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The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

on January 05, 2015, 12:00am
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Grimes-1Grimes – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: For all the times Claire Boucher made our headlines in 2014, we know frustratingly little about her upcoming album as Grimes, except that she’s obviously not taking it lightly. After recording “Go” for herself when it didn’t work out for Rihanna, Boucher had a song-of-the-summer contender and made a comparably over-stimulating video that seemed to indicate she was firing on all cylinders. And then in September, she told the New York Times that not only was “Go” not a fit for the album, but that everything she had been working on since Visions had been scrapped. The most recent update came in a December Twitter spiel in which she teased at least one “glam rock style song, feeling queen and bowie” and moving away from computers towards guitars. –Steven Arroyo

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Image (1) james-blake-overgrown-e1360253210693.jpg for post 291415James Blake – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The London singer-producer announced his third formal LP would be coming in “about five months” back in November. Hopefully that’s still the timeline and we can expect an early spring arrival. He dropped some singles towards the end of the year to hold us over — “200 Press” in August and “Building It Still” in October — and they comprised a preview EP that he released last month. But most enticingly, Blake also offered vague details about working with Kanye West and hoping to include some of that output on the album. It wouldn’t be his first rodeo in collaborating with a Chicago hip-hop giant. –Steven Arroyo

Listen: “200 Press”
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joanna newsomJoanna Newsom – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Joanna Newsom is just perfect enough to verge on being a goddess. The giggly harpist and folk bon vivant continually strives to outdo herself, following up her iconic 2004 debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, with with 2006’s analog orchestral feat Ys and 2010’s epic Have One on Me, a two-hour-long avant-garde release that furthered her cryptic, pastoral sound. In the past four years, she’s been busy marrying Andy Samberg, playing a few festivals, and quietly collaborating with The Roots and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. With word that she’s finally going to release new material, it’s hard to be anything less than ecstatic. Newsom’s upcoming release should be imaginative as ever, given that she’s been “working hard for a lot of those five years on a new idea.” Until then, her role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, Inherent Vice, will have to suffice. As both the film’s narrator and the aptly-cast “earth-goddess-like” figure Sortilège, Newsom dabbles in what could easily be the plot of one of her long, mystical, verbose numbers. –Nina Corcoran

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lil wayne mirrorLil Wayne – Tha Carter V

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: After some 15 odd years as the Greatest Rapper on Earth, Lil Wayne is set to step down from the throne with his “retirement” album, Tha Carter V. With his stroll into the sunset clearly in sight, Wayne seemed more inspired than he had been in recent years, hitting the road with Drake for a massive joint tour and delivering a string of bangers like “D’usse”, “Krazy”, and “Grindin”. Yet what should have been a celebration of Weezy’s iconic run, leading to one final, glorious triumph, has become something resembling a circus sideshow. After months of delays, Weezy emerged recently to reveal a mighty beef with Cash Money, accusing the label and longtime “father” Birdman of keeping him a “creative prisoner” and preventing TCV from being released. While it’s hard to discern what’s actually true, or even if this isn’t all some extreme marketing ploy, it’s certainly done a lot to hurt the momentum behind the album, helping to push this entire process into the kind of satirical territory once reserved for Chinese Democracy. If TCV drops early enough, Wayne could easily overcome this blemish on his legacy. If not, the only thing Great will be the joke pulled on the public at large. –Chris Coplan

Listen: “D’usse” and “Krazy”
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kanye westKanye West – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: As 2014 came to a close, it looked as if we wouldn’t get a chance to hear a preview of Kanye West’s upcoming seventh studio album. Of course, in true Ye fashion, he shared the LP’s first single, “Only One”, just minutes before the clock struck midnight. Also in true Ye fashion, the track was nothing near what anyone was expecting. It guested Paul McCartney on keyboards and Ty Dolla $ign on backing vocals (let that sink in) and is a heartfelt ballad from the perspective of his late mother, Donda. It shows Kanye at his happiest and most introspective, a stark yet fitting contrast to his abrasive, bravado-filled persona on Yeezus.

