14 Albums to look forward to in 2014

We said goodbye to 2013 a couple of weeks ago, and with that closed out a pretty damn good year for music. I shared my 30 favorite albums of last year, and already I'm discovering records I missed out on that probably would have made the list had I discovered them earlier.

But onwards and upwards. Thankfully, 2014 promises to be another pretty incredible year for music. Here are 10 albums I'm looking forward to. Some have release dates, some were born of pure speculation. All of them will most likely be amazing. 

In no order:

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Katy B

Title / Release Date: Little Red / February 12th 2014

Why You should care: Katy B's debut album On a Mission marked an influx of soulful, 90-tinged dance R&B from the UK. Not sure it's even possible to listen to "Witches Brew" without wanting to grind against a wall with your hair whipping everywhere. We've already heard "5 AM,"  "I Like You," and the Jessie Ware duet "Aaliyah." The next single is "Crying For No Reason," which I firmly believe is the best thing she's put her name to. If these songs are any indication, Little Red is already one of 2014's best albums. 

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Robyn

Title / Release Date: TBD / TBD

Why you should care: Quite frankly, Robyn is the perfect pop star. The Body Talk trilogy was ambitious and loaded with infectious pop melodies. There truly isn't a bad song in the bunch. Robyn appeals to the hipster crowd, the gays, the girls, and anyone with a pulse, really. She confirmed she's working on new music but hasn't assigned a release date. An upcoming tour with Röyksopp will hopefully feature new material so our days aren't constantly revolving around the question, "Where is our new Robyn music?"

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Jessie Ware

Title / Release Date: TBD / TBD

Why you should care: Much like Katy B, Jessie Ware has a big voice set atop progressive R&B songs. Her debut Devotion checked all the right boxes for critics and fans alike, and for good reason. Jessie has a voice that has to be heard to believe. However, anyone who's seen her live knows that the studio recordings of her songs don't do her justice; it's a live setting where Jessie's voice transforms from an instrument to a force of nature. I'm hoping this second album will feature more of that belting, and songs half as amazing as Imagine It Was Us

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Kylie Minogue

Title / Release Date: TBD / Rumored March 2014

Why you should care: I can't believe I even have to answer the question as to why someone should care about a new Kylie Minogue album. Simply, if you haven't invested in the nearly flawless pop catalogue of Australia's most important world contribution, then you shouldn't be reading this site. Coming off of the ethereal Aphrodite, this next album is Kylie's first on Jay-Z's Roc Nation label. She's reportedly been in the studio with Pharrell, Sia, Dev Hynes, and all sorts of other crazy characters. We'll hear the album's first single "Into The Blue" on January 27th, which will hopefully give us a taste of what to expect. You can count on this record being a Pride soundtrack. 

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Joanna Newsom

Title / Release Date: TBD / TBD

Why you should care: Joanna Newsom releases Ys, the crowd goes wild for it's intricate, interwoven compositions and Joanna's incredible harp playing. Joanna Newsom follows up Ys  in 2006 with a three disc collection called Have One On Me, the crowd is still searching for their jaws on the floor. I firmly believe Joanna is one of our greatest living musicians, and that her talent may not be fully appreciated until we're all six feet under. Nevertheless, we're lucky to be living during a time where Joanna continues to compose. I have no Earthly clue what to expect from her fourth album, but I know it will be worth the wait. 

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Kelis

Title / Release Date: Food / April 28th 2014

Why you should care: We haven't heard from Kelis since her transformation from "Milkshake" pourer to dance floor deity. With each album, Kelis shows that her music knows no genre and her refusal to be constrained is why we await each release with such anticipation. The new album Food is rumored to be entirely produced by TV On The Radio's David Sitek. I expect this to be a little less dance, but still beat-heavy and progressive. 

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Tori Amos

Title / Release Date: Unrepentant Geraldines / Spring 2014

Why you should care: I'll always call Tori my first love. She made me appreciate music in ways I didn't know I could, and opened the door to some of my other favorite musicians. We haven't heard a completely original album since Tori released Abnormally Attracted to Sin in 2005, which is unfortunately the weakest album she's put out. Since then, we've gotten a holiday album, a retrospective with an orchestra, and a song cycle utilizing classical compositions to tell a fairy tale. Plus, there's her musical The Light Princess, a bold project that tested her limits as a composer. My hope is all of the aforementioned ventures since her last studio album will yield a record worthy of Tori's legacy. I'm still scratching my head over the title, but much like everything Tori does, "it will all find its way in time." 

