The 100 tracks with the greatest impact on 2017, from homegrown talent that made waves outside of Canada, and Canadian acts that influenced their respective genres. These are the songs that turned heads, rose up the charts, and drummed up buzz at home and beyond. Singles from pop, R&B, indie, country, singer-songwriter, hip-hop, and Indigenous artists selected by the CBC Music team. Hear: Drake 'Passionfruit', Feist 'Pleasure', Jess Moskaluke 'Drive Me Away', Daniel Caesar 'We Find Love'
While many people are understandably saying "good riddance" to 2017, we at CBC Music have been doing our best to find the good in it as we head into 2018. From the albums released to the protest songs written to the artists who shaped its positives, a lot of art persevered — and thrived — this year. And with that comes artists' insights into the work they've released.
Whether it was Anne Murray reflecting on 40 years in the music industry, Ryan Adams gushing about Bryan Adams, Peabo Bryson throwing some serious shade at Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Potts, Lil Yachty realizing what a cello really is or Black Thought closing the year with a reigning freestyle, we learned a lot about the artists we follow.
Below, we've collected 46 of the year's best quotes in music. Relive 2017 — in chronological order — before saying goodbye to it.
The xx’s Romy Madley Croft
“We've always been happier than we appear.”
— CBC Music, Jan. 11, 2017
Ryan Adams on Bryan Adams
"He showed me kindness when I wasn't at my best."
— q, Feb. 10, 2017
Adele on winning her Grammy for album of the year
"I can't possibly accept this award, and I'm very humble and I'm very grateful and gracious, but my artist of my life is Beyoncé and this album to me, the Lemonade album, was just so monumental to me."
— Grammys acceptance speech, Feb. 12, 2017
Karrie Keyes, monitor engineer for Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder/executive director of SoundGirls.org
“Some people still, in 2017, state that women can’t pull their weight, or that they want to hire women but can’t find any. Those are both false [assumptions]. Women can pull their weight, as crew people come in all shapes and sizes. No one expects the men on the crew to just lift things by themselves.”
— MTV.com, March 8, 2017
Father John Misty on his relationship with the media
"I get called cynical all the time and yet I'm so innocent and I trust journalists. Like, I'll fall in love with them immediately. I don't know what it is, I must be damaged, but yeah, it never really works out for me."
— q, March 9, 2017
Peabo Bryson on Angela Lansbury wanting to perform the Beauty and the Beast theme at the 1992 Oscars
“[Angela Lansbury] wanted to sing the song herself. You're a teapot. I'm sorry. Let's be honest, she's a teapot. What's she gonna wear, a teapot outfit out on the stage at the Oscars?”
— CBC Music, March 17, 2017
"I wanted to write this music for people that feel like they don’t have a place in this environment or this country, where we’re being constantly told that this world isn’t made for us and that we shouldn’t be doing what we’re doing."
— Nylon, March 17, 2017
The Roots’ Kirk Douglas on the late Chuck Berry
“As a rock ‘n’ roll guitar player, Chuck Berry is in my DNA.”
— Paste Magazine, March 28, 2017
Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves
“Punk is my gender.”
— Pop Conference 2017, April 22, 2017
Michael Perlmutter, music supervisor for The Handmaid’s Tale
“In Gilead, there is no music.”
— CBC Music, May 1, 2017
Missy Elliott on knowing what she wanted to be from an early age
“I would watch [my classmates] change to different things. Now the doctor is going to be a fireman, but still, when it came to me, I wanted to be a superstar. They thought I was the class clown. But I was like, 'I'm going to be a superstar.' So when I would get in my room, it was like, if y'all don't see it, I'm going to create it myself."
— Elle Magazine, May 15, 2017
The West Coast Get Down’s Miles Mosley
“We were part of a culture shift, a societal observation in L.A. that invested into a decade of kids and now our generation is the fruit of that labour.”
— CBC Music, May 17, 2017
Lil Yachty on the lyrics of his song ‘Peek a Boo’
"I guess for a second, I thought a cello was a woodwind instrument and it is not.”
