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The Future of Music Online 2018

Future of MusicFuture of Music 2018Music 2018Music TrendsNew Artists for 2018New Music 2018+-

As I said for the 2017 round-up, I did not find last year to be particularly vintage - there was no one album or song that totally blew me away, although there was still much to be admired. As posted recently - I came across heavy metal band ’In This Moment’ over Christmas and their music dominated the tail-end of the year for me and continues to reign now - considering how little metal I listen to that is surely significant in some way.


There were some obvious trends that hit last year, and that will continue to resonate through 2018 (Grime, Latin, Dancehall), but there was much I did not get either / did not resonate for me. I still haven’t latched on to the supposed brilliance of Drake yet, and 2017 hip-hop breakout artist Cardi B did little for me either. I guess Björk kind of sums up the year - where I initially loved promo single ’Blissing Me’ but in the end it does not really go anywhere - just lovely twinkly noodly harp which eventually starts to get rather grating - which kinds of sums up my opinion of the corresponding Utopia album - it was sort of like a vague shadow of Vespertine - but without the memorable melodies or coherence of that album - it all kind of blurs together for me unlike its predecessor Vulnicura which I really rather liked.


I went into the year expecting big things from Skott, but I guess her album will launch this year instead. She did not manage to eclipse her earlier highs, and her musical output dried up somewhat through the year. This time around I have high hopes for another Scandinavian - from neighbouring Norway - one Sigrid Solbakk Raabe, who was an incredibly bright spark in 2017 and scored 3 hits with ’Don’t Kill My Vibe’, ’Plot Twist’ and ’Strangers’ - she’s my top pick for 2018 - her live performance at Glastonbury was superb too - totally effervescent.


Many readers will know that I’ve become somewhat entrenched in all things guitar at the moment and yet proper rock music still seems to be somewhat in decline - despite all the amazing new technology out there - which makes it easier to make any sound you desire, record and produce at high quality - from the comfort of your home. I still expect to see more Ed Sheeran - all-in-one types materialising - possibly with a more technical angle to their sound. 2017 also brought me the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix in the guise of Lewis Floyd Henry - who does a fine line in rock ’n’ hip-hop mashups - and is indeed a one man rock-machine - guitar, drums and all!


Some of the things I predicted last year failed to materialise - I am still awaiting that breakthrough home-studio-production technology with built-in AI which allows you to easily combine and improvise with existing stem materials. That said there are numerous innovations at CES and NAMM this year for home-recording and studio / production - just not quite at the level I foresaw yet.


Looking at the forthcoming album releases for the year - I’m still waiting for new Glass Candy material, but loook forward to debut albums from Sigrid, Skott, Billie Eilish, Echosmith, and follow-ups from Grimes, Róisín Murphy, Poliça, Rhye and U.S. Girls. We may even get more from Beyoncé and Kanye. On paper 2018 does not look particularly vintage either, but here’e hoping it will be a pleasant surprise...


10 Favourite Albums of 2017

OK year for albums - far from exceptional, but several long-players saw significant repeat-action:

  • Plunge - Fever Ray
  • American Dream - LCD Soundsystem
  • Masseducation - St Vincent
  • RTJ3 - Run The Jewels
  • Humanz - Gorillaz
  • Everything Now - Arcade Fire
  • From Deewee - Soulwax
  • Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa
  • The OOZ - King Krule
  • Damn - Kendrick Lamar

Honourable mention - Ritual - In This Moment


10 Favourite Songs of 2017

Sigrid really stood our for me in the singles stakes, yet their were several pop gems to be found, not sure how many of those will end up as long-term bonafide classics:

  • Strangers - Sigrid
  • Like it Ain’t Nuttin’ - Fergie
  • Chained to the Rhythm - Katy Perry
  • Waterfall - Stargate ft Pink and Sia
  • Cola - Camelphat & Elderbrook (Franky Rizardo Rmx)
  • Ciao Adios - Anne-Marie
  • Green Light - Lorde
  • Shape of You - Ed Sheeran
  • New Rules - Dua Lipa
  • Lust for Life - Lana Del Ray ft The Weeknd


5 Musical Trends for 2018

2017 was the year that Grime finally broke through to the mainstream and also gained a tiny foothold in the USA to some degree. Latin Pop was everywhere last year - following worldwide hit Despacito, ’Mi Gente’ also had considerable success. That perennial 80’s vibe seems to be back and stronger than ever with several classic 80’s bands releasing new material - e.g. The Cure, and 80’s Soul & R&B flavours being back in vogue. Following on from Jlin’s Black Origami, I also see more ’glitch’ sounds being prevalent in 2018 - particularly in the area of drum-programming for hip-hop, where artists are always in search of new-style beats.