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Betty Who

Title / Release Date: TBD / TBD

Why you should care: I've championed Betty Who since she put out the song "Fire With Fire" on her Soundcloud. I was instantly drawn to her navigation of a pure, pop melody using a strong, raw vocal. I hate the tendency of pop music to favor women with thin, airy voices. With Betty, you get the pipes and the pop in every single song. After "Somebody Loves You" went viral last year, people are paying closer attention than ever to Betty's next move. If her flawless The Movement EP is a glimpse into what a full album could sound like, then I'm not sure the world is prepared for what's to come. 

 

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Florrie

Title / Release Date: TBD / TBD

Why you should care: Florrie, 25, jokingly called her most recent EP Late because of its delay. However, waiting on Florrie isn't a bad thing, because you know she'll deliver, always. Her full-length debut promises to include the same drum-centric pop that comprises her three EPs, but taken to new levels of euphoria. She's teased us with photos of video shoots and studio sessions, so the announcement of her album could happen at any second. Be ready. 

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Solange

Title / Release Date: TBD / TBD

Why you should care: I dare you to find a better video released in 2013 than Solange's "Lovers In the Parking Lot." The song, taken from her perfect True EP, is proof that we're witnessing the rebirth of an artist who's found her voice and artistic vision, both fueled with confidence you can feel. Solange started her own R&B label, Saint Heron, through which she'll release her third album. Still, this new album feels like a debut because of it's dramatic departure from her first two records. What I loved about True was the effortlessly cool vibe. I hope the album has more of that but also showcases those famous Knowles pipes. 

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Sia

Title / Release Date: TBD / TBD

Why you should care: Alright, enough is enough, Sia. Please come out from behind the curtain. She's behind some of the biggest songs of the last few years and the most requested collaborator in music. She's written and recorded with basically everyone - Beyonce, Britney, Katy, Rihanna, etc. Fans of Sia prior to her pop writing days know why artists hunger to work with her. Besides an extraterrestrial voice that defies atmospheric constraints, Sia knows how to construct melodies around lyrics that actually have some meaning. There's no need to rely on tired pop tropes like being "in the club" or getting "on the floor" when you have Sia writing with you. For her fifth studio album, Sia was given complete control by her label to record and promote it however she pleases. This creative freedom combined with her experience writing with pop heavy hitters could yield her best album yet. 

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St. Vincent

Title / Release Date: St. Vincent / February 25th 2014

Why you should care: Alongside wanting to be Beyonce, I'm sure there's a hefty amount of folks who wish they were Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent. Maybe it's the guitar shredding and crowd surfing? The fashion iconography? Perhaps it's that gorgeous croon that cuts your Achilles heal and caresses you to sleep immediately after? It's all of the above, really. St. Vincent is 3 for 3 with the albums she's released thus far, but this newest one may be on another level. She's self-titled it, always an indicator that the artist feels strongly about the songs, and the samples we've heard thus far show why. Both "Birth In Reverse" and "Digital Witness" are classic St. Vincent with a fresh, rhythmic twist. 

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Lykke Li

Title / Release Date: TBD / May 2014

Why you should care: As I reported yesterday, the return of Lykke Li is big, big news. It's been almost four years since Lykke's last album, Wounded Rhymes, hypnotized us with its reverb-drenched ballads and biting pop songs. Now, Lykke promises to finish the trilogy she began with her debut Youth Novels with an album that musically addresses being a young woman. She said she feels she finally found her voice with this record, an inspiring confidence that's hard not to be excited by. 

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Lana Del Rey

Title / Release Date: Ultraviolence / TBD

Why you should care: No one's had the road to success that Lana Del Rey has. After her aching ballad Video Games ignited every blog from here to Brazil, a firestorm about her authenticity followed, along with an unfortunate and unjustified witch hunt. For those who disregarded the drama to give her immaculate debut Born to Die a close listen, they were instantly in love with Lana's emotive apathy and retellings of raucous city adventures. In 2014, we'll receive the next chapter of the Lana Del Rey character. I'm hoping for new lyrical motifs, as the ones from Born To Die and its companion EP Paradise became overused. The malignant treatment Lana received from the press, the world tours on which she embarked, and the fan adoration will most certainly inspire a worthy follow-up.  

 

Which albums are you looking forward to in 2014? Sound off in the comments.