— Genius, May 25, 2017
"‘Caring what other people think’ — this is an attitude that gets really frowned upon when you're human, you're not supposed to care what people think. But how people think translates to how they treat you and often how people treat you if you are in a trans body, a queer body, a racialized body, a feminine body, translates to violence."
— CBC Music, June 1, 2017
Jan Lisiecki on playing Chopin
"It's so much fun to be onstage and to be shaping that music, in the moment, with the audience. When you feel that there's a particularly beautiful sound, you can elongate it, you can enjoy it more, you can revel in silences."
— CBC Music, June 14, 2017
“Intersectional feminism is the future.”
— Show at Vancouver’s the Cobalt Cabaret, June 15, 2017
“I think I’m pretty good now. I think I’ve made a good start. But I want to be Paul Simon.” She thumps her hands down hard on the table. “I want to be Leonard Cohen.” (Thump.) “I want to be Joni.” (Thump.) “F--king.” (Thump.) “Mitchell.” (Thump.) “And that takes time.”
— The Guardian, June 17, 2017
“I did it [music] for 40 years and that's long enough to do anything.”
— CBC Music, June 20, 2017
Natalie Merchant in the oral history of Lilith Fair
“Lilith could still happen today. And it probably should.”
— Glamour, July 5, 2017
“It's like you're trying to save yourself as you're falling out of the car. Songwriting certainly did it for me. I'm falling and I'm saving myself at the same time.”
— CBC Music, July 10, 2017
Soul singer Hannah Williams on Jay Z calling to ask if he could sample her song for his album 4:44
"I didn't even know what to call him. Like, 'Hello, Mr. Z?' And he was like, 'Oh thank you so much for calling, I know how busy you are,' and it's just like, oh my God, how am I getting the I-know-you're-busy-thanks-for-calling from Jay f--king Z?"
— q, July 10, 2017
Kendrick Lamar in an interview with Dave Chappelle
“At the end of the day, the music isn’t for me; it’s for people who are going through their struggles and want to relate to someone who feels the same way they do. I’ve got to take Mom out of the equation. I’ve got to go all-in, expressing myself, right there in the moment.”
— Interview Magazine, July 12, 2017
Katie Crutchfield, a.k.a. Waxahatchee, on the sequencing of her new album
“All I'm left with is the truth. The sad truth.”
— The Fader, July 14, 2017
Lana Del Rey
“I’m always being myself. They [critics] don’t know what authentic is. If you think of all the music that came out until 2013, it was super straight and shiny. If that’s authentic to you, this is going to look like the opposite. I think that shit is stylized. Just because I do my hair big does not mean I’m a product. If anything, I’m doing my own hair, stuffing my own f--king stuffing in there if I have a beehive. Music was in a super weird place when I became known, and I didn’t really like any of it.”
— Pitchfork, July 19, 2017
Rihanna describing a Diplo song
"This sounds like a reggae song at an airport."
— GQ’s interview with Diplo, Aug. 7, 2017
JB the First Lady
"Being connected to my femininity and my sexuality and my sexual expression is an act of resistance. Because we're not supposed to be here, on so many different levels, as Indigenous women.”
— CBC Music, Aug. 10, 2017
NPR’s Ann Powers on Madonna
“She introduced young women and young people to a way of embodying their fantasies and their dreams at exactly the moment when sexuality and sex itself became very frightening.”
— q, Aug. 22, 2017
Shania Twain on using Brad Pitt’s name in ‘That Don’t Impress me Much’
"I wasn't picking on Brad Pitt. But that was just the association in that moment and things we make fusses about and whatever. Of course, it could have been any gorgeous guy."
— Billboard, Aug. 24, 2017
Alvvays’ Molly Rankin on the album title Antisocialites
“I guess I have proclaimed that I am an introvert.”
— CBC Music, Aug. 31, 2017
Sheer Mag’s Christina Halliday’s response to how listeners are handling a shift in power from men to women in rock
“Teenage boys are very upset.”
— The New York Times, Sept. 1, 2017
Marc-André Hamelin on Morton Feldman's For Bunita Marcus
"I often tell people that it's going to be the most aggravating thing you've ever listened to, either that or the best migraine medicine you've ever had."
