Heightened secrecy in the music industry is a fascinating, if unwitting, byproduct of the digital age. Keeping two steps ahead of pirates has led to the rise of the “surprise album”, records released without any fanfare or, indeed, even a heads up, doubling up also as a brilliant marketing strategy. This makes speculating on potential music releases all the more fun. Here’s a list of exciting new albums slated for the second half of the year.
Lana Del Ray
There’s something very infuriating about the way Lana Del Ray flaunts her complete lack of self-awareness, which not many people seem to notice for whatever reason. It’s hard, too, to discern whether she has any talent whatsoever because, beyond all the mediocrity, she does write the occasional song with that earworm quality so desirable in pop music, as also a shiny coating of “edge”. A new album, titled Honeymoon, should be out this September, for which we wait with the opposite of
Ah, the great MacGuffin of our times, the Godot of the 21st century. There’s been fevered speculation on the progress of this mythical new Tool album for years among their fan base, the most militant in the world. Finally this year, Tool have (sort of) set the record straight, revealing how they’ve had to deal with some long-standing legal issues (boohoo) and health troubles, hence the delay. But things are picking up pace, with guitarist Adam Jones even posting a 15-second excerpt of music, in reverse, that may or may not make it into this supposed album. The real question is: Can an album almost a decade in the making ever live up to the accompanying puffed up expectations (think Chinese Democracy)? There’s no release date yet, since Tool — always shrouding themselves in a very cool veil of mystery — don’t bother with such plebeian stuff. Just put it out.
By the time you read this, a new Radiohead album may already be out. Or it may take another century to produce. One can never tell. But all signs suggest this is the year of LP9. Plenty of interviews dropping hints have been had. They’ve all gone out, done their own thing following 2011’s King of Limbs: solo records, film scores, 18-day-long pieces of music, collaborations in India, and much more besides — sowing their wild oats before the big renewal of vows that is Radiohead. That said, let’s just keep our fingers crossed and pray that Thom Yorke doesn’t become a full-time Portishead member following his live appearance with them; he is after all a bit of a wildcard.
It’s early days yet, but Kanye West’s legacy should withstand the test of time. The rapper has been prolific with his work till date, continually putting out excellent new material. His next album, titled SWISH and slated for 2015, should no doubt find that balance between glowing critical reception and mainstream success, further propelling him to superstardom. He said as much; Kanye West, talking about Kanye West at this year’s Glastonbury, stated that he’s the “greatest living rock star on the planet”. As for SWISH, it’s set to feature heavily a dinosaur named Paul McCartney — further proof that Kanye is bats**t.
On the subject of all-encompassing, big-headed narcissism, Kanye and Macca (the dream team) have already featured on one new Rihanna single from her as yet untitled new album, for which West will also don his producer hat. That aside, for all the nasal cheese Rihanna throws our way, there is something distinctly catchy about her vocal delivery and the melodies she delivers. It’s often (but not always) just a guilty pleasure but so be it.
Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera
They’re both allegedly working on new solo albums. It’s not 2002 so we won’t even pretend to be excited but it should be interesting nonetheless to see how their preteen fan base from the early 2000s — now weary 20-somethings — will react.
Street King Immortal by 50 Cent has been, since 2011, almost ready, so we take any rumours of an imminent release with a pinch of salt. But considering Fitty just filed for bankruptcy, now is the time.
This one’s a bit of a stretch since we’re doing a list of music releases and what Coldplay makes is not strictly music but we’re including it for posterity’s sake. Chris Martin recently visited India so expect lots of sitars and elephants and “conscious uncouplings” on the new album, titled A Head Full of Dreams, which is not a stomach churning cliché at all.