VULTURE: THE BEST SONGS OF 2017 (SO FAR) - VINCE STAPLES "BIG FISH"
THE BEST SONGS OF 2017 (SO FAR)
Vulture is looking back at the best releases so far in 2017. This list has been updated to include October releases.
What is a single supposed to do? Can one song really change an entire worldview? Now that all music is easily available whenever we want it, how do we decide what we listen to? There’s plenty of discussion about how streaming services have changed the way we consume albums, but the conversation around single songs is a little more discrete. So: This list is not meant to be comprehensive — it couldn’t be. How could we reckon with every single great song released this year? Instead, it’s a list of great songs that do what great songs have always done: illustrate the way we feel about the world and how we move through it. There’s joy here, but there’s bitterness and introspection and sadness too — taken together, it says something about what it feels like to live in the world in 2017.
“Big Fish,” Vince Staples
The second lead single from Staples’s recently launched Big Fish Theory resembles the rest of the album in sounding like nothing else: bright, colorful, hi-res digital chimes; globular synthetic bass; and a Juicy J hook frame the Long Beach rapper as he anchors himself in a world he barely managed to leave alive: “Should have been dead broke, should have been chalked out,” he notes calmly, then adds, “But it didn’t happen, now it’s time to get it cracking.” The song, like the album, is as futuristic as its rapturous reviews have made it out to be, but Staples is too sharp and too honorable to pretend that the future doesn’t contain the past in it: His last words hearken back to lines from Snoop Dogg and the hook on “Norf Norf,” the classic track from Staples’s 2015 debut, Summertime ‘06. Free of illusions, he’s nothing like Gatsby, but all the same Vince beats on, Big Fish against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. —FG