Hannah Griesel, Staff Writer
2014 was the year of Taylor Swift’s record-breaking album sales, Sam Smith’s heartbreaking ballads and more hit songs about backsides than we could have asked for. Ed Sheeran solidified his status with a successful sophomore album, while Hozier wowed critics with his debut. OutKast reunited and Beastie Boys called it quits. Charli XCX and Iggy Azalea finally received mainstream recognition, both separately and together. And, of course, everyone knew about U2’s thirteenth studio album–but only because it showed up in pants pockets everywhere and refused to leave without force.
In the first month of 2015, Meghan Trainor released her cheeky, retro sounding full-length, “Title,” while Mark Ronson kept it funky with his album “Uptown Special.” January also saw releases from Marilyn Manson, The Decemberists and Fall Out Boy, as well as a single from a very unexpected collaboration: Kanye West and Paul McCartney.
In pop music, scheduled for release in early 2015 are albums from Fifth Harmony (“Reflection,” out February 3), Madonna (“Rebel Heart,” out March 10”) and Marina & the Diamonds (“Froot,” out April 3). Although this will be the studio debut from Fifth Harmony, they’ve been around since forming on The X Factor in 2012. Six songs from Madonna’s album have already been released as a response to a leak, but the March release will include eight more. Leading up to “Froot”, Marina Diamandis has been releasing a song each month. This will be the Welsh singer-songwriter’s third studio album.
Albums from Becky G and Gwen Stefani are expected this year, though currently unannounced. Also rumored to be released this year, are new albums from Adele, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, Ellie Goulding, Iggy Azalea, Justin Bieber and Rihanna. One Direction will also most likely continue their pattern of November releases to finish up their five-year contract with Sony.
Big Sean has worked with Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Drake and Ariana Grande on his third studio album, due out on February 24. On the same day, Chris Brown and Tyga will be releasing their collaboration album, “Fan of a Fan: The Album.” Limp Bizkit’s “Stampede of the Disco Elephants” is set for a spring release. Also unscheduled are 50 Cent’s “Street King Immortal,” Drake’s “Views from the Six,” Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon III” and an untitled album from Macklemore. A Kanye West album is also rumored.
Over in alternative, folk and indie are February releases from Bob Dylan (“Shadows in the Night” out February 3), Father John Misty (“I Love You, Honeybear,” out February 10) and Imagine Dragons (Smoke + Mirrors,” out February 17). March will see releases from Modest Mouse (“Strangers to Ourselves,” out March 3) and Death Cab for Cutie (“Kintsugi,” out March 31). Also expected later in 2015 are albums from The Dead Weather, Fleetwood Mac, Lana Del Rey, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins, U2 and possibly Sky Ferreira.
Faith No More hasn’t released an album since 1997’s “The Album of the Year,” but they’re set to break their 18-year hiatus on April 15 with their still currently untitled seventh full-length. Also expected are releases from No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Offspring, Slayer and Tool later in the year.
As for the breakthroughs this year, it’s still anyone’s guess on who will come out on top. Some of 2014s most successful artists were relatively unknown at this point last year.
Interested in checking out the competition first? Try: James Bay’s emotional and soulful “Let It Go,” Ryn Weaver’s “OctaHate,” which is a cross between a Regina Spektor and a Katy Perry track, George Ezra’s “Budapest,” a British boy learning to sing with a big voice like American folk and blues singers, or MisterWive’s 80’s-inspired indie-pop, “Reflections.”