Need something to help get you through the quarter? We know we’re a little bit late to the party, but the music writers at the Daily are here with a much anticipated list of the much-anticipated albums we’re looking forward to hearing in 2017!
Kanye West (Ben)
After closing out 2016 with a string of controversial political statements, a start-and-stop concert tour and a much needed stay at the hospital, Kanye West is looking to start things fresh in the new year. In the minds of the many Kanye fans who might feel betrayed by the rapper’s most recent antics, the fastest way to forgiveness would be a new album. Soon after the rollout of “The Life Of Pablo” last winter, Kanye took to Twitter to promise a follow up called “Turbo Grafx 16,” coming before the year’s end. That didn’t happen, of course, but there’s hope for 2017: Legendary hip-hop producer Pete Rock recently posted some clips from a studio session with West, and the videos show what appears to be either a draft of the “Turbo Grafx” tracklist or a list of video game inspirations for the album. In either case, there’s no doubt that if we get a release date anytime soon, “Turbo Grafx” will be one of the most anticipated albums of the year.
Katy Perry (Maimi)
The pop star, known for hits such as “Firework” and “Roar,” has been working on a new record, which is likely to be released in 2017 by Capitol Records. As her most recent album, “Prism,” was released three years ago, it’s highly probable that Katy Perry will be releasing a fourth album early this year. Prism seemed to mark a transition into a more mature, emotional feel compared to its predecessor, “Teenage Dream.” Where will Katy Perry take her listeners next?
Queens of the Stone Age (Dylan)
After releasing the dreary desert rock of “…Like Clockwork” and producing Iggy Pop’s self-reflective “Post-Pop Depression,” frontman Josh Homme and his fellow members of Queens of the Stone Age are now pausing their side projects (Eagles of Death Metal, Mastodon, Sweethead, The Dead Weather) to return to the studio. Since key vocalist and bassist Nick Oliveri left after their critically acclaimed “Songs For The Deaf,” Queens of the Stone Age have changed up their sound on every record as Homme matures as an artist. From the little information the public is going on, this new record could see Homme’s most incisive and reflective lyrics, as evidenced by his live teaser song “Villains of Circumstance.”
The New Pornographers – “Whiteout Conditions” (Jacob)
The New Pornographers have been one of the most consistent groups in indie rock for nearly two decades now. Despite the group’s large, freewheeling membership and the solo success of vocalist Neko Case and guitarist Dan Bejar (who does most of his work under the name Destroyer), the band’s albums from 2000’s “Mass Romantic” to 2014’s “Brill Bruisers” have all provided an embarrassment of power pop riches, melding the noir country stylings of Case, the prickly comedy of Bejar and the studied pop songcraft of lead singer AC Newman into a polished, witty whole. Their newest, “Whiteout Conditions,” is their first without Bejar, but lead single “High Ticket Attractions” is as well constructed and fun as anything they’ve released.
Madeon, the French musical mastermind behind indie EDM favorites “Pay No Mind” and “You’re On,” is returning to the studio following his Shelter Live Tour with his musical partner Porter Robinson. After the release of his acclaimed debut album “Adventure” in 2015, Madeon confirmed the release of his sophomore album last May (title forthcoming), expected to hit the shelves sometime this year. Madeon’s music is inherently electronic, but it’s organic as well, crafting narratives of beauty, tragedy and euphoria with sounds rather than lyrics. It’s an emotional experience: His eclectic combinations of vocal one-shots, hard-hitting drums and guitar licks immerse the listener in a clean-cut, futuristic, yet homely sound. His music, thus far, has had a youthful, sprightly vibe, but it will certainly be interesting to watch his sound mature — and in any case, the album is sure to have both longtime listeners and newcomers reaching for the nearest box of tissues.
David Bowie and Prince (Maimi)
Icons David Bowie and Prince had monumental influence on many musical genres — not just pop. Although both passed away last year, there is still hope for their fans. Just before his death in January, Bowie released “Blackstar,” an album that gave us songs like “Lazarus.” Fortunately, we can look forward to hearing more unreleased material in 2017. Warner Bros. has also planned to release Prince’s unreleased material this year as well, specifically a remastered version of his classic 1984 soundtrack album “Purple Rain.”
Grizzly Bear (Andrea)
The indie rock band, up there in stature with Beach House, Beirut and Band of Horses, hasn’t dropped anything since their mesmerizing 2012 release, “Shields.” Their sumptuous blend of drums, gritty electric guitar and hard-hitting and soulful vocals has a way of making you feel very small in the biggest, darkest and most tragic world that you could dream of (in a very good way). Well, get excited, because the band tweeted an update in October: “Album 90% done. Last update until you hear it.” No release date yet, but that tweet has everyone hoping the album will be dropped somewhere in the middle of 2017.
St. Vincent (Benjamin)
Always bold and experimental but now political, St. Vincent is going further than she ever has before. Her 2014 album “St. Vincent” was experimental in both content and form: It was an introspective journey into the persona of St. Vincent through the medium of raw yet meticulously constructed beats and experimental sounds. Her upcoming album promises to not only go deeper, but also to extend into the world around her as she responds to the geopolitical state of the world. And knowing St. Vincent, she’ll have a lot to say. The album is set to be released in spring of 2017, which is not nearly soon enough.
Kelly Clarkson (Maimi)
Famous for songs like the powerful pop song “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Clarkson is expected to release an album in mid-2017 after a new label with Atlantic Records. Her eighth, highly anticipated studio album is said to be different from her past pop rock albums, instead centering more on a soulful, R&B pop genre. Fans will no doubt enjoy the transition.
Ed Sheeran (Maimi)
Ed Sheeran, whose “Thinking Out Loud” from his album “X” was especially successful, is rumored to release an album this year, but plans are apparently top secret! This third album, titled “÷” (Divide), is already off to a great start with the singles “Castle On The Hill” and “Shape Of You”, released on Jan. 5 this year. The album is set to come out on March 3. Will it be a more eclectic collection?
And more… (Maimi)
It has been four years since Lorde released “Pure Heroine,” which included pop hits like “Royals,” and the young star has hinted on social media that she might drop a new album in 2017. While the running theme in songs like “Royals” and “Team” was about keeping it real, what might her next vision be? Avril Lavigne, singer of “Complicated,” also announced via social media that she will be releasing an album this year. It has been four years since her previous album, and fans can certainly look forward to it, whether it brings new changes or familiar pop punk sounds. Charli XCX, singer of “Boom Clap,” is also speculated to have plans to release a new upcoming album. Where might this new direction take fans? Maroon 5, although not exactly planning to record an album for this year, will still be releasing new material for its fans in 2017. Will we see vibes along the hit “Sugar”? Or will it be along the slower pace of “Don’t Wanna Know”? We can expect this: 2017 is going to be a new exciting year for quality pop music.
Contact music desk editor Ben Sorensen at bcsoren ‘at’ stanford.edu.