Since our founding in 1999, music has been the beating heart of War Child. 2017 was no different. Our What If? Gala showcased the talents of three inspirational Canadian women – Chantal Kreviazuk, Sarah McLachlan and Ruth B. We continued to enjoy the support of countless artists, including Pearl Jam, Alicia Keys, Our Lady Peace and Simple Plan. And along with the rest of the country, we mourned the loss of one of our own, the great Gord Downie.

As 2017 draws to a close, thoughts turn to a great holiday tradition – the best of list. And so to celebrate all things musical, we did a staff survey of our favourite tunes of the year. Some people stuck to the rule of one song only, others couldn’t decide. Obviously this isn’t a definitive list, so help us complete it by adding your choice in the comments on our facebook post and we’ll add it to the playlist.

Motorcycle by Colter Wall (Brock Warner, our Senior Manager, Fundraising).
“His voice is what caught my attention, but it’s stayed in my playlist for months now because of something else I can’t quite pin down. The whole self-titled debut album has a dark and timeless feel. Steve Earle recently said Colter Wall is “the best young singer-songwriter I’ve seen in 20 years” and Pitchfork called him “one of country music’s most exciting young voices.” It’s an exciting start for a 22 year old from Swift Current, Saskatchewan.”

Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran (Nikki Whaites, Associate Director, International Programs)
“Because any song that can incorporate “Tiny Dancer” is ok with me 😉 Also I really like Ed Sheeran.”

Drink I’m Sippin’ On by Yaeji (James Topham, Director, Communications)
“There was a lot I could have chosen for this – anything off Damn, Kalela’s Take Me Apart, Bjork and Jay Z both made good records. But I decided to go electronic with this from the Brooklyn-based DJ, Yaeji. It is probably a bit hipster but it sounds like 4am in the city and that is never a bad thing.”

Bodak Yellow by Cardi B (Mimosa Kabir, Officer, Events and Creative Partnerships)
“She’s real, and is rising to the top on her own terms, all about that female empowerment. And it’s so catchy.”

Modern Woman by Tennis (Emma Goldman, Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer, War Child USA)
“The song is a sarcastic meditation on womanhood, with a melancholy tone that aptly captures the experience of being a woman in today’s age. 2017 has been a pretty turbulent year for women (….and humanity) from the GOP’s attempts to undermine women’s legal and reproductive rights, to the recent flood of sexual assault allegations. Modern Woman feels like a good farewell anthem to 2017. I think we’re all happy to see it go.”

Gonna Get Better by Broken Social Scene (Misha Baudisch-McCabe, Project Officer, International Development)
“Seems appropriate for a year with Trump…”

Out of the Gate by JB the First Lady (Fai Hassan, Officer, Annual and Monthly Giving)
“If you’re into hip hop, please take the time to explore the world of female Indigenous artists like JB the First Lady (based in Vancouver). Her lyrics are powerful and it’s the kind of music you’ll want to play again and again. To me, this song reads as a love letter to Indigenous women and their everlasting resilience.”

13 by Allan Rayman (Francois Kenny, Communications and Research Assistant)
“He’s an up and coming artist from Toronto who gets a lot of play on CBC Radio 2, where I first heard him. And from all accounts, he played an amazing show last night at the Danforth Music Hall.”

No Lie by Sean Paul ft. Dua Lipa (Bushra Khan, Finance Support)
“Why do I love this song? Any music by Sean Paul brings back amazing memories of my university days! With a solid dancehall tempo, it just makes everyone dance.”

In Undertow – Alvvays (Morganne King, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer)
“I wrote down a bunch and could also have chosen any of these: Portugal the Man – Feel It Still, Partner – Play the Field, Monowhales – Take It Back or Harry Styles – Meet Me in the Hallway.”

If My Luck Ran Out by The Laryite Boys (Daniel Rosenthal, Finance Officer)
“Just because I like it.”

Fool’s Paradise by Cold Specks (Fai Hassan)
“I love this whole album, but the title track, “Fool’s Paradise”, is my favourite. If you’re into a blend of gospel, soul and indie folk music, you need to get into Cold Specks ASAP. I also enjoy the way she weaves her Somali-Canadian identity in her music. You’ll hear that come through in this song.”

Believer by Imagine Dragons (Mimosa Kabir)
“The more PG song (if Bodak Yellow is too much) would be this. It’s ambiguous but somehow empowering. The message is whatever you want it to be, but about how there’s beauty in the pain you go through because it transforms you”

Listen to the playlist and remember to let us know what your top tune of the year was!