I loved ‘Everything Now’ after about 30 seconds and have continued to love it all year. Perhaps the album didn’t quite live up to expectations (see Roy in the comments below no doubt), but how could it after a glorious first single like this? Pure pop perfection.
The main theme of the album – over supply of content – is highly relevant to my day job, to the extent that we referenced the two ‘Infinite Content’ tracks extensively at our annual TV conference last month.
The media campaign to promote the album was extremely brave. Arcade Fire’s success and alleged pretentiousness means they are already regarded with suspicion. Putting out a campaign of deliberately fake news articles (dress codes at gigs, $100 branded fidget spinners, suing other artists) and portraying themselves as a fictional global Amazon-style corporation arguably backfired as it played into many people’s conceptions anyway – all very meta and ironic.
Very much looking forward to seeing them next Spring ‘in the round’. I was planning to post the official video, but 13 million people have already seen that, so here is a performance on the Colbert Show. But first a word from our sponsors…
Comeback of the Year #1. If there’s been a theme for my list in 2017 it’s been that so many of the artists featured have not been included for many years. Although the band at number 3 have ‘only’ had six years between albums I really did not expect to hear anything from them, as the front man, Robin Pecknold, was last heard of, having gone back to university to study English, and Music, I believe! Their previous album, “Helplessness Blues” was my favourite of 2011, and the follow-up “Crack-Up”, it’s fair to say, has also done rather well. As I mentioned with the Conor Oberst track, I do enjoy the Indie Folk genre, and although this album is arguably their most challenging, the song I’ve chosen here tends to be at the more accessible end of the spectrum. Number 3…
Imagine that Frank Ocean had grown up on around Sydney’s Manly beach and had an Anglo not African American heritage. Imagine sharing the same love as Ocean for rap and hip hop, but include smooth soul influences supported by a big horn section. The artist I have just described is Winston Surfshirt, my number three entry on the calendar. Citing influences from The Beatles (the band’s name is a tribute to John Winston Lennon), A Tribe called Quest, Etta James and Al Green, they also draw from some of the production styles of Prince (did I mention horns?) and R&B queens like Erykah Badu. Their debut album dropped in September this year and they sold out shows all around the country performing tracks like “TwennyFive” & “Same Same”. While one of the official videos worth viewing is “Be About You”, the song chosen is the live-to-air version of “Ali D”, a track which showcases the bands various styles.
Beck is back. More importantly psychedelic pop pixie Beck, my favourite Beck, is back. This song from his poptastic ‘Colors’ album shouldn’t work at all; Billy Joel spliced with Tame Impala, but it absolutely does work and wonderfully so. Number 3, Beck, ‘Dear Life’