Let's add "don't spend the whole year in a fetal position" to our list of New Year's resolutions and take a glass-half-full look at some things we can actually look forward to in 2017.
1. Posthumous music from David Bowie and Prince
Of all the major musical artists we lost in 2016, none had
2. More politically charged hip-hop and R&B
In 2016, spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement and the success of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, African-American popular music explored our nation's racial, economic and cultural divides with increasing bravado, as tracks from YG's "Fuck Donald Trump" to Beyoncé's "Formation" and albums from Common's Black America Again to A Tribe Called Quest's We Got It From Here gave a voice to everyone who opposes the racist, reactionary, fearmongering politics of our next president.
3. The return of Desert Trip ... and wild, unfounded speculation as to who will play Desert Trip
At the inaugural "Oldchella," the most overheard question (besides "Was it just me or did Dylan kinda suck?") was, "Who do you think will play next year?" The most frequent answers to that question were the most obvious ones: Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen. All of which would be awesome, but we're not aiming high enough, people! With $7 million paydays on the table for each headliner, Goldenvoice has the ability to scare up some truly headline-grabbing headliners. We shouldn't be surprised to see Robert Plant and Jimmy Page reuniting (though probably not with John Paul Jones — let's not get delusional here), or Simon and Garfunkel harmonizing one last time, or even a Blind Faith revival (depending on Ginger Baker's health and all-around level of cantankerousness). Given this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class, even Yes with Jon Anderson and Journey with Steve Perry (with Arnel Pineda singing all the high parts, but still) aren't outside the realm of possibility.
4. The return of St. Vincent
I'm probably more geeked about this than most, but any year in which we get new music from art-rocker and guitar goddess Annie Clark of St. Vincent can't be all bad in my book. For those not familiar with the awesomeness of St. Vincent, watch this, then read this. You're welcome.
5. More cheesy, escapist pop music
More adventurous hip-hop and R&B artists aside, don't expect mainstream music to suddenly grow a social conscience in 2017 just because Trump is rolling our country back to the 19th century. Remember, the biggest post-9/11 singles were Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" and Nelly's "Hot in Herre." And that's not necessarily a bad thing, either. Politically turbulent times can produce great art and powerful protest music, but we also need a little escapist dreck now and then to ride out that turbulence. That new Fergie album can't get here fast enough.