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The best singles of 2017

G’day everyone and welcome to the 2017th annual edition of Singles Of The Year.

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Kaiit : Natural Woman

It feels so very good. ‘Natural Woman’ is a powerhouse collection of moments: Kaiit’s clinical precision rapped verses, inflected with a balance of plain-spoken word and soulful flourish, memoir narrative standing as a celebration of youthful innocence, blossoming into the year’s best chorus, making for the year’s best song. It’s a love song, but it’s so much more. ‘Natural Woman’ is dense with reward, an impossible fruit providing a lifetime of sustenance. Share it around.

RVG : A Quality Of Mercy

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: RVG have crafted an all-time classic opening line with “Guess what, it’s pretty unfair / They’re gonna give me the electric chair”. Deftly wry in its silliness, the title track to RVG’s debut dares you not to take it seriously in its evisceration of Middle Australia.

Baker Boy ft Kian : Cloud9

As soon as the didge-lined beat kicks in, ‘Cloud9’ powers on pure velocity as Baker Boy accelerates with his immense rap talent, sublimating between Yolngu Matha and English. He’s boastful on the hook, talking the talk after walking the walk. The hook by then-14-year-old Kian is the icing on the cake.

Spike Fuck : Greatest Hits (Suicide Party 1971)

Following up last year’s excellent Smackwave EP, Spike Fuck goes full honky tonk on standalone single ‘Greatest Hits (Suicide Party 1971)’. Country is a good fit for Spike Fuck, treating the genre with heartfelt reverence. A full album of this would go down a treat.

Aldous Harding : Imagining My Man

‘Imagining My Man’ flickers between heart-wrenching beauty, effortless devastation, and disarming schoolyard response to snare-syncopated chorus calls. It pains, and provides comforting grace, all in equal measure.

Angie McMahon : Slow Mover

The elements on ‘Slow Mover’ are kept deceptively simple, a stop-start strum drawing in with dissonance, while McMahon navigates a scenic route to maximum emotional impact. A bit of shoosh please for the hushed pre-outro, let it sink in.

Julia Jacklin : Eastwick

Linear in its trajectory, ‘Eastwick’ doesn’t loop around, but it never telegraphs its punches either. And the eventual blow is a knockout one, obliterating its establishment of sanctity with a big, blown-out, fuck-off guitar solo.

Darcy Baylis : Be Patient, Be Tender

Throughout Intimacy & Isolation, Darcy Baylis pushes beyond the boundaries of Melbourne electronica with interpolations of disparate genre. ‘Be Patient, Be Tender’ is a prime example, nesting a comforting space with its vital titular refrain, made all the more comforting with a broken-speaker dip into emo-rap, before providing vivid assurance.

St Vincent : New York

After years of building a reputation as a modern-day guitar god, St Vincent’s opening salvo from new album Masseduction was chosen to be a stripped-back piano ballad dedicated to losing love in New York. It’s the second best artistic representation of 2010’ s New York, behind the street skits of The Eric Andre Show.

Hexdebt : Bitch Rising

Starting off with a drumbeat reminiscent of golden-age ‘60s pop and closing with some sick Sabbath style riffs, ‘Bitch Rising’ snakes and sneers in between. Undeniable menace meets sheer power.