The year 2014 brought several memorable music moments on the hot 100 charts: Pharrell looked “Happy” in his enormous hat, Ariana Grande showed that delivering powerful vocals isn't a “Problem” for her, Katy Perry rode her “Dark Horse,” Iggy Azalea made a “Fancy” debut, Nicki Minaj unleashed her “Anaconda."
The new year’s lineup of music releases is so diverse that everyone should find something they like, from new material by Lil Wayne, to records by Fergie, Bjork, Britney Spears, Modest Mouse and more.
Here are some albums to look for next year. But stay alert — someone may pull a Beyonce and just drop new music without any advance warning.
Madonna rushes out a new album. After a series of leaks, Madonna’s secret music project she endlessly teased in posts on social media became not-so-secret. She revealed six tracks from her upcoming album “Rebel Heart” on iTunes, featuring appearances from Nicki Minaj and Alicia Keys. The full LP, set to be released March 10, will take on topics such as breakups, drugs and the Illuminati.
Ludacris rolls out again. Although the Atlanta rapper has made numerous media appearances like the movie "Fast & Furious 6” and the ABC singing competition “Rising Star,” his last album was 2011's “Battle of the Sexes. Ludacris told Billboard in May that he plans on releasing a new album in 2015. To tide fans over until then, he has released a new EP.
Rita Ora finally delivers her sophomore album. Rita Ora has had number one singles in the U.K., though she hasn’t really impacted American radio. She was set to release an album this year, but she was unable to perform its lead single on television; the song’s producer (and Ora’s ex) Calvin Harris prevented her from singing it on television under contract. Ora is set to release an album in 2015 featuring Will.i.am, according to The Daily Record.
Meghan Trainor makes her official debut. Singer Meghan Trainor rose to prominence in 2014 with her commercially successful hit “All About That Bass.” She also released an EP with four songs, but has yet to release a proper studio album. That will change on Jan. 13 when she releases her full debut record entitled “Title.” It will include her latest Billboard Top 20 hit “Lips Are Moving,” her chart-topping hit “Bass” and nine other tracks.
Kelly Clarkson releases new original songs. “American Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson is due to release a new album featuring her powerful vocals. Her last studio album with completely new songs was “Stronger,” released in 2011. She released a Christmas album in 2013 called “Wrapped in Red,” but they were mostly covers. To be fair, the singer has been caring for her new daughter born this past July. Clarkson confirmed to a fan on Twitter that her new album will drop early 2015.
Fergie returns to the female hip-hop scene. After huge success with her 2006 debut solo album “The Duchess,” the former singer of The Black Eyed Peas is hoping to reclaim her position in the industry as a hit-maker. Fergie has released the lead single of her sophomore album to be released in 2015, a track entitled "L.A. Love (La La),” though it failed to match the success of her previous hits. But, she may reclaim her throne with an upcoming collaboration with Nicki Minaj, as she told HOT 97.
Ellie Goulding pairs up with Drake. British songstress Ellie Goulding has seen success in the U.S. with her 2011 single “Lights” as well as her 2013 single “Burn.” This year, the singer is set to release her third full-length studio album, she told Digital Spy. She revealed to VIBE in September that she has collaborated with Drake, though it isn’t clear if it will end up on the new effort. Who knows, the singer may release music with one of the other famous women she has been spotted hanging with recently.
Lil Wayne gives a run for the Young Money. Rapper Lil Wayne released four singles in 2014 in support of his eleventh studio album “Tha Carter V,” which was originally set to drop in December. However, the rapper announced to fans on Twitter five days before it was set to be released that it would be released in 2015 due to issues with his label Cash Money. Nevertheless, Lil Wayne's manager told TMZ that the rapper will not be departing from his label.
Bjork collaborates with a young producer. The last time the music scene saw a Bjork album was 2011’s “Biophilia,” a work released with an app featuring visuals made in collaboration with French filmmaker Michel Gondry. Bjork is set to release new music in 2015 featuring collaborations with 24-year-old Venezuelan producer Arca. It isn't the first time Bjork's albums have featured unexpected guests. Her album "Volta" included production from R&B and hip-hop producer Timbaland.
Kendrick Lamar delivers the goods. Fans have been reeling since Kendrick Lamar released his critically acclaimed 2012 sophomore album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City." The rapper released the song “i” back in September as the lead single from his upcoming third album, though it doesn’t look like it will drop this year. However, the Compton rapper may give a better idea of when the album will hit the rap scene in his upcoming XXL cover story.
Britney Spears makes a return to the charts. Although the pop superstar released “Britney Jean” in 2013, Spears started a two-year residency in Las Vegas shortly after it dropped. The “Work B****” singer didn’t heavily promote the album with media appearances. However, Spears may deliver with her upcoming 2015 album that is set to include one of the industries hottest new acts; Iggy Azalea told Ryan Seacrest that Spears’ new work will be preceded by a single featuring the rapper.
Modest Mouse returns – but like, actually this time. It was thought that Modest Mouse would put out a new album in 2014, but they never did. Although they put out a grab-bag EP in 2009, the band hasn’t released a full album of original tracks since 2007's "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.” However, the group is set to release a new album entitled “Strangers to Ourselves,” preceded by their new single “Lampshades on Fire.”