Forget about 2017, we're already looking into the future soundtracks of this year. From Kylie going country to the return of Lily Allen, plus some Oz Rock from Nollsie and Mossy there's plenty of genres covered.
What do we know about the 14th Kylie Minogue album? It's set to be her most unexpected release to date, with reliable sources saying she's firmly committed to adding a country edge to her sound, without losing her trademark grasp on catchy pop. With many songs written and/or recorded in Nashville, a new single (the title is still a closely-guarded secret) is poised to be released as early as January and will christen her new deal with BMG which sees her music coming out in Australia on Mushroom, the label that signed her back in 1987. This is a milestone year for Minogue - the 30th anniversary of I Should Be So Lucky was last week, it's also 30 years since her first album and Gold Logie this year. Country music is back on the radio thanks to Sam Hunt and local boy Morgan Evans - could a Nashville-tinged cowboy style Kylie be the first big shock of 2018?
It's a very good sign how big Melbourne's James Keogh, aka Vance Joy, is that his second album will be one of 2018's first major releases. Nation of Two is getting a simultaneous global release in late February (like his two-million selling debut Dream Your Life Away) and has already spawned the hit Lay It On Me. Another 'taster' track Like Gold has surfaced, a co-write with Dan Wilson (Adele, Missy Higgins, Dixie Chicks) and he's already previewed new tracks Take Your Time and Call If You Need Me live. Then he'll hit the road, again.
Sydney's Jess Cerro, aka Montaigne, smashed into the ARIA Top 5 with her debut album Glorious Heights in 2016, featuring the Triple J seducer Because I Love You. Cerro embarked on heavy touring for the record and has been knee-deep in writing the follow up album. Her appearance on the ABC's New Year's Eve Countdown concert saw her absolutely nail two tricky songs steeped in the personality of their authors - David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes and Eurythmics' Love is a Stranger. If the DNA of those 80s gems seeps into album No. 2 we could be in for another treat.
2018 clocks up five years since the Monkeys' incredible AM album. Crikey. Frontman Alex Turner got another album with his other band The Last Shadow Puppets out of his system but the Monkeys started recording back in September. No details about producers have leaked yet, but they always choose wisely. Rock needs them.
THERE are only two One Directioners left to release solo albums and if you were being uncharitable you could say that between Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson it's a race to the bottom. But that would probably get you death threats from their fans on Twitter. Payne would be hoping for more songs that worked (like his Ed Sheeran handout Strip That Down) than the follow up flop (Bedroom Floor). He was photographed with Pharrell Williams and has said he's rebooting the album with some new sounds, but will Louis get in first? And there must be another Zayn album brewing.
EVEN Lily realised 2014's Sheezus wasn't quite as good as its title. She's back working with Mark Ronson on an album reportedly called The Fourth Wall that touches on her divorce and just before Christmas dropped the return-to-form single Trigger Bang featuring rapper Giggs. We need more outspoken pop stars making outspoken pop music so welcome back Lily Allen.
SHE Ginger Spiced Fifth Harmony and while the girl band limped on, Cabello scored one of last year's most unavoidable hits with Havana - even Barack Obama had that banger on his most-played of 2018 list. Her album Camila is due for release next week, with a new single, Never Be The Same, ready to go. She's got some big name talent working on the album including Ryan Tedder and Pharrell Williams with edgier names like Frank Dukes and the Futuristics.
The Australian pop boundary-pusher released his debut album Blue Neighbourhood in late 2015. An EDM collaboration with Martin Garrix, There For You, landed last year. He's been suspiciously quiet for the last few months which suggests that he's busy creating a new record. Sivan likes to have all his ducks lined up - music and visuals - before anything surfaces but you also can't take too long in the world of pop these days. An album in the first half of 2018 is good timing.
Moving further away from the mainstream, the Kiwi singer's third album Primal Heart is scheduled for release on January 19. Producer John Congleton (St Vincent) is steering the way, with everyone from Skrillex to Jeff Buckley cohort Michael Tighe to Natasha Bedingfield pop up in the writing credits, suggesting her usual beloved diversity.
