2007 promises a handful of albums sure to fascinate. Some for the celebrity antics, some for their protracted suspense, and some for the music. Can Gun N Roses commit to a release date even if they can’t commit to each other? Will Britney’s voice again be obscured by synthesizer and her vagina obscured by … anything? And will Wilco again try to break out hearts? Here, in chronological order, is what to expect in the coming months.
The Shins, “Wincing the Night Away”
“Wincing,” the band’s third full-length album, will come out Jan. 23. In an interview with Pitchfork, front man James Mercer claimed to have let his “freak flag fly” in terms of the album’s earnest emotion, and the first single, “Phantom Limb,” indeed has an air of melancholy beneath its jangling tambourines. Life-changing, per the “Garden State” hyperbole? Probably not, but fun anyway.
MF Doom & Ghostface, “Swift & Changeable”
Stay alert for the League of (two) Extraordinary Gentlemen: Metal Face and “Ironman”! MF Doom and Ghostface Killah have once again joined forces, this time to record “Swift & Changeable,” due out in February. Doom produced six tracks on the Wu-Tang veteran’s previous releases “Fishscale” and “More Fish,” both released in 2006. And if this collaboration can convey the eerie languor of “Underwater,” then this teaming of superheroic proportions will surely thrill.
Bloc Party, “A Weekend in the City”
NME favorite Bloc Party returns Feb. 6 with the release of their sophomore effort. The English indie rock band made waves with their 2005 debut “Silent Alarm,” which showcased the anxious guitar and urgent mumblings of frontman Kele Okereke. Several new songs have been floating around the internet for the past several months, including an homage to Less Than Zero titled “Song for Clay (Disappear Here).” So put on your Wayfarers and prepare to rock out. Because that’s what Brett Easton Ellis would do.
Lily Allen, “Alright, Still”
OK, perhaps she’s already made her splash (with the help of extensive internet publicity) — but the British star’s debut album, “Alright, Still,” won’t actually be released on this side of the Atlantic until February 6th. Allen’s songs about deadbeat boyfriends and stoner brothers are rife with both blunt humor and pop zing. “Smile,” the first single, is already available stateside.
Wilco, Title TBA
Front man Jeff Tweedy will spend this month touring solo, and several of his bandmates have records of their own coming down the pike. But everyone’s favorite ex-alt-country band remains intact — their first album of new material since 2004’s meditative “A Ghost is Born” is set for a March release. The band has performed a number of new songs in the last year or so of touring, and the material speculated to be included on the upcoming album has all the subtlety and melody of Wilco at their best.
The Arcade Fire, “Neon Bible”
The critically beloved Canadians will release their sophomore record, “Neon Bible,” in March. Those eager for a taste of the album can stream the track “Black Mirror” on the band’s Web site, and the first single, “Intervention,” is currently selling on iTunes to benefit Partnes in Health — although, in an error that singer Win Butler optimistically called “charming,” a song titled “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations” was initially posted in its place. As the song titles suggest, “Neon Bible” promises to be a darker album than its predecessor, replacing the teenage palpitations of “Funeral” with — among other themes — war.
Guns N’ Roses, “Chinese Democracy”
The ever-dependable Guns N’ Roses are set to release “Chinese Democracy” on March 6 after over twelve years of recording. The band first started work on the album in 1994, but its timely completion was prevented by squabbles between band members (all due, no doubt, to the complete lunacy of Axl Rose). But despite a slew of spurious release dates, a letter on the band’s site assures us that they are finally ready to welcome us back to “Paradise City.”
LCD Soundsystem, Title TBA
Daft Punk will be playing at your house again! After blasting onto the dance scene in February 2005 with their self-titled double disc debut, LCD Soundsystem is coming back for more. The group has perfected their own spazzy blend of electronica and punk, so come March 20, you can set aside your Eric Prydz record — it was starting to skip anyway.
50 Cent, “Before I Self Destruct”
Although he’s been shot nine times, 50 Cent can’t take a break. The Queens rapper released his 2003 debut “Get Rich or Die Tryin” and 2005’s “The Massacre” to both critical and white-boy acclaim. His forthcoming album is set to release March 20, and will feature a classic R&B feel. Well, someone has to take James Brown’s hallowed place.
Britney Spears, Title TBA
Remember when we met Britney Spears? Before Jayden James, before Sean Preston, even before K-Fed? Before she was a walking disaster with thirteen chins and a penchant for flashing her crotch? She was a singer. Well, sort of. In any case, she will attempt to return to her previous career (deliberate, rather than inadvertent entertainer) when she releases her fifth album. Producer J.R. Rotem claimed that Brit’s new material is “the next level” — then again, Rotem later hooked up with her. Is his judgment sound? Will Britney regain the magic of her “Toxic” heyday? Or will she continue as a glorious, glorious shitshow? The American public waits with bated breath.
Radiohead, Title TBA
In the three and a half years since Radiohead released the breathy and restructured “Hail to the Thief,” the band’s been working on solo projects, touring and recording their seventh full length. Much of the new material was previewed on their summer tour, though the songs have yet to materialize into an album with a title, definite release date or label contract for that matter. But since Radiohead has never been one to conform to the capitalist agenda, maybe this is just the logical next step for an album that is sure to strike an electrifying blow.