Building on the mistakes of 2017.
2017 was a huge year for music. Artists like Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, and Tyler the Creator released some of their best and most personal works; artists like SZA and Cardi B exploded onto the scene; and artists like Thundercat and Royal Blood are revitalizing genres that have fallen out of the limelight. Despite all the positive trends happening now in music, there were still some negative trends that dominated 2017. In an effort to improve upon 2017, here are 5 trends of 2017 that need to end.
1. Uninspired Comeback Albums
Eminem once said, “when your run is over, just admit when it’s at its end”. With his recent Revival LP, I am sorry to say that he didn’t follow what he previously preached. Unfortunately, Eminem wasn’t the only artist to release a seemingly uninspired “comeback” album in 2017. Gorillaz started off the year with the train-wreck known as Humanz; which was followed by “efforts” from Arcade Fire, Prophets of Rage, and Liam Gallagher. I’m not necessarily saying that the albums by those artists were terrible; some were passable, but they all seemed highly uninspired due to the blatant, blander reproduction of their older material or the adoption of popular mainstream trends. So to all artists wanting to make a comeback in 2018, please don’t taint your discography with an uninspired work. Its not a comeback if the album is only passable at best.
2. Copying The Chainsmoker’s Sound
Remember when Maroon 5 was a funk rock band? If Red Pill Blues was your first exposure to Maroon 5 then you might have thought they were just another electropop copycat band. From Maroon 5 to Linkin Park to even Weezer and Nic Cester, it seems as though everyone is trying to copy The Chainsmoker’s sound. If you’re a fan of that sound, this probably wouldn’t effect you at all; however, it seems the vast majority of critics and listeners out there are not (hence the 4.8 critical score and 1.8 user score for their most recent album on Metacritic). Music is ultimately about self-expression; and the only thing these artists seem to be expressing is how much they want to sound like The Chainsmokers.
3. Putting 808s Everywhere
I typically like a well-placed 808 beat. That being said, stop putting 808s in songs where they don’t belong. Lana Del Rey’s “Summer Bummer” and Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know” are perfect examples of this. With both tracks, the 808 seems like it clashes with the aesthetic of the instrumentals. I understand experimentation with music, but this just seems like the producers took the lazy route and copied a popular trend in hip-hop to make the track sound modern and mainstream. So, for 2018, stop putting 808s where they don’t belong.
4. Putting A Rap Feature In Everything
It’s no secret that Kendrick Lamar is my favorite rapper. Ive been excited for every project he puts out and I was one of the few fans who dove deep into the second album conspiracy following DAMN. That being said, I think he had no business being in “Don’t Wanna Know” by Maroon 5; same with A$AP Rocky on “Summer Bummer” and Future on “Cold”. I understand that its beneficial for an artist to constantly try to expand their fan-base with collaborations, but to nonchalantly insert a rap feature in your song without thinking about how well it’ll fit is lazy and tasteless.
5. Supporting Violent And Reckless Behavior
Tay-K is a 17 year old rapper whose single, “The Race”, blew up in September 2017. Tay-K is also currently under trial for 2 counts of murder and 1 count of armed robbery. I don’t have a problem with Tay-K, his case, or the contents of his song; but I do have a problem with the viral campaign, #FREETAYK, that emerged along with his increased popularity. Normally I wouldn’t care too much for viral campaigns, because I believe that you should support things that you feel passionate about; but I believe that the #FREETAYK movement doesn’t deserve the support it has been given.
It would make more sense to me if Tay-K was wrong convicted of the crimes or sentenced more severely than most other people, but the trial hasn’t even occurred yet. The blind support for Tay-K seems to be diminishing the seriousness of the crimes that he allegedly committed. I’m not claiming I know he is guilty, but I do think that maybe we should take his allegations a bit more seriously. Maybe in 2018, we should think more about what we are supporting before we jump on the viral bandwagon.