Pop Goes The Future: The Many Reasons to Live for 2018
2017 might have been a tough one for many of us, but just as a wise woman once said after filming Evita: nothing takes the past away like the future.
And so, as opposed to adding to the noise of the endless lists recapping the best parts of the past twelve months or dwelling on the disappointments, let’s run to the future and…jump.
These are some of the most exciting pop happenings expected to occur in 2018. Get into it.
Euroney, The Anniversary & Beyond
Party in France? Well, Denmark, at least. Sure, it’s possible that The Legendary Miss Britney Spears has always dreamt of playing a long-running Danish music festival ever since she was a little girl growing up in Kentwood. But it’s more likely that Smukfest is just one of many stops that the Holy Spearit will be hitting across Europe next summer.
As with her tour of Asia this past year, B-Girl’s Piece Of Me is almost surely being exported again in 2018. There are rumblings of her Las Vegas residency renewing at another casino, as well as rumors of a return to the East Coast to perform for those city boys in New Yawk. New costumes? God willing. New set list? Hopefully, but don’t bet your “Anticipating” French CD single on it.
New music? There’s been zero talk of a record, so the odds are slim…for now, anyway. One-off collaborations are always a possibility: you never know when she’ll suddenly decide she needs to cover a Suzanne Vega song.
But if anything, we’re more likely to get something old-yet-new. Why? 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Britney’s debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” released in September of ’98. (Perhaps you’ve heard of it?) If Team B is even somewhat respectful of the legacy the Living Legend’s left behind, they’ll honor the date with some sort of repackage or renewed greatest hits, preferably with never-before-heard/seen material – or maybe even some brand new recordings.
As always, we’re just going to have to wait and see.
It’s cute that Kylie Jenner‘s had her little moment in the spotlight with her lip kits or whatever, and that she was even bold enough to attempt to claim the rights to first name status. But now, it’s time for the one and only KYLIE to return and show us how it’s really done.
Mighty Aphrodite is apparently locked and loaded with a single due out in January, having worked all over the world for the past few years, including a songwriting stint in Nashville. She’s been photographed in the studio writing with everyone, including a reunion with a Pop God: Richard “Biff” Stannard, who did a little track called “Love At First Sight” together with Mizz KM, among others. Imagine if anything even close to that classic came out of those sessions? We should be so lucky.
Carly Raedonna Jepsummer
The “E•MO•TION is underrated” memes should be left behind in 2017. (Actually, they needed to stay in 2015, but Gay Twitter persists.) There’s good reason to let go of Jepsenostalgia: we’ll have something new from CRJ in 2018. (Well, it’s likely.)
Carly’s already knocked out some sleek future-pop collaborations with PC Music and Charli XCX, and she’s been open about the fact that she’s been working on a disco-inspired (!) record in interviews as of late. If executed properly – and she’s rarely done us dirty – we just might have the Canadian crooner’s very own “I Feel Love” on our hands to lead us down the path to Homo Enlightenment.
Chezza’s Ray Of Light
The only guarantee is that this will be her Ray Of Light; an introspective, pulsating ahead-of-its time masterpiece full of worldly insights and throbbing beats. At the very least, let’s get on with another Calvin Harris banger. Or a “Sexy Den A Mutha” sequel.
Esther Goes to Portugal
Madonna is in a weird place at the moment: she’s a self-described soccer mom living in Portugal, and she’s basically spent the whole year peddling overpriced rose water sprays and Instagramming her nostrils. But! She’s already promised to tour in 2018, which means that new material will surely follow.
We’re entering real uncharted territory here: aside from icons like Cher and Barbra Streisand, neither of whom are really considered Pop Stars, where does Madge even go post-Rebel Heart? Does she flick a middle finger to ageism even harder and double down with more Diplo beats? Does she launch that comedy-and-music revue she’s been threatening to do, a la Tears of a Clown? If anyone should blaze the path and break down barriers for what it means to be a 59-year-old-and-counting pop star, it’s the Queen of Pop herself. (Just pray the grills finally get the heave-ho.)
The Redemption of Mimi
New Year’s Eve will surely set the tone, darling – but don’t call it a comeback, and please stop calling her the Queen of Christmas.
Mariah Carey is ready for redemption in the general public’s eyes on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve after last year’s debacle: she’s got her team back in order, and it’s time to start making more magic in the studio for 2018. Me. I Am Mariah was a brilliant album. Her New Year’s performance should be a fierce second take. And as long as there are no frivolous, unnecessary stunts like in the works like reality shows – she’s got too much talent to be doing all that – there’s no stopping her from having a full-fledged The Emancipation of Mimi moment all over again.