While he’s stated this album could be his Born in the U.S.A., “Only One” hints that it could be even more pop-minded and sentimental than expected. Though a few fans haven’t taken to the change in musical direction, Kanye’s always thrived on subverting expectations. Remember how worried people were before the release of his Auto-Tuned masterpiece 808s & Heartbreak? If “Only One” isn’t the single we want now, it will be once we soak in what’s likely to be the biggest event album of 2015. Kanye knows what he’s doing, and his rumored collaborators on the album include Rick Rubin, Q-Tip. Pusha T, Theophilus London, Mike Dean, and Travi$ Scott, which might make for his best effort yet. –Josh Terry

Listen: “Only One”
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Image (5) kendrick.lamar_.king_.jpg for post 391532Kendrick Lamar – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Hip-hop heads have eagerly been waiting for the follow-up to Kendrick Lamar’s masterful good kid, m.A.A.d city. The Compton emcee “recorded 30 to 40 new songs for the album” and has spent time in the studio with Dr. Dre, according to Complex. Details on the LP are still scarce, but K. Dot has released the upbeat, Isley Brothers-sampling “i” and performed an unnamed song on one of the final episodes of The Colbert Report. Hot 97 DJ Stuart Rosenberg – who reportedly listened to four unheard tracks – said, “This next album is gonna be as good as good kid, m.A.A.d city. It may even be on a different and higher level.” So could we hear another classic hip-hop album in 2015? “This is truly a blessing from a higher power,” Lamar said in the Complex interview. “And as long as I understand that there’s really no limitations to what I can do, everything is forward with me.” –Killian Young

Listen: “i”
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meek.mill.000Meek Mill – Dreams Worth More Than Money

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Dreams Worth More Than Money, Meek Mill’s second album and follow-up to 2012’s Dreams and Nightmares, was once set to be released last September 9th, a date that seemed increasingly unlikely as the MMG motormouth remained behind bars for parole violation. Given that the pushback wasn’t announced until September 8th, it would seem Meek — freed on December 2nd — should be ready to hand in his final draft any day now. Indeed, after releasing the neck-snapping Boosie Badazz collab “Fuck You Mean” and other singles in 2014, he took to Instagram on December 31st to unveil five unnamed DWMTM snippets — three of them steely bangers defined by his dynamic signature bark, a more cinematic cut featuring recollections of his prison time, and yet another that shows a relatively soft side of the Philly native (the Chris Brown track, of course). –Michael Madden

Listen: “Fuck You Mean”
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 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015Metallica – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In the seven-year gap since Death Magnetic, Metallica has performed at a baseball game, joined forces with Lou Reed for one of the strangest collaborations ever, gotten a Guinness World Record, and had a cameo in an ESPN advertisement — basically, the forefathers of metal have gone full-on Dad Rock. There’s a kicker, though: They’ve officially begun to “blueprint” their new album. Since the only true Metallica album with bassist Robert Trujillo ventured into new territory with Rage Against the Machine-like riffs and dark, brooding instrumentals, there’s solid reason to believe their next work could be even more adventurous. Will it be a further return to their metal roots? Will it have new sports stadium anthems? Are they truly past the mistakes of St. Anger? 2015 should let us know. –Dan Bogosian

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miguelbetexperience_THUMBMiguel – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Miguel was one of 2012’s most exciting R&B acts, with enough pipes to soothe any tension and enough great singles like “Adorn” and “Do You…” to stay on constant rotation two years later. Now, it’s time for him to make a proper follow-up. Since his breakout album, Kaleidoscope Dream, was released, he’s spent his time on collaborations with Mariah Carey, Jessie Ware, and Janelle Monáe before releasing a surprise three-song EP in December. While it’s unclear whether or not the trio of tracks will land on the LP, we do know that he’s shared studio time with Jessie Ware and J. Cole. However, since he claimed earlier this year to have a “very clear goal” for the LP, we’ll take him at his word that he’ll deliver on the seismic hype he created for himself two years back. –Josh Terry

Listen: “hollywooddreams”
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MUMFORDANDSONSMumford and Sons – TBA

Release date: TBA 

Why We’re Excited: Not long ago, Mumford and Sons were on top of the world. In 2012, the British folk band released Babel — which went on to go platinum — and their electric live shows consistently sold out venues across the globe. After the tour (and a health scare when bassist Ted Dwane needed an emergency operation to remove a blood clot on his brain), Mumford and Sons announced they’d take an indefinite hiatus. Frontman Marcus Mumford recently played as part of the supergroup of musicians that performed rediscovered Bob Dylan songs for Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, but Mumford and Sons now appear to be working on new original songs for studio album number three. Producer James Ford – who worked on every Arctic Monkeys record and also HAIM’s Days Are Gone – is tied to the project, according to NME. Get ready for some more heart-on-the-sleeve, chest-thumping folk. –Killian Young
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