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Ariana Grande, Arctic Monkeys and The 1975 prepare new albums for 2018

Wednesday - 27/12/2017 20:20
Musically-speaking, 2017 was a roller coaster.

Ed Sheeran literally broke the charts, a Spanish-language song became the year's biggest single, and Taylor Swift sampled Right Said Fred.

Short of Rihanna covering Deeply Dippy, 2018 can't get any weirder. But what do we have to look forward to?


Ariana Grande making the album of her career

Remembering One Love Manchester
Remembering One Love Manchester

Pop star Ariana Grande was undoubtedly changed by the terrorist atrocity at her concert in Manchester last May. The 24-year-old shouldered the emotional weight of the tragedy for her fans, and staged a defiantly uplifting benefit for the victims that proved pop had the power to heal.

The US star's recently gone back into the studio and it will be interesting to see whether those experiences shape the music on her fourth album.

Grande's long-time manager Scooter Braun hinted at a more mature sound, telling Variety magazine: "She has such an extraordinary voice and it's time for her to sing the songs that define her."

Pharrell, who is working on the album, added that her new material was "pretty amazing".

"The things that she has to say on this album, it's pretty next-level," he told the LA times.


The 1975 going for broke

Matty Healy of The 1975
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Matty Healy has lofty goals for The 1975's third album, Music For Cars.

"If you look at third albums, OK Computer or The Queen Is Dead, that's what we need to do," he told the NME.

"I want people to look back and think our records were the most important pop records that a band put out in this decade."

The star had previously called the album "the end of an era" for The 1975, to the horror of fans, who panicked the band were splitting up.

Healy assured them that wasn't the case, telling Apple's radio station Beats 1: "We were always going to do a trilogy of records. I'm not saying that after this album it's the end of the 1975, but it's definitely the end of an era."


Jack White getting his gardening gloves on

Jack White
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"I'm getting somewhere," said Jack White about the sessions for his third solo album, Boarding House Reach.

"It's good gardening music or roofing music or, you know, back-alley stabbing music.

"I'm trying to think of some good activities that people haven't written songs for yet."




A trailer for the record features a chopped-up sound collage of ragtime piano, distorted digital fuzz, oscillating synths and White's trademark blues riffs.

In other words, it's probably best to keep White away from your lawnmower.


Beyonce reforming Destiny's Child (maybe)

Destiny's Child
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OK, this is massively speculative but fans are convinced Beyonce will put Destiny's Child back together when she headlines Coachella in April.

The evidence is flimsy at best, but let's pick through it:

  1. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the band's debut album.
  2. Beyonce recently wore an AC/DC t-shirt, covering up everything but the letters "DC", which are quite clearly the initials of Destiny's Child.
  3. Michelle Williams, one of the band's many non-Beyonces, later posted a photo of her Destiny's Child Super Bowl costume.
  4. Original member LaTavia Roberson tweeted about a secret project she wasn't allowed to talk about.
  5. Er, that's it...

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As long as they do Bug-A-Boo, we'll be happy.


A gender swap for Grime


Step aside Stormzy and stand down Skepta - 2018 will be the year where women take over Grime.

Stefflon Don leads the pack, after signing a million pound record deal with Universal earlier this year.

Her quick-fire one-liners and self-directed videos have already earned the Londoner a Mobo award for best female, while the top 10 hit, Hurtin' Me showed off her singing voice. The stage is perfectly set for her debut album in the opening months of 2018.

Elsewhere, Little SimzNadia Rose and Lady Leshurr are also challenging the male-dominated landscape of British rap; while the streetwise soul of Jorja SmithRay BLK and Mabel are bringing a fresh female attitude to the charts.


POP coming back

Selena Gomez
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Not that it ever really went away - but 2018 is shaping up to be a year of massive pop bangers.

Selena Gomez, who released one of the best, and most-underrated songs of 2017 - Bad Liar - had plans for her album derailed by sickness. But after receiving a kidney transplant over the summer, she's back to health and pressing ahead with her fourth album.

It's being co-produced by Julia Michaels, an indispensible backroom writer who turned heads with her confessional solo single Issues earlier this year. The 24-year-old, who can currently be heard on Clean Bandit's I Miss You, is also preparing an album of her own.




Speaking of Clean Bandit, they'll presumably get around to finishing the record they've been working on since 2015, while Little Mix are dreaming up new music with production duo Electric, who crafted their chart smashes Black Magic and Shout Out To My Ex.

Canadian heart-throb Shawn Mendes says he's "deep in album three land" and the "vibe is starting to become very clear".

Chvrches have been working with Adele's producer Greg Kurstin on their "most pop" album to date.

And following her break-up with Joshua Sasse, Kylie Minogue has recorded a series of "cathartic" and "story-based" tracks in Nashville.

That's not all: Craig David, Christine and the Queens, Carly Rae Jepsen, Rita Ora, Liam Payne, Charli XCX, Sigrid, Tove Styrke, Zayn, Rae Morris, Billie Eilish and Camila Cabello all have new music lined up.


The Cure hitting middle age

Robert Smith of The Cure
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For a man who sleeps in a coffin, Robert Smith is surprisingly ageless... Or maybe that's his secret?

Either way, 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of The Cure's debut single, Killing An Arab, and the band have a whole raft of celebrations up their sleeve.

They'll play a one-off show in London's Hyde Park, supported by similarly moody bands like Interpol, Editors, Goldfrapp and Ride; and director Tim Pope has started work on a career-spanning documentary.

Other big anniversaries include The Beatles' White Album and Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, which both turn 50 in 2018.

Meanwhile, Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back enters its 30s; and Bjork's Debut celebrates its silver anniversary.

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 Key: Ariana Grande

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