We’re now two months into 2017, and it doesn’t seem like things are about to be getting any lighter, brighter, or fluffier. Best-case scenario, things are just a little bonkers instead of entirely batfuckshit crazy. Or, perhaps more likely, chaos and insanity have become the norm, and we’re just starting to get used to it. Even still, the art world seems to be thriving on that darkness, whether that means trying to scour it from our skin and looking for hope or staring it dead in the eye and trying to figure it all out.
Keep that in mind as you scroll through this list of February’s 10 best songs. Even the cuts that came close but didn’t quite make the list — we’re looking at the likes of the return of At the Drive-In, Ride, The Mountain Goats, and Arca, as well as new tracks from Passion Pit and Thundercat — weren’t of the sparkly and sunny variety.
That’s certainly not just because we’re still locked into the bleary end of winter, either. Running through this list, you’ll see that even the likes of Blondie and Katy Perry are seeing the darkness encroaching. Meanwhile, BJ the Chicago Kid, Lana Del Rey, and others detail the struggles of love and hope against adversity. Mastodon see the rumbling horde charging our way, while Calvin Harris looks boldly ahead to summertime.
Our list this month ranges far and wide, and yet there are clear unifying factors, an immediate and iconic power that feels entirely of this moment. It seems as if years from now, the feeling of 2017 will be palpable from just a few seconds of its music.