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The best R&B songs of 2017: a countdown

Amanda Parris
Listen to Marvin's Room, Dec 29th 2017

Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio


In this week's episode we’re going through the top 10 R&B songs of the year, and I’m still in mental agony thinking about some of the absences. But decisions had to be made, and in the end I think we’ve come up with a pretty good synopsis of the sounds and scope of R&B this year.

No two songs on this list sound the same, but it’s all really good music. Check out the countdown below, and listen to the full episode above (including two honourable mentions).

10. TiKA, 'All Day All Night'

Toronto singer TiKA decided to do something very few Canadian R&B singers have: create a powerful political anthem for these tumultuous times.

9. Syd, 'Body'

Syd is a master at the casual cool. Nothing is a declaration; it just is. This sensual ode to her lover is a super sexy R&B song with an amazing beat that will have you doing body rolls on cue.

8. Charlotte Day Wilson, 'Doubt'

This song only came out last month, but it's the perfect example of why Charlotte Day Wilson is one of the most exciting new Canadian R&B artists right now.

7. Jidenna, 'Bambi'

Jidenna channels retro soul, incorporates a Harry Belafonte-inspired melody, sprinkles a dash of West African highlife and adds a pinch of trap music to create the singular sound that is "Bambi."

6. Jessie Reyez, 'Figures'

Canadian singer Jessie Reyez dominated the music industry this year, and her breakout single was a big reason why. Although the song came out last year, the radio edit came out in 2017.

5. DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, 'Wild Thoughts'

This song of the summer highlighted DJ Khaled’s one undeniable talent: he is a master curator who brings together talents — like Rihanna, Bryson Tiller and this classic Carlos Santana sample — and places them on a platform for the world to see.

4. DVSN, 'Don’t Choose'

DVSN's album Morning After produced a lot of classic throwback R&B, and it was hard to pick one song from it. But this one from the Toronto R&B duo wins just because of the iconic Isaac Hayes sample.

3. Daniel Caesar feat. Kali Uchis, 'Get You'

The best Canadian R&B album to be released this year arrived from a young singer out of Oshawa, Ont., by the name of Daniel Caesar. His debut album, Freudian, is a work of art, and his two Grammy nominations are an indication that the world is in agreement.

2. SZA, 'The Weekend'

This song wasn’t an official single from SZA's critically acclaimed debut album, ctrl. There was no particular press, promo or radio play around it, but fans loved it so much that without any additional help, the song went platinum anyway

1. Sampha, '(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano'

There are songs that make you dance. There are songs that make you reminisce. Songs that provoke a smile, and songs that make you cry. The song "(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano" by U.K. soul singer Sampha completely breaks your heart.

Marvin's Room Playlist for Dec. 29, 2017

TiKA, "All Day All Night"
SYD, "Body"
Charlotte Day Wilson, "Doubt"
Jidenna, "Bambi"
Jessie Reyez, "Figures"
DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, "Wild Thoughts"
Frank Ocean, "Chanel"
DVSN, "Don't Choose"
Daniel Caesar, "Get You"
SZA, "The Weekend"
Drake, "Passionfruit"
Sampha, "(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano"