Now that you have hopefully had the time to go through the 10 best albums of last year, it’s only fitting that we all take a look forward to the future. Well, the not-so-distant future, to be clear, because there is plenty of new music to get excited about in the ensuing months of 2014. If all goes according to plan (and the artists’ schedules), this year could easily topple what was released in 2013.
It’s not just the music that could be better, but the presentation of it, too. Just look at the immense roll out that came with Beyonce’s surprise self-titled album. For those unaware of what she did, one look at Beyonce.com will show you a glimpse of what to expect—music videos for every song on the album. That’s right: One video per track and even a few extras, which makes it feel like a cinematic experience. Awesome.
Artists who are still going the vinyl route have done amazing things, too, like Daft Punk and their Random Access Memories deluxe box set. I know what you may be thinking, “People buy vinyl?” Yup, and it’s partially due to the features (and pricing) of modern turntables. According to MySmartBuy.com, there are turntables that you can easily hook up to your computer through the USB port to transfer the music from the record to your hard-drive. That means you could potentially just rip the music and leave the vinyl somewhere safe to keep it in good condition. Those rare ones can bring in decent cash down the line.
But when it comes to the following albums on this list, all you’re going to worry about is what the music sounds like. Everything else is just gravy.
- Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett – Originally set to drop late last year and then the top of 2014, Gaga and Bennett’s album of jazz standards, Cheek to Cheek, is now looking like it’ll come out in the summer or fall. It was pushed back so the Lady could promote her solo album, the quite-good Artpop. After hearing her explore such new territory on there, it’ll be great to hear rely solely on those vocal chops alongside Tony Bennett.
- Kendrick Lamar – It doesn’t have a title or a firm release date yet, but Kendrick Lamar’s follow-up to Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is rumoured to hit shelves this year. It’d fit into his one album every 1.5 years average so far, and it would also further cement him as one of hip-hop’s finest young voices.
- Solange – She may not be into the mainstream stylings of her big sister, but the younger Knowles has solid pipes and a knack for indie-leaning pop. Solange is making the music you (or your parents) loved in the ’80s while keeping it fresh enough to make it her own.
- St. Vincent – Annie Clark, aka the brains behind St. Vincent, is set to release her most radio-friendly release yet with February’s St. Vincent. She’s had a penchant for weirder, artier pop in the past, but early singles indicate she’s getting more straightforward with it.
- Adele – Financially speaking, Adele probably doesn’t need to release another album. But she’s only got two under her belt at the age of 25, meaning she’s just got to have found inspiration to get back in the studio. Her third record could be to 2014 what Beyonce’s self-titled album was for 2013.
- Azealia Banks – While some can argue that it’s her loud mouth keeping her relevant, Azealia Banks stays on our radar because she knows how to write a catchy tune that blends rap, disco, and pop. And that reason alone—in addition to her impressive releases thus far—makes her debut, Broke With Expensive Taste, so anticipated.
- U2 – There was a nearly five-year gap between U2’s previous albums, so why wouldn’t they keep with tradition and put out a new record in 2014? Not only that, but Bono said that we should be hearing a new single from the legendary band soon. Here’s hoping that means a full-length album this year, too.
- Kanye West – According to various reports, Kanye begin working on the follow-up to Yeezus in late 2013. His goal is to release his next record by this summer, which seems quite possible given how much he rushed the previous one. Also, it’s impossible not to look forward to one of his records, if only because you want to hear where he’s going next musically.
- Nicki Minaj – In an interview with the Breakfast Club, the queen of Young Money revealed that her third album will be “next level.” Now what that means exactly remains to be seen, but I’m hoping that means a bit more rapping from Ms. Minaj. She can clearly kill it on the pop tip, but her skills as an MC need more shine.
- Radiohead – Given their output over the years, Radiohead will surely land on any list like this so long as there are rumours of a new release. Thom Yorke and the guys have rarely let fans (and critics!) down with their output, so they’re basically an automatic spot on here. Also, like others on this list, I’m really just anticipating their next move!
If there are any albums that you (the reader) are looking forward to in 2014, be sure to sound off with your picks in the comments section!
Bio: This is a guest post by Greg Drake. Greg is a certified music junkie (and writer) who’s constantly searching for the latest band to dive into and, of course, write about.