And, finally, here's a playlist that goes far beyond what's been annotated above.
On a personal note: I enjoyed songs from around half of the artists mentioned (I even witnessed Broken Social Scene perform a nostalgia-infused set at a summer festival), but I’ve grown bored of bands like the National, Fleet Foxes and Wolf Parade, and by now I’m mostly annoyed by the Arcade Fire and Dirty Projectors. This year Grizzly Bear released what might be the most inaccessible album of their career and, generally, I liked it, mostly because it sounded like Grizzly Bear. (“Four Cypresses,” in particular, is the sort beautiful, dense song that only a band like Grizzly Bear could pull off.) Feist channeled PJ Harvey and delivered a spare, guitar-driven album with songs (“Pleasure,” “Century,” “Any Party”) that resonated with me almost immediately. I’m fairly certain I will always like Feist.
When I look at my favourite songs from 2017, I observe what’s become a commonplace mixture of rap, r&b, indie rock/folk, and electronic music, but I also see a lot more diversity in the artists making it. To say my demographic (white, male, cisgender) is typically overrepresented at shows is an understatement. It’s one thing to observe new trends in the music scene, but it’s another thing to understand why they occur. And while it might look like the dominance of one is slowly receding with age, it should be noted that there has also been a lot of work done, most of it unrecognized, to claim space in the music scene for those it has traditionally excluded; there have been efforts to make concerts safer for people of colour, for women, queer and non-binary folks; there has been work done to create platforms for emerging artists who don’t experience the forms of privilege that indie rock has fostered over the years. And this is vital work that needs broader support in the new year and beyond.