||Main >> News Listing >> January 2005 >> Article ID 7146
| 2005: A Look Ahead (album releases)||Type: Internet Article|
|2005: A Look Ahead||Jan 03, 2005|
|by Gil Kaufman|
Aguilera is working on an album and recently spent time in India searching for her muse, saying, "India has always captured my imagination with its myriad cultures and spiritualism."....
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|Late 2004 brought a flood of major albums from the likes of Eminem, a re-formed Destiny's Child, U2 and Gwen Stefani, not to mention strong efforts from Nas and Ludacris. It's a tough roster to beat, but 2005 is knocking at the door with fresh albums from Fat Joe, J. Lo, Coldplay, 50 Cent and Audioslave, double shots from Outkast and System of a Down as well as the Game's debut.|
The year in music is already posing some interesting questions: Will Justin Timberlake forever split with 'NSYNC and release his second solo album, or will he pull a Beyoncé and give the group one more shot? Will the world care about the final Ol' Dirty Bastard album? More importantly, can J. Lo come back from a string of movie flops and have another hit album, and can Jessica Simpson continue to parlay her TV stardom into multiplatinum sales?
Plus, as we said last year, a few artists we haven't heard from in several years are also prepping comeback albums that have been in the works for a while. Will Nine Inch Nails and Dr. Dre actually release new albums, and will they be able to recapture past glory?
We asked a panel of experts to give their predictions on the year's most anticipated albums.
Can the 'Dirrty' girl get her mojo back?
Aguilera is working on an album and recently spent time in India searching for her muse, saying, "India has always captured my imagination with its myriad cultures and spiritualism." Whether or not she finds any answers, X-Tina is better equipped for adult stardom than most singers who break through as teenagers, said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts for Billboard magazine. "Her last album had five radio hits, which is deeper than most artists go. Most teen-pop artists hit that wall faster, and I think the period between Stripped and her first album helped her audience grow with her. A song like 'Beautiful' spoke to teenage girls ... but even on her first album she was already drawing adult listeners."
Prediction: A new generation of teen queens has taken over, so X-Tina will probably go more mature.
Can Mariah get her groove back by emancipating her inner Mimi?
Carey has adopted a pseudonym for her upcoming album, The Emancipation of Mimi (March 22), an inside reference to one of her nicknames. In an online post, the singer said the disc will give fans get a peek at her private life. The first single is slated to be "Say Something" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams), which DJ Envy of New York's Hot 97 said is not a good sign. "I think she's gonna do the same thing she did last year and go more hip-hop and less mainstream. She should keep it mainstream and just do a remix or something or this won't work." At the very least, she should stop telling people about her hard-knock life, Mayfield suggested. "She will always have that core audience that will support her, but her relevance to the general public hinges on whether she makes music that has to be heard," he said. "It's like a pitcher who had a 20-win season. It might not be this one where he does it again, but you wouldn't want to bet against her just on principle, because this might be the year."
Prediction: Carey's been gone so long she's due for a comeback ... as long as her fans are still be there to hear it.
Can an album compete with a string of high-profile movie flops and a secret wedding?
"People may be tired of her, but if she comes up with a song that you have to hear and a video that you have to watch, they'll get over it," Mayfield predicted. "If it's just average, you'll hear the same kind of comments made after 'Gigli.' She's at a point where it has to be great, and if it is, people will forgive her for all the ink she's gotten." In the video for the first single, "Get Right," Lopez plays herself in multiple roles, and she co-produced Rebirth (March 1) with collaborator Cory Rooney. Fabolous guests on an alternative version of "Get Right," and Fat Joe and Lopez's new husband, crooner Marc Anthony, also make cameos.
Prediction: Bad movies never stopped Madonna, but Lopez needs to keep her music career hot to avoid two strikes. Expect a full-court press.
Can the former B2K singer break out on his own?
Omarion will try to emerge from the shadow of B2K with O (February 8). It'll likely be a hard road, according to Envy. "He's stuck between the kiddie and grown-up world, which is tough. He needs a smash single to get it going, which I don't think 'O' is." Among the producers lending a hand are Allstar (3LW), the Underdogs (B2K) and Atlanta's Corner Boys (Usher). The 20-year-old singer co-wrote five of the songs, and the album's sole guest is Outkast's Big Boi on "Never Gonna Let You Go (She's a Keepa)."
Prediction: It's hard to break out of the boy-band ghetto, but triple threat (dancer/singer/actor) Omarion just might have what it takes.
Will the queen of all media blow up to Britney status?
The pop diva recently said she's thinking of experimenting with other genres to make her music more timeless for the follow-up to 2003's In This Skin. "I want to still keep it pop," she said, "but steer left a little bit. Maybe I'll put a little bit of country in there, maybe a little bit of jazz." Simpson said she's been listening to Icelandic pop curiosity Björk for inspiration. "The TV show had everything to do with the relaunch and success of her last album," Mayfield said. "If she comes up with something that will satisfy the people who bought her records so far, it will do really well at the beginning. If not, it will fizzle fast."
