It was just a few weeks ago that we were looking back at the year that was, including the best songs, albums and music videos of 2013. Now that we’ve toasted the New Year, we’re ready to look ahead to the albums coming out in 2014 — and it’s shaping up to be an amazing year, musically speaking. Rumors of new albums by Adele, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse, Grimes, Wilco Robyn and Frank Ocean abound. If that’s not enough, there’s the followup to Lady Gaga’s Art Pop and even speculation that Kanye West and Jay-Z, who had a very busy 2013, may be putting out a follow-up to their critically-acclaimed collaboration, Watch the Throne. Plus, Kanye said he is hoping to have a sequel to 2013’s “Yeezus” ready to roll for summer 2014.
Of course, in these post-Beyoncé times, the rumor mill doesn’t mean much and an artist could drop an album seemingly out of the blue at any moment. Most likely candidate? Dr. Dre’s highly-anticipated, frequently expected, never-shown up album Detox. It’s the album fans have been waiting over a decade for and if it is ever going to arrive, it seems likely that it will just magically appear, blasting into Beats by Dre headphones. Similarly, 2014 might just be the year that D’Angelo, who hasn’t released a studio album since 2000’s “Voodoo,” finally releases a followup. After all, Questlove told Billboard the album was “99% done” back in January 2013. Surely that means a 2014 release could be in the works.
Here are 14 albums to look forward to in 2014:
St. Vincent, St. Vincent
Annie Clark, who performs under the St. Vincent moniker, will release a self-titled LP on Feb. 25. The album marks a return to solo work after a brief stint partnering with David Byrne on 2012’s Love This Giant. The first two tracks off of her fourth album, “Digital Witness” and “Birth in Reverse” delivers on what Clark says is the album’s mission statement: “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”
Beck, Morning Phase
In 2013, Beck teased fans with a few standalone tracks, but not a full studio album. Now, 2014 promises to bring not one but two new Beck albums from Capitol Records, with the first acoustic album Morning Phase due out in February. This will be Beck’s first album since 2008’s Modern Guilt and is reportedly a companion album to his 2002 album Sea Change, with many of the same collaborators returning for another round of exploration of lost love through heartwrenching songs.
Johnny Cash, Out Among The Stars
No one seems to know exactly how a Johnny Cash album was lost for more than 30 years, but it happened. The previously unreleased LP was recorded by the legendary musician between 1981 and 1984 and tucked away for years, forgotten. Luckily, John Carter Cash discovered the tapes in 2012 while cataloging his parents’ recordings and now Out Among the Stars, is slated to arrive in March. The album contains 12 never-before-heard studio recordings, including previously unreleased tracks like “She Used To Love Me A Lot,” and duets with June Carter Cash, and Waylon Jennings.
Broken Bells, After The Disco
Broken Bells, the project by James Mercer of The Shins and producer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton (Danger Mouse, Gnarls Barkley), have reunited for a surprise sophomore album. Based on the album’s first single, “Holding On For Life,” the duo is planning on mining MGMT melodies to craft a fun follow-up from their self-titled 2010 debut, which featured fun tracks like “The Ghost Inside” and the song “The High Road,” The record releases on Feb. 4.
After having the Best 2013 Ever with contributions to two of the year’s biggest chart toppers — Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” — and earning himself seven Grammy nominations along the way, including Producer of the Year, Pharrell announced that he was signing with Columbia and releasing a solo album. While there’s no doubt that Pharrell is a creative genius with an undeniably brilliant career, he has yet to put out an essential album that he can call entirely his own. It will be interesting to see what he releases, but based on “Happy,” which will reportedly be included on the LP, Pharrell will be continuing his winning streak well into 2014.
Charli XCX, SuperLove
Charli XCX is perhaps best known as the scribe behind Icona Pop’s mega-hit “I Don’t Care,” but her major label debut album, True Romance, released in April 2013, was pitch perfect. The singer took her time writing her first album, but she is now churning out songs at warp speed, dropping the first single, “SuperLove,” from her forthcoming third album in September. Charli has been working on the new album, which will reportedly be out on Atlantic in the spring, with producer Patrik Berger (Robyn, Lana Del Rey).
