Here’s the only good thing about a Trump presidency that I can think of: Rock–real rock with loud guitars and screamy singers–is once again on the ascendance. Whenever politics takes a swing to the right (think Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes), the public’s preference begins to swing towards aggressive and heavy music. When people are afraid, confused or angry, music follows. Now that the world will have to deal with Trump along with Brexit, EU turmoil, terrorism, Putin, China, unresolved race issues, immigration and increasing economic inequality, happy pop music just won’t do. Like Amanda Palmer says, “Donald Trump is going to make punk rock great again.”
The music industry is going to help this along. Album release cycles are syncing up with the emerging apocalyptic zeitgeist. This year will feature some seriously big new rock albums. Here’s what we can expect along with some half-baked predictions from me.
1.U2, Songs of Experience(?)
This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of The Joshua Tree and plans are afoot for a major stadium tour (here’s a rumour of an announcement next week) and Bono refuses to go on the road without a new album to promote. Word is that recording wrapped up in November (well, as wrapped up as U2 ever wraps up an album. Quote from someone close to the band: “U2 is great at making albums, but they’re terrible at finishing them.” I’ve heard bits of the record (my source is DEEP inside the U2 organization), too. Prediction: News by February.
2.Nine Inch Nails
Trent gave us a taste with the Not the Actual Events EP just before Christmas. He went on to say that there were “two more major” releases coming this year. Spring and fall?
3.Prophet of Rage
In November, Tom Morello promised that there would be new music in 2017. And Tom wouldn’t lie to us, would he? Prediction: May, one year after the first EP was released.
The last album was Hunting Party in 2014. Most of last year was spent working on new material with hopes of getting something out by the end of the year. They missed that window, obviously, so we should see something soon. Prediction: Spring.
5.System of a Down
Word from the band is that they’ve been working on material for at least six months and have no fewer than 15 completed songs. While Tool has been keeping us waiting for almost eleven years, it’s been a dozen years since the last SOAD album, so expectations are high. Prediction: Late spring.
The last studio album was Battle Born in 2012. It’s time. Prediction: June
7.Queens of the Stone Age
They’re working on it. Same lineup, new intensity. I have no inside information, but my guess is we’ll see something in the second half of 2017.
Still working on it, although they’ve said they have “six solid tunes” ready. We’d probably have had it by now if not for the Pearl Jam tour that took up Matt Cameron’s time and the whole Temple of the Dog reunion, which sucked up time for Matt and Chris Cornell. Prediction: September.
It’s gotta happen. Probably not before the fall, but if they want to capitalize on what’s going on in America with their unique dystopian vision, the time is now. Prediction: October/November.
10.Stone Temple Pilots
A wildcard. Have they got a new singer yet?
12.Smashing Pumpkins (But Probably Billy Corgan Solo Album)
Billy says he’s recorded a new solo album with producer Rick Rubin with 12-13 tracks. Will it see the light of day?
Ed Kowalczyk is no longer estranged from the band, so does that mean a new album?
14.Foo Fighters (Or Maybe a Dave Grohl Solo Album)
Dave hates sitting still and knows a punk rock opportunity when he feels one. We’ll get something by the end of the year.