Written by Jenna Dreisenstock
It’s December and all I can really say is that, damn! What a year it’s been. It has honestly felt like absolute chaos, not only with the extreme (and – pretty terrifying) political turbulence and world news that is quite frankly leaving us all exceptionally burned out and feeling pretty torn up inside; but within the music world as well. With news in the music world this year, it seems as though everything has actually followed a rather similar pattern – some patterns for the best, and some for the absolute worst. I figured I’d do a roundup not necessarily of the specific stories themselves, but rather a summation of the repeating patterns that have either left us in awe and excitement, or – pure shock and sadness.
Here is a breakdown of the trends, patterns and heartbreak I’ve noticed while covering music news and writing opinion pieces throughout the year:
Firstly, as everyone may know by now unless one has been completely detached from – the world – well, pop-culture and music in general: vinyl is making a huge comeback, and one of the most noticeable trends from this year is: Everything Being Reissued on Vinyl. Whether it’s releases dating back 20 years, or albums from not that long ago; every single day something new has been reissued on vinyl. It’s wonderful, and kind of hilarious and ironic at the same time.
Speaking of which; Film Scores. Oh, the stunningly beautiful film scores released this year have absolutely blown us away, and of course, you will find a beautiful special edition of a this-costs-way-too-much-than-I-can-afford-but-I’m-going-to-buy-it-anyway vinyl, often with a whole bunch of extras that send fans into a frenzy. Even if the film was from earlier years – I can assure you it has been reissued on vinyl.
Comebacks: Just when we thought we had heard the last from an artist or band, out of nowhere a single is dropped, or an album announced – a new music video out of nowhere, and an absolute loving delirium from fans regarding “So-and-So is back with a new album after 10 years!” and luckily; it seems as though fans have not been disappointed.
Political Statements: Speaking of our turbulent political climate, many artists have really spoken out regarding what they believe in and used the platforms they have for a force of good – whether it’s to inspire fans to advocate for human and animal rights and get involved in activism, to openly boycotting events, festivals and platforms whose values and actions that are straight up – messed up – and music videos tackling heavy, and heartbreaking topics that need to be spoken about: it’s safe to say that the majority of musicians have been vocal in their political opinions, and that is so incredibly important.
This feels rather annoying to add in but it’s necessary because it’s true; there have also been a number of absolutely useless personal feuds between big artists and its derivative, boring and vapid but hey, I guess it makes for good clickbait.
Okay, so this truly sucks but – let’s jump straight into the patterns of this year that have been the absolute worst. Just. The absolute worst. Some truly awful, painful events have occured and re-occurred; and this bears repeating, re-occurred throughout this year that have left so many of us in shock.
Lawsuits: There has been a growing number of lawsuits throughout this year, whether it’s in regard to labels / distributors and so on being total jerks to their artists, artists fighting amongst themselves over copyright issues or most terribly; lawsuits for serious crimes that artists have committed and need to take responsibility for.
Sexual Assault Allegations: Speaking of serious crimes that artists need to take responsibility for, the alarming number of sexual assault allegations against male musicians has been absolutely staggering but not necessarily surprising. Which makes it worse, in my opinion. Either the men have issued some half-assed apologies on social media claiming that they didn’t know what they did was wrong (aw, cry me a damn river.) obviously pushed by their PR agents because yikes, that’s a crisis – or the men have straight up denied the allegations even if multiple womxn have come forward (are you serious?) – disappeared into infamous obscurity without a single word or perhaps worst of all; men we know for a fact are perpetrators of sexual assault continuing their careers after a “little hiccup” in their reputation, a few months of silence and now “everything is okay again.” These men need to take responsibility and be charged with the horrific crimes they have committed. In this world, being a man with wealth, power and fame (and you know, in general too.) – is apparently enough to let perpetrators of horrendous crimes off the hook.
Deaths: Yes, I’m ending this article on a pretty dreadful note, I know. Yet this is the unfortunate reality. Many of those who we have admired, looked up to and supported have passed away this year and the circumstances have been extremely tragic. For the younger artists: it’s terrifying to see the pattern of overdoses, specifically on opioids such as heroin and the fatal substance fentanyl – and, too, so painfully: suicide as a leading cause, and even cases of murder. It seems as though the millennial generation of artists have very unfortunately fell into the most dangerous of patterns and lifestyles which have lead to severe mental health issues, drug addiction and violence. For the older generations of musicians who have passed away, the main cause seems to have been incurable diseases that we all simply wish we could have stopped in their tracks. This year has been a rough one, and there is no doubt about that.
2018 has been an incredible, stunning, erratic, horrifying and tragic year in the music world all in all. It’s difficult for us as fans and musicians to cope with what is going on in this world as is, but just remember we’re all in this together – we need to celebrate the beauty in this world whilst too, combating the severity of these issues. The only way to do this is together. Let’s hope 2019 brings us more beauty, love, kindness – connection, support and less tragedy. We can only hope.