Jennifer Nettles, That Girl
The belle of band Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles is stepping out on her own with an 11-track solo debut album due out Jan. 14. For That Girl, the country star tapped super-producer Rick Rubin to help her craft the album, which includes original numbers, along with tracks by songwriters such as Butch Walker, Sara Bareilles and Richard Marx, as well as a cover of Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock.” “The result is an album that plays to my roots — country, ’70s radio, gospel and singer-songwriter,” Nettles told Rolling Stone.
U2, TBD (April)
U2 is expected to announce the details of their long-awaited new release during the Super Bowl this year. The album, which is rumored to be slated for an April release, will be their first album since 2009’s “No Line on the Horizon.” While bassist Adam Clayton recently confirmed that the group were planning to wrap up recording by the end of 2013, few details are confirmed. Rumors of possible titles include “Songs of Ascent” and “10 Reasons to Exist,” while producers Danger Mouse, Will.i.am, David Guetta, and RedOne have all reportedly recorded tracks with the band, who will be returning to their “spiritual home” by releasing the new album via Island Records. While fans wait for news about the new album, the supergroup has released the track “Ordinary Love” for the film Long Walk To Freedom:
TV On The Radio, TBD
On November 8, the art-rock visionaries confirmed that they have a new album is in the works via Facebook with a post that reads: “Time to let the cat out of the bag: We’re working on a new record. Right this very moment. Meow, y’all.” Not much is known about the new album, but the follow-up to 2011’s underappreciated Nine Types of Light will be the band’s first album since leaving the Interscope label and the first album since the death of bassist Gerard Smith. The band that brought us tracks like “Staring At The Sun” and “Wolf Like Me” have released two tracks recently, including “Mercy,” which they played on Late Night with David Letterman:
Cibo Matto, Hotel Valentine
The last time Cibo Matto released an album was way back in 1999, when they put out Stereo Type A. Now, after a lengthy hiatus, Miho Hatori and Yuka C. Honda are returning with a new LP called Hotel Valentine, fittingly released Feb. 14. The new album finds the women picking up more or less where they left off: building mesmerizing songs out of dreamy synthesizers and multi-layered samples. Hotel Valentine is purportedly a concept album about a love story and ghosts in a hotel, self-produced over the course of two years and featuring guest spots from Reggie Watts, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Mauro Refosco (of Atoms for Peace), and others.
Nicki Minaj, TBD
Hip-hop’s reigning queen, Nicki Minaj, is set to release her third album sometime next year. Although we don’t know many details on the upcoming project, Minaj did hint that the record will be a departure from her previous material and reportedly took inspiration from her busy life. The rapper’s 2012 album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 and featured singles “Starships” and “Beez In The Trap” and left fans eager for more from the fast-flowing emcee. The singer surprised fans with a taste of her new material when she dropped a remix of PTAF’s “Boss Ass B*tch” right before the new year, and if it’s any indication of her new album, it sounds like Minaj is ready to get back to her hip hop roots.
Kendrick Lamar, TBD
Kendrick Lamar’s last album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, sold well over a million records, was nominated for seven Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and is widely considered to be a universally acclaimed rap classic. It’s hard to imagine how the young emcee will top that. Little is known about his next album, but the snippet featured in a recent Beats By Dre ad sounded incredible. Between Lamar’s next album and ScHoolboy Q’s Oxymoron, it’s shaping up to a be a big year for their Top Dawg Entertainment label.
Lily Allen, TBD
Lily Allen’s debut album, Alright, Still sold over two million copies worldwide and earned Allen a Grammy nomination. She followed that success up with her 2009 album, It’s Not Me It’s You, which debuted at No. 1. Allen then took a hiatus until November, when she dropped “It’s Hard Out Here,” the first single from her long-awaited third album. Along with the single came a provocative video that supposedly highlighted the pressures faced by women in the entertainment industry, but also faced charges of racism for its portrayal of black women. If one song can trigger an international conversation about gender, race and privilege, her full-length release should be well worth the wait.
Neneh Cherry, Blank Project
Swedish singer/songwriter/rapper Neneh Cherry is best known for her hit ’80s hit “Buffalo Stance,” but her catalog extends far beyond that dancehall hit. She continues her genre-bending on her first new solo album in over 16 years, Blank Project, due out Feb. 25. The album was made over a five-day period —recording and mixing two songs a day— and was produced by Four Tet. It also features collaborations with RocketNumberNine and a guest appearance by Robyn, who (fingers crossed!) may release her own album this year.