Now that 2012 is firmly in the rearviewmirror, it’s time to look forward with hope and optimism as to what the year 2013 holds in store for music fans like us. Considering that we’re not even three weeks into January and we’ve already been blessed with two delightful surprises —A new Destiny’s Child song! A new Timberlake jam!— we feel confident that this is going to be another banner year filled with an abundance of both monster pop smashes and crossover gems.
With that in mind, the VH1 Tuner team has put together this list of 13 of our most anticipated albums for 2013, which includes a healthy mix of familiar faces (Beyoncé, Lady Gaga) and artists on the come-up (Big Sean, Diane Birch), brought to you in the order of when we expect them to release their new material.
Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob (Expected Release Date: January 29): Sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have long been staples at alternative radio, but the synth-driven Heartthrob appears like it might be the LP that finally breaks them into the mainstream consciousness. “We really look at this as an opportunity to stretch into a world that we’ve been just outside of for a long time,” Sara recently told our VH1 News crew, and one listen to the album’s lead single, “Closer,” seems to be indicative of the fact that they’ve reached their goal.—Mark Graham
Phoenix, Untitled (Expected Release Date: April): 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.—M.G.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mosquito (Expected Release Date: April 16): With an album cover like what you see above, how can you NOT be excited for the latest from Karen O and Nick Zinner? Here’s hoping the band has another crossover smash like “Maps” on this one!—M.G.
Big Sean, Hall Of Fame (Expected Release Date: Spring): We’re already on the record as expecting big things for Big Sean in 2013, so naturally his major label follow up to Finally Famous is near the top of our list for albums that we want to hear STAT. Hall Of Fame‘s first single “Guap” didn’t exactly light the world on fire, commercially speaking, but that doesn’t quell our faith in this G.O.O.D. Music emcee in the slightest.—M.G.
Diane Birch, Untitled (Expected Release Date: Spring): Birch’s 2009 debut album, Bible Belt, was warmly received by critics and audiences alike, earning her comparisons to singer-songwriters like Carole King and Elton John. Her new material, however, seems like a bold artistic step forward; her jaunty, piano-driven melodies have been replaced by moody synths that recall the early 80s work of Stevie Nicks. Her new track “Lighthouse,” which made its debut at a series of live shows she did in New York City last week, has the kind of propulsive rhythms that could very well turn it into this year’s “Rolling In The Deep.”—M.G.
Lady Gaga, ARTPOP (Expected Release Date: Spring): Despite being largely absent from our daily life in 2012 (in the U.S. at least) there’s been no shortage of chatter about what Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta will be bringing for her third full-length studio venture in 2013. To those who thought Born This Way suffered from being too eclectic or overly preachy, does the sight of Gaga rolling around in desert, as shot by the infamous (and endlessly creepy) Terry Richardson make you feel at ease?—Emily Exton
Black Sabbath – 13 (Expected Release Date: June): If you thought it was a long time since the original incarnation of Van Halen put out a record, these metal gods have them beat by almost a decade; this will by Ozzy Osbourne’s first album with the group since 1978! (Raise your hands if you were even alive then!) 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!—M.G.
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience (Expected Release Date: Summer): “Suit And Tie,” Timberlake’s first new song since the 2006 release of FutureSex/LoveSounds, is well-positioned to set a new record for the fastest selling digital single of all-time. The appetite for new material from Timberlake is at a fever pitch, and with contributions from Jay-Z, Beyoncé and longtime collaborator Timbaland, the sky’s the limit for this album. There’s only one question, though: Can it possibly live up to the hype?—E.E.
Beyoncé, Untitled (Expected Release Date: TBA): We belong to the sizeable group of Earth dwellers who get excited about anything Bey-related, be it new bangs or baby birthday parties. And considering she’s been in the studio with Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, The-Dream and (hopefully) Miguel for her fifth album? Just hand it over already.—E.E.
J. Cole, Born Sinner (Expected Release Date: Pushed Back, TBD): “Miss America” was just a teaser for what’s to come from the sophomore follow-up to J.Cole’s debut Cole World: The Sideline Story. Lyrically wowing fans through mixtapes followed by a debut of versatile storytelling, there’s only one direction to head–higher. With an album called Born Sinner, umpteen release date pushbacks and a beastly lead single, Cole leaves us salivating over what’s to come.—Bené Viera
Kanye West, Untitled (Expected Release Date: TBD): There’s no name and no release date for what will follow the masterpiece that was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Cruel Summer was a major disappointment, but it wasn’t solely a Kanye album. And although this writer has yearned for the College Dropout ‘Ye of yesteryear for a few years now, it’s Kanye West. Anything he touches musically shall be in any top five list of most anticipated LPs of the year.—B.V.
MGMT, MGMT (Release date: TBA): The duo’s debut album specialized in indie-pop crossover smashes whose innate catchiness made them the perfect accompaniment to a boozy late-night party or a weekly CW drama. Things got little too insular on 2010’s Congratulations, so color us intrigued about who these kids are trying to please with their third album. And because we’re not sure what sort of emotions this MGMT fan is trying to convey.—E.E.
The-Dream, The Love IV (Expected Release Date: TBD): Terius Nash is working on Bey’s upcoming album but also prepping for his fifth album which includes songs titled “Michael” and “Thirsty Whore.” 1977 was the bitter ode to his ex-wife that took quite a few listens to dig. But The-Dream never disappoints with his sassy songwriting about love and lovemaking.—B.V.
Dr. Dre, Detox (Expected Release Date: NEVER): Just kidding! Detox is clearly NEVER going to come out.