PCD Reloaded: The Re-Up
Almost impossibly, The Pussycat Dolls Featuring Nicole Scherzinger are plotting a comeback of some kind in 2018. And our buttons have never needed to be loosened up more: there are virtually no amazing girl groups in the West – certainly none as hot, sexy and raw as PCD. Scherzy Baby’s talent, and her still-unreleased-but-still-listed-on-Amazon Her Name Is Nicole cannot go to waste. Recycle it for this reboot! Let’s get Kimberly Wyatt high-kicking again. Invite Melody – and let her sing, damnit! #MPCDGA – Make The Pussycat Dolls Great Again!
Grande’s Grand Return
Pint-sized, pony-tailed princess Ariana Grande‘s Dangerous Woman remains one of the best pop records in recent memory, just as she is the best vocalist of the new pop crop. (“Into You,” alone, deserved the whole world.) She’s now back in the studio, tinkering away behind the boards as the awesomely nerdy music lover that she is.
This upcoming album could go a few ways: pure pop escapism, or heavier and darker than anything she’s ever recorded before. Given the horrifying attack at her concert in Manchester, there’s a chance Ariana will really go there and address the tragedy in the music. But as evidenced by her beautiful charity concert, if anyone could provide a respectful and emotional tribute and then lead us towards a bright and hopeful future, it’s Ari.
Just her continued existence into the new year, really.
Of the not-so-new-anymore pop girls who debuted in the ’00s, Rihanna is The Best Pop Star. This isn’t to ignite a stan war with Little Monsters or KatyCats – this is plain and simple, objective, indisputable Fact.
There’s no telling what’s to come from Rih, but it’s proven best to just let her do whatever the phuck she wants. Ocean’s 8? Sure, yes. Adding 300 more shades to her Fenty Beauty foundation line? Sounds good! A new album would be ideal, but even her few cameos on the music scene this year – the “Wild Thoughts” feature, that rap in N.E.R.D.‘s “Lemon” (“It’s Rihanna, ni–a / My constellation is space“) — prove that Rihanna reign will honestly, truly never let up.
Miss Jackson, If You’re Netflix
Rumor has it that Janet is preparing to take us behind-the-scenes with an in-depth Netflix documentary sometime in 2018, which will likely take us through Unbreakable all the way through the divorce, the baby and the State Of The World Tour – and maybe even beyond. There are the quietest of rumblings of a possible #JusticeForJanet situation at the Super Bowl, which would undoubtedly be a major moment in pop culture. Hopefully, she’s cooking up a fresh batch of something new in the studio with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, too.
Hikki’s Home Run
Utada Hikaru has announced that she’s returning with a new album in 2018, along with her first domestic tour of Japan since 2006’s Utada United. If Fantome proved anything, it’s that Hikki’s evolved into an almost entirely new artist since her extended hiatus from the music scene. There’s also the small matter of providing a theme song for the eternally delayed Kingdom Hearts III – which she’s apparently game (eh heh) to do. Slightly further away? Someone needs to represent the culture at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Who better than one of the best-selling artists in Japanese history?
K-2018: BoA, BLACKPINK & Beyond the Loonaverse
My #content as of late has been especially K-oriented, although I realize not everyone is on the K-Pop train. To that I say: I don’t K-are. As a major source of refuge in trying times, the Korean music industry stays close to my heart – and stays serving up tip-top pop. Get over the language barrier and get into TWICE‘s “Heart Shaker” dance routine, already.
Every act seems to have about twelve comebacks per year, so I’m not exactly concerned that we’ll miss anybody for too long, but a few particular acts come to mind as the most thrilling: BLACKPINK should be getting their act together as the spiritual younger sisters of 2NE1 with another industry-dominating song on the way (or perhaps, at long last, that album?), BoA should be reasserting her position on the throne as the Queen of K-Pop with a brand new record, and LOOΠΔ will at last make their twelve member strong debut as a cute, strange, Sapphic force to be reckoned with.
And more on the horizon…
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 3, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10, Anitta‘s English language debut album, anything and everything Pabllo Vittar, Nicki Minaj‘s The Pinkprint: It Gets Pinker: The Re-Pink, Queen Nuhdeen‘s “Go To Work” follow-up single(s), Sia‘s mystery projects, iamamiwhoami‘s Jonna Lee breaking out solo, and Selena Gomez‘s continued foray into weird-pop. Lady Gaga stops square dancing and starts disco dancing in the dark again? Tinashe‘s Joyride finally hits the road? Sky Ferreira‘s Masochism, fingers crossed? The endlessly delayed comeback of Legendtina? A boy can be a Little Dreamer.
What are you excited for in 2018? Let me know in the comments below, and have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve, everybody. (FYI: Here’s the mood board for this year’s celebration.)