Lollapalooza 2015 Lineup Takeaways: Florence Is Finally a Headliner, Sam Smith vs. Metal & More

Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine performs on stage during a concert in the Rock in Rio Festival on September 14, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The 2015 Lollapalooza lineup, which was released on Wednesday (Mar. 25), contains a commendable amount of musical diversity that is stoking our anticipation for the annual summer extravaganza. Paul McCartney, Metallica and Florence + The Machine will headline Lollapalooza this year when it returns to Chicago's Grant Park from July 31-Aug. 2.

What are the biggest takeaways from the year's latest major festival reveal? Allow us to present seven hot takes from the 2015 Lollapalooza lineup:

1. Florence Finally Headlines. Ahead of the June release of new album How Big How Blue How Beautiful, Florence + The Machine have been lining up festival appearances like promotional dominoes, often appearing in the second line of festival bills underneath the trio of main stage headliners. We've griped a few times that Florence Welch and co. deserve prime-slot placement, and thankfully, Lollapalooza rightfully gives the live powerhouse top billing on Sunday. It's a win for one of rock's most reliable voices, and for everyone who has noticed how few female performers appear at the top of these lineups.

2. The Oldster Carousel Continues. It seems like most of the major U.S. festivals have spent the past three years swiveling through a finite group of male rock legends as headliners, chief among them Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Elton John. Macca's got Firefly and now Lollapalooza in 2015, Joel has Bonnaroo and John is at Outside Lands after taking on Bonnaroo last year. These bookings have essentially served as a tonic for those who want a classic catalog to pair with more modern headliners like Mumford & Sons, Jack White, Drake and the Black Keys.

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3. Metallica Appears! Speaking of classic catalogs, the clear booking coup for Lollapalooza this year is having Metallica return as a U.S. headliner for the first time since 1996. The band will hopefully have new music to tote by August -- Hetfield, Ulrich and co. haven't released an album since 2008's Death Magnetic -- and after rocking Glastonbury last year, Metallica is going to put on a spectacular show in Chicago in 2015.

4. Sam Smith = The Metal Alternative. As the second-billed headliner on Saturday night, Smith will likely play at the same time as Metallica, setting up the ultimate juxtaposition of hard and soft rock. Will you be bringing earplugs or a box of tissues to Lollapalooza on Saturday? Are you ready to Ride The Lightning, or will you be begging someone to stay with you? The set times are going to make for an interesting separation across Grant Park.

5. Of Monsters & Men Gets Prime Real Estate. The folk-rock group's new album, Beneath The Skin, comes out June 9, and while debut album My Head Is An Animal made the Icelandic collective a U.S. festival mainstay, seeing the group's so high up on Sunday's lineup (over, for instance, indie veterans like TV on the Radio and Gogol Bordello) reflects the excitement surrounding this group's return. New single "Crystals" sounds tailor-made for an open field of shouting fans, and OMAM could use the Lollapalooza show to help catapult into the upper reaches of modern rock acts.

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6. A$AP Rocky Will Be a Massive Draw. The leader of the A$AP Mob has been in the news recently discussing the tragic death of his best friend A$AP Yams and previewing his next solo album, and Lollapalooza marks one of the first major U.S. festivals on which Rocky's name appears (he'll also perform at fests like the Roots Picnic and Wireless Festival). It will be nice to see Rocky once again conquer a festival crowd -- perhaps with a new album to promote.

7. …But If You Love Hip-Hop, 2014 Was Your Year. After Eminem and Outkast manned the main stage to close out Lolla on separate days last year, the 2015 lineup lacks a major rap draw aside from artists like A$AP Rocky, Kid Cudi, G-Eazy and Tyler, The Creator. One silver lining? Young Thug will perform on Friday at the festival, and while his name is nestled in the middle of the lineup, one can expect the genius MC to command one of the weekend's hugest crowds.


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