  • Latin Pop - Despacito was the big hit of 2017 alongside Ed Sheeran’s ’Shape of Me’ - expect to see more songs based on similar sonic templates in 2018
  • 80’s Style Soul + R&B - A few of the new artists for 2018 have latched onto more organic 80’s Soul + R&B flavours for their songs - expect 80’s influences to pepper much of 2018’s output
  • More Grime - Grime has finally reached mainstream acceptance - expect more artists to find success with this format in 2018
  • More 80’s Revivalism - The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Johnny Marr etc. - plenty of new output from some of our 80’s favourites
  • Glitch - Not just electronic music - IDM etc. but also to be found in the rhythm tracks and beats of new hip-hop and grime - fresh beats are a must, and musicians will be experimenting with an ever wider variety of new-found sounds in 2018 - glithcy, clashing and otherworldly


15 New Artists for 2018

In times past I’ve put in a real concerted effort to dig up and uncover fresh new talent, but I’m happy for BBC, MTV and the like to do the heavy lifing for me these days. None of these are total guarantees of success, although I do have high hopes for at least the top 3 here, and wish all of these the best of luck with the various new artist awards - every little helps ...

  • Sigrid
  • Billie Eilish
  • Maggie Rogers
  • Denzel Himself
  • Dream Wife
  • Stereo Honey
  • Jorja Smith
  • Rachel Foxx
  • Mahalia
  • Pale Waves
  • Yonaka
  • Mina Rose
  • Jade Bird
  • Ms Banks


Preferred / Select Album Releases 2017

As usual - just my preferences really and not a yardstick for all releases - just things that interest me:



  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Wrong Creatures
  • Børns - Blue Madonna
  • Calexico - The Thread That Keeps Us
  • Camila Cabello - Camila
  • First Aid Kit - Ruins
  • The Go! Team - Semicircle
  • Joe Satriani - What Happens Next
  • Mudhoney - LiE
  • Nightmares on Wax - Shape the Future
  • Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife 3
  • tUnE-yArDs - I can feel you creep into my private life
  • Underworld - Tonight Alive


  • Alva Noto & Ryuchi Sakamoto - Glass
  • Field Music - Open Here
  • Fischerspooner - Sir
  • Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending
  • Justin Timberlake - Man of the Woods
  • Poliça and s t a r g a z e - Music for the Long Emergency
  • Rhye - Blood
  • Simple Minds - Walk Between Worlds
  • U.S. Girls - In a Poem Unlimited


  • Andrew W.K. - You’re Not Alone
  • En Vogue - Electric Café
  • John Grant - Mr Dynamite
  • Moby - Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt


  • Manic Street Preachers - Resistance is Futile


  • Belly - Dove
    Echo & the Bunnymen - The Stars. The Oceans & The Moon


  • Owl City - Cinematic


  • The 1975 - Music for Cars
  • Arctic Monkeys - TBC
  • Ariana Grande - TBC
  • Belle & Sebastian - TBC
  • Beyoncé - TBC
  • The Black Madonna - TBC
  • Blood Orange - TBC
  • Carly Ray Jepsen - TBC
  • Charli XCX - TBC
  • Chic - It’s About Time
  • Chromatics - Dear Tommy
  • Chromeo - Head Over Heels
  • Chvrches - TBC
  • Clean Bandit - TBC
  • The Cure - TBC
  • David Byrne - American Utpoia (?)
  • Diddy - Now Way Out 2
  • Echosmith - Inside a Dream
  • FKA Twigs - TBC
  • Florence + The Machine - TBC
  • Flying Lotus - TBC
  • Frank Ocean - TBC
  • Glass Candy - TBC
  • G.O.O.D Music - Cruel Winter
  • Gorillaz - TBC
  • Grimes - TBC
  • Iggy Azalea - Surviving the Summer
  • Jack White - Boarding House Reach
  • J Hus - TBC
  • John Hopkins - TBC
  • Johnny Marr - TBC
  • Kanye West - Turbo Grafx 16
  • Major Lazer - Music is the Weapon
  • MGMT - Little Dark Age
  • Mitski - TBC
  • Muse - TBC
  • My Bloody Valentine - TBC
  • Nicki Minaj - TBC
  • Orbital - TBC
  • The Prodigy - TBC
  • Pusha T - King Push
  • Rau BLK - TBC
  • Rihanna - TBC
  • Róisín Murphy - TBC
  • Selena Gomes - TBC
  • Sigrid - TBC
  • Skott - TBC
  • Sky Ferreira - Masochism
  • SOPHIE - Whole New World
  • Spiritualized - TBC
  • Stefflon Don - TBC
  • Tinashe - Joyride
  • Toni Braxton - Sex & Cigarettes
  • Trent Reznor - TBC
  • Troye Sivan - TBC
  • Tweny One Pilots - TBC
  • Vampire Weekend - TBC
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