It's been another eventful year in the music calendar, and next year is shaping up to be no different.
Before we move on to what 2018 has to offer, we thought we'd look back on the biggest news stories in the music world in 2018.
What were your highlights and lowlights of the year? Let us know!
Ed Sheeran has the biggest year of his career, releasing 'Shape of You' and 'Castle on the Hill' on the same day in January; the former would go on to break streaming records. His third album 'Divide' was phenomenally big, and he collaborated with everyone from Taylor Swift to Eminem to Beyonce. It's fair to say that he pretty much ruled 2017.
The Grammys took place in February (full list of winners here) and were most memorable for the performances that didn't quite work (Metallica and Lady Gaga's mismatched and technically-troubled duet and Adele's orchestral tribute to George Michael that she had to re-start). Speaking of Adele, she dominated the big categories, winning Song, Record and Album of the Year, which saw her apologising to Beyonce from the podium for beating 'Lemonade' to the punch (although Beyonce's performance slaaaaaayed).
The Choice Music Prize in March saw the Irish Album of the Year going to hip-hop trio Rusangano Family for their album 'Let the Dead Bury the Dead' – a well-deserved if somewhat unexpected winner.
The Oscar for 'Best Original Song', meanwhile, went to 'City of Stars' from La La Land.
WHAT THE HELL DOES DESPACITO MEAN, ANYWAY?
If we'd said at the beginning of 2017 that the most-streamed song of the year would be one that most people don't know the words to, you would have laughed. But 'Despacito' – a reggaeton-inspired track by Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee – dominated the airwaves in a way we haven't seen a foreign-language track do since the Macarena. Why did it do so well? Because Justin Bieber featured on a remix of the song, re-released to a wider audience in April.
So far, it seems to be a one-hit wonder which is just as well considering it's an awful song – both musically and lyrically (let's be honest, here.) Still, you can't argue with the stats – second most-streamed track of 2017 on Spotify, 4.5 BILLION views on YouTube... insane.
(PS – it means 'Slowly' in Spanish.)
GIGS GIGS GIGS
Some of the world's biggest acts made stop-offs in Ireland this year - from Ed Sheeran to Bruno Mars to Justin Bieber, Phil Collins, Eddie Vedder, Robbie Williams and Kings of Leon. Some of the biggest, however, were Coldplay's Croke Park extravaganza and U2's homecoming in the same venue for their Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour. The reunited Guns N' Roses went down a storm at Slane, too. Were you there?
THE YEAR OF THE FEMALE
Don't get us wrong: obviously, there have always been wonderful, strong, dominant women in music and the term 'female musicians' rankles (as we like to call them, 'musicians'.) In 2017, however, there was a notable shift and many of the year's best albums – particularly in the pop sphere – were made by women. From Lorde to Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa to St. Vincent, Katy Perry to Cardi B to SZA – not to mention Kesha's triumphant return with 'Rainbow' – it was a huge year for quality pop, urban and indie, thanks to these women.
TRAGEDY & LOSS
Of course, the year wasn't without tragedy. On May 22nd, 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena lost their lives in a terrorist attack. Less than a month later, some of the world's biggest stars (led by Grande), came together to stage the 'One Love Manchester' concert to benefit the victims and their families and 'Don't Look Back in Anger' became a new anthem for the city.
We lost some high-profile names in rock music, too. Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell took his own life in May. Linkin Park's Chester Bennington died in July, while the iconic Tom Petty passed away in October, just days after finishing the last date of his tour.
AC/DC's Malcolm Young passed away after a long battle with dementia, and we lost some classic rock n' rollers like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino, too – while 'Wichita Lineman' legend Glen Campbell died in August at the age of 81.
It was another huge year for Electric Picnic, as Ireland's biggest music festival sold out in advance before the line-up was even announced – proving that it has become THE festival for a generation. Our highlights included The Divine Comedy, Interpol, Phoenix, as well as other stuff like the Sing-Along Social, the expansion of the Salty Dog area and the general good vibes despite the rain. Read our review here.
GALLAGHER VS. GALLAGHER
Despite the enjoyable Oasis documentary 'Supersonic' being released in 2016, we're still waiting for an Oasis reunion over a year later. The bad news is that it looks further away than ever - mostly thanks to Liam's constant jibes about his big brother and his music (comparing his music to Ricky Martin is not a way to endear yourself to someone). However, the brothers kept us entertained with their witty back-and-forths in the latter half of the year, and they both released solo albums within a month of each other (sorry Noel, Liam wins this time around and Beady Eye are a distant memory). They've apparently made amends in recent weeks, but don't count on that reunion in the next 12 months.
It was a pretty strong year for Irish music as the likes of Picture This continued their global expansion by releasing their debut album and selling out multiple nights at the 3Arena.
Highlights included Imelda May's reinvention from rockabilly star to crooner, and her best album release to date with 'Life Love Flesh Blood'. And So I Watch You From Afar released a cracker of an album, while synthpop duo Ships's debut is rightfully getting plaudits. Corkwoman Marlene Enright's debut album was also fabulous, as was the highly unusual 'Climb Sheer the Fields of Peace' by Alison O'Donnell. We also loved EPs and singles by Loah, Soule and Eden, while Otherkin's 'OK' was probably our Irish album of the year – a brilliant throwback to early noughties grunge and indie-rock with lots and lots of melody and catchy hooks.
What will 2018 bring? Only one way to find out. See yis on the flip side!