Reactions to My 2017 Predictions

I had completely forgotten that I had done a 2017 predictions in music post at the start of the year. A Raven Symoné-esque gaze into the future, it was not. Upon reflection, some of the themes I had expected to come true have, while others, just like my diminishing annual promise to get in shape, have not.

Let’s recap, shall we?

“Sombre vibes and alternative sounds to the front”

‘Pure pop is over’, I declared, with the blow of a whistle and precise waving of arms like a referee in a boxing ring. I had said that in light of a post-Brexit Britain and Trump-reigned America, music was going to reflect the harsher socio and political climate. This was clearly written before I learned about “woke”, a widespread sun-blotting ‘movement’, fortified through social media, and peaking at its glossiest, most marketable zenith when Katy Perry hopped out with ‘Chained to The Rhythm‘ and Kendal Jenner with a Pepsi commercial she’d rather forget.

Grime and hip hop have certainly charted healthily in 2017 – any broadsheet would tell you that. This year saw Stormzy become the first ever grime artist to score a #1 album to a chorus of critical acclaim and screaming fans at sold out shows. We’d all soon stan Stefflon Don if ‘Hurtin’ Me’ or her feature on Jax Jones and Demi Lovato‘s bossy ‘Instruction’ haven’t already put her on your radar.

In the same gaze where I had pointed out artists such as Ray BLK would prosper, this year saw heads turned by the likes of alt-R&B dreamcatchers like Kelela, SZA, Sampha and Kehlani.

To say that the heartbeat of pure pop dimmed this year would be a reach, even for someone as naturally over-dramatic as me. The party raged on. The blood cells of eager-to-please Western pop fused with the viral sensation of its infectious, rhythmic Spanish cousins and out came cross-polinations of artists growing in different nurseries of major label divisions across the world, spawning global hits such as ‘Despacito‘ (Puerto Ricans Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee with Canadian Justin Bieber), ‘Reggaeton Lento‘ (Miami-founded CNCO with Britain’s pride Little Mix), ‘Mi Gente’ (Colombian J Balvin and French Willy William with Texas’ most prolific hot sauce carrier, Beyoncé).

Stan Twitter gurgled over Dua LipaRita Ora and Camila Cabello in the same breath as Taylor Swift and Little Mix. And whether you were checking for it or not, we’ve had a record number of solo One Direction records flood the market. 2017 is to the solo 1D harvest what 1999 was for the Spice Girls. Marinade on that fact.

“Nostalgic re-issues of classic 90s albums on vinyl will be a thing”

According to the Official Charts Company’s October publishing of the 40 biggest selling vinyl albums of 2017 so far… this was not what I had in mind. I am seeing Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, Amy Winehouse, Beatles, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, even Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. There’s a still lot of nostalgia, alright, but not the kind I’m here for. Dondé está Shania Twain “Come On Over”, Alanis Morissette “Jagged Little Pill”, Janet Jackson “The Velvet Rope”, Spice Girls “Spice”, Madonna “The Immaculate Collection” etc. etc.? If you are a hipster vinyl hound, find yourself a pop friend this Christmas and gift them a legendary 90s album of their liking this season. If you want to be a true friend – the kind of friend they sing about in the Golden Girls theme tune – I have seen Lisa Scott-Lee‘s ‘Lately’ and Nicole Scherzinger’s scrapped ‘Puakenikeni’ lying unclaimed in a bargain crate out in East London somewhere. You are welcome.

Speaking of pop nostalgia, take a huge fucking bow Team Steps and Bananarama for staging absolutely solid gold comebacks this year. Especially you, Steps. New music in 2017 that was on brand, on point and on the top of the bloody iTunes charts.

“Expect unexpected collaborations”

Well, that’s a fucking given. I was not exactly the Book of Revelations now, was I? This was a pointless prediction. A piece of recycled oxygen. Like the breath you just exhaled while you were diving deep into your car boot to fetch an oversized Ikea bag for your shopping.

I wasn’t completely off the mark here though. One certainly did not see the returned popularity of Spanglish pop. Not since Ricky Martin‘s hip-twisting World Cup anthem ‘The Cup of Life’ have we seen such unity of the two languages on a global spread – thanks to the aforementioned rather exciting and unexpected collaborations.

