Be hear now
After Craig David, All Saints and Rick Astley staged unexpected comebacks this year, who’s next? Samantha Mumba? DJ Pied Piper? Jive Bunny?
Let’s hope not. Instead, here’s some music we can look forward to.
Fresh from allegedly being punctured by the sixth in line to the throne, Ed Sheeran has completed work on his as-yet-untitled third album.
Little is known about the record, but the star recently registered several songs with his publisher, with titles like 21st Century Fox, Sure and Fall.
The latter was co-written with Amy Wadge, who helped him out on the chart-busting ballad Thinking Out Loud. She told Newsbeat the new material would “break the internet“, so if your email gets hacked, blame Ed.
Also in the studio is Katy Perry, who ditched half of her fourth album so she could write songs about Donald Trump’s US election victory.
“It’s funny, sometimes people who disagree with me just say, ‘Shut up and sing,'” she wrote earlier this month. “Boy, will I do so in a whole new way… next year. Hell hath no fury like a woman REBORN.”
Speaking of which, the US inauguration could be one to watch, just to see which musicians come out in support of Mr Trump.
Various reports have suggested his transition team are struggling to book A-list stars. At the time of writing, only one performer – Jackie Evancho, a runner-up from America’s Got Talent – was confirmed to play.
Tenor Andrea Bocelli had been linked to the ceremony, but rumours say he pulled out after a social media backlash.
Soul star John Legend told the BBC he was “not surprised” that musicians were boycotting the ceremony.
“Creative people tend to reject bigotry and hate,” he said. “It’s unlikely he’ll get a lot of creative people that want to be associated with him.”
Instead, the first show-stopping musical moment of 2017 is likely to be Lady Gaga’s half-time concert at the Super Bowl in Houston, Texas.
Not known for subtlety or restraint, the star is likely to pull out all the stops, having called the performance “one of the highest honours of my career”.
The Super Bowl will be quickly followed by the Grammys, where the nominations are led by Beyonce herself; and The Brits, which could see David Bowie posthumously awarded both the best male artist and best album prizes.
In “get on with it” news, we’re still waiting for some of the albums I previewed in last year’s look-ahead – so consider this is a final warning for Lorde, Pharrell and Gorillaz, all of whom have been teasing new music for months, with no appreciable results.
Altogether more productive are Coldplay, who will follow up last year’s A Head Full Of Dreams with a brand new EP, Kaleidoscope, putting to bed rumours that they were about to take a break.
Drake also shows no signs of stopping. Not content with being the world’s most-streamed artist and booking an eight-night residency in London’s O2 arena, the Canadian star has two (or maybe three) records due in the next 12 months.
First up is More Life, which is billed as a “playlist project” featuring Drake and the artists signed to his OVO record label. A collaborative album with Kanye West is also in the works; while the rumour mill suggests he’s cooking up something with Taylor Swift. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Gallagher goes solo
2016 was a banner year for grime, with Skepta and Kano releasing career and genre-defining albums, so Stormzy has everything to prove with his debut album, which has been a year in the making.
The South London newcomer/trailblazer says the finished product will help fans “understand who I am, what I love, what I hate, what I treasure, what has stunted my growth [and] helped my growth”.
Liam Gallagher also has a score to settle with his debut solo album. His brother, Noel, has seen his career go from strength to strength since Oasis split, while Liam’s band Beady Eye fell ingloriously into the dumper.
Those in the know speak highly of the star’s new material – but he’s expecting a critical drubbing. “The press will probably hate it but they hate everything anyway,” he said.
“I don’t think people care any more. Music’s judged by social media now, not by The Guardian.”
We can also expect albums from:
- Clean Bandit
- Depeche Mode
- Brian Eno
- Flaming Lips
- Fleet Foxes
- Fleetwood Mac
- Nelly Furtado
- The Killers
- Zara Larsson
- Dua Lipa
- Major Lazer
- Marilyn Manson
- The National
- Nine Inch Nails
- Run The Jewels
- The Shins
- Bruce Springsteen
- Vampire Weekend
- Wolf Alice
- Charli XCX
- The xx
Arcade Fire also look likely to release new material, after booking headline slots at Spain’s Primavera and the Isle of Wight Festival for the summer; while fans are hoping System Of A Down will release their first album since 2005 when they top the bill at Download.
We already know that Glastonbury will welcome Radiohead onto the Pyramid stage as Friday night headliners, but the rest of the line-up remains under wraps.
That said, Foo Fighters will presumably make up for their no-show in 2014; while Ed Sheeran or Guns N Roses would be fitting headliners for the Sunday night.
Other notable tours come from Bob Dylan and Adele, who wraps up her world tour with a breathtaking four nights at Wembley Stadium in June.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott are lined up for a massive stadium show in Hull on 3 June as part of the 2017 City of Culture celebrations; while Tom Petty marks the 40th anniversary of his band The Heartbreakers with a rare UK appearance at London’s BST Festival in Hyde Park.
And The Maccabees call time on their career with a farewell tour that culminates with two nights at London’s Alexandra Palace.
The first anniversary of David Bowie’s death is being marked by concerts in New York and London; while Prince’s closest friends will play a tribute show at his Paisley Park home in April. Around the same time, a deluxe edition of his career-defining Purple Rain album will be released, featuring outtakes and unreleased tracks from the film.
On which note, let’s raise a glass to the stars we lost, while hoping that 2017 isn’t quite so unrelentingly miserable.