2016, despite the doom, gloom and deaths, was one the best years for music in modern times. Nearly all of the biggest acts in the world released an album or a single, or went on tour, and every album released had reasons to claim to be album of the year. From the confessional “Lemonade” to the genre-defining “The Life Of Pablo”, surprise releases from both Frank Ocean and Bon Iver, and the mesmerizing offerings of musical icons such as David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and Radiohead, 2016 was such a good year for music that it left a lot of people wondering what could be left for 2017. We have tried to answer just that – here are the albums to look out for in 2017.
There is a lot to look forward to on the rock circuit in 2017 and this year is looking like it will be as big as 2016. U2 are scheduled to release part two of their “Songs Of Innocence and Experience” double album, and given the response to the release strategy of part one (sneakily dropping it into everyone’s iTunes) we can all expect a more traditional release this time around. Also due a release is Haim’s sophomore LP – it’s been three years since their debut “Days are Gone” took off across the world, and if the wait time is anything to go by we could be in for one of the biggest albums of the year. The Jesus and Mary chain have confirmed the March release of their first album since 1998; Nine Inch Nails are definitely up to something; and one of the biggest rock bands in the world at the moment, Arcade Fire, have scheduled festival dates throughout the summer and are said to have been recording in Paris during their off-time, so we can expect new music from them in some way, shape or form. LCD Soundsystem are also set to finally release new music, while a Beck project is also in the pipeline.
2017 is looking like the year of the long-awaited returns heavy metal fans have been asking for. 90s band Tool have been in the studio, and it’s expected that they will be releasing their first album in a decade some time this year. Also set for a return is System Of A Down, who have been teasing fans with pictures from the studio for quite some time. The band’s last album was in 2005, and their return has the potential to be one of the biggest stories of the year. Mastadon are also in album mode, along with Marilyn Manson and Five Finger Death Punch.
Ed Sheeran’s album “÷” will be the most talked about release of the year when it finally comes out and there is absolutely no question that it will be the best-selling album of the year. Despite almost everyone expecting her to release an album in October, Taylor Swift is still set to release the follow-up to 2014’s ‘1989’. Whenever that does come out, it will take over the world no matter how good or bad the quality of the music is. She’s apparently been in the studio with Drake in order to produce an edgier, Hip-Hop-influenced sound, so results could be interesting. Lorde is expected to release a followup to her debut ‘Pure Heroine’, while Katy Perry is also in the studio. Charli XCX and Jason Derulo are getting ready to take over the summer charts, and crooner John Mayer is also gearing up for a new release. It’s most likely that 3 out of the 5 original members of One Direction will release something or other, with Niall and Louis already releasing singles and both Harry and Liam said to be recording. As for the quality of these projects…. Well, we’ll have to wait and see.
2016 was one of the biggest years for rap in decades, with releases from Kanye, Drake, Travis Scott and Chance the Rapper being some of the highlights. This leaves many wondering: who is left to release new music in 2017? To begin with, Drake is about to release his self-titled “Playlist”, and there are talks of a Kanye collaboration album in the works. In terms of collaborations, we are also still waiting for the Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino album, which has been talked about for well over a year – could 2017 be the time we finally see it? The ‘will he, won’t he’ of the year is Jay-Z, who is expected to release a response album to “Lemonade”, and it’s got to be one of his most personal albums yet if he wants to make anyone sit up and listen. Eminem has confirmed that he will be releasing his eighth album this year, and Nicki Minaj is most likely set for a return to the limelight. There have been hints, but no concrete confirmation, of Jay Electronica releasing his highly anticipated debut album this year. There is also a possibility of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label collaboration tape “Cruel Summer” getting a release following the song “Champion” being confirmed as the album’s first single. In order to continue his meteoric rise, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a Desiigner album hitting the shelves sometime this year too.
Dublin singer/songwriter Farah Elle has created quite a storm online, and has been in the studio prepping for the release of her first album for almost all of 2016. Her feature on a song on Irish producer Bantum’s album was one of the highlights of the year, and she is expected to do big things in 2017. Dublin rap group Hare Squead are one of the brightest talents in the country at the moment. Having just released their first EP in December after being signed by Columbia Records (the home of Beyoncé and Hozier) the sky’s the limit for the group in 2017. Irish rap’s trailblazer, Rejjie Snow, is also set to release his first album since being signed, which will inevitably be one of the most interesting Irish releases of the year. Irish rockers Val Normal are also an act to watch, as their live shows are something to behold. If they ever come to Cork, do everything you can to see them – you won’t regret it.