2017 has been a much-needed year of revival for pop music.
Old stars such as Taylor Swift, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran have all released new material, all of which is enjoyable, but have been overshadowed by fresh faces.
This year belongs to Lorde and Melodrama – a superb record that I would go as far to say is the best album I’ve ever heard. It’s as if Lorde has been underground, unaware of what the industry wants her to do, and has created the most gob-smacking record.
It’s not just Lorde who is pushing pop into a better, more creative place. The whole storyline and visuals behind Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom are breath-taking and it is refreshing to see so many female faces, such as Juila Michaels and Raye, step out from the songwriting shadow to peruse their own solo careers.
Finally, it’d be wrong of me to not mention the band Bleachers. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Jack Antonoff and co. twice this year and both time have been blown away. That man’s stage presence is second to none and two of my year’s highlights.
It’s been an impressive year for music, what’s in store for 2018?
2017 has certainly better than 2016 which just seemed to be a relentless obituary to some of the best-loved legends of the industry.
There’s been releases from some of my favourite bands- The Killers, Fleet Foxes, Sundara Karma and this year saw the return of Jamiroquai, which, if you’ve never heard of in a musical sense, you’ll certainly have heard of the front man, Jay Kay, who is a regular guest on Top Gear. Although many of these releases didn’t live up to the artists’ previous efforts, it was just reassuring to know that they’re still around and doing what they do best.
And we end the year with the prospect with some exciting things to come. There are rumours of album releases from Mumford & Sons, Fall Out Boy and First Aid Kit, as well as some amazing line-ups for festivals next summer (despite the loss of Glastonbury which is deep-set dagger to the heart of music industry around the world)- Isle Of Wight is certainly a dark horse to grab some tickets for. So thank you, 2017, for being a nice buffer to the destructive tsunami that 2016 was, and here’s to the continuation of more great music to come.
2017 has been MAD for releases – I shall stick to good ol’ rock n roll for the purposes of this column.
Though we mourn the breakups and deaths of such legends as Black Sabbath, Malcolm Young, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, rock music has proved itself anything but dead (despite the assertions of endless smug journalists and YouTube commenters), with new releases from Ty Segall, Wand, Thee Oh Sees, The Moonlandingz, King Krule, Meatbodies, Wavves, The Murlocs and Wolf Alice (to name just a few) continuing to push the boundaries of what guitar music can be.
Groundbreaking acts from the past two decades such as Gorrilaz, At The Drive In, LCD Soundsystem and Queens Of The Stone Age have popped up on the radar once more; despite the varying quality of their comebacks, a welcomed return all around. There have even been some pleasant surprises, such as the superbly refreshing Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile collaboration.
Though above all, my hat has to go off to Aussie psychedelic rockers (and my current musical obsession) King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, having released FOUR studio albums this year alone – each wildly different in style and each immensely good. Fans are holding out for a promised fifth before the year is up and, though they’re cutting it very fine, I have every confidence that the Gizz will deliver.