Don’t worry, there’s no Lil Pump/Big Shaq/Katy Perry/Chris & Kem/Ed Sheeran here.
2017 has been quite a year. To celebrate three things – its musical goodness, me finally getting things in order on these pages, and a year of better playlisting that’s allowed me to bring all the best bits together without it taking approximately a million years – here’s a collection of 101 of the best songs it’s spawned. There’ll be many more words, playlists, and things appearing here over the coming months, especially if I can figure out how to make Spotify embeds look as nice on WordPress as they can elsewhere, so do say hello if there’s anything you think I’ve missed.
The south coast’s brightest star plays a tremendous hometown sellout.
There may still be the odd occasion where some listings site confuses Portsmouth’s Jerry Williams with the Swedish rocker of the same name 54 years her senior, but selling out a second headline in just seven months at her hometown’s most prestigious venue shows the south coast has cottoned on to her narrative-laced indie pop glories. Spending the summer with 2016 EP cut ‘I’m Not In Love With You’ featured across BBC Radio 1 to precede barnstorming braces of sets at V and The Great Escape will certainly have done no harm whatsoever, and perhaps as a result her full band setup now feels more refined and primed for the big time than ever before.
Amidst enthusiastic singalongs for deceptively vibrant staples ‘Mother’ and ‘Boy Oh Boy,’ Williams zipped with remarkable efficiency through a setlist predominantly comprising unreleased tracks that will inevitably form the basis of 2018’s full-length bow. Her apparent allergy to songs that clock in above three minutes ensures this, with time for everything from solo acoustic therapy for a father-to-be (‘David At The Bar’) to a Pollyanna-like take on the perks of mortality (new single ‘Grab Life’) and a chatter-suspending storm of a Jamie T cover to be delivered with infectious precision.
Imagine the kind of festival that would nonchalantly complete its lineup on a Tuesday morning by adding 150 new names and you can begin to get a sense of what The Great Escape is all about. Forget faffing around in a muddy field and missing out on your favourite bands because your friends are making you wait in a half-decent perch for one headliner – The Great Escape is three days of the music industry converging in over 30 of Brighton’s finest venues to celebrate and be introduced to everything new and ready to take over. The archives are packed with household names who appeared before their big breakthroughs – from Adele in 2007 to The xx in 2009 via Christine And The Queens in 2013 and Bon Iver in 2008 – and this year’s bill now boasts well over 400 names ready to feature in the same conversations. Slaves will kick things off by gigging on the resplendent pier, local lad and two-time performer Rag‘n’Bone Man has already sold out his headline slot at the Dome, and Kano will take over the Old Market for some grime time on Friday night, but here’s just a little taste of the acts that you should keep a particular eye out for.
Now we’ve finally reached the concluding moments of 2016, it’s time for This Week In Records to splash out a little bit. You may be familiar with our methods – trawling the web for every last morsel of new music worth your attention and delivering it promptly for breakfast every Friday, with an occasional side dish of irritability whenever someone dares to “spill” a piña colada over a marimba and ends up regurgitating a soulless rendition of a decent dance record from the last millennium. Today, to celebrate the end of all things, we’ve cast our glances right back to where it all began.
Elsewhere on this site, you will find serious collections and rankings of the year – albums, films, games, TV shows, etc. – but This Year In Records is for celebrating 2016’s music in all its delectable forms. Over the next twelve pages, we discuss one release from every single New Music Friday. Some are fantastic. Some are abominations. Some will be recalled as the releases that first caught attention from the music heroes of tomorrow. One is a miserable spawn from The X Factor.
If a rapid whiz through 366 days of music sounds appealing, allow me to be your guide. I promise I’ll only rap twice.