March tends to be a pivotal month in the music calendar and not just for the hordes of buzz bands vying for attention at Austin’s SXSW. The past few weeks have also brought us tidings of what’s to come at summer festivals like Lollapalooza and FYF Fest, and we can already see glimpses of how the year’s narrative might play out. The return of Canadian indie-rock juggernauts Arcade Fire and Feist will likely dominate the news cycle, but other big-ticket artists to look out for include Lorde, The Chainsmokers, and Frank Ocean, all of whom seem poised to top the charts at various points in 2017.
Forgive us our temptation to look forward and haphazardly predict the future — it just means that spring is in the air. But there’s plenty of music worth celebrating in the present, too, whether it be Drake’s sprawling 22-track playlist, More Life, Aimee Mann’s graceful and melancholic ninth solo effort, Mental Illness, or Pallbearer’s crushing sledgehammer of a doom metal album, Heartless. And that’s to say nothing of The Jesus and Mary Chain, who completed their return with Damage and Joy, an uneven but nonetheless miraculous album that fans waited nearly two decades to hear.
Several of the aforementioned artists made our list for the 10 best songs of March, while others came up just short of the benchmark. There’s no shame in that. Who could have expected that Lorde would make such a triumphant return with “Green Light”, a song that finds her ready to fulfill her destiny as a pop superstar? Who could have been ready for Laura Marling’s soulful and enchanting “Wild Fire” (besides, of course, the British press, which hasn’t been able to shut up about her for years)?
The 10 songs we’ve chosen here probably don’t belong on the same playlist, but they should snake their way somewhere into your daily listening schedule. Whether your tastes gravitate toward Perfume Genius or Gorillaz, one thing’s for sure: 2017 is starting to look like an uncommonly promising year for music.