21 Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

Were you slightly fearful that 2011 would be filled with vapid pop music created by soulless machines? Me too! I don’t think we have to worry though, if the past few months have been any indication then music this year might be quite delightful.

Recently Released:

PJ HarveyThe first wave of super impressive releases have come from Sweden and the United Kingdom. Seriously the UK is killing it right now. Adele’s 21, Lykke Li’s Wounded RhymesAnna Calvi’s Anna Calvi, and PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake are all worthy of your immediate attention and affection, they’ll fill the void if you’ve been craving some fresh sounds. In the same respect, James Blake’s self-titled album is experimental to the point where your ears and brain may become confused and resist. Don’t let them. This is one that lives up to its hype.

Jessie J.’s debut album, Who You Are, has already dropped in the UK, to mixed reviews. It’s a little clumsy as a whole, however there are enough sweet spots to justify any obsessive fangirl behaviors you’ve displayed since watching these SB TV acoustic sessions. Meanwhile, stateside, Taylor Momsen’s Courtney Love tribute band, The Pretty Reckless, released 10 glorious tracks of tragic teen angst pop punk grunge. The album’s called Light Me Up, and it’s your new guilty pleasure.

One thing I’ve noticed about music this year is that nothing terribly exciting or interesting has come out of the United States. Has anyone else felt this way? Do we need to wait for the next Twilight soundrack? It’s possible that I just haven’t heard the right albums, in which case fill me in. Tell me about the US releases that’ve caught your attention.

Highly Anticipated:

Some very popular artists are releasing albums in 2011. Britney SpearsFemme Fatale and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way are dropping in March and May respectively. Maybe you’ve heard.

Also expected are new releases from Coldplay, Amy Winehouse, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, JT, Willow Smith, Death Cab For Cutie, Mars Volta, OutKast, Bon Iver, RHCP, Foo Fighters, Bright Eyes, the Decemberists, Passion Pit & Blink 182. Both La Roux and Paris Hilton are rumored to be releasing albums this year, however that’s what they said about The White Stripes. R.I.P.

These are some of the upcoming
albums that I’m excited about:

the killsThe Kills, Blood Pressure

Drop date: April 5
Before I loved Alison Mosshart in The Dead Weather, I loved her in The Kills. This album’s lead single, “DNA”, is already online and it’s bad-ass. If you’ve never checked the Kills out then get on it, you might find yourself with a new favorite rock star.

Beastie Boys, The Hot Sauce Committee, Part 2

Drop date: May 3
This will be the Beastie’s first non-instrumental studio album since 2005’s To The 5 Buroughs. The future of Part 1 is unknown, it was put on hold in 2009 when Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch was diagnosed with cancer. Just the fact that he’s well enough to make and release Part 2 is a BFD.

Kayne West & Jay-Z, Watch The Throne

Drop date: TBA
Remember how back in January the music press kept saying that this collaboration album would drop any! day! now! and so then we waited and waited and eventually heard one track, the hot mess  “H.A.M.”? Remember that? Now we’re into the 2nd month of radio silence and I’m beginning to wonder whether this record actually exists.

No Doubt, Untitled

Drop date: First half 2011
When No Doubt went on hiatus in the early 00’s the world became a darker place. Fact. I have absolutely no clue what a modern day No Doubt record will sound like. Any guesses? I just hope that it won’t make those of us who remember Tragic Kingdom & the 1990s feel sad.

Beyonce

Beyoncé, [redacted]

Drop date: [redacted]
Beyoncé’s forthcoming album is such a big deal that it’s actually a state secret. The only information on record came from the mouth of Sia, who was able to confirm that this album not only exists – it is basically finished.

The Jezabels, Untitled

Drop date: Mid-2011
If their past EPs are any indication, The Jezabel’s debut studio album is going to rock our world. This indie quartet from Sydney always get a warm reception on Autostraddle, definitely check them out if you haven’t already.

Fiona Apple, Untitled

Drop date: Spring 2011
During her 1997 VMA acceptance speech for Best New Artist, a young Fiona Apple ranted “the world is bullshit! you shouldn’t model your life on what we think is cool.” Sometimes I wonder whether its that unapologetic honesty and occasional crazy that makes her music so goddamn brilliant. Fiona Apple albums are few and far between, and none of them have disappointed yet.

