Kim Kizyma
Graphic Designer + Creative Technologist

Blog

Blog Posts and Ideas by Kim Kizyma

Music trends of 2018

Hip-Hop’s New Generation Takes Over
The year in hip-hop made one thing blindingly clear: The old guard is, well, old. Kanye West executive-produced five albums over the summer, but it took a Lil Pump feature to get him any traction on streaming services. Nicki Minaj needed a duet with embattled rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine to make any real noise. The generation rushing to fill the vacuum at rap’s top isn’t always getting there on artistic merit — see the empty gestures masquerading as scintillation on Minaj and 6ix9ine’s hit “Fefe,” or Post Malone’s featherweight blockbuster Beerbongs & Bentleys —­ but, more often than not, the new class made the case that the genre was due for a change. Travis Scott’s Astroworld was a grand, sweeping album that finally got him out of the long shadow of his mentor, West; Noname and Tierra Whack produced thrilling breakthroughs without following anyone else’s rules; and Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy was a genuine, surprising tour de force that suggested a long career ahead. (Swizz Beatz, meanwhile, made likely the best album of his career with Poison precisely because he didn’t bother competing for oxygen with younger stars — it’s an exercise in aging gracefully.) The game has changed, and it’s for the better. —Brendan Klinkenberg

Indie Rock Is in the Middle of a New Golden Age
For some fans, the glory days of indie rock were the early Nineties, when bands like Pavement and Sebadoh made swirly guitars and introspective lyrics seem cool. That sound is enjoying a new golden age, thanks to artists too young to remember the Clinton years. “There was a lot of amazing guitar music from that time,” says Lindsay Jordan, 19, who records as Snail Mail (top). Her debut, Lush, exalted in emotional directness and sharp songcraft — as did Clean, by Sophie Allison (a.k.a. Soccer Mommy), 21, and Historian, by Lucy Dacus, 23. One common thread for these acts is a love for Liz Phair, who recently featured Soccer Mommy as an opening act. “Women are resonating with music that bolsters their courage and validates their experience of censorship in a hostile mainstream,” Phair says. “Sucks [to be] us, but I’m glad I can help.” —Jon Dolan

Rock Still Rules the Road
Look at the singles chart and you’ll see lots of rappers and pop stars, a smattering of DJs and country acts, and almost no rock bands. Rock doesn’t produce hits like it did in 1995 or even 2005. And yet, in the first three quarters of 2018, five of the 10 biggest tours were by rock acts. And in 2019, with the Rolling Stones headlining stadiums and Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Elton John, Dead & Co., Kiss and Paul McCartney hitting arenas, the trend is unlikely to reverse itself. While hip-hop scores billions of streams, that doesn’t always translate to ticket sales; Post Malone sold fewer tickets in 2018 than Phil Collins or ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. “In the pop and hip-hop worlds it’s about the song, and many of them don’t seem to age well,” says Andy Cirzan, VP of Jam Productions. “But take a look at Greta Van Fleet. We just sold out three nights at the [5,000-seat] Aragon Ballroom. They are filling a void nobody even knew existed.” Alex Hodges, CEO of Nederlander Concerts, agrees. “We just did 14,000 people at Slayer at a soccer field in Sacramento, and then sold them out in San Jose,” he says. “You had three generations of fans there. Rock is dead? I refuse to hear that!” —Andy Greene