MuuMuse’s Most Anticipated of 2013 (Part One!)

by Bradley Stern

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: A time when the promise of next year’s music still shines bright like a diamond, free of the crippling reality of weak lead singles, terrible cover art and devastating chart positions.

(Remember how excited we all were for The Spirit Indestructible this time last year? Eesh.)

There’s plenty of major albums coming our way in 2013 by both up-and-comers and veterans alike, so as I do yearly, I’ve put together a guide to some of the most titillating releases just on the horizon. This is the first installment–watch for the next round-up tomorrow.

I’ll be anticipating…

Azealia Banks, Broke With Expensive Taste (Debut Album)

What it is: The second coming of female rap.
Expected shelf date: February 12, 2013
Confirmed tracks: None
Production by: Paul Epworth
What we know: Azealia’s curiously been everywhere and nowhere in 2012: From “Shady Love” with the Scissor Sisters, to the 1991 EP to Fantasea, Yung Rapunxel’s provided quite a few tastes of her liquorice-flavored rap styling and early ’90’s House beats. That being said, her debut’s been pushed back continuously since September, and although she’s been in the studio with heavy-hitters like Kanye West, Lady Gaga and M.I.A. in 2012, nothing’s surfaced from those sessions…yet, anyway.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: Cleverly penned spitfire verses on top of inventive beats, replete with subculture nods (a la “Fierce”) and diverse musical influences–everything from Miami bass to moombahton–that’ll have the competition gagging.

Charli XCX, TBA (Debut Album)

What it is: The long awaited debut of a goth-pop LDN princess.
Expected shelf date: February 2013
Confirmed tracks: None
Production by: Ariel Rechtshaid
What we know: Charli’s been kicking around as a Londontown club kid for years (since the days of getting discovered via MySpace, to be exact.) Last year, she release the majorly brilliant “Stay Away.” In 2012, she brought us the You’re The One EP, along with a handful of experimental fuzz-pop meets hip-hop mixtapes. In June, she promised MTV Hive that her upcoming debut would be a blend of “midnight beats and amazing melodies.”
MuuMuse hopes to hear: A smorgasbord of sound. Dark, downtempo synthesizers with an early ’90’s hip-hop swagger and an’80’s electro-pop sheen–something like Gwen Stefani meets The Weeknd meets Cocteau Twins.

MKS, TBA (Second Studio Album)

What it is: The return of the Origibabes.
Expected shelf date: 2013
Confirmed tracks: None
Production by: Lucas Secon, Richard X, Richard “Biff” Stannard, Xenomania, Emeli Sandé, Shaznay Lewis, Cameron McVey, Naughty Boy, MNEK
What we know: It was the greatest comeback announcement this year: Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy–the original Sugababes–were reuniting to record an album together for the first time in 12 years. Though the music’s been substantially delayed (new music was promised back in June), the girls have assured fans via their personal social networks that the album’s coming. In August, Siobhan described the album as “everything that people want it to be, with some surprises” to PopJustice. And in Ponystep‘s F/W 2012 issue, Mutya promised that the new music was “a step up” from 2000’s One Touch.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: The original magic of the Sugababes’ soulful debut, bolstered by supreme 2012 pop production.

The Veronicas, Life on Mars (Third Studio Album)

What it is: The comeback by Australia’s leading sister act.
Expected shelf date: Early 2013
Confirmed tracks: “Lolita, “Dead Cool,” “Did You Miss Me?”, “Cold,” “Let Me Out,” “Mad Love,” Spirits and Sin”
Production by: Toby Gad, Nellee Hooper, Butch Vig
What we know: “Lolita” was a solid return to form for the Aussie duo, full of yelping hooks and explosive beat breakdowns. It didn’t quite connect in Australia (maxing out at a lukewarm #23 on the ARIA Charts) and, likely as a result, their album was pushed back for months. In the meantime, the girls have been previewing promising new tracks during live shows over the past two years. And with any luck, they’ll deliver a scorcher that puts them back on the map.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: Jagged dance-rock anthems and bloodthirsty vengeance anthems, all crafted around killer pop hooks.