FALL OUT BOY
January is a good time to usher out new albums - you beat the Christmas rush and sales are generally so low that a good chart position is guaranteed if you have a half-decent following. Welcome to the seventh Fall Out Boy album Mania, out January 19. There's already been four singles released (Sia co-wrote Champion) and there's been flirtations with EDM but the big comeback hit has eluded them so far. Maybe there's a killer cut on the album no one's heard yet?
How good was Craig David at last year's RNB Fridays shows? Two years ago his 'comeback' album Following My Intuition became his first UK chart toppers since the 7 Days days. The follow-up The Time Is Now (out January 26) continues his work with his regular team (his long-term songwriting mate Fraser T Smith went on to co-wrote Adele's Set Fire to the Rain) as well as collaborations with Bastille and Kaytranada.
OK. There's a million-selling "Aussie rocker" and "legend" being teased to join the I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here line-up this year. OK, he's not a "legend" but this is reality TV where words and people are mere putty. Imagine if Nollsie dropped Unbroken, his first album in seven years, while he's on prime time TV in February. He's got no tour dates booked until May (that's a clear schedule folks) and so far the singles Who I Am and Southern Sky haven't had the same traction his social media posts get. Would going back on reality TV reconnect him with the masses - and his Facebook fans - and give his album and tour a huge boost? (Disclaimer if it's not him going into the jungle ignore all this and enjoy the fact it contains ultra Nollsie titles like My Body Loves to Party, Land of Mine, Mountains to Climb and No B.S).
If you're thinking it's been a while since Vampire Weekend albums, you'd be right. Five years to be precise. Since then they've lost founding member Rostam Batmanglij, who's been busy with a solo career and production work. However he's reportedly still contributing to the new VW album (still only their fourth) which is said to be called Mitsubishi Macchiato (let's hope that's not real) and is apparently nearly done.
There's talk of an album called Music For Cars out in June. Frontman Matt Healy says he's basing it on classic third albums OK Computer by Radiohead and The Queen is Dead by The Smiths. They are pretty big records to aim for. Songs linked to the album include It's Not Living If It's Not With You and I Always Wanna Die, Sometimes.
The UK trio's fourth album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life lands on February 9, with the single Lemon to a Knife Fight a great taster. "I wanted to make an album that had more swagger, was a bit more laid back, something that wasn't punching you in the face every time you listen to it," frontman Matthew Murphy said. "On every level, musically and interpersonally, we're much closer."
MOSSY! Out on March 2, the self-titled album is the Cold Chisel guitarist's first solo album in nine years and his first of all original material in 22 years. "It's a little overdue," Moss said. One song, My Suffering, was written by his late Chisel bandmate Steve Prestwich while Don Walker plays piano on A Girl Like You.
BOY GEORGE & CULTURE CLUB
Yep, two different albums. George and Culture Club have both signed to BMG for new albums. Culture Club recorded an album called Tribes a few years back, originally as a fan-funded project, then returned the money and have recorded new material which could surface this year, but fans will believe it when they see it. Possibly before that George is expected to finally release a covers album, but which song by his hero David Bowie will he choose? He's been talking up Where Are We Now?
WILL THEY OR WON'T THEY?
Could this be the year we get the Beyonce & Jay-Z collaborative album? Or even a new Beyonce album? Rihanna could also do a Beyonce and drop a whole new record at any given moment (see also Drake) and Justin Timberlake is also hinting at a return to music - hopefully returning to the brilliance and experimentation of his first two solo records and not the later stuff.
ALSO COMING (MAYBE)
New albums from Gotye, 5 Seconds of Summer, Paul McCartney, The Presets, ChVrches, Celine Dion, Cardi B, Oh Mercy, Rita Ora, Augie March, Ariana Grande, Ball Park Music, Shawn Mendes, Peking Duk, Charlie Puth, Moby, Johnny Marr, Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Jack White, Sheppard, MGMT, Avril Lavigne, Interpol, Nile Rodgers and Chic, the Prodigy, Courtney Barnett, Selena Gomez, Charli XCX, Django Django, Nicki Minaj, Manic Street Preachers, Major Lazer, My Bloody Valentine, Birds of Tokyo, Jennifer Lopez, Plan B, Christina Aguilera and, if it actually surfaces, a new Iggy Azalea album.
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