With the release of David Bowie’s new and final album, 2016 is already off to a pretty amazing start musically, and there’s still so much more to look forward to! Here’s the rundown of all the albums I’m excited for in the new year.
Kanye West- WAVES - February 11 Yeezus is one of my all-time favorite albums ever created, so it’s going to be pretty hard to top. But if anybody can do it, it would be Kanye himself. The scary part is that I honestly have no idea what this album is going to sound like. The tracks he released last year (with help from Paul McCartney and Rihanna) and has been releasing with the recent resurrection of G.O.O.D. Fridays haven’t really had any sort of sonic cohesiveness. They’re all completely different from each other. But I guess Kanye’s albums have always covered pretty diverse musical ground and still worked. I don’t know. This album’s kind of a wild card at this point, but I’m excited to see what Kanye’s been creating since becoming a dad and realizing his dreams in the fashion industry. He’s always had a unique point-of-view that’s bound to be changed by those recent milestones.
Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression - March 18 Funhouse is another one of my favorite albums from way back in 1970 when Iggy was heading the punk rock band The Stooges. Now, he’s back with help from producer and guitarist Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, one of my favorite bands. Plus, the album features Dean Fertita on guitar who’s in Queens along with one of my other favorite bands The Dead Weather. It’s just a bunch of my favorite things coming together, and it’s really friggin’ exciting. Iggy debuted the first track off the album on Colbert a bit ago; it’s been stuck in my head ever since. The guy’s still got a knack for writing solid rock songs with a surprising amount of pop sensibility for all their rough edges. I’m excited to see what all these great musical minds are able to make together.
Blood Orange - TBA This one’s tricky because I’m not 100% positive that Dev Hynes has confirmed this album is actually being released this year, although he’s said definitely been working on new music as he released a few songs and a few collaborations last year. Cupid Deluxe was one of the most original albums of 2013 blending the best of 80s pop with important social messages. It’s another situation where it’s going to be hard to create a worthy follow-up, but Hynes is also one of the most intelligent musicians around today. I have no doubt whatever he does next will be bold and amazing.
Frank Ocean - Boys Don’t Cry - TBA This album was supposed to come out last July, yet we still haven’t heard almost anything from Ocean in a while. Channel Orange was a hell of a debut album and showcased not only Ocean’s incredible voice, but ability to mix traditional R&B with all the sounds and themes he’s also passionate about. It’s such a confident, interesting album, and it’s given him freedom to explore even more new ground on the next release since we know he’s capable of it. I’m excited to see what he does with that freedom.
Lorde - TBA Pure Heroine was awesome for anybody who just listened to “Royals” without checking out the rest of the album. Seriously, it contained some of the most original pop of 2013, and the songwriting was surprisingly thoughtful considering Lorde was 16 when she wrote it. For many, it was proof that pop can communicate actual ideas, although there were countless pop albums that had already done so. I guess it was mostly just a revelation for a new generation of pop music consumers who didn’t realize you can talk about more than getting drunk and grinding on strangers in a three minute timespan. Lorde’s has had three more years of experience going into this next record, and I’m excited to see what she writes about this time around having been famous for a good amount of time. Especially considering my favorite things about her were her intelligence and humility. I can’t imagine she’s gotten dumber, and I can’t imagine the fame has gone to her head, so I’m sure we can expect those two things to be evident in this second record as well.
M83 - TBA It’s been five years since Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. That’s so crazy to think about considering it still sounds ahead of its time. Like, fifty years ahead of its time. And that’s strange because the album borrows heavily from the best of 80s pop. It’s in this weird place in-between classic and radically progressive. It’s a lot of what makes the album so interesting to listen to. We don’t know anything about the new album apart from the fact it’s finished and that Anthony Gonzalez, M83’s frontman, has called it epic and different. That doesn’t tell us much since everything he’s ever done has been epic and different, but I’m excited nonetheless.
Metallica - TBA I don’t even care. I love Metallica. If we ignore that Lou Reed collaboration album, the last big thing they’ve released is Death Magnetic which found them returning to a lot of what made them so unique and exciting when they first emerged onto the metal scene. I personally think it’s a great album, and I could easily see them continuing that sort of “back-to-basics” mentality for this new album which would be amazing.
Radiohead - TBA This may be an unpopular opinion, but The King of Limbs is my favorite Radiohead album. I’m hoping it ends up like Kid A where in a few years, everyone else will think so too and then I can act all cool because I was one of the original fans. I’m calling it now. Deal with it. But the fact that Radiohead’s last album was just as original and creative as anything they’ve ever made makes me optimistic for their new release. Plus, Radiohead’s members have been pretty busy since 2011. Fans got an awesome Atoms for Peace album from Thom Yorke along with Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, a stellar electronic album. Jonny Greenwood scored two of my all-time favorite movies, The Master and Inherent Vice. Philip Selway released his debut solo album Weatherhouse which was pretty solid. AND, on top of all of that, Radiohead released what could have been the theme to the James Bond film Spectre, a track way cooler than the Sam Smith offering we were given. Long story short, they’ll have plenty of creative energy injected into the new album, and I’m excited to see where that leads them.
U2 - Songs of Experience - TBA Songs of Innocence was actually a pretty solid album for those of you that couldn’t get over your anger regarding the fact it was automatically added to your iTunes collection without your permission. Bono and Co. are still writing some pretty solid rock and roll songs, and, even more importantly, The Edge is still crafting some of the most unique guitar sounds and atmospheres he ever has. I’m sure all of that will continue on Songs of Innocence’s sister album Songs of Experience. And I think that’s a really cool idea having these two albums kind of play off each other thematically, reflecting on two very different times for the band.