15 Albums You’ll Want To Hear In 2015

s_bukley/shutterstock.com
s_bukley/shutterstock.com

1. Kanye West

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

The world has been waiting for Kanye West’s new album for a while. Details are pretty unknown about this disc, but he has just released the track Only One a few days ago. This track features Sir Paul McCartney (moment of silence for the people who don’t know who he is), and it has rather heartbreaking lyrics. The song is a tribute to West’s daughter, North, and is sung from the perspective of his late mother, Donda West. “You know I never left you. Cause every road that leads to heaven’s right inside you.” It is a beautiful soul song, and displays West’s talent perfectly.

It looks like we may get Kanye’s new album sooner than expected. He reportedly held a listening party at Def Jam, which may be a sign of an upcoming release. Sir Paul McCartney is the only confirmed featured artist on the album, but artists like Drake, The Weeknd, and Lorde have all worked with him in the past few months. Say what you want about Kanye West’s public persona, but he really is one of the most visionary artists today — and he has the songs and awards to back it up.

2. Madonna

Title: Rebel Heart

Release Date: March 9

After a number of leaks, Madonna released six new songs from her upcoming album Rebel Heart. You can read a review of these Madonna songs in my last post here. These new tracks Madonna has released are quite good, and they seem to be her strongest work since 2005’s Confessions On A Dance Floor. Each song differs with its theme, production and lyrics. Whether she is partying with Nicki Minaj and Diplo, living for love with Alicia Keys, or making the devil pray with Avicii’s folktronica, Madonna’s new sound is stellar. It has that dance spirit that only Madonna can bring to music, but it’s as edgy as ever.

There is a large number of collaborators Madonna has worked with on Rebel Heart, thanks to her Instagram we have a good idea of her partners. These include Chance the Rapper, Nicki Minaj, Diplo, Mozella, Ryan Tedder, Natalia Kills, Avicii, Kanye West, Disclosure, and Pharrell Williams. Out of all these people the one to watch out for is Natalia Kills. They have written around eight songs together, and Kills’ album Trouble is one of the best I have ever heard. It is dark pop with elements of dance and classic rock, but her lyrics are different and a bit controversial. Madonna is the Queen of Pop, and in March we will all have to make room for the queen, and dance to Rebel Heart.

3. Britney Spears

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

Britney is still killing it with her Las Vegas show, but she is also recording music for a new album now. She has recorded a song with Iggy Azalea, and it is slated for an early 2015 release. Azalea said “We have a song, which is going to be her first single, coming out next year. She said she would like to work with me in an interview and they reached out… I think people are really going to love and enjoy it. It’s a really fun track.”

Spears has said that she would like to record a duet with Katy Perry, but no song has been confirmed. Britney also wants a pop-rock sound on this new album, so it will be great to hear her with a more aggressive sound. No other collaborations have been announced for this album, and there are few details about the project. My predictions are that she will do a track or two with Max Martin and Dr. Luke because of their long history together. William Orbit also produced some fan favorites on her last album Britney Jean, so it is possible that the pair will reunite.

4. Fergie

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

2006 was when Fergie released and broke records with her debut album The Dutchess. Her first solo single for her second LP, L.A. Love (La La) is an ode to her hometown, and a DJ Mustard produced party anthem. L.A. Love is okay, but it is not Fergie’s best. She is rapping and singing too many cities on the song, but the earworm of “la la la la la,” is definitely catchy.

The Dutchess, was a great album because it displayed her vast range — that she can sing anything. Glamorous was R&B, Mary Jane Shoes was reggae and ska, Barracuda was rock, London Bridge was rap, Big Girls Don’t Cry was pop, and Finally was classical. Fergie has been in the studio with Mike Will Made It for some tracks on her new album, so expect some Rihanna/Miley Cyrus-esque sounds. In a recent radio interview with Hot 97, she revealed that she and Nicki Minaj have worked on a track for her new album. She also said that we may hear said track as a pre-album single.

