The end of the year is a time for reflection, and while it's fun to rank all of the good things in order of their goodness, there's also an important opportunity for reckoning. Where did we go wrong this year? What can we do better? Will we ever stop talking about Hamilton or Stranger Things? Here are the trends we hope stay with this cursed calendar year.
To find more of Exclaim!'s year-end writing, head to our 2016 in Lists section.
8 Trends We Could Live Without in 2017:
Self-Indulgent Music Visuals
Let's get this out of the way first: Beyoncé's Lemonade was an undeniable masterpiece, pairing the performer's most personal music yet with a truly grandiose vision. Thing is, Beyoncé's an incredibly influential woman, meaning her project quickly inspired lesser versions.
As a result, we had to watch Florence Welch and Tove Lo wander around aimlessly in their respective pieces. Then there was Frank Ocean's Endless. True to its name, this seemingly endless 45-minute film forced us to watch Ocean putter around a warehouse and pretend he knew his way around a circular saw. We'll never get that time back.
Extra Gimmicky Album Rollouts
Frank Ocean wasn't the only artist dipping into self-indulgence this year. Rather than slow down on the hokey album release ideas of years past, artists appeared to get even dumber with their release plans. In record stores around North America, tiny groups of people assembled to buy new albums from Radiohead, Metallica and Wilco mere hours before anyone else (and, of course, days after the albums had leaked online). The deal was sweetened with low-stakes contests and curated in-store playlists from the artists in question. All the while, some poor record store saps had to work late night shifts just to deal with a half-dozen music nerds.
We're living in an accelerated culture, and nothing has ever gone from "pretty good" to "oversaturated" to "please stop talking about that" quite as quickly as Stranger Things. Obviously we all loved Stranger Things when we first saw it. Netflix used an algorithm to make sure we would love Stranger Things. But then we all, perhaps, loved Stranger Things a little too much.
Those kids from Stranger Things, god bless them, started to appear in music videos and commercials and late-night talk shows and demeaning awards show bits where they passed out snacks and inexplicably covered "Uptown Funk." The kids from Stranger Things — who, again, seem wonderful and kind and good — were everywhere.
As were the people recommending Stranger Things, the Stranger Things T-shirts, the Stranger Things Halloween costumes, the Stranger Things logo parodies and the Stranger Things mashups. Then there were the people asking if we'd heard S U R V I V E, the band with the spaces between the letters that made the cool Stranger Things bleep-bloop soundtrack. And the many, many vinyl variants of the aforementioned Stranger Things bleep-bloop soundtrack — do you have the rare black vinyl edition of the Stranger Things bleep-bloop soundtrack?
Stupid Vinyl Releases
Speaking of idiotic vinyl culture, yes, there are still people who love to talk about how vinyl is making a comeback. And those people have inadvertently created a farm industry for absolutely dreadful vinyl reissues. This year saw the release of vinyl box sets from Sublime, Evanescence, the Black Eyed Peas, the Decemberists, Sting, the 1975, Dr. Who and, yes, even Hamilton: The Musical. It's almost starting to feel like the vinyl revival wasn't worth it to begin with.