2017 was a year of amazing music! These are WSOE’s choices for the best albums of the year! Listen to our “Best of 2017” playlist on Spotify.
New Zealand singer-songwriter Aldous Harding’s sophomore album “Party” is a sprawling mix of styles, emotions, and intricacies that come together to form a devastating and electric record. The hushed danceable “Blend,” opens the album. Harding’s whispered delivery draws you in, and the bouncing fingerpicking acoustics fit atop the drum machine perfectly creating an unexpected dance-folk track that is as gothic as it is groovy. “Imagining My Man” immediately follows and is a treading piano ballad about the difficulties of opening up to love. While it showcases Harding’s delicate vocal stylings again, there are moments where she painfully cries out lines like “I do not have the answer” that knock the wind out of me every time without fail.
Hopscotch Music Festival brings the best in indie, hip-hop, electronic, folk and more to the city of Raleigh each year. Find out who we think you should see this time around and listen to our playlist which features all of these artists and more! You can buy tickets for the festival here.
In 2015 I got tickets to a free concert that was first come first serve at a small venue in Boston to see a few artists in a showcase that Converse Rubber Tracks puts on every year. That year, the main act was Chance the Rapper, a name that I was familiar with from Acid Rap, but was not yet a hardcore fan. My parents, that same night, had bought tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, so with no argument, I saw the BSO and decided I could see Chance another time.
I know. I am pissed at myself too.
Fast forward to 2017 in Dover, Delaware, main stage, Saturday night. I finally got to see Chance, but in a much larger environment than it would have been had I gone a few years back.
It was not surprising to see Chance’s name at the top of the Firefly line up this year. On the contrary, Chance is playing almost every major music festival (and a handful of smaller ones as well) while also working on his own tour. Chance’s dedication to not only music, but to social activism and specifically the city of Chicago are aspects that he made apparent in his show. Chance made a point to get the crowd involved in the songs, even demanding that they yell or jump or sing along. This, almost aggressive manner got the crowd moving. His show was incredibly well performed, and had the literal sparks to match the energy of it all. He played the hits from Acid Rap, went through Coloring Book and even brought in a gospel choir to bring it all together. The show ended with fireworks to close out the third day of the festival in a extravagant manner.
While the show was incredibly well performed, it was also clear how rehearsed it was. There were so many moving parts, between guests, pizzazz, choreographed dances and miscellaneous aspects of the show that worked very well, but to a point, was almost over done. Chance is the king, there is no question about that. His music is beautiful and the aspects of the live show were truly remarkable, but during his set, all I could think about was the time that I had the possibility of seeing him perform at a small venue in Boston post Acid Rap. Seeing him in a small setting would be amazing and it is so great for him how much his career has progressed. Maybe I am selfish for wanting to see a less pizzazz-filled show, but I feel that it would be more genuine. Chance wanted the crowd to engage and sing every word and jump and scream, but this crowd in particular quite simply did not know every word to every song, nor were they necessarily ready to jump after an exhausting few days. He definitely got us moving, but the crowd and environment just did not seem like the place that he should have been performing. He did a great job, but I will always wonder what it would have been like to see him a few years ago.