2018 will be another year of music, which I can only hope will be excellent. At the moment, the year does not look as big as 2017 was for music, but who knows what my favorite musicians have up their sleeves? This year, I am excited about a few albums. Firstly, I cannot wait for some of my local favorite artists to release new music. Champaign natives, The Dirty Feathers and Elsinore have both sounded like they were wanting to get new records out this year, which would be super exciting. Neither has released new LPs for a few years. I am also ecstatic about my favorite up-and-coming band Mungion (funk/rock/jazz/everything else – fusion) to be releasing their second album. I have listened to their debut album inside and out, and I’m ready for them to add to their small, but an impressive catalog of music.
On a bigger name scale, I am interested to see what 80’s metal legends Judas Priest do on their upcoming album “Firepower.” They have seemingly stuck to their signature sound throughout the years, but I am curious to see how their sound has changed since albums like “British Steel.” I also want to see what Myles Kennedy’s debut album will sound like. Myles has been on lead vocals for Slash’s (Iconic Guns N’ Roses guitarist) solo band, Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, for multiple years now, but in 2018 he makes his solo debut, which is supposedly going to stray from his hard rock past and move in a lighter, more acoustic direction. I have never been a fan of Myles singing irreplaceable GnR classics, but I do think he has a great voice for something else, and hopefully, that place will be found in his upcoming record.
Last of all, I am pretty excited to listen to Justin Timberlake’s upcoming album which is set to release early in February. Pop music is my enemy, but the exceptions to that are Justin Timberlake and Ed Sheeran, who both regularly produce great music. I can’t wait to hear more great songs from Justin that I can only expect to be ruined by an onslaught of plays on the mainstream radio.
An album already gaining plenty of hype through its hot single, “Rockstar,” is Post Malone’s sophomore album tentatively titled “Beerbongs & Bentleys.” This is quite possibly one of the most anticipated albums of this year since its release date has been bouncing for the second half of 2017. The first official statement by Post Malone about the release date said that the album would be released December 1st of 2017. As the day came to a close, Post tweeted that he would need a little more time to perfect the album. Showing the album’s potential with “Rockstar,” fans are expecting big things from this upcoming album. The beat is a simple one with a focus on the 808’s and a heavy kick beneath a catchy sample. This, combined with Post’s vocals and 21 Savage’s verse, made the song an instant success.
His first album, “Stoney,” which was released in 2016, had songs topping the charts through 2016 and even late 2017. This has created a lot of anticipation for “Beerbongs & Bentley’s.” If the tracks on this album are on par with “Rockstar,” the release is bound to be a great one.
Although I’ve never been to Australia and don’t necessarily plan to go, if Courtney Barnett and the movie “Kangaroo Jack” are the two things I can base my opinion of the country off of, I’d say they’re doing pretty well down under. The kickass solo artist had a release in 2017 with Kurt Vile on the album “Lotta Sea Lice” and the two blended their laidback but also blaring rock styles together as if their voices were just two pieces of a puzzle, ready to match up and become a perfect fit. However, what excites me the most about Barnett coming back to the studio for a release in 2018 is her first album, “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.”
Her lyricism can critique society while at the same time get you hung up on rhymes and puns coming completely out of the blue, but still managing to tell the story she wants to be heard on the track. Barnett knows the direction she wants to take in her music, and the final result is the farthest thing from careless. Maybe she’ll strike harder on her audience about our destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, or give an outsider’s perspective on the current political climate— whichever way she chooses to take this next release I know it will be ringing in my ears long after the first listen.
It looks like 2018 is the year for Fall Out Boy. After delaying upcoming album to a January 2018 release, the wait is going to be worth it. Every single released demonstrates the new, ever-changing musical abilities of the (former) pop punk/emo group. After delivering lackluster lyrics and sound on a mediocre “American Beauty/American Psycho” Fall Out Boy needs to deliver with “Mania.”Every single released from “Mania” thus far is completely different from the typical “Sugar We’re Going Down” or more recent “Young Volcanoes.” Their sound has evolved into something entirely new now, utilizing more elements of synth and pop in addition to the typical guitar and drums combo. This matures the group, ensuring that they don’t rely on what they know in order to put out good music. They’re willing to experiment, whether for better or worse.
Of course, there are still elements of the old, pre-reunion Fall Out Boy on there and aspects of post-reunion 2013 Fall Out Boy, but this new sound that they’ve created is an excellent experiment in musicality, challenging themselves to reinvent Fall Out Boy instead of sticking with what they know. Thus far, it’s worked. “Mania” looks like it’s going to be a hit.
Whenever I hear that a reputed artist or band is set on making a comeback after a hiatus that is sometimes older than my age, I cannot help worrying about them. There is nothing worse than seeing your favorite artists flop when they release a new album after a long hiatus. For me, seeing A Tribe Called Quest make a comeback in 2016 with their last album “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service” after 18 years set me on edge very much (I was not even a big fan of the rap group). Although the album pulled off to maintain ATCQ’s reputation in the rap scene despite the group’s long hiatus, it did not help me any better to stop worrying about legendary artists who break a long hiatus on their musical careers. It is just excruciating to see them judged only by their mediocre latest albums by millennials who are ignorant of their previous work.
In talks about the most expected artists to make a comeback, My Bloody Valentine has always been central. For My Bloody Valentine, it took a whopping 22 years after their last album to come up with a followup album “mbv” in 2013. It went great, and the band won widespread acclaim from music critics. Well, a 5-year break, although it is still a significantly long time period for general artists, is not going to be that crucial for the band that withstood 22 years on hiatus, right? Frontman Kevin Shield is known to be a perfectionist. I have never liked the idea of being a perfectionist, but for this specific case, it eases my apprehension about the band to a certain extent, and actually makes me anticipate their new album more than worry about it.