Photo by Eric Nopanen
2017, like every other year, began with songs from the year before it still topping the charts. “Starboy”, by The Weeknd was number one on New Year’s Day. Of course, during this first week of the year, many of the Christmas songs still lingered, such as Mariah Carey’s iconic cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Brenda Lee’s historic “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”. These tunes faded to the bottom shortly after and this year’s new releases would soon come out.
The next week’s top songs illustrate an interesting shift in music that the rest of the year followed pretty closely. “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane was number one, a song that can be classified as hip-hop or trap. Trap music, in the second week of 2017, made up 50% of the chart. The Billboard Hot 100 chart, a decade ago from January 14th, 2017, was 100% not hip hop or rap music, and mostly comprised of pop. Could this mean that pure pop music is on its way out as the most mainstream genre? Anyways, 2017 went on.
In late January and early February, Ed Sheeran appeared against with his number one single “Shape of You”. Typically, a song like this would be at number one for weeks, but the next week after its debut, it was dethroned by “Bad and Boujee”, a trap song. At the beginning of March, pop temporarily seized the charts back again as Katy Perry released her single “Chained To The Rhythm” from her upcoming album “Witness”, which would go on to flop. The “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack was also released at the beginning of March and lent a few of its songs to the Top 10.
In April, Ed Sheeran does return majorly as his album debuts and his song “Shape of You” returns to number one. Drake did dethrone his album slot with “More Life” but “Shape of You” continued on strong for several more weeks until Kendrick Lamar’s trap song “Humble” took the number one spot. Other notable albums that appeared in March were the “Beauty and The Beast” soundtrack and The Chainsmokers “Memories…Do Not Open” which topped the charts for a very short amount of time before falling off completely.
Leading into the summer months, Bruno Mars inevitably released a new catchy single in “That’s What I Like”. The “Guardian’s of The Galaxy” soundtrack came out, and Harry Styles also released his solo album. “Despacito” also began it’s long, long-held position at number one. It wasn’t just number one for the entirety of the summer (making it the undeniable Song of The Summer), but also well into September as well. Other notable appearances over the summer were Carly Rae Jepsen’s promotional single “Cut To The Feeling”, DJ Khaled’s “I’m The One”, “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B, “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez, and “Stay” by Alessia Cara and Zedd.
Now you might be wondering what finally toppled Despacito, and that would be Taylor Swift’s smashing return to the industry with her internet-breaking single “Look What You Made Me Do”. This was the lead single for her album “Reputation”, and while the following singles did not have spectacular success, “Look What You Made Me Do” certainly did, hogging the number one position for a little over a month.
At the end of June and beginning of July, Halsey, Katy Perry, and Lorde, released their albums, “hopeless fountain kingdom”, “Witness”, and “Melodrama” respectively. All of these albums debuted at number one and then by the next week dropped down the charts significantly. And while not in succession like these three before her, a similar thing also happened with Lana Del Rey’s album “Lust For Life” in August.
An album release with the most dramatic tension was possibly Kesha’s “Rainbow” in early September. This was following her drawn-out court case with her former producer Dr. Luke.
Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato also released new albums, but neither of the albums were wildly successful or even debuted at number one.
Sam Smith’s album “The Thrill of It All” preceded Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” and was number one shortly before she was. Now, at year’s end, her album sits on top of the charts but Sam Smith’s isn’t far behind and still charts fairly high.
As for actual songs at year’s end, “Rockstar” by Post Malone featuring 21 Savage has been topping the charts for the majority of autumn and is still number one now. And yes, it’s a trap song.
One can only guess if trap music will become a fading trend in the coming years and pop music will return to popularity, or if this is really the beginning for a much larger and bigger change in music. Either way, 2017 was another fantastic and versatile year in music, and with social media always growing, each new song, album, and artist has more chatter behind it than ever before.
Written By Dallas Johnson