The Year That Was: Music in 2017



Welcome to Day 3 of the BTM Advent Calendar, yes you lucky people (to steal one of Chris Clark's phrases ) it's your intrepid reporter @dralanwilson here to review the year 2017 in music. If 2016 was the year that we lost our musical icons, then 2017 was the year that the Arts in general and Hollywood in particular, was exposed, as many had suspected, to be a deeply misogynistic and abusive environment. So far, there have been no high profile names from the musical world exposed (excuse the pun), but it’s only November (as I write this) so plenty time for another shock revelation to emerge, red top style.

On that cheery note, let’s take a look back at the (it turns out) rather non-eventful 2017 in music. The TL;DR version: There were a few notable album releases, some interesting gigs and the odd scandal, comeback and one extremely tragic event.

Let’s start with the awards ceremonies. The main ones of interest are the BRIT Awards, Mercury Prize, BREXITvision, NME Hipster Awards (if they still exist) and the Grammys. Classic FM also treated us to a countdown of the top 300 as voted by their listeners over the pat 25 years, but more on that shambles later.

Over in the States, Adele swept the board taking Record of the Year ("Hello"), Album of the Year (25) and Song of the Year (also "Hello”). Takes a while to get going, but it's not too offensive. Fairly standard Adele fair and at least it's not Lionel Richie. Can someone please explain the difference between record of the year and song of the year? Answers on a postcard …

The Best New Artist was Chance the Rapper. Can’t say I’ve heard of him/her but that’s not surprising as I’m completely out of touch with the rap/hip-hop scene. In fact, I’m pretty much out of touch with reality most of the time but that’s another story.

BTM Towers enlisted the crystal balls of Mr Roddy Graham to give us a BRIT Awards Preview. He did a decent job, for someone with questionable musical tastes (joking), correctly predicting some of the winners, which turned out to be British Album of the Year: Blackstar by David Bowie British Single of the Year: "Shout Out to My Ex" by Little Mix British Breakthrough Act: Rag'n'Bone Man British Video: "History" by One Direction

Apparently the NME is still in existence – I kind of miss reading the paper version every week (back when it was the only way to get information about anything “happening” in the musical world) – and they’ve done their usual thing and voted for some less than obvious stuff. Both the 1975 and Christine are worthy winners, but WTF are Bastille doing there? Anyway, this is how it panned out. 2017 NME Music Awards (UK) Best Album: Wild World by Bastille Best Track: "Tilted" by Christine and the Queens Best New Artist: Dua Lipa Best Live Band: The 1975 Best Festival: Glastonbury Festival 2016

And speaking of Glasto, we covered Radiohead’s Glasto set here – Glad it wasn't me is all I can say, Radiohead being one of my "most over-rated bands of all time" contenders. Can't stand the pseudo-intellectualism and nasal whine of the vocals to put it in a nutshell.

The other main award was the Mercury, which went to Sampha for Process, or was it Process for Sampha? Does anyone care? TBH I've heard a lot worse. Heard a lot better too - sounds like someone just noodling on the piano and making some lyrics up as they went along.

After the carnage of last year, 2017 was kinder to some of the big names in music, but still a few notable deaths and, of course, each and every one will be missed by their nearest and dearest, irrespective of what you, I or the music industry think about their relative importance. I’ve picked a few that I recall (or recognise).