2011 was off to a slow start as far as new music was concerned. Other than Adele, it seemed like the list of new releases was rather slim and there wasn’t much to look forward to as a new music fan. This year is off to a much different start with already a few new artists making waves and a whole slew of upcoming new releases in the coming months. I’ve decided to preview a few of them here.
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (March 6)
For some reason, Bruce Springsteen seems to have earned more attention with his upcoming 17th album than he’s had in quite a long time. Perhaps it’s the rumoured return to his heavier sound that made him a household name in the 80s but either way, he might help keep rock music relevant this year with this record.
Katie Melua – Secret Symphony (March 6)
My favourite smooth jazz vocalist is putting out her 5th album. My hopes are that this new album can be an instant pleaser like 2005′s Piece By Piece. The first single Better Than A Dream fits more along the lines of that album rather than 2010′s The House, which had production by William Orbit. Either sound worked well for her. Maybe Katie can do no wrong.
The Hunger Games Soundtrack (March 20)
It’s rare these days for a movie soundtrack to have an awesome collection of artists. The Hunger Games soundtrack contains newly recorded songs from Arcade Fire, the Decemberists, Neko Case, Maroon 5 and get this: the first single by Taylor Swift actually sounds good! A collaboration with the Civil Wars but it may just be the best thing she’s ever done.
Madonna – MDNA (March 26)
All eyes have been on Madonna to see if she can still bring it with her first album since Lady GaGa hit the scene. The constant comparison of GaGa to Madonna made people wonder whether GaGa had replaced her on the pop scene, but with Madonna’s “reductive” comment last month, maybe Madonna has something up her sleeve as she makes a triumphant return. Three songs from MDNA have been made public so far, each with a different sound that touches on straight-up pop, dance and R&B.
Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (April 3)
Nicki’s second album has hit a few bumps since it was first announced late last year. Two tracks, Roman In Moscow and Stupid Hoe have been put out to some mixed reviews while her Grammy performance had people questioning her sanity. Starships has put her back on the right track following the success of her collaboration with David Guetta, Turn Me On, which is also supposed to be on this album.
Our Lady Peace – Curve (April 3)
I didn’t realize it until hearing the first single from OLP’s upcoming 8th album that I’ve missed them. 2009′s Burn Burn was their best record since Spiritual Machines and judging from the sound of Heavyweight, they might outdo themselves again.
Jason Mraz – Love Is A Four Letter Word (April 17)
While I wasn’t too fond of his last album, I am still looking forward to the next album which so far sounds like it might take aspects of his sound from his earlier work. The first single I Won’t Give Up sounds more in place with his newer material but it’s still a nice song.
Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts (May 1)
Norah’s first album since 2009′s The Fall is highly anticipated following the change in her sound with that album. The interesting thing about this upcoming release is that it is produced by Danger Mouse. The first single is Happy Pills.
Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats (May 15)
If this new track All The Rowboats, unveiled this week, is an indication of what to expect from Regina, it sounds like she’ll be mixing her sound up a bit with some electronic influences.
Dragonette – TBA (TBA)
Dragonette’s third album sounds like it might be more pop/rock rather than the dance/pop sound that dominated their last two albums and their most recent international hit Hello. Think Belinda Carlisle meets Roxette, which makes me very excited.
Michelle Branch – West Coast Time (TBA)
Michelle Branch is becoming as elusive as Dr. Dre when it comes to having her music come out. Although unlike Dre (and Guns ‘N Roses before him), Michelle’s issue seems to be record label politics rather than unsatisfactory results. The first single from this album came out last Fall, Loud Music, didn’t perform very well and that was all we heard from her. Her last album, Everything Comes And Goes, experienced the same fate as it was put off for a couple years with several tracks being put out but to no avail. It finally got released as a 6-track EP with only one of those singles. Fingers crossed for a proper album this time around.