The 35 Best Rock Songs of 2017GuitarSpotting
7. Voyager – Ascension (Ghost Mile)
“Open eyes, the line of sight.
Is clear in mind. Ascension.”
Cool spaced-out rocker from an Australian progressive rock band that deserves some more attention.
The song ‘Ascension’ is at times heavy and plodding, but also sleek and catchy. An intriguing song that takes you on a trip.
6. Stone Sour – Song # 3 (Hydrograd)
“I have gone beyond my years.
I’ve wasted half my life.
But I found it all in you.”
I’ve always been kind of indifferent to Stone Sour, but it now seems clear I need to revisit their past work.
Their heavier song ‘Fabuless’ could have easily made this list, but ‘Song # 3’ wins due to its singable melody, cool lyrics and overall sense of tension and release.
TLDR: It rocks.
5. Cheap Trick – Floating Down (We’re All Alright!)
“Sometimes I’m falling down.
Some days I hit the ground.”
After a series of hit albums in the late 70s and early 80s, Cheap Trick spent a lot of years wandering through the rock and roll wilderness, trying hard to stay relevant but often flying under the radar.
Their career experienced a major renaissance in 2016 with an acclaimed new album (Bang Zoom Crazy Hello) and a well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
While most bands would shift into cruise control for a while after a year like that, The Trick went right back into the studio and put out another album that rocks just as much as the last one did.
The song ‘Floating Down’ is a sweet confection, a mix of dreamy psychedelia with falsetto vocals and a killer melody. It’s a ballad that kicks in beautifully to a more upbeat driving sound.
TLDR: Still got it going on.
4. Foo Fighters – The Sky is a Neighborhood (Concrete and Gold)
“The sky is a neighborhood, don’t make a sound.
Lights coming up ahead. Don’t look now.”
The Foo Fighters returned in 2017 with their latest album Concrete and Gold. Spawning several hit singles, it’s pretty clear the band still has plenty more to say.
The song ‘Run’ is quite good, but I really dig ‘The Sky is a Neighborhood’. It’s an anthemic track with a thumping beat and booming chorus.
Great video, too.
TLDR: Stomp your feet.
3. Amplifier – Kosmos (Grooves of Triumph) (Trippin’ With Dr. Faustus)
“No map, no compass.
Into the kosmos.”
Amplifier has been rocking Manchester since their formation in 1999. Their sound is kinda like a heavy, progressive trip through time and space.
And ‘Kosmos’ is a killer track with a great relentless groove built around a thick meaty riff. Elements of Pink Floydian psychedelia mixed with prog rock and a kind of hypnotic drone. And it finishes with an awesome spaced-out jam. Play it loud.
2. The Killers – The Man (Wonderful Wonderful)
“I got news for you baby.
You’re looking at the man.”
The Killers returned with a vengeance in 2017 with their new album Wonderful Wonderful and lead single ‘The Man’.
Their musical output has been a bit spotty since the first two albums, but this album is a nice return to form.
‘The Man’ is not a particularly guitar-fueled song, but it’s got a sharp musical concept, killer beat and great video, inviting repeated playthroughs and singalongs due to its confident delivery and exquisite melodies.
‘The Man’ basically has 2 choruses, and fits right in at home, on the radio, at a nightclub or piped directly into your ears through an IV.
Many of us love ourselves some loud guitar solos and screaming vocals, but when I ask myself what are the very best songs I’ve heard this year, there were only 2 I felt comfortable listing at the top.
Funky and memorable.
TLDR: Who’s the Man?
1. Night Flight Orchestra – Gemini (Amber Galactic)
“The way our mind’s entwine.
Maybe there’s a way I could make you mine.”
Writing an article like this is a whole lot of work. But one key benefit is getting to check out all kinds of great new music. This year I was happy to discover a Swedish group I was unfamiliar with called Night Flight Orchestra, who released their third album Amber Galactic in May 2017.
I’m now a big fan, and the album is one of my favorites of the year.
Like ‘The Man’, it isn’t overly “guitarish”, but the guitar is prominent throughout the song (and album). The band does use a fair amount of synths, but succeeded in creating a 70s classic rock sound with a modern edge and the perfect mix of guitars and keys.
These guys can play, know how to write hooks, and have mastered the recording and mixing process. It’s a deadly combination. The vocals may be a bit “shoutey” at times, but enough nitpicking. The album rocks, and I could have included several songs on this list.
But ‘Gemini’ is the best.
I absolutely love this track. It’s a sing-along (or should I say shout-along) rocker with a great mix and excellent chorus. It’s just a really fun track that gets better and better the more you hear it.
TLDR: Catchy as hell.
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