Sky Ferreira, I’m Not Alright (Debut Studio Album)

What it is: Indie-pop’s “It” girl finally finding her groove.
Expected shelf date: 2013
Confirmed tracks: “You’re Not The One,” “I’m Not Alright”
Production by: Ariel Rechtshaid, Jon Brion, Blake Mills
What we know: By now, we’re no strangers to the ongoing saga of Sky Ferreira’s long-stalled debut: In 2011, she serviced her bouncy burst of pop perfection, As If!. This year, she segued from electro-pop lolita to soulful chanteuse for her Ghost EP, an achingly honest collection of country-tinged wailers, personal confessionals and the greatest song of 2012, courtesy of Dev Hynes and Ariel Rechtshaid: “Everything is Embarrassing.” As recently as July, she told Complex that her album will now be called I’m Not Alright (previously Wild at Heart), named after her favorite song from the collection.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: Anything. I said it last year, and I’ll say it again: Sky Ferreira doesn’t make bad music. Period.

The Saturdays, TBA (Fourth Studio Album)

What it is: A UK girl group’s attempt at breaking into America.
Expected shelf date: 2Q 2013.
Confirmed tracks: “30 Days,” “What About Us (feat. Sean Paul)”
Production by: Arkarna, Steve Mac, Darkchild
What we know: After releasing “30 Days” in the UK earlier in 2012, the girls spent three months in America, performing across the country, recording their new album and filming their upcoming E! series, Chasing The Saturdays. Along with their follow-up “What About Us (feat. Sean Paul)” due for release for early 2013, the girls have been putting the final touches on their new record with Darkchild, presumably for the purpose of pumping out US radio-friendly smashes.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: Top-notch UK girl group pop mixed with a slight R&B-electro edge, enough to rule radio on both sides of the pond.

Hilary Duff, TBA (Fifth Studio Album)

What it is: A new beginning for a former Disney queen.
Expected shelf date: Spring 2013
Confirmed tracks: None
Production by: Mitch Allan, Matt Squire, Ali Tamposi, Jason Evigan
What we know: Following the birth of her son back in early 2012, Duff announced that she was planning to work on a follow-up to her incredible 2007 effort, Dignity. By July, she was already hitting the recording studio. She’s since revealed producers and writers along the way via Twitter, but as far as hints to any particular genre or sound, there’s still barely any real scoop.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: Dignity Part Deux, complete with sass-filled, Kylie Minogue/Britney-lite electro-pop goodness.

Lady Gaga, ArtPop (Third Studio Album)

What it is: Gaga strikes back.
Expected shelf date: Spring 2013
Confirmed tracks: “Ratchet,” “Tea,” “Princess Die”
Production by: RedOne, DJ White Shadow, Fernando Garibay, Zedd, Madeon
What we know: It’s never wise to listen to Lady Gaga’s description of–well, anything–but she’s been talking up ArtPop for months (and yes, she’s already got it tattooed on her body): During a Born This Way Ball stop, she explained to the crowd that ArtPop demonstrates “a tremendous lack of maturity.” In August, she joked with Haus makeup artist Tara Savelo that she’s going for a “stoned Disney princess” vibe. She’s been hitting the mary jane hard, resulting in questionable cuts like “Cake,” her first foray into rap/trap music, and the Zedd-produced House love letter to weed, “Stache”. Along with collaborations with Azealia Banks (“Ratchet,” “Tea”), ArtPop is shaping up to be her most unhinged album yet.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: A return to the blissful pop revelry of Fame/Fame Monster-era Gaga, with a focus on crafting iconic pop classics like “Bad Romance” rather than heavy-handed empowerment anthems/overly pretentious “pop art.”

Demi Lovato, TBA (Fourth Studio Album)

What it is: Demi’s transformation from teenybopper to full-fledged pop princess.
Expected shelf date: Early 2013
Confirmed tracks: None
Production by: None
What we know: After notching a Top 5 record last year with Unbroken, Demi utterly dominated US radio with “Give Your Heart A Break” in 2012. Back in April, she announced via Twitter that she was going back into the studio to record her next album. In October, she told Teen Vogue that she was “tired of all the dubstep” on radio and that she planned to record “something that people will listen to for a while, rather than something that’s just trendy,” name-dropping Adele as a source of inspiration. In the past few months, she’s hinted that the lead single could come as soon as December–conveniently timed with the X Factor finale.
MuuMuse hopes to hear: Big balladry, Kelly Clarkson-esque rock-pop anthems and potentially some R&B-tinged sizzlers to boot.

