Well, friends, here we are: Our first week of 2014! Ahead is another year full of exciting new music to soundtrack every awaiting adventure of the next 12 months. And boy, does it look promising.
We spent last year anticipating albums like Justin Timberlake's in early 2013 and Eminem at the tail end of the year, but we still scribbled whatever details we could about the records set to define 2014. Rock, pop and R&B veterans like Foo Fighters, Mariah Carey and Kylie Minogue will make their long-awaited comebacks, while Foxes and other hotly-tipped newcomers are expected to make a splash along with today's pop stars (Taylor! 1D! Ariana! SNSD!) poised to bang out another LP choked full of smash singles.
Or, as last year proved, someone might pull a Beyonce and unleash a surprise album (or visual album) on all of us. But we gathered up all the must-know facts on our 41 most-anticipated albums, in alphabetical order, for the coming year.
Scroll through and check back to Fuse daily for updates, interviews and loads of fun stuff with these acts and many more throughout 2014.
Who: Florida punk band whose singer Laura Jane Grace underwent a sex change operation in 2012.
What: Transgender Dysphoria Blues, the Florida punk band's sixth album and group's first since the lead singer came out as transgender last year.
When: January 21.
What We Know: Few transformations in music have been as dissected as Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel's procedure to become Laura Jane Grace. The singer, who has said she suffered with gender dysmorphia for years, underwent surgery to become a woman in 2012. As the album title implies, expect to hear Grace's unique, trenchant observations on her life over the group's charging punk.
What: Her long-delayed debut album, The New Classic.
What We Know: The 23-year-old described her debut LP as "fairly electronic, moombahton mixed with hip hop." That description—along with singles "Work" and "Change Your Life" featuring mentor T.I.—means we're anticipating a record filled with twerkable anthems.
What: The trio's seventh LP and second since their 2009 reformation.
When: Late spring/Early summer.
What We Know: Co-frontman Mark Hoppus told Kerrang! Magazine that he, Tom Delonge and Travis Barker would be returning to the studio to record their follow-up to 2011's comeback album, Neighborhoods, in early 2014. The December 2012 Dogs Eating Dogs EP was independently released by the band, but the group has been talking to major labels about putting out the new LP. With an entire generation penciling them in as one of the most important groups of all time, it’s not a question of whether a new blink-182 album can succeed – the question is whether the band will take more risks than we saw on the relatively safe Neighborhoods.
Who: Legendary Long Island indie/emo quartet Brand New.
What: A long-anticipated fifth studio LP, the follow-up to 2009's Daisy.
When: Second half of year
What We Know: Not much, yet. Brand New fans are a rabid, anxious, hard-to-please bunch, and they've probably had the band on their Most Anticipated lists every year since 2011. The group has built a career with brilliant music and a mysterious and cryptic persona, barely ever having a transparent relationship with the public and doing almost no American publicity at all since the career-defining 2006 release of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. But for an influential emo band that has shaped countless youths, it's a necessity to include Brand New on this list.
During an intimate show late last year, the group announced that they were writing new songs. They've never followed any sort of pattern in recording or releasing new music, but the current draught of new material from the band since 2009's controversially received Daisy is the longest break they've ever taken.
Who: Super diva Mariah Carey.
What: The Art of Letting Go, Mimi's 13th (!!!) studio album.
What We Know: Her Miguel collabo "#Beautiful," gave the former Idol judge her biggest hit since 2009. Despite a successful kickoff, details are sparse on the full LP. While the empowering, gospel-tinged title track is another R&B gem, TAOLG boasts a diverse list of rumored collaborators: From R&B producers Bryan-Michael Cox and Jermaine Dupri to R. Kelly to dance floor maestro David Morales. Still, it's unclear who will end up on the album. Mimi revealed on New Years Eve that a new single would be released Valentine's Day.
Who: Indian singer/actress Priyanka Chopra.
What: The former Miss World champion's debut album.
When: Early 2014.
What We Know: The 31-year-old stunner is prepping her debut disc chock full of hitmakers: Chopra told Fuse she's snagged studio time with Timbaland, RedOne, Zedd, Bonnie McKee and Ester Dean. She's already dropped "In My City" featuring will.i.am and her Pitbull collabo "Exotic." The latter features a Hindi chorus making us think this album will be a multicultural musical journey.
What: Her sophomore full-length LP Ultra-Violence.
