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The 411 Music Top Five 12.30.13: Top 5 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 12.30.2013


Criteria: 2014 is almost upon us, and that means it is time to look ahead to the albums coming out in the next twelve months. This week's topic was pretty self-explanatory: list the albums that we are most looking forward to that should be released in 2014.


Caveat: Maybe it's just me, but as of right now 2014 doesn't look all that appealing in terms of forthcoming releases. Usually this time of year I have a good few dozen albums I'm eagerly anticipating; this year not so much. But these ones are definitely gems you should be seeking out. And these are records that are almost certainly going to drop in 2014, not often-delayed records like Detox, X or Broke with Expensive Taste.

Honorable Mention: Katy B - Little Red, Beck - Morning Phase, Foxes - Glorious, Kanye West - TBC, U2 - TBC, Foo Fighters - TBC, Taylor Swift - TBC, Tool - TBC.

5. Lily Allen - Album Title TBD [March]

Ah, Lily Allen. She "retired" from music, had a couple of kids, spent a few years bashing all those female artists who have passed her by and now she's coming back to slay them all out. Her cover of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" was robbed of the UK Christmas Number One spot, and the other material that has, um, materialized in recent months ranges from good to outstanding. Allen had a unique voice in the mid-noughties that many other female artists attempted to emulate but never quite matched (Kate Nash, I'm looking at you). Now she's back to tell these new kids on the block what's happening. Allen is quintessentially British which means this album is going to be in your face and unapologetic. It'll top lists come year's end.

4. Metronomy - Love Letters [March 10]

You have to love a bit of Metronomy and if you don't then quite frankly you are missing out, big time. Far and away the most intriguing indie pop outfit to emerge out of the UK in the last what, 50 years? Easily. Metronomy release Love Letters on March 10th; it's the follow-up to 2011's The English Riviera, which was pretty much one of the best albums of the year according to anyone who's opinion is worth a damn. Look for the band to be taking their exotic sound to festival around the globe this summer, and look for them to produce some of the feel-good hits of 2014. This is a band that deserves much more recognition than it currently receives and if you don't believe me then just listen to the first slice of new music from the new record.

3. Blink-182 - Album Title TBD [Summer]

If you were to kidnap me, tie me up and lock me in a dark room whilst pointing a gun to my head then I couldn't honestly tell you that I'm super-duper excited about hearing new material from Blink-182 in 2014. Their reunion was well-received but the album that followed was a commercial flop, despite some half decent critical acclaim. So then what the hell is it doing on my list? Well Blink have just been announced as the first headliner of this year's Reading Festival, which I shall of course be attending. The fact that I was a massive fan of the band growing up means I'll more than likely be checking them out despite their poor live reputation and as such I am eager to see what they can do with their new material. Could go either way.

2. Linkin Park - Album Title TBD [Summer]

I'm not doing my own credibility any favours here and while I know Blink and Linkin Park will be nowhere near the top of my year-end list next December, Mike Shinoda and co. find themselves on the list for the same reason Blink are. Linkin Park headline Download Festival in June, playing their debut album Hybrid Theory in full. Many of you may not like to admit it, but that album is killer. And I actually like most of the band's material, with the exception of 2012's Living Things which did nothing for me. So whether this mysterious new direction harkens back to their original nu-metal days or is more Minutes to Midnight, I look forward to their 2014 output.

1. Ed Sheeran - Album Title TBC [February 17]

And I have no idea where this sits in terms of credibility. All I know is before Sheeran got real popular, those pesky indie hipster types loved him. They loved his collaborations with UK grime acts like JME, Devlin and Giggs and they loved his solo singer-songwriter stuff. Then "The A Team" hit the radio, everyone and their mum bought it and now like Ed Sheeran is ridiculously uncool. Apart from anything else the guy hangs out with Harry Styles (a cunt) and Taylor Swift (a delicate flower) among others. But the fact remains the man is a damned good songwriter and I haven't been as impressed with a debut album as much as Ed Sheeran's + in a long, long time. The follow up is three years in the making and those in the know reckon it sounds great. Whether it's more of the same or something his earliest fans will be familiar with, it is going to be awesome and I shall be pencilling it in as my favourite album of the year. If you don't like Ed Sheeran, you're just fucking jealous.