5. Years & Years

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

This English trio is pretty young, and I have just discovered their music, but I cannot wait to hear their debut album. They cite influences from groups like TLC and Radiohead, and this makes them have a unique sound. It is dance, electronic, and alternative R&B all at once. Lead singer, Olly Alexander, has some smooth vocals and they are sort of like a male Ellie Goulding.

Only a few singles have been released by these guys, but they are definitely worth a listen. My personal favorite is Real, it is moody, upbeat and slow all at the same time. The constant claps also set the mood perfectly. This trio could be that next big thing in electronic-pop.

6. Coldplay

Title: A Head Full of Dreams

Release Date: TBD

Coldplay’s six album, GhostStories was released in May, but it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer for another record from these guys. On December 4th, Chris Martin announced that the band started work on their seventh studio album, to be titled A Head Full A Dreams. Martin also said that this maybe the band’s final album, “It’s our seventh thing, and the way we look at it, it’s like the last Harry Potter book or something like that.”

Coldplay has announced that unlike Ghost Stories there will be a large tour to promoteA Head Full of Dreams. If this is Coldplay’s last album, let’s hope it is their best one yet.

7. Ellie Goulding

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

Ellie Goulding is one of the most popular UK artists today. Her voice can be heard on airwaves worldwide. Recently, her and Calvin Harris reunited for the dance track Outside, and she is featured on the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack with Love Me Like You Do. She has proven that she not just a one-hit wonder with hits like Burn and I Need Your Love.

Goulding may finally crack the top of the US charts with this new LP of hers, even though we do not have much information on it. Lately, she has worked with some of the best writers and producers of pop music, including Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, and Nate Ruess. Goulding’s ethereal vocals are one of a kind and her sound blurs the lines of pop and electronica. Some great potential collaborators in my opinion for Goulding’s 2015 album would be Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleacher’s fame, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Zedd.

8. Grimes

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

Grimes is different, but she is so creative and unique that it creates a sound that is her own. Her new single, Go with Blood Diamonds, is a haunting track that incorporates EDM and Middle Eastern elements for an out of this world experience.

Grimes had reportedly scrapped her whole new album after the release of Go, so it is uncertain if this song will be on it. Grimes has this euphoric quality to her music. One of her best songs is Genesis, and even though you can’t really understand what she is saying, it’s got this very edgy vibe to it. Go had a much more commercial sound to it than her previous singles, and Grimes says this is because she originally wrote it for Rihanna. It is unclear if whether or not she we will have this new sound on her upcoming music but it is very exciting.

9. Kendrick Lamar

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

Kendrick Lamar’s follow-up to the widely popular good kid, m.A.A.d city, is to be released in the early part of 2015. The lead single, i, for his new album received rave reviews from critics. It was also listed on Billboard’s, Rolling Stone’s, and Spin’s best songs of 2014 list. Lamar also performed a new song, Pay For It on SNL in November.

Radio hip-hop DJ Peter Rosenberg, got a sneak preview of a few tracks and said “Kendrick Lamar, somehow, has developed even more, gone to another level,” and that these tracks may become fan favorites. Lamar has one of the most anticipated hip-hop LPs of the year, and I’m sure that whatever he puts out people will love.

10. Rihanna

Title: TBD (Nicknamed #R8)

Release Date: TBD

From 2009-2012 Rihanna released an album a year. From Rated R toUnapologetic, each one had a particular image and sound, and they all yielded hit singles. Rihanna seems to be taking her time with her eighth album. Although it is yet to be named it has been nicknamed #R8 by her fans. She has teased a few songs on her Instagram, and people who have heard it seem to enjoy it. In a recent interview, fellow R&B singer Ne-Yo had this to say of the material “The stuff I’ve heard is absolutely incredible… I definitely feel like people are gonna enjoy it.”

2015 will be a big year for Rihanna. She is set release her eighth album, star in and write a concept album for the Dreamworks animated feature Home. There really isn’t much to tell about this concept album, but it will most likely be more family friendly. A little like what Pharrell Williams did with Despicable Me 2. Reportedly, #R8 has an R&B sound, but that will not be confirmed until the music is released. Rihanna has turned down songs that Calvin Harris had written for this project, and they have a history of making wordwide smashes together. Rihanna seems to have a clear direction of what she wants #R8 to sound like, and we are all excited.

