What 2012 lacked is solid pop albums from our favourite artists – but 2013 is sure to make up for this in spades. Or so we think.
There’s promise of new albums from ever-present pop heavyweights – like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé – and a handful of surprising comebacks from Cher, David Bowie and Justin Timberlake.
Could these household names match past successes with their new albums? Or will 2013 be overridden by crescendoing buzz surrounding new faces like Azealia Banks and Aussie indiefolkster Josef Salvat?
All signs are pointing to a massive new era in music for Queen Bey as she prepares to release her fifth, yet-untitled solo album this year.
Following the critically-lauded 2011 album 4, which spawned massive singles like Run The World (Girls) and Love on Top – the favoured child of Destiny is threatening a full-bodied return to R&B music with her latest project.
In her latest interview with GQ, Beyoncé revealed that she’ll be serving up a blend of R&B with rock and soul influences – name checking influences from Prince, D’Angelo, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and a bit of 60s doo-wop music.
Collaborators on board include Pharrell (who produced Beyoncé’s first solo single Work It Out), Timbaland, Justin Timberlake (who is also making a comeback this year himself) and The-Dream, who co-wrote Bey’s iconic Single Ladies (Put A Ring on It). Rapper Azealia Banks revealed in a chat with fans last week that she had recorded a rap verse for a Beyoncé album track, which may or may not appear in the final cut.
Although there’s no due date confirmed for Beyoncé’s new album as yet, the wind machine-ready diva is expected to premiere her new single at the end of her Superbowl Half Time Show next month.
Watch Beyonce performing Love on Top:
It’s been 12 years since we last had a Cher studio album and while she’s doing pretty well for herself as a full-time Twitter personality, it’s time for the premiere goddess of pop to get back to work.
Cher’s upcoming 26th studio album is expected to be an “eclectic” mix of dance music styles, with the diva already touting it to be as defining as her 1998 album Believe.
Her new single Woman’s World, produced by Paul Oakenfold, is a slamming Eurodance anthem. And if that’s a taste of what’s to come, queens, hang on to your wigs. Some artists who have contributed to the new album include Lady Gaga and Pink.
Cher’s comeback album is slated for a late March 2013 release and we can expect announcement of a world tour to follow.
Listen to Woman’s World below.
Tegan and Sara
My lesbian best friend and I suddenly have another artist to fangirl over together. Brace yourselves for a glossier and more commercial new sound from Canadian rockers Tegan and Sara.
Heartthrob, their seventh studio album, hears them embrace a bigger synth pop sound and work with new producers to create their poppiest album yet.
The Quin sisters have teamed up with Greg Kurstin (the super producer behind Pink’s Blow Me One Last Kiss and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger) and Mike Elizondo, who has worked with the likes of Kimbra and Alanis Morrissette. Aussie indie song bird Sia has also contributed vocals to an album track.
There’s already a great deal of excitement surrounding Heartthrob, following the radio-ready summer rock single Closer. Let’s just hope old Tegan and Sara fans can be a little accommodating of the twins’ new teeny bopper fans in the next tour.
Heartthrob is out in Australia on 8 February. Watch Tegan and Sara’s Closer video below.
By now you would’ve heard that the actor Justin Timberlake is making a return to music this year and you might’ve already stumbled on mixed reviews of his comeback single Suit & Tie (featuring Jay-Z). But I’m here to tell you that this is all going to be worthwhile.
It has been over six years since JT released the brilliant FutureSex/LoveSounds album and frankly, while the masses are still expecting a sequel to SexyBack – I think the future for Justin Timberlake lies in classy, more mature soulful pop.
The 20/20 Experience sees the former-N*Sync heartthrob return to the studio with Timbaland, who fashioned his last album.
Suit & Tie is a stylish, R&B slow jam that recalls a few seductive singles served by Robin Thicke. But if FutureSex/LoveSounds is anything to go by, JT could well have a few different sounds and styles percolating in this project that we aren’t expecting just yet.
The 20/20 Experience is due for release later this year.
Listen to Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie:
Following her mostly flat stint as a judge on the US X Factor, Britney Spears is set to refocus her attention on music again in 2013. The American popstar garnered plenty of praise for her 2011 killer pop album Femme Fatale, which yielded smash singles like Hold It Against Me, Till The World Ends and I Wanna Go.
Although not much is known about the new album, it was teased in footage on the X Factor that Britney was back in the studio with hit producer Darkchild, who had produced smashes like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé’s Telephone and remixed Spears’ own single Overprotected some years ago.
Britney’s recent appearance on will.i.am’s single Scream and Shout might also hint that the Black Eyed Peas frontman will also be called in for her album.
Other names involved in the project so far include Danja (who famously produced Britney’s 2007 album Blackout) and Grammy-nominated songwriter Elijah Blake (co-writer of Usher’s Climax). Spears herself has stated that she’s working with “new, inspiring producers” for her eighth album.
Is the world ready for urban Britney 2.0?
Watch will.i.am and Britney’s Scream and Shout…
Our list continues on the next page.