Prediction: Expect a good first week at the very least.
Can Joe capitalize on the success of 'Lean Back?'
With Terror Squad firmly established thanks to "Lean Back," Fat Joe will drop Things of That Nature in February. Working with Timbaland for the first time ("Get Up"), Joe also hooked up with Swizz Beats on the album's club-friendly "Listen Baby." The Squad only show up on a few songs on the cameo-light album, but Joe called in Eminem, Mase, Lil Jon and Remy on the "Lean Back" remix. This is definitely Joe's time, according to DJ Envy. "I think he's going to have a big year," Envy said. "After a couple of albums where he didn't know which direction he was going, he's found his niche."
Prediction: The streets are ready for some solo Joe action, and 2005 should be his year.
Will success spoil 50's gangsta flow?
His Dre-produced "Disco Inferno" is already a hit, but 50 is planning a St. Valentine's Day Massacre on March 8. With songs produced by Dre and Em, and contributions from the G-Unit, the MC's follow-up to his multiplatinum breakthrough, Get Rich or Die Tryin', is a slam dunk. "I know I'm gonna exceed everyone's expectations on this project because they feel like Get Rich or Die Tryin' was the best I could do. I've got something up my sleeve," 50 said. Given the G-Unit's track record, 50 should cakewalk to the top of the charts. "Along with Jay-Z, he's one of the hip-hop artists over the past few years who has remained relevant for several years in a row," Mayfield said. You can expect the buff MC to answer some of the disses thrown his way on recent mixtapes, which should cement his rep, according to Envy. "It will be huge," he said. "I think he will be sh--ting on any artist who ever said anything bad about him. People love confrontation, and he's king of it."
Prediction: 50 has had the Midas touch so far, so look for a huge first week and a surefire multiplatinum bow.
Will the newest member of 50's posse bring honor to his family's name?
The latest find from the G-Unit camp will drop his debut, The Documentary, on January 18. With the first 50-assisted single, "How We Do," already a hit, the Compton-born rapper is on his way to joining the platinum Aftermath/G-Unit stable. "It'll be big because he's West Coast but he spits like he's from the East Coast," Envy said. "We haven't had anyone from the West Coast making noise in a long time. And the beats from Dre will be retarded." 50 and Dre are executive producers of the album, which also includes the songs "West Side Story" and "Higher."
Prediction: Dre rarely bets on a losing horse, and Game's distinctive flow should make this an instant hit.
Is there such a thing as too much Outkast?
After sweeping awards shows across the globe with their joint solo albums, Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below, the hip-hop duo have two releases due this year, as well as their long-awaited HBO movie, "My Life in Idlewild." One of the albums is a soundtrack to the Prohibition-era musical, and Big Boi has referred to the second, 10 the Hard Way, as a return-to-roots record, due in June. "This will be super-huge," Envy said confidently. "This is their first album together in a while, and they said they will be rappin' hardcore, not like 'Hey Ya!,' but rugged and retarded." Mayfield was a bit more measured. "It's possible they peaked with the one that broke the mold, but that doesn't mean if this one isn't as big that it's dismal," he said. "Their overnight success took 10 years, and they built a substantial fanbase, and 'Hey Ya!' drew lots of people who had never gotten the Outkast bug before. People will give it a shot."
Prediction: Getting back together is sometimes harder than breaking up. At the very least, these two will make it interesting and unpredictable.
What's the super-producer/rapper got left up his sleeve?
After scoring the most Grammy nominations this year for The College Dropout, West is hard at work on Late Registration, due in April or May. He is, of course, producing it himself, and so far the only confirmed guest is, um, mellow guitarist/singer John Mayer? It doesn't matter if it's John Denver, Envy said. "His production with all these other artists makes his [next] album a beast," according to Envy. "He's making smashes with new artists, but I'm sure he's keeping some goodies for his album. His songs don't feel conscious, but they're not hardcore, so parents like them for their kids."
Prediction: No matter what happens on Grammy night, Kanye is the producer/rapper of the moment.
Will the hard-rock supergroup beat the sophomore slump?
The heavy rock band formed by three-fourths of Rage Against the Machine and ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell are in a California studio working on the follow-up to their hard-crunching 2003 debut. "The thing that feels different [about the second album] is there's even more spontaneity to it," guitarist Tom Morello said recently. "Now that they've had time to settle in as a group and know each other, this one should be even better," said Oedipus, vice president of alternative programming for Infinity Broadcasting. "The last one was a staple of rock and alternative radio, and I just hope Morello pushes it even further and experiments musically. It's a good time for that kind of rock." Lisa Worden, program director for Washington, D.C., alt-rock powerhouse WHFS-FM, was even more enthused. "We need good rock music, we need stars," she said. "This will be one of the biggest rock records of the year if they can deliver."
Prediction: The debut set them up as a legit supergroup, and the recent success of Velvet Revolver is a good sign of continued audience acceptance.