Honorable Mention: Shakira - TBA, Lauryn Hill TBA, Linkin Park - TBA

5. Janet Jackson - TBA

With the exception of one, I have no idea what the name of any albums that are going to be released in 2014. Janet releasing a new album in 2014 is wishful thinking considering she hasn't released one in 6 years. However, in the summer of '13, she did an interview for the 20th anniversary of the album Janet. Basically she described the recording for the iconic songs and videos done for the album and what it was like to not rely on her last name to be famous (I agree). Then she threw a bone at her hopeful fans. She's been in the studio recording new songs for a while. I'm hoping those songs recorded eventually become a full album, but one can only dream.

4. Foo Fighters - TBA

Dave Grohl stated that he has written songs for The Foo Fighters' next album and is going to start recording at the beginning of 2014. This gives them plenty of time to finish, and release said album in the middle, or end of 2014. Maybe he could even preview new songs at Superbowl weekend, where the Foo Fighters are performing.

3. Kanye West - Yeezus 2

Both Kanye and legendary producer Rick Robin have stated that there is left over tracks from the polarizing LP Yeezus . Kanye then announced that those leftovers will be released in the summer of 2014. I'm intrigued on what was left off a great album. We'll see in at least six months.

2. Sia - TBA

While Sia may be more known across the pond in the UK and down under in her home country Australia, she has been making pretty huge waves in the last two years here in the United States. She has written great songs for international superstars Rihanna, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, and Ne-yo. After her last album, the pop oriented We are Born, Sia went into semi-retirement releasing a few songs sporadically, like the torch ballad "Kill and Run" or the 2013 song of the year "Elastic Hearts". Long time producer for Sia, Samuel Dixon revealed that she was in the studio recording songs for a new album ,despite being in retirement. Then in an interview with Billboard, Sia announced that a new album is in fact coming in the spring of 2014. I'm curious as to what her album is going to sound like. Will it be jazzy like her sound of the past, or will it lean towards the a pop sound like her latest releases? So many questions.

1. Adele - TBA

The demand for a new Adele album has been around since the end of 2011 when 21 became a sleeper hit, and then the best selling album in 10 years. She said that she would make an album every 3 years, like she's been doing. Never have I wanted someone to rush out, an album, but damn Adele you're killing me. Every song on 19 and 21 has been played to death in the Walker household to the point where I they just don't get played anymore. Adele finally confirmed that her new album will be released in the summer. Thank, God.


Honorable Mention: Control Denied - When Man and Machine Collide, Sunn O))) - Terrestrials, Entombed - Back to the Front, Primal Fear - Delivering the Black

5. Hatriot - Dawn of the New Centurion

The debut from these guys dropped exactly a year from the date that this album will be coming out in January, and I'm pretty stoked for it. While the first Hatriot album wasn't anything new, it was Steve "Zetro" Souza and his band (that included his two sons) laying down old-school thrash like it should be done. (side note, it place in my Top 50 metal albums of the year, go read Part 1 when you finish with this!) They sounded like a better Exodus than the current Exodus, which I feel is a compliment all in all. If this album is anything of the same (and it will be), I feel like we're going to be starting the year off right, just like we did this year, with a searing slab of thrash, straight off the grill.

4. Hirax - Immortal Legacy

Hirax are a band that I discovered through the documentary 'Get Thrashed', go look it up, it is an amazing documentary and you learn a lot from the DVD bonus features on the underground thrash bands of the 80s. These guys are one of my favorite metal bands from the underground and they are glued together by one Mr. Katon W. DePena. His voice still sounds great after all of these years and his band also sounds pretty damn solid, to boot. I've not heard anything from this new record, but I'm hoping the delay that it got helped with some polish on the record. They have never really had a bad album in my eyes, and I'm really hoping that the uniquely voiced Katon and the gang managed to knock another one out of the park with this one!

3. Behemoth - The Satanist

This past year has been the playground of death metal, there are few arguments I can think of that would say the opposite. I find solace in the fact that another one of death metal's old faithful are releasing an album that, judging by lead single and album art, looks to deliver what the fans expect, as well as bring a few new things to the party. The lead single gives a more atmospheric and symphonic vibe as Nergal (the man who kicked cancer's ass)growls along before it picks up into familiar territory and blasts off faces with death and glory. Behemoth are a band that some of the more hardcore fans have dismissed the band, but I still hold out hope that this is going to be another great one coming at us!

