Now that we’re done with reflecting on 2011, it’s time to start projecting into 2012. With the reign of Adele perhaps taking a brief hiatus, and buzz building around several newcomers, some legendary reunions and highly anticipated sophomore albums, 2012 is already shaping up to be a year filled with some pretty amazing music. We’ve put together a list of 20 of our most anticipated albums for 2012 — what are you looking forward to in 2012?
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (Expected Release Date: 01/27): Possibly the most hyped artist of 2011, we’re excited for the record to finally come out so we can stop judging the hype and start judging the material! She landed a highly coveted spot as the musical guest on the January 14th episode of Saturday Night Live, so expect the clamor to grow.
Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (Expected Release Date: 02/07): Aside from a couple of songs that made it onto the band’s 1996 Best Of set, the band hasn’t cut any new material in the studio with original lead singer David Lee Roth since 1984, so anticipation for this project is through the roof. After a blistering reunion set at Cafe Wha? in New York City last night, there’s a good chance the boys still have it in ‘em.
Sleigh Bells – Reign Of Terror (Expected Release Date: 02/14): After Sleigh Bells’ killer debut with Treats, we’re biting our nails to find out whether their sophomore effort will be just as good. If the release of the first single off the new album, “Born To Lose”, is anything to go by, we won’t be disappointed.
Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (Expected Release Date: 02/14): Since Nicki Minaj Tweeted that the new album will feature all new material (as opposed to a re-release), we’ve been painting everything pink in anticipation. Barbz at the ready!
Hunger Games – Soundtrack (Expected Release Date: 03/23): The Hunger Games movie has a hype not dissimilar to the Twilight Saga, and we’re excited about the soundtrack which has a new track from Taylor Swift, “Safe & Sound” (featuring our You Oughta Know artist The Civil Wars), and if it’s possible we’re even more excited by a new song by Arcade Fire, “Horn Of Plenty.”
Frank Ocean – Untitled (Expected Release: Spring): Frank Ocean’s debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, changed our lives in 2011, and we’ve been waiting very impatiently for the official album — which has been promised and un-promised and now is promised again — to be released. An r and b redux filtered with a certain charm and wit, Frank Ocean tells a captivating, layered story with his music, and for now at least is the only worthy by-product of the collective OFWKTA.
Black Sabbath – Untitled (Release Date TBA): If you thought it had been a long time since the original incarnation of Van Halen put out a record, these metal gods have them beat by almost a decade. Acclaimed producer Rick Rubin is on-board, and his track record of working with “classic” talent like Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond is unquestioned. Do Geezer and the other geezers still have it? We’ll see!
Bruce Springsteen – Untitled (Release Date TBA): This will be the first album from The Boss without the late Clarence Clemons, not to mention the band’s first tour without him. As such we’re expecting high emotion, and return to the raw lyricism of early Bruce.
Garbage – Untitled (Release Date TBA): See No Doubt. Shirley Manson will forever be our flame haired Gwen Stefani, helping us deal with our angsty youths with tracks like “Only Happy When It Rains.” Considering we haven’t heard from Garbage since 2005′s Bleed Like Me, we’re looking forward to bringing alterna-girl problems and super vixens back into our lives for 2012.
Kanye West / Jay-Z – Untitled / possible Watch The Throne Sequel (Release Date TBA): Kayne West and Jay-Z have coquettishly teased us, hinting at a solo albums in 2012. We think My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is one of the best albums of our lifetime, and knowing how creative Ye is feeling at the moment, we’re anxious to see what he turns out next. To top it off, Hov has also made mention of a Watch The Throne sequel in 2012 — come on guys, you’re killing us!
Madonna – Untitled (March): The Queen of Pop is set to release a new album. There’s enough in that sentence to breed more anticipation than all the others combined, forget the leaked demos, the Super Bowl half time show and lead single “Give Me All your Love” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.
No Doubt – Untitled (Release Date TBA): Are you kidding? No Doubt was our childhood favorite, and seeing the band reunite to release their first album 11 years after their last album, Rock Steady, is pretty much the most awesome thing that’s going to happen in 2012.
Phoenix – Untitled (Release Date TBA): With Thomas Mars now wedded to the ethereal Sofia Coppola (sob), all we can ask for from Phoenix is new music. Phoenix sounds like summer, so we’re hoping for a hit like “Too Young,” “Long Distance Call” or “Lisztomania” to blare with the top down at sunset when we’re taking romantic, sorbet colored drives by the ocean.
Robbie Williams – Untitled (Release Date TBA): We were starting to think that maybe we’d never hear from Robbie Williams again, but we’re amply heartened that the dashingly cheeky Brit is coming out with something new this year.
The-Dream, The Love IV (Diary Of A Mad Man) (Release Date TBA): Terius Nash is one of R&B’s most gifted songwriters and producers, having written tracks like Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed.” The fourth installment of his Love cycle was originally due last fall, but unresolved “contract negotiations” with his label Def Jam resulted in the album’s delay. Still, aside from Frank Ocean’s new jawn, its eventual release promises to be one of R&B’s most exciting events of 2012.
The Killers – Untitled (Release Date TBA): We just want another “Mr. Brightside.” Please, for the love of God, please make another single that’s just that good.
The XX – Untitled (Release Date TBA): If Nostalgia, Ultra, changed our lives in 2011 then XX changed our lives in 2009. “Crystalised” will always be one of our favorites, and with Jamie XX’s recent everywhere-ness, we’re excited to see what he’s learned along the way and what that will mean for the XX’s new album. It’s can be said that it’s fairly rare for a band to follow through with their sophomore release after a cosmic debut, but we have high hopes for the XX and think that they just might deliver on our expectations.
U2, Songs Of Ascent (Release Date TBA): The Irish rock quartet just completed the highest grossing concert tour of all-time, but it was a difficult journey for them. The band has been working on new material with producers like RedOne, Danger Mouse and their old co-horts Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, but sessions have reportedly not necessarily been going so well. Will this be another Pop-type flop, or a All That You Can’t Leave Behind style return to form?
Dr. Dre, Detox (Release Date: TBA): Just kidding. Detox is NEVER coming out!
[Photos: Getty Images]