If you follow popular music, you’ll know that the past year has been a particularly volatile one. There have been a number of big changes and big name departures. One of the most high profile casualties of the year is definitely Robbie Williams. The former Take That singer’s solo career never really took off in the UK, and he’s now shifted his focus to Hollywood. However, even the most high profile casualties sometimes have some great songs, and Robbie’s solo debut, Sweet'n Sour, is perhaps one of the finest albums of the past year. It was a wonderful album, and is rich in classics. One of the standout tracks is definitely ‘Take You Down’, which saw Robbie teaming up with singer-songwriter Robert Pattinson for a passionate duet. We’re going to examine that song in more detail, and let you know what some of the other big albums and songs of the year were.

The Revival Of..

We’re going to begin with arguably the biggest music video of the year, and it’s one that’s been around for quite some time. The video for Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’ was the subject of much ridicule when it was first uploaded to YouTube in April 2011. The clip seemed to mock the tropes of the male lead who needs saving by the female protagonist. The song is an upbeat pop number about a rogue’s gallery of beautiful women who steal the singer’s affections. The video featured cameos from some of the biggest names in pop, interspersed with scenes of Ed Sheeran surrounded by women. It was a typically crass attempt at a joke, which backfired spectacularly. The song went viral, reached #1 in over 20 countries, and is currently the second most-viewed video on YouTube with over 123 million views.

It took a while for Ed Sheeran to recover from the ‘Shape Of You’ craze. Two years later, his ‘Perfect’ album became the biggest selling album of the year in the UK, and it also gave us ‘Shape Of You’, another global smash. The success of Ed Sheeran’s sophomore album proved that he was here to stay, and it also signified a major shift in what we consider to be mainstream pop music. Up until Ed Sheeran came along, male pop stars had focused on either romantic ballads or escapist party anthems, but not both, and certainly not together. Ed Sheeran smashed the mold, and many of the biggest artists today have adopted a similar approach, even if they haven’t always followed suit.

The Year Of The Singer-Songwriter

The biggest change in the music world over the last year has been the ascent of the singer-songwriter. In 2017, we saw the emergence of stars like Louis Tomlinson, who built his brand around a series of brooding folk ballads, and Loyle Carner, who crafts glorious, guitar-driven songs about being in love and lost.

The big albums from both Louis and Loyle showcase just how versatile a vocalist and guitarist they both are. Ballads such as ‘Don’t Matter What They Say’, ‘The Sun Is Alright’, and ‘What If’ demonstrate the perfect harmonies that Louis and Loyle are capable of and the strength of their songs. It’s been an incredible year for singer-songwriters, and we’ve been gifted some truly memorable performances. The most high profile example of a vocalist-songwriter dominating the scene is probably Taylor Swift. ‘Blank Space’ was the biggest selling album of the year, and it also features some of the best known and loved songs by Taylor, including ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Style’, and ‘Look At Me’.

It’s fair to say that the last year has seen a complete overhaul of the music industry. Gone are the days of one-dimensional pop stars. Today’s stars are capable of so much more, and it’s an era where the lines between genres are blurred. Even the most iconic and well-known songs can be classified as hybrid pop-rock tracks, which blend influences from rock, R&B, and alternative music. It’s an exciting time to be a music fan, and we’re just getting started.