What We Know: Only the title. At a screening of her short film Tropico, she told her audience of LDR fans, "I really just wanted us all to be together so I could try and visually close out my chapter before I release the new record, Ultra-Violence." Details were sparse about whether a new record would even come—Nylon inquired about her album prospects in October, to which LDR replied, "When people ask me about it, I just have to be honest; I really don't know"—but after breaking onto mainstream radio with a dance remix of "Summertime Sadness," Lana looks poised for a huge 2014.
Who: Adored New Jersey emo veterans The Early November.
What: The quintet's second album since reuniting in 2011 and fourth LP overall.
What We Know: Last month, Ace Enders & Co. performed their 2003 debut LP, The Room's Too Cold, in NYC and Philadelphia to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. During the shows, the band revealed that its current period of relative quiet has been the result of working on a new album – something that might have come as a bit of a surprise to TEN fans, who felt lucky to get one new LP (2012's In Currents) and a full tour from the band's reunion. The group is back in a full-time role, and based on the new song they played in Philadelphia, their second Rise Records full-length is going to be filled with fiery indie rock.
Who: The inimitable Foo Fighters.
What: Their upcoming eighth studio album.
What We Know: After a brief hiatus, Dave Grohl & Co. are well rested and prepared to bring the rock back! The boys have been cooking up new songs for their Wasting Light follow-up since early 2013, and guitarist Chris Shiflett told fasterlouder.com that the new stuff sounds "pretty f-cking fun." He also posted to Instagram that the new album will feature 13 songs.
Who: 24-year-old British singer-songwriter, born Louisa Rose Allen.
When: Early March.
What We Know: Foxes posted the track listing for Glorious on her Instagram in November, revealing that the album will feature "Youth," "Echo" and "White Coats," three songs with videos that racked up more than 5 million combined YouTube views in 2013. The video for her "Let Go for Tonight” single dropped this week and confirmed that Glorious will bring both "Clarity"-style EDM anthems and (slightly) more subdued electro gems.
Who: Taeyeon, Jessica, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona and Seohyun...or, simply, Girls' Generation.
What: The K-pop mega girl group's fifth full-length Korean album.
When: Early 2014.
What We Know: After flipping the pop scene on its head last year with their forward-thinking, genre-bending "I Got a Boy" track—where its music video won Video of the Year at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards—global anticipation is high to see what pop perfection the girls can cook up this year. Tiffany recently told Billboard the group is planning a "a better, bigger, cooler sound." While we're still keeping our fingers crossed for that rumored English album, we will gladly devour their next K-pop LP. A new video clip shown at GG's December concert teasing their new album showcased the girls sporting sleek, high-fashion looks, making fans think the new release will show a more mature side of the K-pop phenoms.
Who: 2013's breakthrough female diva—dubbed the "new Mariah Carey"—Ariana Grande.
What: Her sophomore LP, which follows her 2013 No. 1 debut album, Yours Truly.
When: August/September 2014
What We Know: Not much at the moment, but the album will probably stray from the throwback ‘50s-meets-’90s-R&B vibe of Yours Truly. The singer revealed to Rolling Stone that she wants her follow-up album to sound like "an evolution" that’ll allow her to experiment with different sounds.
Who: 28 year-old Das Racist co-founder Himanshu Suri, aka Heems.
What: The Queens native's first (and allegedly last) solo album, following up 2012's Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom mixtapes.
When: Spring 2014
What We Know: As much as we appreciated Das Racist, we'd be liars if we said we weren't thankful they broke up. The year after their dissolution brought not one but two excellent solo mixtapes from the most dynamic member of the rap trio. Now, in 2014, we'll receive the studio album we've been thirsting for since we first heard Heemy rap on his own and realized what a brilliantly clever and complicated individual he is. The MC has been keeping details on the DL while working on the album in New York and India, but if there's one thing we know: we look forward to riding the wave.
Who: Pro Era MC Joey Bada$$.
What: The 18-year-old's long-awaited debut album, B4.Da.$$.
What We Know: Since he emerged barely two years ago with his 1999 mixtape, the BK backpacker has been so prolific that you might momentarily forget he still hasn't dropped a studio album yet. But after a series of supremely impressive tapes— both on his own and with rap collective Pro Era —oh, and a particularly dope verse on A$AP Rocky's star-studded super jam "1 Train," we've waited about as long as we can stand to to hear Joey's debut. His skills, style and sound all beg comparison to another New York MC who got his start at a young age, by which logic we wouldn't be shocked if B4.Da.$$ sounds like a 21st century Illmatic.
Who: Southern California punk rock four-piece Joyce Manor.
What: Third full-length LP and follow up to 2012's Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired.
