With another year behind us, it’s time to briefly reflect before diving head first into another. With many tragedies, both on the international stage and those felt privately, I think we can all agree on the one thing that provided a silver-stringed lining this year…
2016 was a HUGE year for music; there’s no denying that. From the top-of-the-pops to the underground, this past year provided some of the best in production and sound. Hell, even Fifth Harmony had a decent year, all things considered. Speaking of 5H, One Direction broke up, which is fantastic news; it gave us Zayn Malik’s Mind of Mine, which was actually pretty awesome sonically, imo. And, my opinion aside, the self-proclaimed 6 God had an unreal year with successful single releases Back-to-Back (yes, I went there). Canadian beat-master, Kaytranada, released his first studio album, 99.9 %, which was a smash, and produced tracks for some huge names. Kanye finally returned to the Life of Pablo and, Frankly, we would need a full-length essay to even begin discussing Blond.
But, what’s more, it looks like no one is resting on his or her laurels in 2017. Take a look below at some of the things I'm most excited for.
Yeah, yeah, call us basic, but here are the facts: Views sold 852k copies in its first week (in the US alone), and he has become the most streamed artist on Spotify. My point? People are listening, and I am one of those people. Some critics have denounced Views success, noting the collective sound as repetitive. These same critics go on to say other albums from lack a theme of sound, so I take them with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, Drake is doing something right, and we hope 2017 is no different.
Kehlani might be one of the most talked about up-and-comers of the past year. Some people think this girl appeared out of nowhere, but a short trip down Google Lane will quickly inform them of otherwise. Having started in a group, who together auditioned for America’s Got Talent in 2011, it has taken some serious climbing of letters and smashing of ceilings for Kehlani to arrive at her present destination. Her upcoming, full-length release, entitled SweetSexySavage, is sure to be groundbreaking. If any of her collabs or solo tracks are an indication of what’s to come we should all be prepared for January 27.
This guy has a voice that sounds both like it could melt butter and sand a wall at the same time. At only 21 years old, the soul/pop singer has collaborated with Gorgon City, Avicii and had a smash hit, “Say Sumthin,” produced by Kaytranada. His One Hand in the Future EP provided a slightly different direction than some of his electronic collaborations, and I’m beyond pumped to hear a full-length album from him. Only When We’re Naked is slated to drop March 1.
MNEK is one of the most creative people existing in the music industry right now and I will fight you on that. He has been straight up grinding since 2011, with every year adding more and more impressive credits to his resume (JoJo, Rudimental, Madonna and Beyonce, to name a few). His writing abilities matched with his ear for production quality knows no bounds. There’s so much more I could say about his endless talent, like his ridiculous vocals, but I’ll take my seat and let the man do his work.
With no full album out, Stanaj managed to perform on Fallon. Let that sink in. He released The Preview, a 4-track EP, which balances a mixture of R&B, soul and borderline pop melodies. Critically speaking, I don’t see The Preview as a stand out from the year, but watching this guy (Albert Stanaj, to be specific) explode from social media fame to Fallon, and even a brief listen to his voice, makes him worthy of anyone’s attention. He’s slated to have a full release this year, and I strongly suggest you keep a look out for it.