Albums are like roommates. We live with them, bond over shared experiences, and wrestle with differences. In the best cases — when a record truly comes to matter to us — the outcome surpasses mere coexistence, and we gain a lifelong friend whom we can lean on for consolation, empathy, or as a channel through which to vent or let loose whatever emotions might be suffocating us at the time. We come to have real living, breathing relationships with our favorite albums. And though years may pass between spins, we can return to them and pick up in the same groove where we parted.
(See: Top 25 Albums of 2017 So Far)
Oddly, we don’t ask much less of songs. We turn to these short snippets of music — usually no more than five minutes in duration — to soundtrack not our years or nights but our moments, arguably the span in which real life happens. It’s fair enough to change the channel on a cartoon character cornily coaxing us to “sing a happy song,” but the truth remains we each have happy songs … and sad songs and angry songs and others that we either cue up in our minds or pull up on our MP3 players to fit a particular situation or a more nuanced emotion than those three mentioned. Our favorite songs do no less than understand us, speak for us, and ensure that we never have to go it alone no matter the situation.
As we flip the calendar page on the first half of 2017, these are some of the songs that we plan on taking with us. Who knows when or why we may need them: maybe as something to crank loud as fuck after a shitty day at work, something to massage our eyelids shut while we lie hopelessly awake at night, or maybe something to center us so our hearts don’t burst or break over whatever the rest of the year — and our lives — may bring us. Like I said, we ask a lot of songs, but maybe that’s because they have so much to give. Here are 25 that have more to give than most.