Where I was expecting more vibrant gumbos a la Cambridge classical-electronic band Clean Bandit meets Jamaican dancehall sire Sean Paul and karate-chopping Essex pop newbie Anne-Marie, it seems like what works is sticking with your peers. Calvin Harris grouped artists on the same eye-level of success for ‘Feels’ – Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean. Similarly, DJ Khaled drafted Justin Bieber and Rihanna for the respective hits. It just makes good commercial sense. So until there is a verifiable market for a Chainsmokers featuring Shirley BasseyLindsey Stirling and Mr Eazi collab, then I will just stay put.

At some point over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing my fave tracks of 2017 and my predictions for the state of pop in 2018. Now if that isn’t something to look forward to, I don’t know what is.

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Austin Mahone “The Secret” EP

Eighteen-year old Texan heartthrob Austin Mahone recaptures power pop styles of the early-millennium on his second EP: The Secret. N Sync would be proud!

Austin Mahone The Secret

The definition of ‘retro’ is quickly pulled from under our feet as a new generation of entertainers rise, many of them taking it in their stride to re-appropriate pop styles they grew up with in the mid-90s to early 2000s.

It’s clear that Swedish pop producer Max Martin‘s sound is the blueprint for Austin‘s latest collection of tunes. Martin’s sound dominated the mainstream music scene in the late 90s, most prominently through monumental hits by Backstreet BoysBritney Spears and N Sync. If you are looking for a slice of boyband pop nostalgia with a modern twist, The Secret is the EP for you.

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Chart Feed – 12.11.12

I left y’all scratching at the post a little last week because I took my ass on a little vacaycay to Brisbane.

Chart Feed

Bitch, you should’ve seen me lounging on the beach in an island that was practically deserted on a Monday arvo. I was having a Mariah moment frolicking in the sand, trying to look cute for my Instagram photos. But hey, I am back now and here comes your chart feed – which might cover some things I didn’t get to touch on last week.

This has been a good week for Robbie Williams who scored his first simulatenous UK #1 album-and-single action in 11 years. Elsewhere, the following chart showboaters can’t complain either: Taylor SwiftCalvin Harris, Little Mix, Of Monsters and Men, The Wanted, and to a certain extent, Christina Aguilera. SAY!

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Chart Feed – 24.09.12

We’ve seen the charts light up like it was Christmas this month, thanks to the heavy flow of new albums taking over the shelves.

CHART FEED

For only the second time in history, the entire top six spots on the US Billboard 200 are filled with debut entries. Here in Australia, we have eight new albums scaling our ARIA Top 20, while over in the UK, they have six.

Y’all can obviously expect for it to get even more competitive in the coming months as all the strong sellers come out to play for your seasonal spendings.

This has been a good week for Pink, The Killers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kanye West and – definitely more than ever – PSY, the K-pop icon responsible for ‘Gangnam Style’.

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Chart Feed – 06.08.12

A whole season must’ve passed beneath our feet, moons come and gone, colours of the wind changed, since our last Chart Feed – but I’m now ready to immerse myself back into a regime of tireless research on Monday nights.

Chart Feed

Perhaps once the choir of angels performing their celebratory rendition of ‘You Bring Me Joy’ has ascended back to heaven, we can begin this week’s pickings of the ARIA, UK Official and US Billboard charts.

This was a particularly rosy week for Justice Crew and Conor Maynard, featuring new entries also from The Veronicas, Kelendria Trene Rowland and Scissor Sisters.

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Chart Feed – 26.03.12

It’s just past midnight and I’ve been compiling this post for the past four hours non-stop. It’s somewhat understandable that I want to just drop dead now to the sound of Madonna‘s ‘Gang Bang’ on repeat and never wake up again.

This week’s Chart Feed is one for the history books – especially if you’re the world’s biggest boyband of the moment: One Direction. Their legendary storming of the US Billboard charts makes them the first ever British band to have their first album go #1 in the States.

Elsewhere, Katy Perry blasts to #1 on the UK charts and we also look ahead to new releases by The Saturdays, Scissor Sisters and Calvin Harris.

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Chart Feed – 21.11.11

Ed Sheeran continues to win Aussies over with his smash ‘The A Team’ rising to #2 on our ARIA charts. 1.5 million people tuned in to watch the nail-biting X Factor Australia decider last Tuesday, which featured Ed‘s “live” performance of ‘The A Team’. Truth is, that performance was actually taped the week before when the ginger singer/songwriter was actually in the country. Ed‘s album + shoots from #21 to #8 on our ARIA charts.

Rihanna‘s ‘We Found Love’ continues to rule at #3 on our ARIA charts. The dance/pop single is the most played song on Australian radios (counting from period 10 to 16 November, seeing as the airplay charts get updated every Thursday).

