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Best and worst breakout artists of the year

Billie Eilish | A bright new star

The year 2017 brought an influx of musical artists and new music content that has made the industry more competitive than ever. This year, artists have emerged in the industry with originality and creativity, so the bar to bring something new to the table is set high.

Billie Eilish is only 15 years old, yet her ability to tell a story reveals that she is very complex and pensive for her age, at least when it comes to music. Though Eilish comes from a well-known family—her mother is Maggie Baird, a popular actress from the 90s, and her brother, Finneas O’Connell, is a singer and songwriter who is well-known for his role in Glee—Billie is making a name for herself, regardless of her family legacy.

What sets Eilish apart from other artists, besides her age, are her complex lyrics that allow her to express narratives in which she takes on different personas.       

The song “Bellyache” tells the story of a conflicted psychopath on the run from the cops. As intense as it sounds, the lyrics express the psychopath’s morbid fantasies about leaving their friends’ bodies in the back of their car and leaving their lover in the gutter.

Eilish’s style of music is intense, sophisticated, and captivating in comparison to other artists today. Her latest single, “Copycat,” preaches about individuality and talks about a society that lacks originality among people and the music industry. “Call me calloused, call me cold / You’re italic, I’m in bold / Call me cocky, watch your tone / You better love me, ‘cause you’re just a clone,” Eilish sings. With her ethereal voice and metaphorical lyrics combined, Eilish leaves her audience in awe and with some food for thought.

Billie Eilish is an under-appreciated musician and is actively changing the game for pop music. Much of today’s pop music feels repetitive, uninspiring, and bland; however, with different variations of the “I hate you / I love you” message, Eilish is refreshing and engaging, and far more sophisticated than many other 15-year-olds. – By Jaleesia Fobbs

Liam Payne | A dissapointing solo act

Of all the new artists who debuted on the charts this year, Liam Payne is the worst of them. Payne launched his solo music career this year after the boy band One Direction parted ways in early 2016.

His first single, “Strip That Down” featuring Quavo, is undeniably catchy and landed at number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 of 2017. However, it is a generic dance track that features bland lyrics.

“So put your hands on my body / and strip that down for me, baby / You know I love it when the music’s loud / But c’mon strip that down for me,” Payne sings. The song is about standard pop-music fare—namely “sexy” dancing—yet the massive team behind the song apparently didn’t care about originality or creativity in the least. The song was written by 14 people, including Payne, Quavo, and Ed Sheeran. Sheeran has even been nominated for 10 Grammys over the past three years, winning two of them, including one for songwriting.

Payne has since released two more songs—but he didn’t apply his skill to this track which he had no part in writing, a fact that might be a blessing in disguise. “Bedroom Floor,” is still lackluster and deals with the subject of make-up sex. “Get Low” with Zedd is, again, rather forgettable and uninspired. All this is more unfortunate when considering what the other ex-One Direction members have done since the breakup.

Niall Horan, Harry Styles, and Zayn Malik have all jump-started their solo careers with acclaimed albums, Malik being the most successful of them all. Louis Tomlinson has been preoccupied with raising a child, as has Payne, so the general lack of quality music from both of them makes sense. However, Tomlinson has released the single “Just Like You” which is far better, lyrically and otherwise, than Payne can currently hope to be.

The award of Worst Breakout Artist of the Year is presented to Liam Payne for his uninspired hits and general lack of a “wow factor.” Payne is not untalented; one simply expects more from his music when he has had so much time to create it and there is so much supporting talent orchestrating the majority of his songs. Here’s to looking forward to a better, more creative 2018 Liam. – By Alexander Elmore

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