Portishead, Untitled

Drop date: Late 2011
Geoff Barrow has advised that the new Portishead album will have [paraphrasing from this lengthy twitter rant] “NO additional fan content, NO bonus tracks, NO free downloads, NO remixes, NO hidden footage, NO acoustic sessions, NO radio edits and NO myspace, twitter, street teams or meet & greets. Just music & us.” He’s a giant twat, but I still believe.

Dr Dre, Detox

Drop date: TBA
It’ll be interesting to see whether Dr. Dre’s ‘final’ album can possibly meet the expectations of fans who’ve been waiting over 7 years. Dre’s already released two music videos from the album, “Kush” (ft. Snoop & Akon) and “I Need A Doctor” (ft. Eminem & Skylar Grey). As for the rest, rumors include a guest spot by La Roux and a duet from Beyoncé & Jay-Z.

michelle branchMichelle Branch, Untitled

Drop date: Summer 2011
Michelle Branch broke hearts when she quit her solo pop/rock career to get married and form a country band, The Wreckers. I mean what was that all about, I still don’t know. At the end of last year Michelle announced that she’s returning to her roots, which we can only hope means releasing an album of sticky sweet love songs about boys who we’ll pretend are girls. She’s released a video of the album being recorded, however all it reveals is a fondness for flannel.
+

Florence + The Machine, Untitled

Drop date: Late 2011
Florence is the future of pop.

Special Comment from Stef

Garbage, Untitled

Drop date: Mid-year
Garbage were my first favourite band. Butch Vig made me want to learn how to mix records, and directly inspired me to go into the music industry as an adult. Shirley Manson introduced me to Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Pretenders, and all of her other influences, and her mouthy mid-90s interviews taught me how to be a woman.  I still have close friends I met either at Garbage shows, through Garbage’s email list, or through the Garbage fansite I doggedly maintained for my entire adolescence.

garbageThat said, it was heartbreaking as I got older and noticed the obvious decline in Garbage’s music over the last two albums.  While I appreciated the risks they took, beautifulgarbage was oftentimes ridiculous, and Bleed Like Me didn’t pack the lyrical punch of anything off the self-titled album or version 2.0.  It’s not like I didn’t love these records – still bought all the singles and drove overnight to catch as many shows as possible – but something was different.  Later singles like “Sex is not the enemy” and even “tell me where it hurts” were catchy enough, but didn’t kill me the way Version 2.0 still does 13 years later.  When I caught the last show of their us tour in Vegas in 2005, I was both heartbroken and relieved.  They were ahead of their time, but it was still time.

Because of this, I approach Garbage’s new album with a certain amount of trepidation. I can’t say I’m not curious about what new sounds they’ll introduce, as they’ve previously mixed electronic sounds with hip hop, classic rock, even Phil Spector melodies… But I’m also quite frankly worried.  2005’s Bleed Like Me was a perfectly nice rock album with a few decent standout tracks, but nothing on it quite measured up to classics like “Only Happy When It Rains,” “When I grow up” or “As Heaven Is Wide.”. Where early Garbage was about sex, pain and self loathing, later tracks were more anthemic, as though Manson fancied herself to be writing a slightly patronizing advice column to sad young girls. If Garbage are going to do another record, they have a lot to prove to their most loyal fans, and I hope this new album can pull it together.  I’ve loved them fiercely through it all, and I just can’t have my heart broken again.

_____

What albums are you looking forward to in 2011?

Crystal is a 33-year-old Australian living in Chicago. Founding member, does HR stuff, writes now and then.

Crystal has written 329 articles for us.

83 Comments

    • It really is. GO DOWNLOAD IT RIGHT NOW, get the one with the bonuses on it. There are MAYBE two songs that on it that I don’t listen to regularly.
      It’s like a way better Digital Ash.

    • Yes yes yes it is SO GOOD. So very good. It actually makes my undying love for them less of a guilty pleasure, and more of one I’m not so embarrassed about. It’s actually really brilliant, sort of in the vein of Cassadega…

  1. Uh Huh Her just released an ep and talk of a full album at the end of the summer.

    The Ting Tings are supposed to release their album sometime in April, I’ve been looking forward to hearing what they’ve come up with this time around.

    Also An Horse has a new album coming out in April. The two songs I’ve heard so far have been pretty decent.

    Your reminder of the death of The White Stripes still makes me a little sad….