2. Grand Magus - Triumph and Power

Their last album, 'The Hunt' came out last year, and to see them rebound with another album after just a year in between releases is insane. Though it is the norm for them, it seems, which makes me very hopeful for this release. The title track has been out for a few weeks and it reminds me of the title track from the last album that hooked me onto this band. It's got a bit of doom vibe with the speed and feel of the song, but everything else is straight up heavy metal. It's like like the doom is the cherry in the cherry coke of heavy/traditional metal glee. If this track is the slower track out of an overall heavy and catchy album like the song "The Hunt" was on the album 'The Hunt', then we are going to have a great start to the metal year in January.

1. Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon

I love Iced Earth, I think I am secure enough in my relationship with this band to admit that. Even when they're absolutely awful, I hold hope that their next album will be good, and now that they're riding a wave of momentum after their 2011 album, 'Dystopia' that featured Into Eternity's Stu Block on vocals. We've already heard a few songs off of this album since it'll be coming out in a few weeks, and from what we've heard, and I'm incredibly stoked. Jon Schaffer seems to be reborn and doing things that aren't in his usual rhythm pattern (if you listen to enough Iced Earth, you know what Schaffer's generic guitar pattern sounds like) and I think that is a good sign for the album. I also like the fact that the songs seem to be more based on fantasy and the occult, which echoes some of their earlier lyrics. We only have to wait a few weeks for this one, so I wont have to wait very long, at all!


Honorable Mention: Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines, Foo Fighters - TBA, Metallica - TBA, Beck - Morning Phase (February), Lily Allen - TBA (March)

5. Frank Ocean – TBA

I swore a couple years back that I would put Dr. Dre's Detox on my list every year until it was released just because, but I've given up. If we're lucky we'll see that one around the time of the apocalypse. I'd far rather see the space given to an album we're actually likely to see, such as Frank Ocean's. Ocean took the R&B world by storm with Channel Orange and helped kicked off a new rise in that genre, moving it away from the arena of "slightly soulful dance pop." Ocean has confirmed that he has been working on a new LP, a concept album and that it should be released before the end of 2014. This is officially make or break time for the man; sophomore LPs are where you prove you're legit or just a one-album wonder. I expect the former from him.

4. Garbage - TBA

Garbage has never, ever released a bad album. The closest you can come to "bad" would be beautifulgarbage in 2001 and at worst that's merely average. This band, which more or less began as a side project for producing gurus Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson, became one of my absolute favorite groups of the 1990s and while they've slowed their output since the mid 2000s due to conflicts with their label at the time, they've consistently delivered on electro-rock goodness. Not Your Kind of People wasn't their best album but there was a lot to enjoy there and I'm looking forward to hearing Shirley Manson's seductive snarl on a new set of songs like no one's business.

3. U2 - TBA (April)

Hate on Bono and company all you want; I'm an unrepentent U2 fan. (I pretend that Pop and Zooropa don't exist, though.) It's been four years since we last heard a new album from them, which was No Line on the Horizon. And it was five years between that and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. So anyone who has been wanting to hear more from U2 has gotten used to waiting a while. More often than not though, they deliver. The rock genre has been making a comeback over the last few years and it's high time that the kings of modern rock step back onto the battlefield to see if they're up to taking on all the young usurpers of their crown. I've got to say I'm excited to see what they bring.

2. Kanye West - Yeezus 2 (Summer)

We don't really know if Kanye's new album will be titled Yeezus 2 and we don't know if it will be an entirely different direction than his 2013 album or following in its footsteps. The outspoken rapper has called the upcoming album a sequel and said it came from recording sessions for Yeezus, so you would imagine it will have a similar sound. But when has Kanye ever released two albums that sound the same? The mystery of it all is what intrigues me so. Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Kanye is a major influence on the direction of popular music and usually for the better. That should give us all reason to hope for good things from this.

1. Adele - TBA

It's strange that it's been almost two years since Adele's 21 was released. Of course, that is because the album took the world by storm. How by storm? Right now, 148 weeks after its initial release, 21 is STILL in the top 100-selling albums for last week. We received a brief stopgap in the theme song to Skyfall, which only whetted our appetite. Adele has deservedly taken some time off for her family but she's been back in the studio and we are expected to have an album within the year. Make no mistake, it will be huge. And I certainly can't wait.

As always, the last thoughts come from you, the reader. We're merely unpaid monkeys with typewriters and Wikipedia. Here's what you need to do: List your Top Five for this week's topic on the comment section using the following format:

5. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
4. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
3. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
2. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
1. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it


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