Listening ahead to 2014

By Elena Lopez

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

2013 introduced a multitude of new sounds from all corners of the music industry, giving the listening public high expectations for 2014. It is only January, but numerous major artists have already announced new releases for the coming months.

Some of pop’s biggest stars are preparing to drop new albums in 2014. After the massive success of her 2011 album “21,” English sensation Adele is facing astronomical expectations. After facing an injury that nearly ended her career, fans are wondering if Adele can deliver an album as strong as “21” this coming year. 2013 was the first year since 2008 in which Rhianna failed to grace the world with a new record. That said, she did not shy entirely from the spotlight, releasing high-profile collaborations like “Monster,” a track on Eminem’s ultra-successful “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.” Neither Adele nor Rihanna have announced details of their new projects yet, only heightening anticipation for when they are finally released. Although these are two of the highest profile releases, Taylor Swift, Shakira and Pharrell are also preparing new projects for release this coming year.

With the mainstream introduction of the EDM genre in 2013, it is no surprise that the genre’s biggest stars are preparing new releases to keep their many fans happy. After his mega-hit “Wake Me Up” featuring Aloe Blacc, Avicii is rumored to be releasing more brain-altering tracks this year. After a tour-packed year, superstar Skrillex is likely not far behind in producing an album, ensuring that 2014 will be yet another huge year for him and EDM fans alike.

Leading the pack for new rock releases this year are artists Ed Sheeran, Foster the People, U2, and Imagine Dragons. While the details of many of these upcoming releases have yet to be announced, Foster the People’s new album “Supermodel” is slated for a March 18 release. Foster the People recently explained that they plan on changing their sound significantly, sounding less like their massive hit “Pumped Up Kicks.” Sheeran, relatively new to the music industry but immensely popular, also plans to release a new album with the help of Taylor Swift.

R&B greats also seem to be slated for a comeback this year. Mariah Carey is returning this spring with a new album titled “The Art of Letting Go.” Frank Ocean is also planning a follow up to his 2012 album “Channel Orange,” gracing the public with his melodic and sweet voice once again. Chris Brown’s oft-delayed album “X Files” is planned for release soon after his rehab stint, while Jhené Aiko gears up to release her first LP, “Souled Out,” in May after her budding success in 2013. Miguel and Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) crooner SZA are due to drop albums. It is SZA’s first album, one of six coming from TDE this year.

Rounding it out with hip hop and rap, many huge albums are expected this year. Rick Ross’ “Mastermind” is due in March, while Nicki Minaj is working on her third solo album and a collaborative album with Young Money. The album includes luminaries like Lil Wayne, Drake, and Tyga and is titled “Young Money: Rise of an Empire.” Jay-Z and Kanye West are also rumored to be working on a follow-up to their 2011 collaboration, “Watch the Throne.” West has also recently hinted at a follow up to “Yeezus,” claiming the album was not done when it was released and that he may drop a few new tracks some time in 2014.

A huge favorite of this year, Chance the Rapper, promised the release of his first full album, “Social Experiment.” Chance made waves in 2013 with his second mixtape “Acid Rap” and “Social Experiment” has an incredible amount of hype behind it. 2013 was a quiet year for TDE, the label that signed Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and some other up-and-coming heavy hitters. However, the usually reclusive head of TDE recently took to Twitter and stated that TDE would drop six albums in 2014, starting with Schoolboy’s “Oxymoron” on Feb. 25. This also means a possible follow up to Lamar’s critically acclaimed 2012 album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.”

These are just a few of the high-profile releases that make 2014 an incredibly promising year for new music.

Elena Lopez can be reached [email protected]