Her new single ‘You Da One’ debuts at #60 on our ARIA charts and becomes the most added new song to Aussie radios this week. Talk That Talk deluxe album is currently #5 on the Australian iTunes and #1 on the UK store.

Over in America, ‘We Found Love’ is still the most downloaded song in the country and the most played song in the clubs. Her next smash ‘You Da One’ debuts at #73 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and becomes the biggest new song on American radios, debuting at #28 on the airplay charts. 

Watch Rihanna flog ‘We Found Love’ on US X Factor with a rather overpowering backing track:


 
Jessica Mauboy‘s ‘Galaxy’ featuring Stan Walker drops out of the ARIA Top 20. It’s probably not a sign of waning interest, just fiercer competition at the top end. The big ballad managed a new peak of #19 on our Australian airplay charts. All this excitement causing J Mally‘s last smash ‘Inescapable’ to almost fall out of the airplay Top 30 altogether.

Stan Walker‘s new single ‘Light It Up’ is not getting much radio love. It plummets to #36 on our local airplay charts, leaving ‘Galaxy’ to be the most current ambassador for his new album. ‘Light It Up’ plummets to #64 on the ARIA charts. Stan‘s album Let The Music Play is currently placed at #55 on our iTunes charts after three days.

Glee‘s spectacular mash up of Adele‘s ‘Rumour Has It/Someone Like You’ debuts at #39 on our ARIA charts, making it the first Glee single of Season 3 to make our Top 40. I’ve clocked it rising as high at #10 on our iTunes chart but could it keep selling this hard? Over in the UK, ‘Rumour Has It/ Someone Like You’ begins charting at #35.

Listen, I don’t normally care for Glee covers but this is evidently the greatest:


 
Ricki-Lee‘s ‘Raining Diamonds’ breaks higher ground at #19 on our ARIA charts to become her eighth Top 20 smash. Hard to believe but this mega pop single’s actually not getting as much radio rotation as Jess and Stan‘s dated ballad. That baffles me. ‘Raining Diamonds’ is only perched at #26 on the airplay charts.

Katy Perry‘s ‘The One That Got Away’ creeps back up to #35 on our ARIA Top 100, thanks to some decent airplay kicking in at last. The sixth Teenage Dream single took an epic leap from #62 to #37 in the UK this week. Its remixes managed to debut at #31 on the US Billboard Dance/Club charts.

Lady Gaga‘s ‘Marry The Night’ needs all the help it can get. The single is slowly crawling up at #80 on our ARIA charts – the minimal radio rotation’s not doing any favours. ‘Marry The Night’ registered the biggest drop on the Australian airplay charts in the last week, falling from #23 to #32. Over in the UK, ‘Marry The Night’ debuts at #18 – thanks in no small part to her X Factor appearance.

Watch ‘Marry The Night: Prelude Pathetique’, the full-length video is expected out soon:


 
Guy Sebastian‘s new single ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is the second most added new song to Aussie radios this week. The feel good song managed to scale up to #76 in the first 24 hours on iTunes. Watch this sky rocket after its debut performance on X Factor‘s grand final extravaganza tomorrow.

Kelly Clarkson‘s next smash ‘What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)’ becomes the fourth most added new song to Aussie radios this week. The track is currently charting at #52 on our iTunes store.

Kelly Rowland‘s down for a major pop comeback. Her flawless dance smash ‘Down For Whatever’ finally arrives on UK store fronts today and it’s already scaling up to #4 on iTunes. You know, if all goes well, ‘Down For Whatever’ could get a US release sooner rather than later. Her last club endeavour ‘Commander’ managed to reign at #1 on the US Billboard Dance/Club charts. How about giving this a go?

Watch Kelendria attack ‘Down For Whatever’ live on Children In Need Rocks Manchester:


 
One Direction‘s ‘Gotta Be You’ debuts at #3 in the UK this week. I am clutching my pearls in shock to learn that Flo Rida‘s new single ‘Good Feeling’ outsold this to debut at #2.

Over here in Australia, 1D‘s early hit ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ goes Top 10 – thankfully picking up a great deal of  radio rotation as the summer kicks in. ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ leaps from #37 to #26 on our Australian airplay charts. Up All Night arrives in Australia this Friday – it’s currently the most pre-ordered album on our iTunes store, charting at #28.

