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launched 1 january 2016
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December 2017

The Third Annual WSH (Not Very) Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year's Best Songs, Day Four

And we’re back.

Happy Holidays, good people. I guess this is an actual gimmick now? Themed lists are fairly easy to do as one-offs, and I’d assume there’s always some excitement to try doing it again. “Third annual” sounds really official, I think. Besides, we all know the internets are clamoring for another year’s edition … maybe.

No guests this year — just me. (Here’s your chance to tiptoe out the back door.) Per the title, this year’s piece will be far less “scientific” than the first two. I’m way too behind on music to pretend like I’m some sort of expert this year, so consider this a list of my personal favorites. I mean, I think I know a little bit about song construction and stuff, so I’d hope nobody sees this and finds me completely insane for some of these choices. As always, I take this project as seriously as I (think I) should, and I’d love to get your feedback on my picks and even see your “best songs” lists, as well.

Let’s get it going. Top-five songs this week. Top-five albums next week. Hope y’all enjoy.

2. "Butterfly Effect" • Travis Scott

Is this controversial?

Trav’s been on a roll with me the last three years. I’m biased. I’m also willing to acknowledge that slotting “Butterfly Effect” in at silver is my way of giving him this year’s MVP award. I’m not used to this much Travis Scott output — once he released Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight last September, I assumed he’d be taking 2017 off, save for some extended Birds-related promo. To my surprise, he’s been everywhere; I’m fairly certain I first heard his features on 2 Chainz’s “4AM” and SZA’s “Love Galore” back-to-back, at which point I vocally questioned what exactly he was up to. From that point until last week’s release of the incredible Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho, Travis has been more active than folks who released major-label projects (whatever that means anymore) this calendar year. Only once I started compiling my favorite songs this year did I recognize just how much this year belonged to him. Bigger names definitely dropped high-quality content in 2017, but quantity ain’t so bad if the stuff’s quality, too.

Yet of my favorites, “Butterfly Effect” is the clear standout, three minutes and eleven seconds of a soundscape only Travis can create in 2017. I wish I could expound more eloquently about what makes Trav so unique, but I honestly don't have the words; simply put, I’ve always admired his ability to make his voice and bars work on these beats, beats other folks likely wouldn’t be able to handle. “Butterfly Effect” is one of those instrumentals, no? It's the quintessential Travis Scott song: Cudi-like shapeshifting throughout the track, Trav's random, silly adlibs coming in from every which way. Which other rapper can you imagine on this song? Better question: which other rapper do you even want to hear on this beat? (Only answer I have is Quayonce, and that’s for my own selfish reasons.)

Another year, another top-10 appearance for Cactus Jack. Trav is really a one-of-one, man. Skrt skrt if you disagree.