2017 saw some releases from several major alternative rock acts, including tragically the final songs from some rock icons. Here are Alternative Nation’s top 10 alternative rock songs of 2017.
10. A Perfect Circle – “The Doomed”
One of Maynard James Keenan’s two major bands finally released a new song in 2017! “The Doomed” sounds cinematic, which makes sense since Billy Howerdel initially composed it for a separate project. Maynard still had his edge lyrically and vocally on this song, silencing haters that think he only is passionate about winemaking these days.
9. Eddie Vedder – “Out of Sand”
Eddie Vedder’s “Out of Sand” was featured during a pivotal scene of Twin Peaks’ comeback season on Showtime this year, and the lyrics about not recognizing oneself anymore are some of Vedder’s most powerful in recent memory. I didn’t enjoy Ukulele Songs nearly as much as the Into the Wild soundtrack, but “Out of Sand” definitely has me excited for some new Eddie Vedder solo material whenever he decides to get around to it.
8. Royal Blood – “Lights Out”
Royal Blood’s “Lights Out” may be the band’s best song yet in their young career, with Mike Kerr spitting out some riffs that any Tom Morello or Josh Homme fan will love.
7. Greta Van Fleet – “Highway Tune”
Greta Van Fleet show a lot of promise on “Highway Tune,” the song sounds identical live as it does in its studio recording, a rare feat for bands in 2017. While Greta Van Fleet definitely still need to perfect their own sound outside of the 1970’s, “Highway Tune” shows incredible promise especially at their young age. Their next album could truly be something special.
6. Queens of the Stone Age – “The Way You Used to Do”
I wasn’t in love with this song at first, especially compared to how “My God Is The Sun” blew me away as Like Clockwork…‘s lead single in 2013, but “The Way You Used to Do” has really grown on me. Its simplicity is why it works, it’s driven by a dancey guitar riff with sexy vocals. While Josh Homme has caught a lot of heat recently for his on stage antics, he is one of the last rock stars left standing.
5. Nine Inch Nails – “Less Than”
“Less Than” is the standout among NIN’s two EP releases in the last year. It would hold up well on a Nine Inch Nails greatest hits album, and while it does stick closely to the NIN formula, Trent Reznor still knows how to nail his trademark sound.
4. Linkin Park – “One More Light”
Linkin Park definitely went for a different sound on the One More Light album, and a lot of it wasn’t for me, but “One More Light” is a great song. Obviously Chester Bennington’s death has given the song even more emotional resonance with fans, especially after he even sang it in honor of Chris Cornell, but it’s a really powerful song even discounting the tragic deaths that will now forever be tied to it.
3. The Killers – “The Man”
“The Man” is easily the catchiest alternative rock song of 2017, with hook after hook. The song sounds like a modern take of David Bowie’s “Fame” with Brandon Flowers ironically singing about his boisterous personality he took on when The Killers first gained fame in 2004 with Hot Fuss. I know The Killers don’t necessarily fit in with most of the artists on this list and I’ll probably get shit for putting them on here, but it’d be disingenuous for me to leave off one of my favorite songs of 2017.
2. Billy Corgan – “Aeronaut”
“Aeronaut” is one of Billy Corgan’s strongest vocal performances in a long time. It’s simply Corgan and a piano for most of the song, with nostalgic lyrics with a feel of longing that the iconic Smashing Pumpkins frontman is known best for.
1. Chris Cornell – “The Promise”
Chris Cornell left us with one more great song before we lost him in May. The song appeared to be a sign of what could have come next for Cornell, it built on Higher Truth’s stripped down sound with the orchestral instrumentation (that is especially highlighted in the instrumental remix version) sounding beautiful with Cornell’s voice. It’s a shame that Cornell’s idea of working more with larger backing bands never came to be, but at least we have “The Promise.”