quick-stepping grime beat alone is the sort of forward-thinking, crucially modern approach that characterises everything this band, but factor in lyrics dripping with sardonic bite and a flawless grasp of flow, and for a song that never truly explodes even though it has every capability to, the propulsion and antsy energy never feels stagnant or lazy. Even if The Spark mightn’t have totally connected for some, Rabble Rouser is a true gem of a track to be found within.
4. Creeper – Suzanne
Okay, it might have been first released in 2016, but considering the absolutely stellar year that Creeper have had in 2017, it would be unfair to begrudge what Suzanne represents and how, as a lead single, this is the sort of song that turns an already great band into the stuff that legends are made of. A perfect balance of punk vigour and energy with the band’s well-publicised love of theatrics, Suzanne is a sub-three-minute shot of magic that few bands ever reach, and the sort of track that solidifies Creeper as one of, if not the best band in UK rock today. It’s not hard to see why Creeper’s cult has become so widespread, particularly when they come out with songs as special as this.
3. The Menzingers – After The Party
For an album that’s as indebted to reminiscing as The Menzingers’ After The Party, it takes something truly exceptional to strike such a chord and incite a real sit-up-and-listen reaction, but the title track does just that, an ode to finding love and beauty in the most mundane of things, and discovering who someone truly is no matter how many layers of artifice they may pile on. It’s a sentiment mirrored by a punk rollick swelling with heart and reality that makes every syllable come across as the most believable, before a soaring, bittersweet hook that wraps up everything fantastic about The Menzingers and all that they have to offer.
2. Neck Deep – Motion Sickness
As the opening track to your most personal, introspective album to date, Motion Sickness is pretty bold statement, seeing Ben Barlow on the verge of giving up before being confronted by the ghost of his late father, a come-up illustrated by the raging, pulse-racing pop-punk that Neck Deep have become so adept at. And even if The Peace And The Panic might’ve wavered slightly in comparison to its predecessor, Motion Sickness is the sort of deliriously fun track that gets it off to the highest start imaginable, even if those heights can’t really be reached again. Still, as far as pop-punk goes, few bands even get close to the level that Neck Deep hit on this track.
1. While She Sleeps ft. Oli Sykes – Silence Speaks
It’s the highlight on an album full of highlights, possibly up there with the best songs that While She Sleeps have ever written and the best straight-up metal song of 2017, seeing the band hit some truly jaw dropping heights while delivering a scathing polemic against a complacent government and rallying their call to arms via a meaty, gimmick-free assault. The vocal interplay between Loz Taylor and Mat Welsh is perfectly executed, the instrumental journey this song takes flies in the face of any complaints of a streamlined, less interesting sound, and although his appearance is only short, Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes sounds more fierce and fired up than he has in years. It’s a gargantuan feat of a song, and one that While She Sleeps will likely be trying to top for years to come.
Georgia Jackson (Deputy Editor / Writer)
5. Enter Shikari – Undercover Agents
With new album The Spark, Enter Shikari toned down their absolutely bonkers side, replacing it with a more ambitious, radio-friendly persona. Singles Live Outside (a soaring, mainstream-leaning hit) and Rabble Rouser (a slightly more contained version of said bonkers side, which received massive airplay) represent the former, while the beautiful Undercover Agents the latter. Combining the trademark blueprint of a Shikari ballad like Constellations in the verses with a truly epic chorus, complete with a dance-ready synth bassline, swirling guitars and a participatory wolf howl, this is certainly the win of the lead-up to The Spark’s release.
4. Turnover – Sunshine Type
Putting out the follow-up to Peripheral Vision, the 2015 album that’s gained a bona fide cult following since its release, can’t have been easy for Turnover. But with their first two singles, they certainly went about it the right way. Super Natural may have been ridiculously pretty and sweet, but follow-up Sunshine Type is on another level. The lead guitar, accompanying harmonics and Austin Getz’s signature gorgeously mellow voice couldn’t be more perfect as a collective, and together they omit a warmth and carefree nature that the title couldn’t even begin to hint at. This is Turnover still making everyone feel things, but in a much happier way.
3. While She Sleeps ft. Oli Sykes – Silence Speaks
Excitement for While She Sleeps’ third album You Are We was bubbling from the moment brilliant first single Hurricane came out, but follow-up Silence Speaks made it a completely different ball game. Loz Taylor’s screams contrast so well with Mat Welsh’s cleans, which only add more texture to the song and more fury to further charge their always-political messages. Oli Sykes’ appearance on the track is absolutely brilliant, not just because his contributions to heavy tracks is rare now, but mainly because of the colossal “I think the silence speaks volumes”, easily the best lead-in to a breakdown of the year.
2. Haim – Little Of Your Love
In terms of long-awaited releases that came out this year, Haim’s second album Something To Tell You has to be near the top of the most anticipated list. Slow burner Right Now and wistful Want You Back were our first, more emotional and serious tastes of the record, but third single Little Of Your Love is pure joy. The stomping beat, piano chords underpinning the entire song, rock ‘n’ roll guitar embellishments and, of course, always flawless harmonisation on the part of the three Haim sisters completely make this track the funky, fun album standout that it is.
1. Creeper – Black Rain
2017 has without a doubt been Creeper’s year, and nothing epitomises everything they do more than Black Rain, the brilliant opener to debut album Eternity, In Your Arms. As always with Creeper, it’s meticulously planned. The way the piano plays almost as big a role as the guitars, how Hannah Greenwood’s vocal is brought in to accentuate Will Gould’s, there’s plenty to analyse with every listen. It’s soaring, grandiose, and theatrical, furious and emotional, and on paper at the very least, impossible for any fan of rock music to not appreciate in some way.
Words by Luke Nuttall and Georgia Jackson