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Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 IN REVIEW: The Music

Yesterday, we started our look back at 2017 with a piece on some of the various fads and trends of the year.  And today the retrospective of 2017 continues with Part 2.

Today we're going to have a look through the Billboard charts, album covers, and compact disc liner notes to listen to the best and worst of music from the year gone by.

I'll have to admit that from my own perspective, the 2010s overall have been very much hit and miss.  I really liked the stuff from 2010 and 2011, was soured on 2012-2014, really enjoyed 2015, and was somewhat impressed by 2016 as well.  Unfortunately, 2017 is considered to be a miss year for me.  I wasn't overly wowed by the stuff on the charts this year, and to me most of it sounded exactly the same.  But there were some standouts of the year, and certainly some sad moments as so many music legends passed away this year. 

So, let's get this party started with the top hits of 2017.  A total of twelve songs topped the charts in 2017 (one of which actually tied a record!)

Those twelve songs are...

Bad and Boujee - MIGOS f. LIL UZI VERT
Shape of You - ED SHEERAN
That's What I Like - BRUNO MARS
Look What You Made Me Do - TAYLOR SWIFT
Bodak Yellow (Money Moves) - CARDI B
Rockstar - POST MALONE f. 21 SAVAGE

Now, clearly 2017 was the year of Ed Sheeran, and honestly with his talent, he certainly deserves it.  Though his 2017 ended on a bad note, musically speaking his album "Divide" was certainly a bright spot.  The single "Shape of You" lasted an impressive twelve weeks at the top of the chart in 2017 - and under normal circumstances it would have been a major achievement.

However, nobody expected the Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee/Justin Bieber collaboration "Despacito" to do so well.  Not only was it the song for the summer of 2017, but it tied the record set by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey back in 1996 when it stayed on top of the charts for sixteen consecutive weeks!  How is that for impressive?  I only wish I could speak Spanish so I could actually understand what the song meant!

2017 also saw Bruno Mars performing a smidgen of 24K Magic on the charts with "That's What I Like".  And Kendrick Lamar was still on his Grammy high when he released the single "Humble", which also topped the charts for one week in 2017.

But perhaps the one single that seemed to be the most anticipated was that of Taylor Swift's first single from "Reputation".  The song "Look What You Made Me Do" seemed to be a song that told a story - don't mess with T-Swift.  All sixteen of them apparently.  Just watch the end of the video and you'll know what I mean.  I can't say that the album is going to be as huge of a smash as her 2014 album "1989", but her fans will definitely appreciate it.

Now, 2017 was also a pretty lackluster year for the Grammy Awards as well.  It wasn't exactly that exciting to watch (though Bruno Mars' tribute to Prince was absolutely outstanding to watch), and let's face it - the winners were absolutely predictable.

Still, let's have a look at the big winners of the 59th Grammy Awards.

RECORD OF THE YEAR:  Hello - Adele
ALBUM OF THE YEAR:  25 - Adele
SONG OF THE YEAR:  Hello - Adele
BEST NEW ARTIST:  Chance the Rapper
BEST POP ALBUM:  25 - Adele
BEST ROCK SONG:  Blackstar - David Bowie
BEST ROCK ALBUM:  Tell Me I'm Pretty - Cage the Elephant
BEST R & B ALBUM:  Lalah Hathaway Live - Lalah Hathaway
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM:  A Sailor's Guide to Earth - Sturgill Simpson

So, yeah, can we just say that 2017 was Adele's year?  It's kind of sad knowing that she won't be touring at all this year...or next year...or the year after that.  But needless to say that her first album in four years certainly made a huge impact.

Sadly, 2017 marked the year in which we lost so much talent.  I'll be going over the full list of stars that we lost when I do the News of 2017 retrospective in a couple of days.  For now, I just want to thank Tom Petty, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Gord Downie, David Cassidy, Della Reese, Malcolm Young, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington (among many others) for the wonderful musical gifts they left behind.  Believe me when I say that they will be sorely missed.

Now for a few extra odds and ends about the year.

New Zealand teen singer Lorde took the world by storm a couple of years ago with the release of "Pure Heroine", and this year she came back with a new style and sound with the album "Melodrama".  Though it wasn't as well received as her previous efforts, I do appreciate her as an artist, and I happen to think that her single "Green Light" was one of the better tunes of 2017.

Katy Perry also had a bit of success in 2017 (though nothing really surpassing the huge success that her "Teenage Dream" album achieved).  Her single "Chained to the Rhythm" was a catchy tune that got a bit of airplay early in the year, but it seems as though while Taylor Swift seemed to target Katy in the lyrics for "Look What You Made Me Do", Katy got the ball rolling first as she seemingly targeted Taylor in her single "Swish Swish".  Settle down, ladies!

Miley Cyrus has also had a rather eventful 2017.  Her latest album "Younger Now" has been critically well received and I have to admit that I love the single "Malibu".  I don't know what it is about 2017, but I found that female singers have released some really great stuff this year.  Add to the fact that Miley has served as a judge on "The Voice" this year, and it's safe to say that she's bounced back quite well from the foam finger scandal of a few years ago. 

Who knew that 2017 would be the year that the songs and artists of 1987 would become huge again?  It all started off with Rick Astley, who appeared to be "Rickrolling" us with a new album, "50".  But what ended up happening was that we were the ones Rickrolled, as the songs were his most mature sounding tunes to date.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I really liked it.

And who would have thought that Bananarama would have gotten back together to tour the UK for the first time in twenty-nine years?  To be fair, Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin had always stuck together, but the last time Siobhan Fahey was with the group, "I Heard a Rumour" was charting in the United States!  The unexpected reunion of the group in the fall of 2017 was a surprise smash, with every date of their tour being sold out!

I'll be discussing this more in detail when we get to the News of 2017, but I am sure that the world mourned the deaths of the twenty-two people killed when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb inside of Manchester Arena following the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.  Though not only did Manchester bounce back, but Ariana returned with a few other bands to put on the One Love Manchester concert event.  Again, I'll talk more about that in the news portion of the retrospective, but as far as I'm concerned, that event actually made me respect her more as an artist and as a person.  Well done, Ariana!

And also, continued thoughts go out to the families of the fifty-eight who were killed in the October 1 shootings at the conclusion of the Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas - and I will also talk more about that in the News section.

Finally, I'll just mention that I talked about Gord Downie's passing earlier in this blog, but much like David Bowie did last year, Downie had one final gift for his fans upon his October 17 death.  His solo album "Introduce Yerself" was released ten days after he died, and essentially it's a brilliant collection of his thoughts leading up to his passing, and was certainly the album in which he was at his most honest.  Not long after that, Gord's band, "The Tragically Hip" was honoured with the Order of Canada.  Well done, guys.

Well, that's a wrap of some of the most important stories from the world of music in 2017.  If you have any more to add, please let me know here or through the social media accounts that I maintain.

Coming up tomorrow, you'd better pop yourself some popcorn and put on those 3D glasses because we'll be looking at the best and worst of 2017 in the box office.

(Actually, you don't need 3D glasses.  Your regular eyes will suffice.)

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