2016 was undoubtedly a memorable year for music – however not entirely for the right reasons.
We sadly witnessed the loss of countless musical legends – with the likes of David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and George Michael being a mere fraction of deaths that we cruelly mourned. Last February also saw the tragic car crash which killed up-and-coming English indie-rock band Viola Beach and their manager, who were touring in support of their self-titled album which, after their deaths, shot straight to #1 in the Albums Chart.
That being said, we were introduced to a vast array of new and exciting acts that helped keep the music industry alive after being so badly beaten. Artists such as Jack Garratt, Billie Marten, Rat Boy and Pretty Vicious (to name a few) showed that there’s still a wealth of talent out there just waiting to be discovered and celebrated.
Despite experiencing deep sorrow, it’s time for 2017 to prove a promising and optimistic future for the world of music. Not only will this year see an impressive surge in new music from fresh newcomers, but current and classic artists too. You know what they say…it can only get worse before it gets better, right?
So, here’s a list of albums that are bound to get you hyped for this year of music!
The xx with ‘I See You’
It’s been a long four years, but the indie-pop band is finally ready to release their third album ‘I See You’.
Since May 2015, when Jamie xx teased that his debut album ‘In Colour’ “definitely informed what [they’re] doing for the next album” and with the band reporting that the record will have “a completely different concept” from their previous records – there’s been an undeniable lingering, amassed anticipation for ‘I See You’.
You can listen to the album’s lead single ‘On Hold’ right now, which showcases The xx’s staple sound but with an interesting twist; it’s slow, evocative and everything that you would expect from The xx – but with a surprising, complex beat to satisfy your long-awaited fix but keep you on your toes for what’s to come.
Major Lazer with ‘Music Is the Weapon’
We all know this album’s lead single ‘Cold Water’ featuring Justin Bieber and MØ which turned out to be a massive summer hit. But, in what feels like ages since that hugely successful release, what else does Major Lazer have in store for us with their fourth studio album ‘Music Is the Weapon’?
Well, following the triumph of ‘Cold Water’ and the release of subsequent singles ‘Believer’ and ‘My Number’, the American electronic band were confirming collaborations literally left, right and centre last year. Collaborations set to feature on ‘Music Is the Weapon’ include Sia, Bonnie McKee, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello and alternative R&B musician PARTYNEXTDOOR.
The exact date for the album’s official release is still unknown.
Zara Larsson – TBA
She’s probably the one of the world’s best-loved Swedish female artist of the moment. However, after a long stretch between the release of single ‘Lush Life’ (June 2015) and ‘It Ain’t My Fault’ (September 2016) which was more swiftly followed by ‘I Would Like’ in November – fans are not far from desperate to hear what the 19-year-old has hiding up her sleeve.
Despite stating in October during an interview: “It’s ready. It’s done. We have the artwork, but we don’t have the name — but it’s there just waiting to be released.” It still didn’t manage to make it out in 2016. Yet, if these three prior releases are anything to go by, the album (which still has no name) will surely be worth the extra wait.
Paramore – TBA
In April 2013, Paramore released their self-titled fourth studio album, the first to be released as a trio minus founding brothers Zac and Josh Farro. Now, their upcoming 2017 album will be the first record since the departure of Jeremy Davis, yet also sees the return of Zac Farro on drums. Confused yet? Me too.
Although Paramore’s hot-and-cold member dropout has undoubtedly been a knockback for still-standing members Hayley Williams and Taylor York – the pair have reaffirmed that Paramore is nowhere near close to calling it quits. The two have reportedly been writing and recording since March 2016 with producer Justin Medal-Johnson, who’s known for his work with Jimmy Eat World and Beck.
Despite there being no date set for the album’s release – recent snapchats suggest that it’s a wrap for the band and all their efforts with this forthcoming LP.
Charli XCX – TBA
This May, the English ‘Boom Clap’ singer will be returning three years after her acclaimed second studio album ‘SUCKER’.
During an interview with Time, Charli XCX confirmed that her third album will be heavily inspired by Japanese-style pop music and will sound like both “another planet up in the clouds” and “intensely weird and childlike“. These qualities are certainly evident in her latest songs ‘After the Afterparty’ and ‘Hard 2 Love’, making for perfectly catchy, quirky and interesting pop songs.
Charli’s unique style is instantly recognisable now, something that isn’t easy to achieve but easy to exhaust – no doubt she’ll pull a few surprises out of the bag too with this LP.
Liam Gallagher – TBA
This year is sure to be an exciting one with Liam Gallagher’s first ever solo album hitting the music scene since his post-Oasis project Beady Eye ingloriously flopped; a complete contrast to his brother Noel’s continuous stream of success, which people have definitely not failed to remind him of…
However, after landing a huge record deal with Warner Bros – who have worked with bands Biffy Clyro, Muse, Foals and Royal Blood – Gallagher said of the news: “Looking forward to making some super sweet sounds” in spite of initially denying going solo because he is: “not a c**t” – in typical Liam fashion.
Whether it’s good or bad, it’ll still be interesting to see what Liam produces on his own terms.
Katy Perry – TBA
Katy Perry has also been hard at work, especially after she ditched half of her fourth album to write songs about Donald Trump’s US election victory. “It’s funny, sometimes people who disagree with me just say, ‘Shut up and sing,’” she wrote earlier this month. “Boy, will I do so in a whole new way… next year. Hell hath no fury like a woman REBORN.” Is that a potential hint at an album title perhaps?
Whether it is or not, this album is sure to be a fascinating one, and one that’s probably going to attract a lot of attention and support. Kudos to Katy though, using the platform she has to sing about something relatable, current and extremely important to the majority of her fan base. It will surely be worth keeping an ear out for when the official release date is announced.
Stormzy – TBA
Last year was undoubtedly an epic, spotlighting year for grime. With Skepta and Kano releasing what has previously been described as ‘career and genre-defining’ albums, its Stormzy’s turn to either make or break this high standard he now has to live up to.
South Londoner Stormzy, who is most famous for his record ‘Shut Up’, says the finished product will help fans “understand who I am, what I love, what I hate, what I treasure, what has stunted my growth [and] helped my growth”. Sounds like the right mix for a successful and insightful debut album – something that will surely contribute to making 2017 another staple year for grime music.
We can also expect albums this year from Clean Bandit, Beck, Fleetwood Mac, Gorillaz, Haim, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Killers, Zara Larsson, Dua Lipa, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Vampire Weekend, Wolf Alice and Zayn.