When: Spring 2014
What We Know: After touring extensively over the past few years, including stints supporting Against Me! and Desaparecidos, the band has quietly but quickly developed a cult following comprised of pop punk enthusiasts and indie rock lovers alike. With their two existing LPs totaling barely 30 minutes combined, we're nothing if not hungry to hear more. As their sound continues to mature and the band learns to integrate their broad influences (from The Smiths and Guided By Voices to Weezer and blink-182) ever more artfully, we anticipate their new material to be their best to date.
Who: Veteran soul/pop singer-songwriter known for worldwide hit "Milkshake."
What: Sixth album Food, her first for pioneering electronic label Ninja Tune.
When: April 28.
What We Know: Alternative soul singer Kelis has been winning Grammys and generating hits since 1999's Kaleidoscope. Yet in recent years, her personal life—most notably a messy public divorce from Nas—has overshadowed her creative abilities. The singer recruited TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek to produce her entire upcoming album, set for release on pioneering electronic label Ninja Tune. We're not sure how much she'll go into her personal life on the album, but she definitely has a lot of fodder if she wants to.
Who: NYC native & Roc Nation R&B/soul songstress Bridget Kelly.
What: Her debut studio album, Something Different.
What We Know: Originally slated for a September 2013 release, Something Different was pushed back in November to make room for Kelly's second EP, Cut to... Bridget Kelly. Fans already got a taste of the singer's full-length debut via the Kendrick Lamar-assisted single, "Street Dreamin'," and while there's no confirmed date for the album, Cut to... Bridget Kelly at least gives everyone an exciting six-track preview of what's to come.
What: Their album of jazz standards, Cheek to Cheek.
When: Late 2014.
What We Know: Fans have been waiting for this album since late 2012, and they're going to have to sit tight. Though Cheek to Cheek was originally set for a January 1 release date, Bennett recently told CNN that the "big swing album" has been pushed back to late 2014. Until then, Little Monsters will just have to keep watching "The Lady Is a Tramp" from Bennett's 2011 album, Duets II.
Who: Essential Atlanta indie-rockers Manchester Orchestra.
What: The quintet's fourth full-length, Cope.
When: April 1.
What We Know: Frontman Andy Hull has apparently been a little impatient with how long the follow-up to 2011's Simple Math is taking to come out, but then he announced on December 8 that Manchester Orchestra’s new LP, titled Cope, would be coming out on April 1. Hull claims the album is a "super-aggressive guitar rock record," which should please fans of 2009's grungy Mean Everything to Nothing and which would serve as a departure from Simple Math's slightly more polished sound. There's also a decent-quality recording of a new song called "The Ocean."
Who: Grammy-winning neo-soul singer Maxwell.
What we Know: blackSUMMERS'night is the second of a trilogy he began in 2009 with BLACKsummers'night (the third will presumably be titled blacksummers'NIGHT). "It has that bittersweet feel to it," Maxwell told Billboard. "I don’t like things to be too happy." Given the album title, expect a SUMMERS release.
Who: Four-piece British electropop band helmed by musician-producer Joseph Mount.
What: Their fourth studio album, Love Letters, the follow up to 2011’s Mercury Prize-nominated The English Riviera
When: March 10.
What We Know: The album’s first single "I'm Aquarius" was first available through their "Night Sky" app, which fans could use to stream the song by pointing their phone at the Aquarius constellation. The official video dropped in December, if astronomy isn't your thing. The production on "I'm Aquarius" is a bit more lo-fi than the sound of The English Riviera, but Joseph Mount remains a master of melancholy dance jams.
Who: The first lady of hip-hop, Nicki Minaj.
What: The follow-up to 2012's platinum Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.
What We Know: We don’t know too much so far, but Nicki recently told Power 105.1 (via NME) that she has begun recording new material. "It's very different from anything I've done, which I'm surprised about. I'm not feeling like I did this. I feel like this is next level." She also told MTV that's she’s working with brand-new collaborators, though she wouldn't mention any names. But she did say "2014 definitely!"
Who: Aussie pop goddess Kylie Minogue.
What: Her 12th album to date and the follow-up to 2010's Aphrodite, which spawned four No. 1s on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
When: Spring 2014.
What We Know: Even though we said "WTF?" when the singer signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation label, buzz single "Skirt" was a thrilling combination of gritty house beats and euphoric pop melodies. With Pharrell as a confirmed producer and Jay Z as a confirmed collaborator, we're looking forward to Kylie's foray into pop-meets-hip-hop land. Just this week, the star was photographed shooting a music video for what is presumed to be the LP's lead single, rumored to be titled "Into the Blue" after multiple tweets from Minogue using the hashtag #IntoTheBlue.
