With 2015 in our rear-view mirror and 2016 underway, it’s time to start looking forward. What will the year hold? What can we expect? As far as music goes, 2015 was a year dominated by women — whether it was Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Adele or Miley Cyrus. There’s no way Swift can replicate the success she had in 2015, if only because there aren’t any celebrities left for her to parade around stage with her, but don’t think she won’t try. Miley is going to keep on being Miley, and Minaj is going to continue to keep us on our toes. Adele is the real wildcard here, but more on that in a few.
In any event, 2015 was an incredibly exciting year for music. So, the question is what are we looking forward to this year? Well, here are ten things to be excited about in 2016.
The Guns N’ Roses Reunion
Is it happening? Is it not happening? There are multiple reports that Guns N’ Roses are getting back together, starting with this year’s Coachella in April. However, the only real confirmation we’ve gotten so far is something we’ve most likely assumed for a while now, Axl Rose loves Taco Bell. So, that’s all well and good for Rose, but what about the band?
Rose and Slash did reportedly bury the numerous hatchets between them a little while back, something that would seem to pave the way for a reunion. If they are playing at Coachella, it’d be the first time they would have shared a stage since July 17, 1993. Billboard is saying that in addition to the California festival gig, a stadium tour for the summer of 2016 is being planned. Rose is set to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night, presumably to shed some light on all of this. Or maybe just to talk about Taco Bell. Who really knows with Rose.
And it’s that penchant for unpredictability and chronic aversion to reliability that does cast some doubt on this idea of a reunion. Plus, it’s not as if Rose has been killing it with his bastardized version of Guns he has been dragging around the world for the past few years. Is this going to be one of those things that looks amazing on paper, but terrible in real life?
Who the heck knows? And more importantly, who the heck cares? All that matters here is that Guns N’ Roses, the Guns N’ Roses, Axl, Slash, Duff, the other dudes, are possibly getting back together. For the time being, let’s all agree to cast aside our skepticism and just enjoy the potential. I’m sure there will be more than enough time for mud-slinging and think pieces about the whole thing later.
The LCD Soundsystem Reunion
Guns N’ Roses are reportedly not the only legendary group getting the band back together for some fun in the California sun. LCD Soundsystem, who have been rumored to be getting back together for a few months now, will also be headlining Coachella, this according to festival organizers.
The band has denied involvement, although the Christmas song they recently released didn’t do much in terms of squashing any rumors about a reunion. Coachella will be dropping their initial lineup in the next week or so, so I guess we’ll find out eventually.
Lollapalooza Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary
For some of us, this is a delightful way of making us feel old — Lollapalooza is turning 25 and how old does that make me if I remember its first few years? Either way, the festival, once a traveling road show, but since 2005 a multi-day event in Chicago, will expand to four days and will feature more than 170 performances, according to the festival’s founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell. For a certain generation, Lollapalooza was the place to see our favorite bands, as well as discover new ones. Early festivals had lineups that included Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Beastie Boys and more.
In recent years, Lollapalooza has continued to be a delectable pu pu platter of musical diversity with everyone from the Foo Fighters to Skrillex or Outkast to Kings of Leon taking turns headlining. Headliners for this year’s show haven’t been announced yet, but in a press release, Farrell promised an enticing and intriguing anniversary.
“It’s our 25th Anniversary and we wanted to do something really special and different for our fans,” founder Perry Farrell said in a press release. “There’s a lot of really great music coming out in 2016; with the abundance of talent that wanted to help us celebrate 25 years we got to thinking… ‘How are we going to fit all those great artists in one weekend?’ Then we thought about what a special day Thursday has become. When the party can’t wait for the weekend, the movers and shakers make it happen on Thursday! So, we’ve put together an entire additional day of music to celebrate our milestone year. It’s going to be a fantastic party!”
Now if Dave Navarro were to tell me something was going to be a fantastic party, I’d be a little skeptical. But Farrell? Dude has an impeccable track record — so I’m in.
The On-Going Streaming War
2015 saw two new streaming services enter the Streaming War: Apple Music and Tidal. Both apps crashed the scene with mixed success (well, Tidal kind of just crashed, but it made noise nonetheless). Apple Music came in offering artist exclusives and a super inviting offer of three months free, something that caused a little bit of a dust up between them and promising busker Taylor Swift. But hey, now they’re friends and everything is unicorns and show ponies!
Apple Music was able to one-up the resident big dog on the streaming battlefield, Spotify, by offering their subscribers Swift’s music, as well as the new Coldplay album, neither of which Spotify had initially. Oh, and Amazon has a streaming service. There’s also Rhapsody, Deezer, Slacker Radio, Google Play and Microsoft Groove. Is it even possible for anyone else to join the fray in 2016? Does MySpace want to take a crack? How about your coffee maker, or maybe Dollar Shave Club will find a way to incorporate MP3 players into their razors. If they do, you’re welcome, Dollar Shave Club. You can thank me by giving me a month free.
