Hottest Albums of 2013
2013 may only be a few days old but there’s a lot of stuff to look forward to already in the year ahead, and most of that is due to the fact that almost every major label artist I know/care about will most probably be releasing a new album in 2013. Apart from Katy Perry because, you know, she’s too busy dating various people to make what I’m sure will be the life-changing follow up to Teenage Dream.
But, of course, the album is a fickle thing; it’s something that can take years to master - see the example of David Bowie’s first new music in a decade or Justin Timberlake’s announcement that after almost 10 years he’s releasing new music. Or it’s something you can rush-release in no time at all - take the annual releases of a Rihanna or Olly Murs album that, as Will Ferrell so neatly said in Blades of Glory ‘gets the people goooing.’ An album can be cancelled - Nicole Scherzeblahblah’s first crack at a debut album was a notable cancelation that didn’t break too many hearts - or its released date can be pushed back and back (notable examples are Natalia Kills and Dr Dre, whose album Detox has been 12 years in the making and not yet been finished or finalised) - until you’re not so sure it will be released ever again.
So, here it is, my handy guide to all the albums you need to know about that are (hopefully) getting released in 2013.
1. Broke With Expensive Taste – Azealia Banks
Expected: February 2013
I do have some major love for Azealia Banks. In my opinion her song 212 was not only the best song of 2012 it just might be the fastest, most explicit song ever.
After releasing a mixtape called Fantasea and an EP called 1991 last year, Azealia Banks looks set to release her first full-length debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, in February this year. Count on it being an addictive, fast and very explicit hip-hop album tinged with mainstream beats and contributions from producers such as Diplo.
2. ARTPOP – Lady GaGa
Expected: March 2013
Many, myself included, see ARTPOP to be a pivotal album in GaGa’s career. No doubt about it, GaGa’s first album, The Fame and its EP follow-up The Fame Monster made her the most famous pop star in the world with masterpieces like Just Dance, Poker Face and the all-conquering Bad Romance. But her second album, the highly anticipated Born This Way proved to be a mixed bag. While an anthemic, euphoric and sometimes exceptional album, it seemed that GaGa had just been let loose in the studio without any thought to the album’s coherence or structure. On one level, Born This Way can be considered to be GaGa taking her music to a magnificent new level. On another it could be considered to be GaGa gone wild on a messy and sometimes silly record.
There’s a very real danger that GaGa could alienate everyone except her hardcore fan and fail to set the charts alight. Think of the failure of Born This Way’s last single, Marry The Night, but on a colossal, worldwide scale. While her Little Monsters are passionate and many in number, GaGa will need the help of the rest of the music-buying public to make ARTPOP a massive success. Hopefully GaGa will reign it in and produce a record with The Fame’s mainstream attraction and Born This Way’s euphoric pop choruses. Or maybe she’ll go even more nuts with an album that will fail to make sense to anyone except her own Little Monsters. And with the news that the album may very well be released in two parts as well as with an accompanying app, this could either be GaGa’s masterstroke or a killer move. Nevertheless, I myself cannot wait for ARTPOP however wild or kooky it may turn out to be.
3. Stooshe - Stooshe
This imaginatively titled album was supposed to have been released last year but Stooshe cancelled it and pushed it back to this March to make way for what they called ‘the recording of some of the best songs of their career.’
So, based on this, it can be assumed that expectations are quite certainly high for Stooshe’s debut album. The question is - will the album muster the success of the classy, catchy and brilliant Black Heart, will it be silly, stupid yet loveable like Love Me or will it be utterly flat and pointless like their daft cover of TLCs masterpiece Waterfalls?
4. Britney Spears’ Eighth Album
Yes, you read correctly. If reports are right then if Britters releases the follow-up to the quite good Femme Fatale this year then it will be her eighth studio album. Not bad for the woman who went mad, shaved all her hair off, attacked someone with an umbrella and endured an all-around general breakdown right?
With the recent news that Britney left the US X Factor to concentrate on recording new music for her 8th album, can it be assumed that this album will so life-changingly good that Britney just had to quit the US X Factor, or did she just use that as an excuse to get Simon Cowell to leave her alone?
5. Beyonce’s Fifth Album
Now I don’t mean to be OTT but everything Beyonce does is perfect. That’s just a fact of life. Beyonce is, quite literally, perfection in almost every sense. Apart from the fact she married Jay-Z when he looks a bit like a bulldog.
But, all that aside, Beyonce will be headlining the US Superbowl Half-Time show this year - a slot that was taken last year by pop's very own cougar Madonna - and it's expected that we’ll hear some new music from Queen B by then. Her album will no doubt soon follow and blow minds, wallets and charts up all over the world.
I am quite confident already that it will be a success.
6. James Arthurs’ Debut Studio Album
It’s all very likely that the X Factor’s most recent winner will release an album this year, in the exact way that Little Mix did last year.
Hopefully he will, because James Arthur looks to be what may be one of the X Factor’s most commercially viable winners.
Take that Joe McElderry.
7. Trouble – Natalia Kills
Natalia Kills’ debut album, Perfectionist, was released in 2011. There is no doubt in my mind that future generations will regard it as a dark-pop masterpiece and one of the most underrated albums of all time since it only got to 129 in the UK charts. *sad face*
But Natalia Kills is set to release her second album, Trouble, sometime in 2013. It was assumed that the album would drop in March but due to the fact that she’s still in the studio now, it’s not likely we’ll see this album before the summer, maybe even the autumn.
But it will most definitely be worth it. Kills released an ‘intro’ to the album in the form of the viral video Controversy in September and a snippet of a song, Problem, was leaked not soon after. If Trouble lives up to the perfection of these two tracks get ready for a darkly delicious masterpiece.
8. Pink Friday: The Pink Print – Nicki Minaj
Hopefully this will be a proper album and not just a shoddy attempt for people to spend even more money on an album that was already previously released like Minaj’s last ‘release’ Pink Friday: The Re-Up.
Minaj’s second album, Roman Reloaded, was a curious beast. Part urban hip-hop record, part bubblegum pop, electro dance-pop banger, it really should have mixed the two elements together and not just ordered them in such a way that it seemed like Minaj was trying to make two different albums into one. Too long and just a tad too over-confident, Roman Reloaded was OK but with her new role as a judge on American Idol Nicki Minaj should see her profile rocket in the US. But it’s likely to happen in the UK since the new season of American Idol is being shown on 5*. I didn’t even know that was a real channel.
Good luck, Nicki.
9. Jessie J’s Second Album
J-J-J-J-Jessie J pushed back her first headlining tour (which I will be attending in Cardiff, by the way) to accommodate more time for her to record and finish her second album and also give her image a quite confusing overhaul. Is Jessie J even Jessie J anymore?
There was no doubt that her debut, Who You Are, contained hits but it also contained some quite boring tracks which blended, and not quite successfully, the genres of pop, hip-hop, soul, R+B and reggae.
Will her second album give Jessie J longevity in her career or will it take her credibility down like a Domino. Sorry, I had to. Major cheese overload.
10. Charli XCX’s Debut Album
One of the poster-girls for ‘DIY’ pop, where singers write and record their own music and release the music either independently or through a little known label.
Charli XCX, whose previous releases have been hailed by critics as magnificent mix of synth-pop and ‘Dark Wave’- New Wave’s EMO younger brother.
So, there you have it. The musical year of 2013 condensed into ten albums. Good luck, everyone and let's hope you all don't all horribly fail, get dropped from your labels and fade into obscurity forevermore. Positive outlooks, yeah?
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