  2. I had no idea Garbage was planning on putting out a new album! Or, rather, I knew they were “back in the studio,” but that’s been their status since, oh, 2008 or so. I, too, saw them on tour in 2005 (my first concert! …because I was a sheltered child who went crazy as an adult) and wished I had been able to see them in the Garbage/Version 2.0 days. I still loved the concert, and I still love them, but what Stef said is so true; their sound had become a bit blunter over the years, a bit more obviously polished, while the debut album and Version 2.0 carried these feelings of raw intensity–rage, sexuality, depression, etc.

    To be fair, now that I am years removed from the disappointment of beautifulgarbage, I find that I like it a lot more (“Cup of Coffee” tears me apart), but only when I consider it as a separate entity and not as a Garbage album. I didn’t have as much of an aversion to Bleed Like Me, but I think that if it had been released right after Version 2.0, without the intervening WTF-ness of beautifulgarbage, I may have felt differently.

    Also: ZOMG NEW KILLS ALBUM. I actually like the first single, “Satellite,” a lot more than “DNA,” but they’re both amazing. I’m so excited to see them live again in New York!

  3. YUCK! I cannot stop listening to Yuck’s self-titled February release. It makes me want to cry a little. I’m excited to see what’s gonna top it this year.

  4. I‘m looking 4ward 2 the new The Sounds record. But I already listened 2 it and, what can I say? Its a grower. I only listened 2 it once and the 2 singles „Something 2 Die 4“ & „Better Off Dead“ are the best. @ this time. as I said: it needs 2 grow.

    And in april Boris will release 2 new records: „Heavy Rocks“ & „Attention Please“. They droped us the first single „Hope“ check it out here: http://www.sargenthouse.com/boris/Hope.mp3
    homepage: http://homepage1.nifty.com/boris/top.html
    myspace: http://www.myspace.com/borisdronevil

    And will Blaqk Audio release their record „Bright Black Heaven“ this year? I heard already „Ill Lit Ships“ & „Bon Voyeurs“ & „Down Here“. There R rumours, the record is about a hooker? http://soundcloud.com/blaqkaudio

    And: I‘m really really looking 4ward 2 the UHH EP „Black & Blue“ and album! They sell the EP through their website and hopefully the whole new record later this year.

  5. I’m very much looking forward to the Thao & Mirah album coming out 4/26. They’ve already released one of their songs from the album and it has tUnE-yArDs and I’m pretty much addicted to it already.

    Also- I’m going to have to second Crystal’s love of the new PJ Harvey and Lykke Li albums. There’s also a really good Fresh Air interview w/ PJ Harvey about the new album that was super interesting.

    • I heard that as well. I was disappointed by Red Letter Year for the most part, but I still have high hopes for the next one. After hearing some of the new stuff she’s played live, I’m moderately excited. It looks like she’s digging way back to 20s and 30s folk for inspiration on some of them. And I love me some 20s and 30s roots music.

  6. I CANNOT WAIT for Adam Lambert’s new music!!! He is exciting, charismatic, mindblowing and I love his surprises! When he sings it is all I need in this Mad World!!!

      • I listened to the stream they had up on Facebook. It sounded a lot like the first half of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and since soooo many bands/artists have kinda done that rock + electronic based pop music since then, it sounds really repetitious and not that good. Which was really disappointing.

        • Well their lyricist left them a while back to for the band Young Veins, didn’t he? So they lost some of the cleverness and wit that made me love them and just kept the sound, which is good but not great.

  7. I’m more excited than I probably should be for Blink’s new album. I just hope it sounds in the vein of the self-titled. ‘Cause that was one motherfucking brilliant record.

    And Thursday is coming out with a new album in April, which I’m super excited for. They’ve been playing songs of it on the tour they just did where they played Full Collapse in its entirety. The one the NYC show got was pretty good.

    Flogging Molly’s lastest is going to be out in May, I think. I’m always excited to hear new things from them.

  8. The Strokes are releasing a new album on Tuesday! So pumped.

    And Chiddy Bang are releasing their first album this year, apparently, which I’m super excited for since their EPs are all amazing.

    But mostly I’m excited for Fiona Apple. Had no idea that was happening.

  9. Yelle! Yelle has a new album coming out in eighteen days (not that I’m counting or anything). “Safari Disco Club” is the single from it that was released in January, I think, and there’s an interesting music video for it that’s out.

