The year has already seen some big releases and surprises. Ed Sheeran is once again in the running for this year's biggest selling album with ÷, closely followed by Kendrick Lamar's latest masterpiece Damn and Drake's More Life. Other winners this year include the Atlanta hip-hop trio Migos, whose debut, Culture, has established itself as a new force to be reckoned with. Lorde also made a major claim for pop-stardom with her superb new release Melodrama. Meanwhile, the normally divisive John Mayer also found some redemption with solid new effort The Search for Everything: Wave One. The second half of 2017 has its own highlights with upcoming releases by Arcade Fire and Foo Fighters. We take a look at some of the big tunes coming your way.
Only a band as huge as Coldplay can generate considerable anticipation for what is essentially a half album. That said, the Kaleidoscope EP doesn't seem like some tossed off collection to meet a contractual obligation. Coldplay continue their plunge into super-polished pop, as seen in the somewhat decent new single All I Can Think of You. Special guests include American rapper Big Sean and British dance duo, The Chainsmokers.
Lust for Life
Lana Del Raey
After the monochrome beauty that was her previous effort Hollywood, Lana Del Ray is looking to shake things up with her fifth album. As well as her stylish new single, Love, what intrigues here are the collaborations and influence she listed for the new record. With confirmed songs listing eclectic guest appearances from Fleetwood Mac and Sean Lennon to The Weeknd and A$AP Rocky, not to mention production work by pop luminary Max Martin, Lust for Life could achieve the rarity of garnering critical respect and commercial success.
If you were there to see Travis Scott’s amazingly manic performance as part of last year’s Beats on The Beach, then you will know how committed he is to his craft. His body of work remains maddeningly elusive: cluttered and rather creepy, he still manages to dazzle with his dexterous rapping and smooth croon. Strapping in for another wild ride.
Since the Canadian group's 2004 debut Funeral, nearly everything they have released since has been met with universal acclaim. One wonders if that enviable winning streak could come to an end with their upcoming album, but it seems unlikely, as three of the main producers include Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk, Geoff Barrow from Portishead and Steve Mackey, bassist of Pulp. The lead single Everything Now is brilliant, with its disco opening section recalling Abba's Dancing Queen,
before settling into an indie-rock groove.
Queens of the Stone Age
The bleak and troubled sound of Queens of the Stone Age's previous album, 2013's Like Clockwork, was down to frontman Josh Homme writing the songs after surviving a health scare. The new album is set to be a high-tempo and poppy affair as the boys are enlisting Mark Ronson as the producer. But don't expect a total pop direction; as shown in the lead single The Way You Used to Do, these dark knights of rock can still sound venomous even when they are having a good time.
When the New York indie-dance crew called it quits with a big home-city farewell show and accompanying documentary film, we thought they meant it. But according to frontman James Murphy, it took years of separation to realise he didn't want to collaborate with anyone new. So once again, he rounded the gang for another sold-out world tour before heading back to the studio. Judging by the couple of songs we've heard so far, the album's title track and Call the Police, the band's dance with punk attitude ethos hasn't changed too much.
Sleep Well Beast
Rock's favourite miserabilists return with one of this year's most anticipated releases. The Ohio five-piece run a pretty tight ship – with plenty of the song-writing shared and the production done in house – so the only insight into the new album is the new single The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness. Taut and menacing, it seems like the boys have woken from the majestic darkness of 2013's Trouble
Will Find Me for something more virile.
A Tori Amos album is rarely just a collection of new songs. They are sonic polemics discussing existential battles both internal and environmental. With Native Invaders, the fire brand pianist looks at our corrosive relationship with the planet. "I wanted to look at how Nature creates with her opposing forces, becoming the ultimate regenerator through her cycles of death and re-birth," she says in the statement announcing her album. "Time and time again she is able to renew, can we find this renewal for ourselves?"
Concrete and Gold
Hating the Foo Fighters is like hating Yogi Bear. Yes, even though each of their albums eschews towards middle of the road rock, front man Dave Grohl is such a nice guy and a bonafide rock legend, you can't help but give his crew the benefit of the doubt. The lead single Run, is actually something to be excited about. After a tender beginning, it locks into a full-throttled groove reminiscent of the Queens of the Stone Age, with Grohl screeching away. It is dynamic and energetic, more of that in the new album please.
Prophets of Rage
Super-groups always seemed like good ideas on paper, but the end results rarely match the promise. One hopes that Prophets of Rage, an amalgam of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, buck the trend as their revolutionary and human rights message can act like a balm in these unsettling times. The group's live shows have all been high-octane affairs with super charged covers of Killing In The Name, Bring The Noise and Insane in the Membrane. However, can they bring that same energy when penning new songs?
As You Were
After years spent trying to resuscitate his career, after the sibling tension destroyed the British rock behemoths Oasis, Liam Gallagher is finally venturing on his own with a debut solo album. A good sign is that Gallagher, who has no problem admitting he needs help in the song-writing department, has hired Greg Kurstin to co-produce the album. The talented producer and multi-instrumentalist's hands are all over the fantastic lead single Wall of Glass with its mix of classic rock swagger and psychedelia.