Most Anticipated Albums For 2011
February 25, 2010
Two months down and 2011 has already experienced some big waves in music. Arcade Fire stood tall at the end of the Grammy’s, Radiohead abruptly announced an album release & just as quickly bumped it up, Enrique seduced us very bluntly, and so much more. But perhaps the biggest waves are yet to come. Again, it’s only February, but with the look of what’s to come for the rest of the year in music, there’s a lot to look forward too. Sure, The Decemberists & PJ Harvey have delivered strong showings so far, but on the horizon, we can definitely see potential albums we will still be talking about in 2021. So let’s be cliche for a moment and pop out a Top Ten List for our most anticipated albums in 2011. Hell, if Spin can do a list with albums that have already been released, why can’t we?
10. Wilco – Untitled
To Be Determined
Wilco (The Album) was no Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but in reality, not a lot of albums could match up to that instant classic. But what Tweedy’s
band offered up last go round was something still fresh & original which on their seventh outing isn’t exactly something easy to do. So far, all we have are vague details except for a concrete promise that it will see the light of day in 2011. However, with not many missteps in their career, we can at least count on a solid offering from a still remarkably strong band.
9. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
Perhaps the most anticipated debut of the year, The Vaccines have some very big shoes to fill already. The band has already been nominated for Best New Act by MTV while also placing highly in a Sounds Of 2011 poll for BBC. Having won over critics with their demo “If You Wanna” last year, the band quickly set out to record properly. Details quickly emerged about the new album and we were given the ultimate teaser: “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra).” Clocking in at a minute & a half, the band knows the urgency it takes to make an impression and sets out to do it. Those shoes aren’t going to fill themselves.
8. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
The album could be titled Sophomore Blues for all we care. Too many acts burst into the scene in the 2000s with a great album only to fizzle out with their second album and all because someone in the band wanted to change up the formula that made them who they are. We aren’t talking about MGMT evolving their sound to a new level; no, we are talking Maroon 5 going from hip funksters that everyone loved to boring crooners that only your grandmother would like. Fleet Foxes have said they are tweaking with the sound from their last album so we’ll see what that all entails, but after a strong 2008 debut, there’s more than a few of us pondering if they won’t just drown in deeper waters.
7. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes And Keys
A lot has changed since Ben Gibbard’s band released an album last in 2008: Gibbard himself got married for starters! But more importantly, the climate of the music world seems to have changed, perhaps most prominently for Indie music. Newcomer heavyweights Vampire Weekend & MGMT stand tall with fresh debuts & perhaps better follow-ups. Older pillars like The National & Arcade Fire are experiencing their greatest success yet. So where does this leave a band that had their biggest hit to date of their long, illustrious career last go around? A lot to say & a lot to prove.
6. Dr. Dre – Detox
To Be Determined
It’s been a long road since Detox was first announced in 2003. We’ve gone through Dre abandoning performing for producing, plans for a concept album about planets, “Aftermath Cognac,” and everyone on the album talking about how great it will be. We can’t sit through another Chinese Democracy because like the single states, we need a doctor. More importantly, hip-hop needs the doctor and 2011 will finally get it. Will it be worth the wait or more importantly: can Dre go out on a high-note like so many others hope for, but very few actually achieve?
5. The Strokes – Angels
The 2000s ended and when they did, it only brought to light how influential & important Is This It really was. Almost exactly a decade later, The Strokes are in a similar position. Like in 2001, they have a lot to prove. Back then, they were a new band in a rock-less music world; today, they are a band five years removed from their last release which was a lapse in judgment to some. Again, so much has changed in the past five years and The Strokes could just as easily dominate this new decade with a new instant classic. The challenge is there for them to accept.
4. Lou Hickey – Untitled
To Be Determined
Teaming with Jon Fratelli for Codeine Velvet Club in late 2009/early 2010, Lou Hickey was introduced to the world in a grand style. While she & Jon shared the vocal duties, it was arguably her voice that made the record the gem it was. Now on her own with an album almost completed, Lou Hickey is ready for round two. Leaks so far from the album like “Zombie Love” & “Minutes Hours Day” offer a very unique, new pop sound that could just as easily dominate the airwaves as “Rehab” or “Bubbly” have in the past. Let’s only hope the right doors open for her as the album gets closer & closer to its release.
3. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Prepare to tear the volume knob off. Dave Grohl has promised a straight hard rock record after teaming with famed Nevermind producer Butch Vig and that’s what we expect. Patience, Echoes, Silence, & Grace was an incredible step for the band, but if Them Crooked Vultures showed anything, it’s that Grohl has the most fun & perhaps makes the best music while rocking out as hard as possible. The Foo Fighters are one of the most successful rock bands of the last 15 years, if not the most, so why should we not expect the “Godlike Genius” and company to deliver once again?
2. Chiddy Bang – Untitled
To Be Determined
Forget Drake; these are the real saviors of hip-hop. Since releasing their mix-tape in late 2009, the duo has just filled a very real void in hip-hop. No gimmicks, no self-promoting, and definitely no self-pretentious propaganda; the duo just rap & rap well. It no-doubt helps that their samples can back up their raps just as well. Sampling Gorillaz, MGMT, & La Roux, the band has some room to boast as their rhymes transcend those amazing beats. But the pair can do it on their own too like “The Good Life” and hopefully that’s exactly what hip-hop is in for once this album comes out.
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Untitled
To Be Determined
The site is named after a RHCP song: who else did you think would be number one? Seriously though, this has to be the most anticipated album of the year and the aging rockers definitely have a lot to prove. John Frusciante is out once again and replaced by an even younger prodigy and a man just as immersed in Frusciante as the rest of RHCP: Josh Klinghoffer. The dynamic has changed as their “mad scientist” is gone and Flea has now immersed himself in music. Pianos will finally have a proper slot on songs and a recent trip to Africa tells us that new & different melodies or beats may pop up here and there. The working title so far is Dr. Johnny Skinz’s Disproportionately Rambunctious Polar Express Machine-head and as awesome as that is, we know it will change. We know the sound will change too from Frusciante to Klinghoffer, but let’s just hope that the band retains some of what made them one of the greatest acts of all time.
So there you have it. Ten albums that might just define this year if all goes as planned. Sure, there will always be surprises such as Robyn coming out of nowhere with big releases last year. But with a list like this, we at least know we don’t have to count for miracles to have a great musical year. My only thought is with all this great music announced at only February, what will be announced come summertime?