    I don’t usually track bands’ release dates. I usually just find out that they released a new album a month ago and then track it down and buy it. Not usually this neurotic, but I found out that Yelle’s new album was going to be released about two weeks ago.

    2010 was a pretty great year for music, IMO. I hope 2011 will be good.

    • Thank you for posting this! I had no idea! I had sort of been resigned to, like, one new Yelle song a year, but an entire album? And it’s less than three weeks away? This has totally made my night!

      • And by eighteen I actually meant eight! Which is even more exciting. I’m fairly certain it comes out the 29th of March.

        I’ve been listen to Safari Disco Club on repeat for the past week.

        • I can’t figure out how I missed this news: not only do I follow Yelle on twitter, but the other day someone gave me a mix with Safari Disco Club on it…I just didn’t make the connection that there was actually a new record. I’m really oblivious! And really excited!!

    • The album is good 😉 I was able to get an advance copy and she does not disappoint. I can’t wait to see her live in concert, she’s absolutely adorable, so full of energy.

  10. Can’t wait for Adam Lambert’s sophomore album. He’s the bomb. No one in the music industry got his singing chops and he’s gorgeous to look at too.

  11. AH so so so excited for Fiona Apple and No Doubt.

    Also The Pretty Reckless album has definitely become my newest guilty pleasure. I have an embarrassing love and fascination of Taylor Momsen. I can’t tell if I want to be her, make out with her, or scold her for always looking so angry…but whatever it is, I love it!

  12. Thank you Crystal! I live and die for Fiona Apple and had given up on her making another record after Sony shelved her last one and only released it after an online petition pressured them to leak 4 tracks and then re-produce the whole thing.

    I am so fucking excited that she is new music coming out! I never would’ve known I had this to look forward to! Thank you so much!

  13. Kurt Vile’s album, Smoke Ring for My Halo came out March 7th.
    Song, “Society is My Friend”

    Broken Bells has a new EP called, “Meyrin Fields”
    Mar 29th.

    The Ravonettes’ new album, “Raven in the Grave”
    Apr 4th.

    Architecture In Helinski’s new album, “Moment Bends”
    Apr 8th.

    Explosions In The Sky’s new album, “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care”
    Apr 26th.

    Stevie Nicks’s new album, “In Your Dreams”
    May 3rd.

    Okkervil River’s new ablum, “I Am Very Far”
    May 10th.

    Arctic Monkeys’ new album, “Suck It And See”
    Jun 6th.

    I’m pumped for Bon Iver’s and Fiona Apple’s new albums.

  14. Looking forward to the absurdity that is sure to be Tyler the Creator’s Goblin.

    Childish Gambino released an EP a couple weeks ago that I love because I am obsessed with every word that comes out of Donald Glover’s mouth.

    It’s rumored that Beyonce worked with Sleigh Bells on one of the songs from her mystery album. If this is true, I expect my ears to hop off the sides of my head and do a happy dance upon listening.

  15. stevie nicks and florence! i cant wait.

    and bc the high school girl in me still loves davey havok — Blacq Audio’s Bright Black Heaven is due early this year, too!

  16. From the list – I am looking forward to:
    Fiona Apple, Florence + The Machine, Portishead, Garbage

    Not from the list – I am looking forward to:
    Blackfield “Welcome To My DNA” (vinyl = preordered), Anneke van Giersbergen, Devin Townsend is expected to release three albums this year, Lacuna Coil, Opeth, Within Temptation, SOUNDGARDEN, Killswitch Engage, Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi (w/vocal collabs w/Jack White & Norah Jones), possible Blur reunion album

  17. oh BY THE WAY

    “Kate Bush releases an unusual new album “Director’s Cut” on May 16 on her own label Fish People, in conjunction with EMI.

    On “Directors Cut” Kate revisits a selection of tracks from her albums “The Sensual World” and “The Red Shoes”, a process that presents a fascinating portrait of an artist in a constant state of evolution. She has re-recorded some elements whilst keeping the best musical performances of each song – making it something of a director’s cut but in sound, not vision”

    Posted by Kate Bush on Friday, March 11, 2011

  18. The amazing JD Sampson (of Le Tigre fame) has put together a new outfit by the name of ‘MEN’…a trans-aware, politically savvy group that brings indie disco into the queer realm. Their debut album ‘Talk About Body’ was released in February and the tracks I’ve been able to get my hands on sound pretty amazing.

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