Friday, January 17, 2014

BRING IT ON, 2014! What to expect this year

In no particular order, here are some artists I expect to deliver this year (or I'm just happy are releasing something at some point). Some are wild guesses, others are 100% certified confirmed stuff. But basically just Kylie and Robyn would be OK at this point.

Playlist: @itspop's most-anticipated 2014 (to listen to while you're reading)

Kylie on the set of the
Into The blue video
Kylie Minogue - new single Into the Blue out March 16 / new album TBA

Obviously, this is my most-awaited record of the year. Three and a half years after Aphrodite, having released a cool single (Timebomb) and a best-of record made of orchestral versions of her greatest hits, Kylie is finally properly coming back with a new album. The yet-unnamed record is reportedly coming this Spring though no dates has been announced yet. 
First single Into The Blue will premiere on January 27 and it's been described as "a Kylie moment", avant-garde like Slow, pop like Love At First Sight and infectious like Can't Get You Out of My Head. Even if this is 20% true eventually, it would still make it best song of the year. 

Fingers crossed! 
(One thing's totally worrying though: she recorded TWO songs with aka the worst artist on Earth. But the atrocious The Voice UK 'coach' isn't mentioned among the producers listed in the album's press release, so maybe we're safe).

By the way, after hours of intense internal questioning I came to the conclusion that Light Years is still my favorite Kylie song. That's all. 


Yes people, we live in a time when a clearly mediocre Instagram pic can get us (me?) very excited. All we know is that Robyn is recording music, some of it with Royksopp (see previous collab The Girl and The Robot for tangible proof of total amazingness). They are also going on tour together next Summer

But the real question is: when is Robyn going to surprise us à la Beyoncé with a totally iconic new album (or three EPs if she likes)? Because honestly new Robyn music can only be amazing, right??

Mutya Keisha Siobhan - LOL at this point

One of my favourite pop stories ever is about to turn into a bad joke. After Flatline (my #1 song of '13) wasn't really the hit of the year, things really didn't go the way they were supposed to. 
Now amid rumors of beef between the girls (things don't change do they?) and the band being dropped by their label, no communication whatsoever regarding the album and general lack of interest we're left to wonder if the album is going to be released one day.

That being said, from what I've heard during their London show in november (best concert of 2013, no doubt!) the record is shaping up to be quite a stunner. If you missed it, here's a splendid acoustic performance of new track No Regrets. Those voices! they also performed Caught In A Moment.

Florrie - SOMETIME BEFORE 2021

Everything seem to be going quite well in Florrie's magical world, except we've been waiting for her debut album for about 45 years now. In "get on with it" news, she is now officially signed to Sony (even appearing on Jive Epic France's new year greeting card/roster thing), she shot three videos recently but still, no news about the upcoming album! 
Things should get in motion quite soon though, and we definitely have good reasons to be excited: the songs. The new ones she performed in Paris in October sound like proper pop rockets. 

As promised by the Harry Styles-followed popstar, things are coming "very soon". SO I AM WAITING. 

Chlöe Howl - debut album out early 2014

Ooh this is quite good! I don't know why it took me months to finally listen to Chlöe Howl (probably because I though she made boring music), but judging from this fancy 'album sampler' complete with postcards, how 1999!) I got before Christmas, this is going to be a strong debut album. Rumour and Paper Heart are amazing, her voice is distinctive and original, and clearly there are some serious songwriting skills involved. 
To bad she lost the Brits' Critics Choice Award to not-so-exciting Sam Smith, but hopefully she won't need it to make a well-deserved impact. 

Katy B - album Little Red (Feb 3)

Not only did she grace 2013 with one of the finest pop songs (the fantastic 5 AM), she's starting 2014 with probably the best 'tears on the dancefloor' track since Robyn released anything. Crying For No Reason is ***flawless and MUST be a proper hit for Katy. Plus the video looks beautiful (yet simple) too.

That's what I love about pop: who could have guessed Katy B's second album would be one of the most-anticipated pop releases of the year (well Q1 at least)? Certainly not me.

Owlle - debut album France out Jan 20, single Don't Lose It available

I'll be writing more about Owlle's striking debut France as I've just received it and want to do it justice. After a few listens I know it's going to be one of my records of the year. Her stomping, exciting yet slightly homemade-sounding electro-pop bangers and ballads took some time to be released but thank God we all hung in there while she was perfecting a great piece. 
New single Don't Lose It is a hit, too!

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - new album Wanderlust out Jan 20

While a new SEB album is a reason to rejoice (unlike a Rihanna album for example), the news that this one wasn't going to be a "dance" record slightly tempered my initial excitement. Who wouldn't prefer a dance SEB record?
Yet it's nice to still have her around and honestly the first single (Young Blood) is beautiful, so I'm really curious about the whole album. Unfortunately though I have a feeling the era will be flopland (although Young Blood made it to the B-List of Radio 2!). 

