12 albums to look forward to in 2012

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

most anticipated albums 2012

12 albums to look forward to in 2012


UPDATE :: apparently my brain was only half functioning when i wrote this post. i left off 2 major albums that are literally in my top 2 or 3 most anticipated albums of the year. one falls into the “confirmed” category while the other falls into the “speculative” category. first, the confirmed:

punch brothers: who’s feeling young now?. their last effort, antifogmatic was one of my favorite albums of 2010. i can still listen to it and it sounds like it came out yesterday. with who’s feeling young now?, i anticipate, not a new direction, but the next logical step forward. i imagine it will be a more layered sound that takes yet another step away from “traditional” bluegrass assumptions. we’ll find out on february 14.

now, the speculative album:

derek webb: tba. derek webb has had very little mention of a new album and hasn’t given any strong hints. he has, though, mentioned some big new things he’s working on. whether that’s a new album in 2012 or something else is up to speculation. it makes sense, given that his last “traditional” release was 2009’s stockholm syndrome. it’s time for something new and 2012 just might be the time to do it.


2011 was a good year for music. not necessarily a great year, but certainly a good year for music. it featured quite a few surprises and new discoveries and also had its fair share of albums that were highly anticipated. personally, i haven’t anticipated albums as much as i did elbow’s build a rocket boys and kanye/jay-z’s watch the throne (among others) in quite some time.

much the same as last year, there’s a handful of albums that i expect to be great albums. and while it’s always dangerous to inflate expectations to non-attainable levels, i’ve narrowed down a list of nearly 50 albums to 12 that i am eagerly anticipating this year.

i’ve broken down the list into 2 categories: confirmed (or as close to confirmed as possible) and i’m-not-holding-my-breath-but-this-rumor-is-worth-believing. first, the confirmed albums:

1. lana del rey: born to die. del rey’s debut album—set to release january 30—probably has the most buzz and steam behind it of any album on this list. for every music critic that has sung her praises, there’s been another one to write off her sudden rise to indie darling status. i assume the release of her debut album will only intensify the divide.

2. garbage: tba. right now, in 2012, if i were to fire up garbage’s 1998 version 2.0, i could sit and listen to it in its entirety and enjoy every bit of it. and while their last 2 releases never quite lived up to that album’s success, they’re still a band that after 7 years since their last release, i expect their forthcoming album will be exactly what i’ve waited for.

3. mumford & sons: tba. it still blows my mind that mumford’s 2009 release, sigh no more, was the 2nd highest selling album on itunes…in 2011. their success has been unbelievable and i don’t expect it to cease with a 2012 release. it will certainly be difficult for them to meet expectations, but if they come anywhere close, it should be considered a success.

4. no doubt: tba. in 1996, few things were as big as a little band from orange county called no doubt after releasing tragic kingdom in late 1995. after a few albums and a successful solo career by gwen stefani, i’m still a fan anticipating their first album in over a decade.

5. various artists: g.o.o.d. music compilation. it’s rare that i look forward to any kind of compilation album, but this one has something that other compilations don’t have: kanye west at the helm. kanye’s label g.o.o.d. is set to release an album featuring their lineup including artists such as kid cudi, big sean, john legend, pusha t & common. i expect that, much like other simliar compilations, there will be some misses, but the hits are likely to be very good.

6. sleigh bells: reign of terror. in mid-2010, a band from brooklyn came out with an album like we’d never heard before. truly, the term “noise pop” never sounded like such a perfect description as it did with treats. for reign of terror, we have the following description to look forward to (as stated in the press release): “it’s like the sonic equivalent of a beautiful shotgun to the head”.

now, here’s the list of albums that are merely rumors (some more than others).

1. jay-z & kanye west. jay-z has indicated that this is a possibility, but it could very easily be all talk. if it’s true, this would instantly shoot to the top of the list of albums that i’m looking forward to. even moreso than another throne album, if kanye put out a solo album, that would easily be the most anticipated album event of 2012.

2. fiona apple. her last album was 7 years ago. just to give some perspective, 2nd graders weren’t born yet, george bush just settling into his 2nd term and kanye west had yet to inform us that the aforementioned mr. bush didn’ care about black people. come on fiona, we need a new album. and apparently, the album, much like extraordinary machine is being held up by the label (epic).

3. dr. dre. this is my biggest hopeful wishing album. supposedly, dre has been working on the follow-up to 1999’s (!!) the chronic 2001 for several years. so you’d think this was finally going to happen. but then, last month, dre announced that he was taking an indefinite hiatus from music completely. so, who knows. it’s doubtful we’ll see detox in 2012, but i’m certainly remaining hopeful.

4. outkast/andre 3000. this isn’t nearly as much of a longshot as the dre album, but it’s still an exercise in wishful thinking. in some ways, i’d actually be as much or even a little more interested in hearing an andre 3000 solo project. after big boi’s successful solo album last year, i would welcome 3000’s solo project. either way, i just want to hear new music from big boi and/or andre 3000 in 2012.

5. u2. supposedly, this could’ve happend in 2011. and supposedly, it could’ve been any one of 3 albums that are rumored to be done or nearly done. i’m most interested in a project that bono has talked about that was produced by danger mouse. there are very few projects that danger mouse has been involved in that didn’t turn out to be something amazing, so i can only assume mixing in the greatest band in the world will be a recipe for success.

6. aerosmith. while some might be surprised that i list aerosmith, i’ve been a huge fan ever since 1989’s pump. and while their last couple albums (nearly 10 years ago) weren’t exactly my favorites, i’m still curious to see what they can do now. particularly after quite a bit of band turmoil (to say the very least), i’m eager to see how they can put the pieces back together and surprise us all again.

of course, these aren’t the only good albums scheduled (or rumored) to be released in 2012. others include frank ocean, the beach boys, green day, kid cudi, fleetwood mac, andrew bird, madonna, wu-tang clan, janelle monae and the xx (among others). so, there’s plenty to look forward to this year.

what albums are you looking forward to in 2012?