Will Chris Martin's tabloid lifestyle affect his band's chemistry?
The emotional rockers are keeping a tight lid on the details of their follow-up to 2002's international smash A Rush of Blood to the Head. Producer Ken Nelson was back on board during New York and London recording sessions, and singer Chris Martin told a British radio interviewer that he was listening to a lot of Jay-Z and Kraftwerk for inspiration. "Their third album will be monumental," Oedipus predicted. "[Singer] Chris Martin is an immense talent, and if there was ever a successor to U2, it's Coldplay. Radio will be all over this."
Prediction: This album could cement their reputation as the next U2, though the old U2 might have something to say about that.
Can the band recapture the magic without Moody, and can he make it alone?
With former collaborator and band co-founder Ben Moody gone, singer Amy Lee has been working with the band on tunes for the follow-up to Evanescence's 6-million-selling debut, Fallen. "They and their label are smart enough that they'll take their time and find the appropriate songs so they can continue their success," Oedipus predicted. Meanwhile, Moody is about to record his solo debut, due in the summer. He's expected to co-produce, sing lead vocals and play most of the instruments. "I don't have much hope for Moody," Oedipus said. "It's not that he's not talented, but no one knows who he is. Is his voice strong enough to hold up? He's just like a brand new artist who needs to prove himself." Even if Evanescence come up with the songs, it might be too much to expect another Fallen, said Worden. "What makes Evanescence is her voice and his songwriting, so I'm not sure what to think about this one, but that first album was lightning in a bottle. It's hard to come back with an album equally as successful."
Prediction: Ben's struck pay dirt writing with Avril Lavigne, but Amy has the star presence. He could surprise, but more likely he's the new Andrew Ridgley (the forgotten half of Wham!).
System Of A Down
Will two albums be a shock to the System?
Don't get it twisted: System of a Down are releasing a two-album set, Mesmerize/ Hypnotize, but unlike Outkast, the hard-rock experimentalists will wait six months between them. Hypnotize will hit stores in the beginning of the year, while Mesmerize is due in late summer or early fall. "There has been a great deal of upheaval, very troubling times for all of us over the past year or so," vocalist Serj Tankian said of the inspiration for the follow-up to 2001's 5-million-selling Toxicity. "And that has brought forth a lot of emotional material." Worden sees this as a can't-miss proposition. "They're the whole package," she said. "They're talented musicians, the music is intricate and intelligent, yet it gets played on radio and is not formulaic. There's no gimmick. They are the real deal and they will take over next year." No matter what, System have what rock radio needs right now, Oedipus said. "They'll be the saviors of rock radio," he claimed. "This is highly anticipated and it will be played incessantly."
Prediction: These metal experimentalists are on the cusp of a huge breakthrough.
Has the buzz gotten too loud?
Not much is known about the duo's new album, but we do know that singer/guitarist Jack White is producing his Detroit homie Brendan Benson's upcoming album, Alternative to Love, and that Benson says the material White's been writing with him ranges from sounding like Cat Stevens to Led Zeppelin. Like Coldplay's, the Stripes' third major-label album should be a solid staple on radio, Oedipus said. "They'll get play for the cool factor, but Jack's so talented it will go beyond cool. The songs will be great."
Prediction: As long as there aren't any "Dear Renée" ballads, this indie band should continue its flirtation with the mainstream.
Making a return appearance in the "Will it ever happen?" file this year are a few major albums we predicted would come out in 2004. Millions are still salivating at the prospect of Dr. Dre's promised swan song as an MC, Detox, which he swears he's hard at work on. The album is tentatively slated for the fall. The new Nine Inch Nails disc, With Teeth, is more than two years in the making. The album is slated to feature drumming from Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl. No release date has been announced. Also getting people hot and bothered is the prospect of a second solo album from Justin Timberlake, which would likely keep the future of 'NSYNC on ice. Still no word on Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy, and a source said the comeback from the reunited Fugees won't likely make it into stores this year.
Weezer are expected to release their long-in-the-works new album, and you can also expect new music from Mary J. Blige, Tori Amos, P. Diddy, the Raveonettes, Kelly Osbourne, Janet Jackson, Moby, Mandy Moore, the Dave Matthews Band, DMX, Eve, Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim. Former nü-metal bands Korn, Limp Bizkit and the Deftones are scheduled to try and recapture their '90s glory, and former Smashing Pumpkins/Zwan mastermind Billy Corgan is prepping his solo debut.
The Foo Fighters are working on a two-record set, while Beck is finishing his more eclectic follow-up to 2002's morose Sea Change with the help of the Dust Brothers. The Grammy-nominated Black Eyed Peas recently tapped James Brown to help on Monkey Business, due in the spring. This could be the year Fountains of Wayne and Hot Hot Heat finally break through. And, for those of you waiting for the Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie albums, well, all we can tell you is that Hilton has recorded a cover of David Bowie's "Fame," which famously features the line "puts you where things are hollow."
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