Who: Veteran German quartet fusing indie guitar rock with Atoms for Peace-styled electronics.
What: Eighth album Close to the Glass, the group's first since 2008's The Devil, You + Me.
When: February 24.
What We Know: The Notwist began their career as a pedestrian rock band before their incorporation of dark electronic music made them one of the most innovative and underrated bands in music. Vocalist Markus Acher's cold, detached vocals equally enthrall and scare, with the group's new album balancing Strokes-ian guitar jams with Neu!-styled motorik rhythms.
What: His second full-length studio album, the follow-up to his Grammy award-winning Channel Orange.
When: Summer 2014.
What We Know: After pulling out of a mini Australian tour after tearing a vocal cord last summer, Frank Ocean has had a lot of down time to work on new material. He's also kept relatively quiet after his parking lot scuffle with Chris Brown, but he did tell Tumblr that fans can expect new music "when summer comes around again." We're waiting...
Who: California metalcore band Of Mice & Men.
What: Their third album, Restoring Force.
When: January 28.
What We Know: Restoring Force is the band's first album with new member Aaron Pauley, who took over bass and clean vocals (he's the non-growly vocal counterpart to primary singer Austin Carlile) after Shayley Bourget exited in 2012. According to the band, "Restoring Force is more than just a collection of songs, but fundamentally a return to equilibrium."
Who: Liam, Louis, Harry, Niall and Zayn—aka British heartthrobs One Direction.
What: The boys' fourth album in four years, as per their five-year contract with SyCo/Columbia Records.
When: Late 2014.
What We Know: Not much yet, but if the musical transformation they made on 2013's Midnight Memories (not to mention the physical transformation—when did these guys get so many tattoos?) is any indication, 1D are bound to delve deeper into the cheeky rock 'n roll territory they've been dipping their toes into.
Who: Trippy electronic duo Phantogram.
What: Their second album, Voices.
When: February 18.
What We Know: They debuted in 2009 with Eyelid Movies but broke to a wider audience in 2012 thanks to three collaborative tracks with Big Boi on his second solo album. The first taste of Voices is "Fall In Love," a trip-hop joint with spacey electronics, an old-school soul vibe and Sarah Barthel's yearning voice. Oh, and there's a track on the album called "Bill Murray," so that's worth the price of admission alone.
What: His first solo studio album since his 2006 debut, In My Mind.
What We Know: Fresh off a monster year dancing to "Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky," Pharrell's ready for his return to center stage as a singer/rapper. Revealing to Fuse News that he hasn't given up rapping, the 40-year-old N.E.R.D frontman signed a deal with Columbia Records to drop his sophomore studio LP sometime in 2014. His Despicable Me 2 soundtrack single, "Happy," will be on the tracklist, but that's about all we know so far.
What: His sixth full-length album.
When: Early 2014.
What We Know: Psy's followed up "Gangnam Style" with the one-off "Gentleman" single that was a Top 5 hit, but didn't have same legs as his crossover smash. The Korean rapper has confirmed a full-length album and a slew of huge Western stars are rumored to be on the tracklist: Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg and even Steven Tyler.
Who: 36-year-old Clipse co-founder and G.O.O.D. Music member Pusha T.
What: King Push, the follow-up to stellar solo debut My Name Is My Name.
What We Know: Following up one of the best rap records of 2013 is certainly no small task, but Pusha hardly seems scared of the challenge. In fact, he's already begun work on what we expect to be the furthest thing from a sophomore slump. Additionally, with news that the 20-day recording project he's just embarked on with The Neptunes is actually the makings of a new Clipse album, it's safe to say King Push has given us more than enough prospective material to be excited about this year.
When: February 25.
What We Know: Kendrick Lamar was the first Black Hippy MC to take over the rap game, and ScHoolboy Q is hoping to do the same with his debut studio album, Oxymoron. Whether he succeeds on the commercial level of Kendrick may be beside the point. Based on what we've heard him do in the past, this album might prove that Q's the best straight-up rapper in the Cali hip hop collective… and in the game.
What: Sixth album Give the People What They Want.
When: January 14.
What We Know: Jones' album was originally scheduled for release last August, but was delayed after the singer was diagnosed with stage 1 bile duct cancer. The singer underwent intensive chemotherapy and is currently resting in upstate New York to prepare for an upcoming tour in support of the album. Jones' formula—a blend of soulful ballads and raucous, horn-driven funk—hasn't changed much from album to album, but fans wouldn't have it any other way.
