The maniacal insanity of 2014 is behind us (though still a little too close in the rearview for comfort), and the time has come to unwrap our enthusiasm for what’s bound to be a ridiculously good year for music. Here, we’ve listed over 50 albums that we’re looking forward to listening to, obsessing over, deconstructing and celebrating. Some records are ready to fire, with singles and promo campaigns underway, while others are still whispers on the wind. But there’s a good chance we’ll see a great majority of these albums in the calendar year.
We know Jack White is switching gears with The Dead Weather soon, and that Tool record we’ve been waiting 8 years for is legitimately on its way (knock on wood). Seth Rogen says the new Kanye songs are sick, and given that he pretty much singlehandedly started an international World War III baiting shitshow with his badass new movie, we’re inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
So here are 50-plus records worth your enthusiasm in the new year, and we’ll update accordingly as new projects arise. That also means we can sidestep U2’s unwelcome follow-up to their Songs Of Innocence dud, and Madonna’s velociraptor spirit animal birthing that Rebel Heart nonsense. Did we forget something? Probably – and that’s a good thing, as it means the new stuff keeps on tickin’. Ride the avalanche of excellence.
Radiohead – TBA
They’ve been active in the studio since September, and the follow-up to The King of Limbs can’t come soon enough. If “Identikit” or “Cut a Hole” are included, we’re most definitely on board. Four months into the process, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to see them headlining festivals this Summer, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for just that.
Kanye West – TBA
The man whose motto is “my life is dope and I do dope shit” apparently walks the walk. While the secret may have slipped on a short-order release to the Yeezus follow-up, Yeezy actually pulled Seth Rogen into the back of a van and rapped his entire new record over an instrumental recording for the director/star of The Interview… for two hours.
G.O.O.D Music signee Malik Yusef has been putting in contributor work on the Yeezus followup, promising that Kanye has “20 finished songs” and that the album “is different. It’s like a pair of Timberland’s – not quite leather, not quite suede.” Yeezy season approaching, once again.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – TBA
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are once again working on a new album, and with the writing process nearly complete, beloved bassist Flea has confirmed a strongly upbeat nature to the tracks. Also, water is wet.
The buoyant low-end told Rolling Stone that the band’s new music – which consists of about 30 new songs – is “super danceable, funky sh*t and some real introspective, pretty stuff. We’re nearly finished writing,” he said. “We’ll go in the studio sometime in the next couple of months.”
The new RHCP album will be the second for guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who replaced the band’s not-so-secret weapon John Frusciante in 2009, just prior to recording the 2011 album I’m With You. However, the band have taken some heat in recent years over both lackluster performances and Klinghoffer’s struggles to fill Frusciante’s enormous vacant shoes.
The Dead Weather – TBA
We’ve had a few teaser tracks from Jack White’s latest focal point – a new album from The Dead Weather – and the results are quite good. The smoky strut-rocker with a funk edge that is “Buzzkill(er)” was matched by the sexiness of “Open Up (That’s Enough),” creating quite a momentum of excitement among fans.
In a statement, Third Man Records explained the new songs as “unlike anything else the band has ever done and are both ample reminders of the ferocity of this motley collection of low-lifes, grifters and ne’er-do-wells.” Sounds good to us. Given that Jack took Album of The Year honors for 2014, we’re putting hard money on this one kicking some serious ass.
Tool – TBA
Ok, so we got a little too excited for a new Tool album last year. But progress is most definitely underway, with a smattering of studio updates rolling in. The follow up to 10,000 Days is now eight years in the wait, due in part to extensive legal battles that have cost the band “millions and millions and millions”. All systems are go, however, and according to Tool’s webmaster, things are “progressing nicely”. King Crimson percussionist Pat Mastello is even contributing to the recording sessions.
“Good friend and King Crimson percussionist Pat Mastelotto stopped by the Tool loft the other day to listen to the guys working on new material,” the site posted. “Since the recent sound-proofing renovation, I’m told that the writing/arranging sessions have been progressing rather nicely (welcome news for those waiting for a new record).”
Given that frontman Maynard James Keenan has harvested his grapes and sown his awesome weirdo oats, we’ll be hearing some new DMT-infused polyrhythmic insanity soon enough.
The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (Capitol, 1/20)
The bearded bards of the Pacific Northwest return with a remarkably strong collection of observations, introspections and reflections far more rooted in reality than their past offerings. An album title inspired by the chaotic aftermath of the Newtown school shootings, a deeply personal songwriting approach departing from the literary narrative of the past, and a strong sense of purpose within the heart makes The Decemberists’ latest a unique new path through the woods of the Portland collective. A far more self-examining design frames Colin Meloy’s familiar hopeful-melancholy this time around, and as evidenced in the starkness of the stripped “Carolina Low,” it’s a previously-hidden muscle of alarming strength. Meloy also cited Leonard Cohen’s 1977 collaboration with Phil Spector, “Death of a Ladies’ Man,” as a major influence on the album.