— NPR’s All Things Considered, Sept. 4, 2017
Lucille Starr, Canadian country queen
“I had some cancer surgery, and you feel kind of sluggish but everything's fine and I’ll be OK. I always tell everybody God’s not ready for me and the devil couldn't stand the competition, so here I am!”
— CBC Music, Sept. 7, 2017
Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, on the tenets of Masseduction
“What does power look like, who wields it, how do they wield it — emotionally, sexually, financially?”
— Buzzfeed, Sept. 10, 2017
Eric Clapton on the Band
"I was given an acetate of Big Pink back in England and it shook me to the core. I was in Cream at the time with already the notion that it wasn't going in the right direction, and I thought, well this is what it is."
— q, Sept. 14, 2017
Neil Young’s Songwriter Hall of Fame acceptance speech
“I don’t know if I have charisma or not, I just keep changing. But I know I can’t sing, OK?”
— CBC Music, Sept. 25, 2017
Arkells' Max Kerman on the late Gord Downie's legacy
"Gord taught me it's OK to dance."
— q, Oct. 18, 2017
Lido Pimienta’s response after her Halifax Pop Explosion show
“I never asked white folks to leave my show, I would never do that. I never ask men to leave my show, I ask them to share the space in a more significant manner as an act of love and solidarity with people who, outside of the music show bubble, have to constantly justify their existence to the world.”
— Billboard, Oct. 31, 2017
Jack Antonoff on songwriting
“I see it more as masking some sort of sadness. It’s a big New Jersey thing, it’s a big Bruce Springsteen thing. That’s the school of songwriting that I’ve always subscribed to, which is present in this anthemic way so you have the opportunity to celebrate sadness.”
— q, Nov. 16, 2017
The Dap-Kings bandleader Gabriel Roth on mixing and mastering Sharon Jones’ last album
“At the very end of the album, on ‘Call on God,’ there’s a little laugh,” he says. “I always cut that stuff and fade it out. People always think that’s studio magic, but it can be really overdone, to always leave that stuff in — it always sounds cute.” He pauses. “I didn’t have the heart to cut that last laugh. I just wanted to keep it there forever.”
— Vulture, Nov. 20, 2017
Ben Heppner on the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky
"The first thing you remember was meeting him, because he had this big mane, this shock of white hair — a colour that doesn't exist in nature. And he was a muscular, fit guy with enormous presence, not just onstage, but personally, as well. You could sort of feel him walk into a room."
— CBC Music, Nov. 23
Barbara Hannigan on her Grammy-nominated album
"Certainly when I took ‘crazy girl crazy’ to title the CD, it was almost like I wanted to reclaim that word on many, many levels because referring to women as crazy is also a way of undermining their authority. So, I wanted to take back the word and celebrate it because we also say, 'Oh my God, that's crazy,' like in a complementary way and that's how I'm using it. I'm using it like in the most vibrant, exciting — like the word as absolutely full of possibility, you just don't know where it's gonna go."
— CBC Music, Dec. 4, 2017
Daniel Caesar on being the ‘next big thing’ in Canada
“I feel like once I start believing that, that’ll mess me up. I’m just smiling and nodding and trying to just write … I still have some ways to go.”
— q, Dec. 6, 2017
“A lot of people can be turned off by topical songs, but I don’t really give a shit."
— The Fader, Dec. 11, 2017
Nardwuar, on himself
“If this teenage zip-rock loser can do it, anybody can.”
— q, Dec. 12, 2017
Jon Bon Jovi on the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
"It's about time."
— Vulture, Dec. 13, 2017
Black Thought’s freestyle on Flex
“Where money's put down, it's only one sound that make,
OGs and young lions equally proud to listen,
The secret amalgamism, a algorithm,
Coming from where only kings and crowns permitted the darkness,
Where archaeologists found my image in parchment,
Rolled into a scroll, holding a message for you,
It said, ‘The only thing for sure is taxes, death, and trouble.’"
— Hot 97, Dec. 14, 2017
More to explore