Things we loved this year ...
You know you’re a queen when you can just casually drop an album, having only announced it a week in advance, and it goes straight to number one. Beyonce’s Lemonade is her best album yet. Not only did she include multiple layers of media, with documentary-style clips, literary quotes and striking visuals, the content straddles politics, racism and feminism, and is a sign that Queen B is using her position and influence to talk about issues that matter. Incredible songs are a given.
The Hamilton Mixtape. I LOVED the original cast recording of Hamilton, the super popular Broadway production which has made musical theatre the epitome of cool again. The Hamilton Mixtape is proof that plenty of others agree with its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda – it’s bursting with artists like Chance the Rapper, Sia, and Wiz Khalifa, all eager to provide their own spin of the show’s fantastic songs.
The soundtrack to The Magnificent 7. It’s all I played on repeat for weeks on end once I got my paws on the CD. (Yes, I’m old school, I like to OWN my music). It made me realise I’d been missing a great composer and so I’m keen to get other works by James Horner who sadly didn’t live to hear Mag 7 complete. The flirty reworking of perhaps the most iconic score in movie history gives listeners hints of Elmer Bernstein’s melodies. In fact the whole production is chock full of Magnificent Seven Easter eggs, but stands alone as a great piece of work.
The percussion takes up notable native American beats as a nod to the idea of the racially mixed cast and restored storyline.
21 Pilots’ single Stressed Out. I know a lot of people who are stressed about work or school or life in general. It’s nice to know you’re not alone, and that a lot of people are going through the same nostalgia for the “good old days” of childhood.
Suicide Squad was a disappointing, mediocre movie, but it has a killer soundtrack. Perfect for my general grumpiness.
I’m not a big fan of new music, but I did enjoy Clockenflap. I didn’t physically go, but was caught up in the festival vibe nonetheless. By following our live report, I got to learn about the artists and their music, and I LOVED it.
My biggest musical moment of the year was undoubtedly Michelle Obama on Carpool Karaoke. As for albums, Rick Astley’s return on 50 was very welcome. You may have heard of Rick-rolling, but Astley was a big name back in the day; it’s great to hear his soulful voice back on the airwaves (aka old-school streaming).
Norah Jones’ Day Breaks, reminds me of her debut, Come Away with Me. It’s so soothing.
What we’re looking forward to next year
Drake’s album More Life. It was due to be released this month, and pushing it back just prolongs the excitement. Hotline Bling set the bar high, but I’m sure this album will also provide us with enough meme and GIF material to see us through 2017.
Clean Bandit are hot property right now, and for some seriously good reasons – their latest single, Rockabye, is currently their longest-running number one single in Britain. Their new album, the first without violinist Neil Amin-Smith, is definitely one to watch out for in 2017. Will it be a hit? A flop? Who knows, but everyone’s desperate to hear it anyway.
I love soundtracks, and I’m intrigued by The Great Wall, so I’m looking forward to hearing what they do to accompany scenes from that film.
I’m really looking forward to the Dragonland Music Festival in February, mostly because the Black Eyed Peas will be there. They’re one of the cheesiest groups in music history, yet almost every one of their songs will take your karaoke session to the next level – especially if someone’s been singing sappy love ballads all night. I can’t wait to see what BEP have in store for us next!
There are rumours that P!nk is releasing new music in 2017, and if that’s true, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ll never not be a fan of her.
I adored Sia’s This is Acting – I love electropop, and she’s made the genre even more powerful – and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next year.
TLC released some of the most iconic tracks of the late ’90s and early ’00s. I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with on their rumoured new album. (Also: Hamilton on London’s West End, whaaaaaat!)