Other things I'd like/can't wait to see materialize in 2014, thanks for asking

- The Sia album: enough with boring empowerment anthems for pop losers (I'm looking at you Lea Michele). May 2014 is when Sia-The-Artist is coming back with an album of her own, hopefully filled with delightful Sia pop songs. Sadly, no promo or tour, said the lady herself. 

- Solange: her recent signing to Sony means the album is on the way. Hopefully she'll follow in the footsteps of her amazing 2012 EP. Oh and Beyoncé collab could be ok.

- All Saints: FACTS 1/ Shaznay Lewis just joined Twitter (great bio). BTW she wrote a song for Mutya Keisha Siobhan's album! 2/ Natalie was on stage last week at Melanie C's 40th b-day concert in London and sang Pure Shores with her 3/ The re-united All Saints girls are touring with Backstreet Boys in the Spring (I'm going of course).
So I'm confident things are in motion and we'll get new music soon. I'd quite like a new Pure Shores to be honest. 

- Thomas Azier: a man with amazing tunes (Ghostcity, PLEAZ) whose debut album Hylas is released on March 10. Should be good. 

- Christina Aguilera: I'm ready to forgive and forget the whole Lotus debacle, the useless features on awful songs (Flo-Rida, Pitbull) if Xtina comes back with a properly excellent album like Bionic-minus-the-crappy-songs. That's a 11 or 12-track record, created with avant garde electro-pop collaborators, and under strict quality control of a competent A&R. An amazing first single, not too shouty, not slutty, pure pop, no featured artist. Of course an amazing iconic and modern ballad must be included. 
This is the last chance for Christina to prove she really is an immense popstar, of the phoenix kind. 

- Tove Lo/Tove Styrke: I'd quite like the Toves to be an alternative to Robyn in case she comes back with a disappointing album. Not that I believe she could ever disappoint, but you never know. That being said, both singers have great potential for amazingness and a big album (or at least 3 decent singles) would make me quite happy. 
For now listen again to Million Pieces and Beating on a better drum (Styrke) and Lo's new single Out of Mind. Good stuff. 

- Madonna: I could write a proper thesis on what I want from Madonna in 2014, but your time is as precious as mine (if you've read until here though, you're lucky you have time on your hands) and I'll make it quick.

1/ Enough with the slutty atrocities even Rihanna would be ashamed of releasing (Girl Gone Wild reference). 

2/ Time to surprise everyone with a new, grown-up album à la Ray Of Light. Of course Madge, you don't have to go in full-on balladry mode with Adele as rumour has it (see what I did her?), but some more mature, profound, modern and exciting songs are clearly the way to go. Plus you can still perform Human Nature on tour if you really must keep a bit of raunchiness around.

3/ No selling-out to appeal to a younger generation. Let's be honest, the kids who were born in the mid to late 90s or early 00s never cared to much about you. Except those who were trying to "find themselves" at some point of course. You'll always be there for those ones. The others have their Perrys and Rihannas. Bless their souls. Appeal to their older brothers and sisters, their parents, uncles, aunts etc. 
Remember the last time you tried to wave in their direction? You ended up with two (TWO) Nicki Minaj-assisted songs. Who are you? Ciara?

4/ Maybe you can try and revive William Orbit's soul, which kind of got sucked out during the Britney Jean "work" (bitch) sessions. You two made a great pair. But maybe you should leave him in the past, what do I know?

5/ It's OK that you are 56 and you still feel like you should behave like a 25-yo.After all, you do that quite well and your surgeon is good. Let's not make this an age or sexism issue. Thing is you just need to (re)gain a bit of class. Something iconic that will last and smoothly take you to the last part of your career. Look at Cher: her last album (songs and artwork) is mostly embarrassing, and reeks of "never-knowing-when-to-stop"-ism. Nobody wants that for you. MDNA started to smell like that. Now's not too late to change direction and remain, with no possible discussion, the everlasting pop icon you've fought your whole career to be. 
The only question you should be asking yourself while working on your next project is basically quite simple: "is it worthy of me?". If the answer's alway's yes, we're certainly in for a new Ray of Light

6/ It's OK if your next tour isn't a 2-hour BDSM marathon with sex slaves-like dancers and you licking stuff every two songs. I know your Live Nation contract mostly means you'll be touring stadiums until 2017, but f your album is somehow what I described earlier, it could be interesting to see you go back to what you do best: arena shows that redefine the rules of showmanship. A classy and ambitious tour-de-force that would rely less on kamâ-sutra-inspired acrobatics and more on that almost theatrical feel your earlier tours used to have. But hear me well, you're still allowed to play bangerz and fly around the stage.
Or (and I know how you don't like to do something that's been done before, but then again you did Hard Candy) but now would be a good time to do your own Anti-Tour. It's high time songs like Nothing Really Matters, Intervention, Love Profusion or Has To Be got a live airing. 

OK good luck M, please be ready for an early October release. First single mid-September. No endless teasing needed, you're Madonna, we'll be ready. 

Well that's it for now! What songs, albums, tours are you most looking forward to in 2014?

1 comment:

davidsask said...

I love your article on Madonna, very on point! Love from Canada