The Saturdays‘ wintery break up ballad ‘My Heart Takes Over’ debuts at #15 in the UK. Not a good look at all. Both The Sats and 1D will now take on the album chart wars together with their respective LPs landing today. Day one and The SaturdaysOn Your Radar‘s trailing at #20 on iTunes while 1D‘s Up All Night blazes up to #2.

Rebecca Ferguson‘s debut single ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’ is currently placed at #8 on UK iTunes. Further down, her album track ‘Fairytale (Let Me Live My Lie This Way)’ charts at #124. Becca‘s debut LP Heaven will drop on 5 December in the UK.

Watch her heartwarming debut TV performance of ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’:


 
JLS predictably has the biggest selling new album this week with Jukebox entering the UK charts at #2. Meanwhile, his nearest pop competitor Pixie Lott flops disastrously at #18 with her sophomore Young Foolish Happy. It feels like a lifetime since she had a #1 single with ‘All About Tonight’.

Cher Lloyd‘s album Sticks + Stones sinks from #4 to #12 in its second week. Snaps for success – here in Australia, ‘With Ur Love’ becomes the fifth most added new song to local radio.

Nicole Scherzinger‘s Killer Love album re-enters the UK Top 100 at #65, thanks to a sleek Christmas-ready repackage. The brand new single ‘Try With Me’ flops hard, nosediving from #29 to #64 in its third week.

Justin Bieber‘s Under The Mistletoe plummets from #1 to #6 in the US, registering a 54% drop with 97,000 second week sales. Justin and Mimi‘s new generation duet on her classic ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is faring well. The video directed by Sanaa Hamri is expected out soon.

Check out this delightful new Mariah interview where she talks about the shoot and another new Xmas duet:


 
Mariah‘s seasonal smashes are already making their way back up the US Billboard 200. With Christmas being only a month away now, I guess it totally makes sense to start bumping these festive choons. Her classic 90s Merry Christmas album leaps back at #142 while last year’s sequel Merry Christmas II You re-enters at #194. Fans best refrain from purchasing the individual records because Mimi‘s gonna be doing some deluxe package for both albums with new material.

Susan Boyle‘s third album Someone To Watch Over Me drops from #4 to #7 on the US Billboard 200, registering a 46% sales drop with 72,000 second week figures.

Noel Gallagher‘s first solo album High Flying Birds perches at #28 on the US Billboard 200, which isn’t too far off from his estranged brother Liam‘s placement of #31 with his band Beady Eye. That album flopped in the States, managing to only sell 29,000 copies to date.

Watch Noel Gallagher‘s ‘AKA… What A Life!’ music video:


 
Taylor Swift is assaulting the digital charts now with three previously released tracks appearing on online stores for the first time. ‘If This Was A Movie’, ‘Ours’ and ‘Superman’ were previously only available on the deluxe CD edition of her Speak Now album through Target. In their first week on the digital charts ‘If This Was A Movie’ managed to debut at #3 with 162,000 downloads, ‘Ours’ made #5 with 148,000 downloads, and ‘Superman’ landed at #13 with 91,000 downloads.

Britney Spears‘Criminal’ continues to struggle, tumbling to #64 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in its fifth week. Despite the excitement of new remixes, the single’s not flying up the typically easy to scale dance/club charts. ‘Criminal’ is also flopping big time on the airplay charts. This is the bleakest, especially following a major radio success like ‘I Wanna Go’.

Beyoncé‘s ‘Countdown’ isn’t moving in the right direction on the overall US Billboard Hot 100, slipping to #75 in its fifth week. It has only just shown up on the US Airplay Top 100 so maybe it’ll be late bloomer? Meanwhile over on the dance/club charts, ‘Countdown’ becomes a blazing success shooting to a new peak of #6. Could this be the third 4 single to top the dance charts?

On the flip side, Queen Bey‘s urban smash ‘Party’ remains at #54 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and stays in the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

‘Countdown’ is not only struggling in America but the UK as well, plummeting from #51 to #80 while ‘Love On Top’ soars from #141 to #87. The latter will be released as Bey’s fourth 4 single in the UK on 5 December.

Watch the exclusive VEVO streaming of Bey‘s Live at Roseland concert. Like for real.


 
Wynter Gordon‘s ‘Buy My Love’ blitzes to a new peak of #14 on the US Billboard Dance/Club charts. Mah gurl has been in the studio with the likes of MNEK (upcoming British music sensation who has worked with Florrie and co-penned The Saturdays‘ mega ‘All Fired Up’) and Victoria Hansen who co-wrote Aggro Santos/Kimberly Wyatt‘s ‘Candy’.