Kylie Minogue, TBA (Twelfth Studio Album)

What it is: The next level of divinity from a true pop goddess.
Expected shelf date: 2013
Confirmed tracks: None
Production by: Bonnie McKee, Greg Kurstin, Karen Poole
What we know: The prolific, pint-sized diva spent the entirety of her 2012 looking back and celebrating 25 years in the music industry with an orchestral greatest hits collection, an Anti-Tour and dozens of tiny treats for fans along the way. But behind the scenes, she’s been hard at work on her upcoming studio album, heading into the booth with brilliant pop scribes like Bonnie McKee, Greg Kurstin and Karen Poole. No word on the exact sound just yet (Kurstin and Poole both had a hand in crafting some killer X-era tracks), but Mizz Minogue told Metro back in February that it was “really exciting and different.”
MuuMuse hopes to hear: Forward-thinking disco-pop and lush electro-R&B balladry, all sung on sky-high stilettos.

Part two coming tomorrow…

  • Cameron

    Excellent List. I’m here for all of those albums.

  • Sky

    Where is godney’s “Not Yet” ?

  • jhonny

    true tea, they are gonna be:
    azealia: irrelevant
    charli: impact=0 less than sky
    mks: flop less succesful than no doubt
    veronicas: irrelevant
    sky: no hit same of the same
    saturdays: hopefully some hits there
    hilary: finally!!!!!! something interesting worth waiting
    gaga: ugh..
    demi: hopefully a la clarkson as you said
    kylie: my body is ready and waiting!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexcoimbra Alejandro Coimbra

    I usually agree with you on almost everything, but The Veronicas? Gurl, bye.

  • Anon

    Gaga has songs called “Ratchet” and “Tea”? Do she also have songs called “Stan” and “Snatch Your Wig”? Uggh, ARTPOP at this point is sounding like the embodiment of everything I hate about her. Gaga, stop spending all day stalking your own fan sites.

    I hope Blackout 2.0 will be on your next list. This album has got me so hyped and anxious because how can she follow up an album that was inspired by how crazy her life was when her life now is so normal? Can’t wait to see what she uses for inspiration! Gaga take notes and try to be an actual human being and not a walking Tumblr account.

  • LBD

    This is shaping up great so far! I’m also looking forward to Cassie’s mixtape Rock-A-Bye-Baby and her sophomore release, Frank + Derol’s debut album, and Solange’s third album too — True is just too good!

  • Greg M

    Azealia: Getting bored….hopefully she reignites my interest
    Charli: It’s going to be amazing
    Mks: Don’t care until they release an amazing new song
    The Veronicas: Couldn’t care less
    Sky: SO EXCITED! except who knows, it may get pushed back another year or two or ten…..
    The Saturdays: Ehh, it’s whatever though
    Hilary: CAN’T WAIT Dignity was amazing
    GaGa: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at the edge of my seat waiting to see what this ratchet trick is going to serve up – If it’s anything like Born This Way I’m already over it though
    Demi: Hopefully it’s better than her last effort. While it had some highlights, the album altogether was nothing special but my hopes are high!
    Kylie: The girl can’t make bad music even if she tried so I can’t wait

  • dominic halsey

    great list but where’s godney?

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  • Brent

    Truer tea has never been spilled.

  • David

    Ummmm… Robyn’s not here either?

  • SRM

    Hey, TSI is amazing! I’m kind of surprised you didn’t feature more of it, to be honest. It’s unfair how a lot of people seem to gang up on Nelly each time she does something more unusual. I honestly don’t understand why you (and a lot other people) raved for Hold It Against Me (which I actually like, btw) and turned it into #1 but called Big Hoops a “mixtape track”, an “album track” or a “Rihanna knock-off”. It’s a sad world, sometimes.

    That aside, I’m really excited as well for MKS, even if I have a sneaky feeling it will not be very commercially successful. But I also believe they will deliver!

  • bassman

    You forgot the most anticipated one, you know the one you had a chance to listen to! Closer to the truth by the one and only, goddess of pop CHER!!