In the waning hours of 2015, something happened that could have a lasting effect on all of the streaming services out there wrestling for your love and affection. The Beatles released their entire catalog, a total of 224 songs, on all nine major services — bucking the trend of artists siding with one or the other. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and if other big time artists follow suit. It’s also noteworthy that Adele’s latest album, 25, has yet to show up on any service, something that no doubt has played a role in the enormous amount of albums she’s selling. I guess we’ll see what happens — if Tidal survives, if Spotify continues to offer a freemium option, if Swift and Apple Music remain besties, if Deezer keeps doing whatever the heck Deezer does.
Coldplay Performing At Super Bowl 50
The announcement that Coldplay would be this year’s halftime performer at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco was met with a resounding…okay, cool, I guess. But count me in as someone who is on board. The band’s new album, A Head Full of Dreams, is actually kind of fun, if not pretty good — something that took me by surprise. It’s a Euro-pop influenced party album, and nothing is screaming for European party music like the thirty minutes in between the second and third quarter of the world’s most popular television show, this side of every season’s penultimate episode of Game of Thrones.
Plus, and this is just between me and you, I bet Beyoncé shows up. Not only is she featured on their new album, on the song “Hymn for the Weekend,” but her and Jay definitely went Team Chris when Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow split up. Coldplay performing is cool, Coldplay performing and Beyoncé descending from the heavens to join them (with a rumored Rihanna, as well) is super cool. And it is the Super Bowl. The stars are lining up for this one.
Kanye, Rihanna, Frank…You Guys Gonna Release An Album?
Kanye is sitting on Swish, Rihanna is still hunting for songs to finish Anti, Frank Ocean is… uh… what is Frank doing? Maybe like the rest of us, Frank is trying to talk himself into liking “Facts,” the new track Kanye dropped on New Year’s Eve. I suppose “Facts” will be on the new Kanye album, an album that few have heard, but some have “loved,” but as of this moment, still doesn’t have any release date that anyone can track down.
As for My Girl RiRi, for a minute there it looked like her new album Anti would be out for the holidays, but then came reports that A) it wouldn’t and B) it’s not finished. According to Sia, Rihanna is still looking for songs to put on the album. So yeah, maybe it’ll find its way into Easter baskets as opposed to Christmas stockings. And Frank? Who knows, man. Hey, Frank if you are reading this, can you maybe drop us a little something, a morsel of info regarding a new album? That’d be dope. Thanks.
HBO Digs Into The New York Music Scene Of The 1970s
In a few weeks, HBO is looking to retake your Sunday nights, this time with Vinyl. The show, produced by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese, is about a fella running a record label in New York City in the late seventies. It stars Bobby Cannavale as the head of the label, as well as Olivia Wilde.
Based on the trailer, the show seems to exist in the world of The New York Dolls, The Ramones and the CBGB that was the very distant cousin of the version opening up at the Newark airport. I’ll leave it to the TV crew to hash out HBO’s recent history of hour-long dramas, but from a music perspective, this could be fun, if not interesting — at least for a few episodes.
Dave Grohl Performs On Two Legs Again
By now it’s old news, if not a tasty nugget of myth-building, that Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl broke his leg while playing a show in June. The injury forced him to finish out the tour and other shows the band played throughout the rest of 2015 on a painkiller-inspired throne.
As fun as it might have been to watch Grohl hammer away, one leg propped up, sitting on his throne, it will be infinitely more fun to watch him return to action back on two working legs. The Foos became America’s Resident Rock Band in 2015 and will look to keep the train rolling in 2016. Having their conductor at full strength is a win/win for everyone involved. Well, except for the fabricators tasked with the upkeep of his throne. Those dudes are going to have to find something else to do.
Adele’s World Domination Tour Hits The Road
There are three kinds of people in the world: There are those who tried to get tickets to Adele’s 25 tour and succeeded, those who tried and failed, and lastly, there are those who were content to watch the madness ensue from the sidelines and provide a shoulder to cry on for their poor co-worker who failed to get tickets, or serve as a sounding board for their pumped friend who was able to score tickets.
The U.S. leg of the tour, which doesn’t kick off until June, sold out in minutes, leaving thousands of fans left to either commiserate in various witty ways on the internet or gripe about the cost of tickets on secondary ticket services. Adele closed out 2015 demolishing album sales records, and so far in 2016, has yet to show signs that her momentum is fading. If 2015 was the Year of Taylor, I think it’s safe to say that 2016 could be the Year of Adele.
Rock Music Continues To Exist
Once upon a time, rock bands were kings of the castle. Nowadays, the biggest “rock stars” out there are more often than not rappers. Or Beyoncé. Queen Bey is a rock star — same for Taylor Swift. Rock has tumbled down the ranks in a way that only maybe Major League Baseball could relate to. New York City doesn’t even have a modern rock radio station anymore, which every day seems crazier to me.
Now, while the biggest releases scheduled to drop in 2016 are largely hip-hop albums, you can’t sleep on some great rock music coming out. Rock luminaries like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are said to be recording new material, same for newer bands like Florence + The Machine, Kings of Leon, and The Strokes. Radiohead have already talked about their new album, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently in the studio with Danger Mouse. See, kids, rock music does still exist. You just have to look for it a little harder.
Here’s to a good 2016!