As 2017 wraps up I want to look back on the year and highlight the best songs, in my opinion, for our events. These are songs that were released this year (or late enough in 2016 that I consider them 2017 songs) and had an impact on my dance floors. You’ll notice many of these songs have a very cool, chill, lounge type vibe to them and that’s because that was the type of year it was. Most DJs will tell you, beats per minute and energy in songs are cyclical. We went through a number of years where almost everything was upbeat and very danceable and now, these past few years, the beat has been smoothed out and dance songs are a lot more chill.
“Despacito” (Remix Audio) Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber This was BY FAR the song of the year both commercially (16 weeks at #1) and professionally as it packed dance floors all summer long. When I think back on 2017 it will be remembered as the year of “Despacito.” Everything else was a distant second.
“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran Every once in a while a slow song comes along and you just know it’s going to be the next big wedding song. That was my reaction the first time I heard Sheeran’s “Perfect.” The lyrics are, well, perfect, and Sheeran is such a red-hot artist that anything he releases shoots right to the top. And if that wasn’t enough, he just recently released a duet version with Beyonce (you’ve heard of her, right?) I predict I’ll be playing “Perfect” as a first dance for quite some time.
“I’m The One” by DJ Khaled featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne: Besides The Year of Despacito, 2017 will also be remembered as The Year of DJ Khaled. He cranked out hit after hit and none had more impact for me than “I’m The One.” Maybe it was Bieber’s presence on the track but this one was in steady rotation for me most of the year.
“Something Just Like” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay A match made in lounge heaven. “Something Just Like This” lived up to its all star billing and became a really big song for me this year. I usually used a remix to punch up the beat a bit and make it a little more danceable but either way, crowds always loved when I dropped this in and sang along to the catchy chorus.
“Strip That Down” by Liam Payne featuring Quavo I got my first request for this early in the summer and was happy with the way it worked. I got my hands on a remix shortly after and started working it into some sets. The vibe fits perfectly with most of the more popular songs of the year, sitting in that groovy, low 100 beats per minute range.
“Unforgettable” by French Montana featuring Swae Lee I’ll admit it. Earlier this year I got a request for “Unforgettable” and I played the Nat King Cole song. When the guest asked me again later in the party for “Unforgettable” I realized my mistake and dropped this in. I love the combination of dancehall and rap which makes me feel like I’m chilling Negril, my favorite beach in the world and soaking up some rays.
“Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran The year was only a few day old when Ed Sheeran made the unprecedented move of releasing two singles on the same day. One of those two songs was “Shape of You” which went on to become a huge seller and a very popular track at my events. The song is sexy and sultry and fits in perfectly with the tempo of most of 2017’s biggest songs.
“Mi Gente” by J Balvin & Willy William I used this one often this year as a follow up to “Despacito” and it worked very well, keeping that cool Latin vibe going while picking up the tempo just a bit. The hook is infectious (it’s actually repurposed from Willy William’s solo track “Voodoo Song”) and it makes for a memorable song.
“Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B It takes a lot of editing to make a song like “Bodak Yellow” radio and event friendly so if it sounds like every other word is dropped out of this song it’s only a slight exaggeration. Still, I love the Cardi B’s story (from stripper to the top of the charts) and when you know her background the lyric “I don’t dance now I make money moves” takes on a whole new meaning.
“Rockstar” by Post Malone featuring 21 Savage Another song that takes a ton of editing to make radio or event friendly. This song recently sat at #1 on the charts for a few weeks and it’s been highly requested at my events. There is zero energy in its 80 beats per minute but the combination of hip hop and trap make this a perfect song for 2017. And with Post Malone’s followup “I Fall Apart” also climbing the charts I think we’ll be hearing a lot from this rapper / producer
“Slow Hands” by Niall Horan In a year of songs that simmered rather than boiled over, nothing was steamier or sexier than this one. Horan delivers the lyrics perfectly, delivering a message of sexual urgency that comes through loud and clear. And I love that nothing in this song needs to edited or bleeped, proving you can get sexy without being explicit.
“Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt It’s not often you can describe a country song as sexy but Hunt’s record breaking song (30+ weeks at #1 on the Country charts!) fits that bill and it’s one I played often this year.
“What Lovers Do” by Maroon 5 featuring SZA You wanna feel old? It’s been 15 years since Maroon 5 burst on the scene. And in that time Adam Levine and company have proved there’s no genre they won’t take a crack at. This year, fittingly, it was a pop song with a beat that matches most of 2017’s offerings. “What Lovers Do” was released in the late summer and as I write this it’s still climbing the charts so I think this one will be around for a while.
“24K Magic” by Bruno Mars I’m cheating a little bit by putting this on my list because it was released in November 2016 but I really didn’t start dropping it regularly till this past winter. It’s not as catchy as “Uptown Funk” but it’s pretty close and of all the new Mars songs, this one’s been my most consistent dance-floor-filler.
“You’re the Best Thing About Me” by U2 The boys from Dublin released this in September as the lead single to their album Songs of Experience and I immediately got my hands on a remix that punches up the beat to a very danceable 124 BPMs. The lyrics are just perfect for a wedding and I’ve been dropping this with success at my most recent events.
“Young Dumb & Broke” by Khalid Alright, I’ll be honest, I didn’t rock too many dance floors with this one. I only played it a handful of times at events this year. So why is it on my list? Because I LOVE it! I actually love Khalid’s entire debut album (American Teen). The kid’s an amazing talent and he hasn’t even turned 20 yet.
Well there you have it. That’s my list. And to hear these songs (and more) mixed together, click here to check out my Best of 2017 mix.