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Albums to anticipate in 2017

Projects to keep an eye out for this year

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Last year was marked by acts like Frank Ocean and Radiohead thoughtfully exhibiting their dexterity through song. Now, 2017 is set to be packed with records by established and rising artists alike. Here’s a peek at what this year will offer.

Drake - More Life

After a largely successful year with his album Views, Drake is set to follow with More Life. The postponed project was slated to be released in December 2016 but that hasn’t held-up the rapper from releasing new music.

In October, the rapper kept fans busy with four new songs. One of the songs released, “Fake Love,” emits the same vulnerable and soulful sound that made Drake a hit on Views. The song’s catchy crooning has catapulted Drake to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, a chart that the rapper is all too familiar with. 

On another cut off the project, “Sneakin,” the rapper pairs up with 21 Savage as he glides over a spooky, twisted trap beat. If more of the same can be expected from More Life, expect it to find success in the rap market.

Gorillaz - Untitled

The cartoon grunge band is expected to make a splash in 2017 with the release of their newest project. Gorillaz is an animated band conceived by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett that has been blending alternative rock with hip-hop for more than a decade.

The band has been producing strings of hits over their career, collaborating with everyone from soul legend Bobby Womack to hip-hop group De La Soul. The Gorillaz’ upcoming album should please fans of the band’s hip-hop style. The album is expected to once again feature De La Soul as well as new collaborators like rappers Snoop Dogg and Vic Mensa.

Although a release date and album title has yet to be announced, the lack of information surrounding the Gorillaz’ release will only increase its hype.

John Mayer - The Search for Everything

One of the most sought-after guitarists of this generation is set to release his latest album. John Mayer, known for his gracefulness on the strings, will be releasing The Search for Everything this year.

After a nearly four-year break between albums, the singer-songwriter will be appropriately furnishing his fans’ music libraries. In a Facebook post this week, Mayer said he plans to drop four songs at a time from the album starting on Jan. 20.
In November, Mayer dropped his first single from the album Love on the Weekend. The song is a relaxing, pop-rock cut that draws cues from his 2009 LP Battle Studies. The song is a step away from his country-folk album Born and Raised which came after the Mayer’s vocal surgery.

For those wishing to hear more of the mellow and memorable Mayer of earlier years, this album should be a treat.

Sampha - Process

After years of floating around the music scene, British soul singer Sampha will be dropping his first full-length project Process on Feb. 3. Sampha has appeared on a multitude of works in recent years including those with Solange and Kanye West last year.

Now with his first release since 2013’s Dual EP, the singer is set to prove that his celestial vocals can stand on their own. On singles like “Timmy’s Prayer” off of Process, Sampha sails over an eccentric electronic rhythm that can translate well with R&B audiences.

On other tracks like “Blood On Me,” Sampha is poetically considerate and uses his effectively balances his singing over an upbeat electric instrumental. There’s no telling how big Sampha can get off Process, making it worth a listen come next month.

Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Indie rock band Japandroids are set to have another solid release on their hands with Near To The Wild Heart of Life. The album, which will release on Jan. 27, is a follow-up to their successful LP Celebration Rock from 2012.

The band, made up of Canadian artists Brian King and David Prowse, boast a catchy garage sound with distorted guitars and high energy. In 2009, the band dropped its debut album Post-Nothing. The release drew in much acclaim from rock fans due to Japandroids’ lo-fi, punk tunes.

On their upcoming album’s title track, the group produces more of the same while still sounding new. Japandroids’ distinct noise rock vibes will likely work to their advantage on this upcoming release as the band has proven not to miss a beat.

Tinashe - Joyride

When Tinashe released her debut album Aquarius in 2014, the alt. R&B singer took the pop world by storm. The singer, known for tracks like “2 On” and “All Hands on Deck,” instantly made waves due to her ear for catchy melodies and eye for talented choreography in her videos.

As the noise surrounding Aquarius has died down, the singer’s planned follow-up - Joyride - has been taking massive delays. The set-backs on the album, however, paid off late last year when the singer released her digital album Nightride.

Nightride features Tinashe sliding her voice atop computerized beats and dark soul ballads. The album’s release was accompanied by a short six-minute film; a hauntingly sultry look at what makes the singer an unconventional soul.

Joyride, part of a double album that includes last year’s Nightride, will hopefully complement Tinashe’s warped yet elegant pop vision.

Benjamin Blanchet is the assistant arts editor and can be reached at benjamin.blanchet@ubspectrum.com


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