Aoife Mawn outlines what to expect from popular music artists in 2018.

 

Predicting what’s going to happen in the world of music over the next 12 months is pretty near impossible. Sure, we can discuss the album releases, the big comebacks, the festivals, and so on, but really, anything can happen. 2018 is shaping up to be a huge year, but what do we think we can expect?

You couldn’t escape ‘Despacito’ last year, and Camila Cabello has been ruling the airwaves with her Latin-inspired track ‘Havana.’ It looks like we haven’t heard the last of Latin pop: it’s predicted that this year we will hear more mainstream artists try to get in on the trend, as Justin Bieber and Beyoncé did last year.

Given that 2017 was such a massive year for K-pop, and groups like BTS in particular, perhaps we can expect boybands to make a comeback, and in a stylistically new direction.

Since One Direction announced their hiatus in 2015, there has been something of a lull on the boyband scene. Given that 2017 was such a massive year for K-pop, and groups like BTS in particular, perhaps we can expect boybands to make a comeback, and in a stylistically new direction.

Speaking of comebacks, we can’t ignore the imminent return of some classic noughties indie favourites. We haven’t heard any new material from Arctic Monkeys in almost five years, the longest they’ve ever left us hanging, but a new album is slated for release this year, and shows have been announced. We can also expect projects from Franz Ferdinand, their first record since 2013’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, and the Fratellis, whose superb 2015 album Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied seemed to slip through the mainstream cracks somewhat.

George Ezra performed excellently at last year’s Glastonbury, and is due to release his new record in March.

George Ezra performed excellently at last year’s Glastonbury, and is due to release his new record in March. We’re sure to hear his acoustic pop songs being played to death over the coming months, but it will be a welcome return from an artist who has pretty much nailed his sound. Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne should be releasing their debut albums this year and it will be interesting to see how they perform commercially, compared to the other former members of One Direction. On the topic of ex-boybanders, Justin Timberlake is also bringing out his fifth solo effort this spring. We’re pretty much guaranteed to get the song of the summer from this, but we may want to pull our ears off come August, when we feel it’s all we’ve listened to this year.

For those who enjoyed Frank Ocean’s run of songs in 2017, he has promised that 2018 will be even better, hinting that he has something in the pipeline.

Azealia Banks is due to release her second studio album this year, and it will be interesting to see the result, considering the controversies that have often overshadowed her music. Charli XCX brought out two well-received mixtapes, as well as the anthemic ‘Boys’ last year. Hopefully, an album in 2018 will help her find the pop success she deserves as an artist in her own right, and not just as a featured voice. Although claiming that more material was on its way, Kanye West has largely dropped off the grid since 2016’s The Life of Pablo. He allegedly spent part of last year holed up in the mountains of Wyoming, working on new music. Naturally, this has made for one of 2018’s most keenly anticipated releases. For those who enjoyed Frank Ocean’s run of songs in 2017, he has promised that 2018 will be even better, hinting that he has something in the pipeline.

Last year, Cardi B shot to super-stardom with ‘Bodak Yellow;’ remarkably becoming the first female rapper to top the US charts with a solo single since Lauryn Hill, back in 1998. Now the world waits with bated breath for Cardi B’s next move. Whether or not a debut album materialises this year, we’re sure to hear lots from the newest member of the global rap elite.

The absence of Glastonbury from the 2018 festival circuit gives room for other, smaller festivals to snatch bigger names for their lineups. European majors such as Benicàssim and Sziget always prove popular as a holiday for students, and with Kendrick Lamar and Mumford and Sons already announced for the latter, this trend is sure to continue.

As for Electric Picnic, the organisers are known for picking a mix of older and newer artists to try to appeal to everyone. The Academic have just released their debut album Tales from the Backseat and are almost a dead cert to appear. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were one of the biggest acts in 2016, and with a new album out, it’s impossible to rule them out for a return. Other Picnic diehards, such as Seasick Steve and the Strypes, spring up nearly every year and will inevitably appear again.

With big returns come big tours, and we’re sure to see many of our favourites stop by. We wait with excitement for Marlay Park to announce its list of summer concerts.

Like every year, 2018 is sure to have comebacks and breakups, smash hits and disappointments, along with plenty of crazy stories we could never have imagined. One thing that’s for sure is that we’re looking forward to all of it.