The Killers, "Battle Born"
When critics started likening The Killers' second album to Springsteen, the comparison seemed a bit like grasping at straws -- but maybe in the four years since their last studio album, the band said, "Hey, maybe we should listen to that guy everyone compared us to." Then Brandon Flowers and crew put their own glitzy spin on what they borrow from the synth-heavy notions of "Born in the U.S.A."-era Boss.
G.O.O.D. Music, “Cruel Summer”
“Ain’t nobody fresher than my motherf—ing clique,” raps Big Sean on one of the 12 tracks on Kanye West’s latest collaborative project. Big Sean is right: In addition to him, Kanye corralled longtime pals like Jay-Z and Pusha T, younger acts like Teyana Taylor and CyHi the Prynce as well as Hall-of-Famers like R. Kelly and Ghostface Killah. The album happily arrives while its title season is still here.
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Carly Rae Jepsen, "Kiss"
While skeptics may be eager to dismiss Carly Rae Jepsen as a one-hit wonder, they should take into consideration what a HUGE hit "Call Me Maybe" was. Before she came into your life you missed her so bad, you missed her so, so bad. See? The song is so in your head right now! With the knack for a pop melody she has already shown us, how could CRJ not have more tunes that could turn sports teams onto choreography?
P!NK, "The Truth About Love"
Yes, P!NK has been combining kiss-off anthems with double entendres since day one, but instead of recycling the same thing over and over, it seems more like she has been working her whole career toward this. Tempering her usual aggression are fun collaborations (Eminem, Lily Allen) and songs that actually sound happy. Well, as happy as P!NK can be, singing lines like "I hate you so
much, it must be love."
Green Day, "¡UNO!"
After an absurdly prolific winter, Green Day had enough material for three albums. Instead of paring down that material, they'll just go on ahead and release three separate albums, (appropriately titled "¡UNO!" "¡DOS!" and "¡TRE!") every other month through January. Based on the four singles already released, this is the type of straight-ahead punk-pop that put them on the map 20 years ago.
No Doubt, "Push and Shove"
As far as long lapses between albums go, No Doubt's sixth studio album is up there with "Chinese Democracy" and "Detox," coming 11 years after its predecessor. Judging from the first two tunes to emerge, "Settle Down" and the title track, this album will be more worth the wait than the Guns N' Roses album that took 14 years to make.
Mumford & Sons, "Babel"
Coming three years after their 2009 debut, this British band's new single "I Will Wait" proves they waited until they were ready to release their best possible material, showing they are a group who has the ability to mine lush layers of harmonies to make timeless, uplifting tunes.
Ellie Goulding, “Halcyon”
Her 2010 song “Lights” may have been the biggest sleeper hit of … well, 2012. That is quite a sleeper hit. With her second album, the world is finally ready for this British singer, who we should point out, began dating Skrillex in the time since releasing her debut. Though he has no production credits on “Halcyon” the bond is just a hint at her willingness to go on sonic adventures. If that’s the hint though, single “Anything Could Happen” is the promise.
Taylor Swift, “Red”
Last week’s stunning performance of the new song “Ronan” at the Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser may have been the most emotional song that Taylor Swift has ever written. That song is reportedly not on the upcoming album. If she’s able to discard songs that good, we can’t wait to hear the ones that did make the cut.
Titus Andronicus, “Local Business”
Their last release was a concept album about the Civil War — and if you didn’t hear it and this sounds especially dorky to you, it actually rocked. But this one promises to rock even more, with the band writing on their Tumblr: “‘Local Business’ is of the earth. Titus Andronicus the studious recording project and Titus Andronicus the raucous touring machine are no longer two distinct beings; there is only Titus Andronicus, rock and roll band.” Hellz yeah!
Aerosmith, "Music From Another Dimension"
This album makes the list primarily because of its audacious title. Do Aerosmith have what it takes to make music from another dimension? We'll see.
Big Boi, "Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors"
Did Big Boi and Aerosmith switch the album titles they were supposed to use? Big Boi is indeed tapping into another dimension with his second album outside of the Outkast moniker. For "Lies," the rapper has enlisted the assistance of indie bands such as Phantogram and Little Dragon.
50 Cent, "Street King Immortal"
Remember when Kanye and 50 released an album on the same day and each of them said that he would retire if his album didn't perform as well as the other's? "Curtis" didn't do as well as "Graduation," but 50 did not retire. On his fifth album, he has brought in enough guest stars that it seems like he's trying to compete with "Cruel Summer" for sheer group effort. So far "Immortal" will feature Alicia Keys, Lil' Kim, Akon, Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Chris Brown and Adam Levine.
Alicia Keys, ‘Girl on Fire’
Hopefully you didn’t get too distracted by gold medalist Gabby Douglas tumbling all over the stage during Alicia Keys’ VMAs performance last week, because behind the piano, Keys was really lighting it up. It’s the singer’s time to shine again. Because no one, no one, no one can get in the way of what she’s feeling.