Who: Australian torch singer/Songwriter extraordinaire Sia.
What: Her sixth studio album—her first in four years.
When: Spring 2014 (Hopefully).
What We Know: Somewhat ironically, Sia has become more famous than ever after taking a break from being a recording artist and opting to write for other singers (Rihanna's "Diamonds," Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You," Britney Spears' "Perfume"). But the artist confirmed she was working on new music last January and Billboard revealed label RCA has a tentative spring release date. Here are eight more reasons you should be super-pumped for it.
Who: Disclosure BFF Sam Smith.
What: The British singer-songwriter’s debut album In the Lonely Hour.
When: May 26.
What We Know: Smith broke through with his guest verse on electronic duo Disclosure’s ambition lead single, "Latch," in 2012, and the rest has been history. In 2013, Smith won the BRIT Critics' Choice Award, and his debut solo single, "Money on My Mind," already has fans swooning.
Who: Brooklyn singer-songwriter Annie Clark, who wields a guitar and melody with equal passion.
What: Self-titled fifth album.
When: February 25.
What We Know: Following her David Byrne collaborative album Love This Giant and breathtaking tour with the Talking Heads vet, St. Vincent is set to release her eponymous, fourth album. "I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral," the singer-songwriter says in the press release for her upcoming album. "I knew the groove needed to be paramount." From the two songs we've heard—"Birth in Reverse" and "Digital Witness"—augments the singer's crunchy guitars with thick bass lines and horn-drenched funk.
Who: Recently-turned 24-year-old pop-country superstar/serial monogamist Taylor Swift.
What: Her fifth studio LP, title still TBD aka follow-up to her Grammy-nominated 2012 album, Red.
What We Know: Swift's album will feature tracks similar to One Chance soundtrack gem "Sweeter Than Fiction," the Jack Antonoff collab that earned the singer a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. Aussie singer-songwriter Sia, who's known for her hit songwriting and featured vocals on hip hop and EDM singles, might be pulled in for an anticipated collaboration. Swift told Entertainment Weekly that the album will still feel distinctly Taylor but with, hopefully, a more matured perspective on relationships. Look out for new material as early as this month!
Who: Los Angeles-based indie rock quartet.
What: The self-titled sophomore album is their first release since 2010.
When: January 21 on Rough Trade Records.
What We Know: Warpaint's credits bode well: The group co-produced the album with British super-producer Flood (U2, Nine Inch Nails, 30 Seconds to Mars) and it's co-engineered by Flood and Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Atoms for Peace). Member Emily Kokal told NME the new record was less rock, more synth: "I only play guitar on maybe two songs—everything else is keys, so it's definitely different." Two album tracks they've released online, "Biggy"and "Love Is to Die" don't suggest a radically new direction though; they've retained the moody, ethereal sound listeners fell in love with on 2010's The Fool.
Who: Warped Tour up-and-comers We Are The In Crowd
What: Their second album, Weird Kids
When: February 18
What We Know: The Poughkeepsie, NY, punks impressed with their debut Best Intentions and turned a lot of heads on Warped Tour 2012. With their "Attention" single from Weird Kids, they flaunt great lyrics like "we are the only friends we have" and Tay Jardine's sweet-but-rough vocals.
Who: Yeezus himself, Kanye West.
What: His as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2013's smash Yeezus.
What We Know: Fans would probably have been satisfied if Kanye took the next five years off considering the success and critical appeal of his 2013 release, Yeezus. But Yeezy is right back at it, working again with Yeezus producer Rick Rubin and longtime collaborator Q-Tip. He told Rolling Stone that fans can expect another short album: "I think my next album is going to be eight songs. It's just reducing down the amount of information that you need."
Who: Cali quintet Young the Giant, famous for alt-rock hits like "My Body" and "Cough Syrup."
What: The quartet's sophomore album, Mind Over Matter.
When: January 21.
What We Know: After making a splash with key TV appearance (they were the only rock act to play the 2011 VMAs and "Cough Syrup" was covered on Glee), the band has its sights higher than ever with this new LP. The band signed a new label deal with Fueled by Ramen (which launched the careers of Fall Out Boy and Paramore) and added album producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Paramore) to help bolster their sound. Their lead single "It's About Time" sounds like a Foo Fighters/Panic! At the Disco mash-up, topped off by lead singer Sameer Gadhia's impressive vocal range. Last month, the group told Fuse News that "this record is much more focused" and other deets. Sounds good to us!
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