Best and Worst of 2017: Music

2017 was a year that was full of highs and lows, particularly when it came to music. Here are the moments that, for better or worse, remain most memorable as we review the past year. 

Music’s Best Moments

Ed Sheeran: The Ultimate Comeback Kid
Perhaps no other artist had a year as successful as Ed Sheeran. After a year-long hiatus away from the spotlight, the British singer-songwriter was instantly catapulted back into the public eye and onto music charts worldwide when he released singles “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” in early January. The former went on to become the most-streamed song ever on Spotify and is most likely still stuck in your head. Sheeran’s third studio album ÷ (Divide) dropped in March and was arguably the biggest album of 2017, garnering over 3.1 billion streams on Spotify, hitting no. 1 in over a dozen countries and earning double-Platinum sales certification. Safe to say Ed has earned himself another year off…after his 2018 stadium tour, that is.

Lady Gaga continues to evolve
Another pop star to make waves this year was the incomparable Lady Gaga. She followed up last year’s deeply personal, Grammy-nominated album Joanne with some of her biggest gigs to date, most notably the Super Bowl halftime show and the headlining spot at Coachella. Her Joanne World Tour brought Mother Monster to major North American ballparks and stadiums, racking up a staggering $52 million in the process. She took fans on yet another personal journey this fall when her Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two premiered, detailing her health battle with chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, the same condition which forced her to postpone the European leg of the Joanne Tour. She most recently announced her own Las Vegas residency show beginning next December, in what appears to be a natural fit for a bona fide star.

Solo stars shine

Niall Horan

2017 appeared to be the year for newly-minted solo stars to shine on their own. Following her departure from Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello proved the creative decision to go solo was a smart one. Her singles “Crying in the Club,” “OMG,” and “Havana” all put the young singer on music charts and she is on track to have a strong debut album when her self-titled LP drops January 12. Joining Cabello in the ranks of talented young solo artists are the boys of One Direction, each of whom released new material (including two full-length albums) less than two years after going on hiatus from the group. Former member Zayn teamed up with Taylor Swift for the well-received “I Don’t Want to Live Forever” as Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson released several singles, teasing that there’s more on the way. Harry Styles and Niall Horan gifted fans with their debut albums, which spawned successful singles “Sign of the Times” for Styles and “Slow Hands” for Horan.

Music’s Worst Moments

Lost legends and those gone too soon

Tom Petty

The music world lost talented stars across all genres over the past year, none of whom will ever be forgotten. Rock, in particular, suffered the biggest loss through the untimely deaths of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Malcolm Young of AC/DC, early rock pioneer Fats Domino, Gregg Allman and Tom Petty. Country stars Glen Campbell and Troy Gentry also passed unexpectedly, as did Steely Dan founder Walter Becker and rising rap star Lil Peep.

Route 91 music festival turned tragic
One of the most harrowing news stories of the year unfolded when a gunman opened fire from a Las Vegas high-rise hotel room and turned the Route 91 festival into a zone of terror during Jason Aldean‘s set. 58 lives were taken and hundreds more suffered injuries from the horrific shooting, which reignited gun safety debates and prompted musicians and fans alike to join together to heal. The Las Vegas massacre was this year’s second terrorist act to target a concert, after a bomb exploded during an Ariana Grande show in Manchester, U.K. this spring, killing 22.