Any which way you slice it, 2017 was an excellent year for rock music. We had exciting, innovative and experimental songs unleashed from every nook and cranny of rock’s rich tapestry, plus an embarrassment of new music riches, a year of storming comebacks and more than a few surprises along the way.
We break the year down in a little more detail below, plus unveil our 100 top tracks of 2017 at the bottom of the page…
Global politics set the scene for music in 2017
2017 was a weird old year for politics – Donald Trump’s presidential tenure took us to the brink of nuclear warfare, Russia were accused of rigging everything from the US election to the winner of Crufts, the #metoo movement highlighted the depth of the abuse of women over the world. Let’s not even get fucking started on Brexit.
Unsurprisingly, these ridiculous, bewildering events provided inspiration for much of the most essential music created this year. Metallic hardcore kids Stray From The Path took aim at the pathetic shitshow that is the rise of the alt-right in Goodnight Alt-Right, while indie post-punks IDLES scrutinised growing British class divisions with the furiously sardonic Well Done. Meanwhile, we won’t be giving out any points for guessing what Downtown Boys’ A Wall is about.
New bands brought the noise…
New bands and artists well and truly brought it in 2017, with a number of TeamRock’s new bands of the week making it into our top 100 – including Leeds “amphibious doom pop” purveyors Weirds, Californian pop-punks Monster Treasure and creepy Watford alt.rockers Gold Key. “Alterna-rock-pop duo” Rews dropped a killer debut album, while Milk Teeth continued the ascension of their perfectly-pitched grungy pop punk with the Be Nice EP.
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…But rock’s old school wasn’t too far behind
Rock’s old-timers were no slouches either – Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age and Machine Head all cemented their continued relevancy with music that was exciting and innovative. 90s alt.rockers The Afghan Whigs carried on the return to form spurred by their 2014 comeback with In Spades, while power pop legends Cheap Trick somehow managed to release their 18th studio album AND an extra Christmas album to boot.
Comebacks were king
Alt.rock legends The Breeders proved themselves with the victorious comeback single Wait In The Car – their first new music in almost a decade – while post-hardcore heroes Quicksand picked up where they left off 22 years ago with new album Interiors. Cult art-punks At The Drive-In released Interalia, their first album in 17 years, while Tommy Stinson’s post-Replacements group Bash & Pop crowdfunded their new album Anything Could Happen via Pledgemusic after a 24-year hiatus.
2017 was a year full of surprises
There were, of course, a few surprises thrown in along the way, including Jamie Lenman’s frantic genre-hopping in Devolver, erstwhile 90s emo pedalers Rainer Maria releasing an album of groove-laden, angular rock music, and the sneak-release of Material Control, Glassjaw’s first album in 15 years. Oxbow produced an album of undefinable, esoteric brilliance with Thin Black Duke, while Billy – sorry, William Patrick Corgan produced the most Smashing Pumpkins-sounding music since 1995 under his own name and Converge finally provided the soundtrack that metalhead parents had been craving.
All told, it’s been a fantastic year for the the music we love. So, sling on your headphones and join us for our rundown of the 100 songs we believe made 2017 brilliant.