Published Dec 12, 2017The end of a calendar year is an excellent time to reflect on all of the best things that happened, but it's also a good time to take stock of the mistakes and hopefully learn from the past.
Of course, we tried that last year and it didn't help at all — almost every single trend of 2016 came roaring back in 2017. And now there are even more things we hope to improve on for next year. Here's hoping this material gets in the right hands, and 2018 can correct the cultural course we've been on. As such, this is our list of musical trends we could live without in 2018.
Trends We Could Live Without in 2018:
Ticket scalping is a problem as old as time — there was probably some sketchy dude in a trench coat trying to make a quick buck on some great seats outside of a Mozart concert. Still, thanks to rapid advancements in technology, scalping seems to be worse than ever.
In November, the Paradise Papers leak revealed a great deal of scandals spanning the entire world economy. Among them was a "ticket broker" in Quebec who somehow managed to scam hundreds of thousands of dollars through StubHub. While the ticket reseller denied that it allows resellers to use bots on the site, this guy had somehow managed to buy hundreds of tickets to big-name shows within minutes of them going on sale.
Fortunately, it looks like we might be learning from years past in this regard. As a response to the overwhelming scalping problem with the Tragically Hip's final tour, the government of Ontario introduced a Consumer Protection Bill that will clamp down on this tasteless practice.
4. Rock Bands Making "Dance" Music
There's an old cliché that rock bands turn to dance music when they run out of ideas, and it feels like everyone was trying too hard to "Get Lucky" in 2017. Everywhere we looked, our once-favourite rock bands were trying to make some sort of dance album. And almost every time, it completely failed.
Will anyone seriously look back fondly on the Arcade Fire's bloated disco album, Phoenix's forgettable club experiment or whatever the hell the Killers were doing on Wonderful, Wonderful? Those bands are meant to write life-affirming pop rock anthems, not mediocre mid-tempo dance songs.
3. Disappointing Pop Albums
With the world in utter disarray, it was hard to stay optimistic in 2017. Worse than that, it was also hard to stay poptimistic. Us music nerds have spent the last decade or so allowing ourselves to indulge in mainstream pop music, and the pleasure has become less and less guilty with each new year. In fact, that era might've finally come to an end in 2017.
Perhaps Maroon 5's Adam Levine and Miley Cyrus were too busy as TV hosts to put any effort into their respective albums. In fact, Levine didn't even bother fact-checking whether or not he was signal-boosting men's rights activists by calling his band's new album Red Pill Blues. And then there was whatever the fuck the Chainsmokers' Memories… Do Not Open was supposed to be. Lite-rock for mall ravers?
Pop's big tent artists didn't fare much better. Of course, Taylor Swift's fans would've loved her new album if it was 12 tracks of pure silence, but Reputation certainly didn't feel like a part of the zeitgeist with its underwhelming singles. She was surely happy to know that her enemy did much worse, however — Katy Perry's Witness was a downright disaster. Maybe it's time to stop giving pop music so much time of day.
2. Right-Wing Bigots
It doesn't take much to know that things are more heated than ever before in the socio-political realm, so it should come as no surprise that audiences will react negatively to hate speech and bigotry. That didn't stop a handful of musicians from saying some pretty stupid things.
Matthew Melton, former frontman of the garage rock group Warm Soda, completed an interview with Still in Rock to discuss Dream Machine, the psych band he formed with his wife. In the piece, they spoke out in favour of the United States' controversial anti-immigrant ICE task force while making light of sexual assault and discussing how they thought feminism was bad for humanity. As a result, they were dropped from Castle Face Records.
Of course, if there's anyone who can outdo a fascist-off, it's Morrissey. The cantankerous former Smiths frontman took the worst possible route to promote his Low in High School LP. In addition to releasing an unquestionably problematic T-shirt depicting black civil rights activist James Baldwin, he went ahead and publicly defended accused sexual predators Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, who each had multiple allegations of committing rape, sexual assault and harassment. Not the best way to promote an album, Moz.
First, let's make one thing clear: the best possible trend of 2017 was the willingness of sexual abuse victims to draw a line in the sand and speak out about their abusers. That was undeniably the best thing to happen, and likely something that will continue to happen in months and years to come. But let's enter 2018 with a brand new headspace.
Outside of Harvey Weinstein and other big-ticket Hollywood types, there were multiple allegations of sexual misconduct throughout the music industry. PWR BTTM were dropped from their label the week before their album's release due to sexual assault claims put forth against member Ben Hopkins. Similarly, Alex Calder was dropped from his label right before his album came out when a rape allegation surfaced against him.
Further, ousted Real Estate member and Ducktails frontman Matt Mondanile faced multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment, as did FYF Fest founder Sean Carlson. Then there was Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey, who was accused of sexual misconduct with multiple minors. And let's not forget the Gaslamp Killer, who was accused of raping two women. These are just scratching the surface of a horrible shitstorm of grotesque allegations.
So while speaking out about abuse was a fantastic trend in 2017, the abuse itself has to stop. Let's do everything we can to ensure safer spaces and fewer abuses of power in 2018.