11. Frank Ocean

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

It was in 2012 that Frank Ocean released his debut album channel ORANGE. It has a special R&B and neo-soul flavor that made it irresistible. Ocean also broke barriers in hip-hop, singing about former lover that was male. Artists like Beyoncé and Kanye West have collaborated with Ocean since his debut, and he’s widely considered one of the most talented musicians today.

Frank Ocean teased a new song Memrise, but we have not heard much about any other tracks on his new album. He won many awards and was placed on a number of year-end lists with channel ORANGE. Only time will tell if the same will happen with his new music.

12. Kelly Clarkson

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

Kelly Clarkson seems to be in a great place since the release of her last LP, Stronger, in 2011. She put out the commercially successful Greatest Hits – Chapter One, andWrapped In Red, got married to Brandon Blackstock and gave birth to her first child. In a Twitter conversation with fans she said “I’m so proud of my next album! Might have a special guest… Doesn’t come until early next year.”

Clarkson may even have a country sound on this new record because she released the twangy Tie It Up in June 2013. In an adorable teaser, Clarkson’s infant daughter dances to her new single. The new track, Heartbeat Song is now on iTunes, and we can now enjoy it in its entirety. It has a mix of dance, rock, and Clarkson’s signature vocals. Her vocals soar on the chorus “This is my heartbeat song and I’m gonna play it. Been so long forgot how to turn it up, up, up, up all night long.” The booming production blends perfectly for an inspirational and clean single.

13. Marina & The Diamonds

Title: Froot

Release Date: April 3

She is one of the most popular artist on Tumblr, and has had some success in the UK, but Marina & The Diamonds has yet to have a hit in the US. Her third album, Froot, is set to be released in April and she has released several tracks that fans and critics love. She brings her sexiness and unique style to the disco, synthpop, and tongue-in-cheek lyrics of the title track for a playful but still brilliantly executed experience.

Marina created the ‘Froot of the Month’ club and is dropping a new song every month until the whole album is released. The two new songs Happy and Immortal both have an emotional tone to them which display her development as not only an artist, but  a songwriter. Each track has been debuting higher on iTunes each month, and a new track every month is a good way to keep the fans excited. This is also a smart way to prevent her album from leaking early.

14. Gwen Stefani

Title: TBD

Release Date: TBD

Gwen Stefani came roaring back in 2014. Not only did she become a judge on The Voice, but she released two fantastic new singles Baby Don’t Lie and Spark the Fire. Stefani was also featured on Maroon 5’s My Heart Is Open and Calvin Harris’ Together. Gwen has also written the theme for the film Paddington Bear with friend Pharrell Williams called Shine. The use of strings, horns and guitars on Shine makes it sound current, but it also has that ska quality that made No Doubt so successful.

There are not that many details about Gwen Stefani’s third solo album or a new No Doubt album, but both are in the works. At this point, I’m thinking about both, I can do both,” she told MTV News in September. Stefani has said that her new album is about collaboration, and that is promising because Gwen has been working with everyone from Benny Blanco to the fantastic Charli XCX for tracks on this album. I am a longtime No Doubt/Gwen Stefani fan, so this is the album that I am the most excited to hear in 2015.

15. Adele

Title: 25 (Rumored)

Release Date: TBD

Adele tweeted in May “Bye bye 25… See you again later in the year x.” Fans got very excited at this news, but we have not heard much about her new album in the past few months. The follow-up to Adele’s diamond certified, award winning, and critically acclaimed 21 is one of the most expected albums of 2015. Her longtime producer and friend Paul Epworth said that “It will come when it is ready.”

Some people who are rumored to be working on it are One Republic’s Ryan Tedder, UK producers James Ward and Kid Harpoon, and Phil Collins has reportedly been tapped to record a song with Adele. The interesting thing about Adele’s new record is that she was probably not heartbroken when writing it. Both 19 and 21 had emotional songs like Chasing Pavements and Someone Like You, and these added so much depth to her music. Now, Adele is happily married and has a young son. Adele is one of the most talented artists in a decade so there is no doubt that her new music will be good. TC mark

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