style genius

Is music an escape from the world or the key to it? Over and over, when we began considering the best music of the first half of 2017, politics seemed to intrude, whether in moments that echoed headlines or ones that spoke individual truths too often drowned out by that other, noisier machine. Maybe that’s the case every time the calendar turns over. Probably not.

Rather than attempt to come to a consensus about the best albums or songs from the first six months of the year, we opted to select music that was meaningful to us as individuals, music that washed away all the background noise, songs and albums and performances that made sense to us, whether or not they made sense of the world. Moments like that are blessings, not to be taken for granted. Here are nearly four dozen blessings selected by NPR Music staff and our partners from around the public radio system. Let’s count them.

NPR Music’s Essential Songs, Albums, Performances And Videos Of 2017 (So Far)

Photo: Bob Boilen/NPR

Bad Liar - Selena Gomez

[Verse 1]
I was walking down the street the other day
Trying to distract myself
Then I see your face
Oh wait, that’s someone else
Tryna play it coy
Tryna make it disappear
But just like the battle of Troy
There’s nothing subtle here
In my room there’s a king size space
Bigger than it used to be
If you want you can rent that place
Call me an amenity
Even if it’s in my dreams

[Pre-Chorus]
Ooh you’re taking up a fraction of my mind
Ooooh every time I watch you serpentine

[Chorus]
Oh I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Oh tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Not to think about you
No, no, no, no
Not to think about you
No, no, no, no
Oh I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Oh tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Not to give in to you
No, no, no, no
Not to give in to you
No, no, no, no

[Post-Chorus]
All my feelings on fire
Guess I’m a bad liar

[Verse 2]
I see how your attention builds
It’s like looking in a mirror
Your touch like a happy pill
But still all we do is fear
What could possibly happen next?
Can we focus on the love?
Paint my kiss across your chest
Be the art, I’ll be the brush

[Pre-Chorus]
Ooh you’re taking up a fraction of my mind
Ooooh every time I watch you serpentine

[Chorus]
Oh I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Oh tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Not to think about you
No, no, no, no
Not to think about you
No, no, no, no
Oh I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Oh tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Not to give in to you
No, no, no, no
Not to give in to you
No, no, no, no

[Post-Chorus]
All my feelings on fire
Guess I’m a bad liar

[Bridge]
And oh baby let’s make reality, actuality, a reality
Oh baby let’s make reality, actuality, a reality

[Chorus]
Oh, oh, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Oh tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Not to think about you
No, no, no, no
Not to think about you
No, no, no, no
Oh I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Oh tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’
Not to give in to you
No, no, no, no
Not to give in to you
No, no, no, no

[Post-Chorus]
All my feelings on fire
Guess I’m a bad liar

“The future –” he said, looking down at his open hands, “– begins here.” 
(Iron Man #325)

”…And Tony Stark was a hero long before he was Iron Man.“ 
(Avengers Assemble 2x07)

Aquarius is a really cool charm, like a crystal that fell in a raindrop
reflecting the thoughts of heaven and the vision of angels. She laughs like lightning and mixes genius with style, individual flair with enviable charisma and class. Aquarius is holding the wine glass of wisdom, electric blue champagne
the elixir she shares as she speaks the thoughts that sizzle like
shockwaves in her brain. On airy wings she floats across a glass water world, a child of the earth wandering alone through the forest, barefoot and enchanted, rainbow looms around her wrists and flowers in her hair
And Aquarius is a double lined symbol, fused with the translucent air that exists in many forms.
She is introverted and extroverted, in great need of solitude but intrinsically connected to all, she is the diamond drop that slips into collective consciousness, intuitive and clever, magical and otherworldly. Life is tremendous and repulsive, she is in love with people and loathes them deeply, for they have destroyed her earth and the fairies that dwell on the flowers. There is a purity in the Aquarius expression, it is spiritual essence in human form, a mermaid with human legs
A free character who stays awake until 3am, and sleeps until she has finished her dream, because she will not work from the world’s time frame
Time must work for her, because she is from another time all together

-Cherry