With a strong winter release schedule already confirmed (Sleater-Kinney! Father John Misty! Panda Bear!), 2015 is shaping up to be a strong year for music. Still, there are a few albums expected this year, but not quite set in stone. From Kendrick and Adele to Radiohead and The Wrens, a lot of highly anticipated albums have been “in the works” for some time now. Here, we take a look at ten of 2015’s most eagerly awaited albums and place bets on whether they’ll actually come out this year.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 100%! It’s happening! On January 20!
What We Know: Sleater-Kinney’s first album since 2005’s The Woods seemed like a pipe dream until suddenly, late last year, it wasn’t. The seminal punk trio’s eighth album, No Cities to Love, is likely one of 2015’s best rock albums. It features some of their finest political commentary to date (“Price Tag,” “No Anthem”), and a plethora of tautly groovy riffs from the Carrie Brownstein-Corin Tucker tag-team we’ve been missing in music for far too long.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 91%
What We Know: We know that PJ Harvey will definitely be recording a new album this year because she’s doing so publicly, from January 16 to February 14, at London’s Somerset House. Five thousand fans have purchased 45-minute visiting slots, with Harvey working behind one-way mirrored glass. “I want Recording in Progress to operate as if we’re an exhibition in a gallery,” she said in a statement. “I hope visitors will be able to experience the flow and energy of the recording process.” Harvey will record with longtime collaborator John Parish, in addition to alternative production legend Flood, in what used to be a gymnasium and rifle range. All that we don’t know, at this point, is when it’s coming out.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 80%
What We Know: G.O.O.D. Music’s Malik Yusef compared Kanye’s Yeezus follow-up to a pair of Timberlands. We have no idea what that’s supposed to mean, but we do know that West’s seventh (solo) album will likely be the only album this year to feature both Paul McCartney and dark electronic producer Evian Christ, who made a splash on Yeezus. Just last night, Kanye and Kim were spotted leaving his label, Def Jam. Before that, he previewed the record in Paris for a handful of listeners, and gave Seth Rogen an a cappella preview in a limo. Clearly, this album exists, and is expected to include West’s latest work, touching piano ballad “Only One.” Besides that, you’re just going to have to be on high alert.
(Bjork by Inez and Vinoodh)
Chances of Happening in 2015: 99%
What We Know: Back in October, Björk’s camp announced that she’d have to skip the London premiere of her Biophilia Live film premiere because she’s in the studio working on the follow-up to 2011’s Biophilia. They also assured that the album would be out in 2015. That same month, while in the midst of his own album release, electronic producer-of-the-moment Arca (Yeezus, FKA twigs) confirmed that he would be co-producing new Björk music alongside the Icelandic legend. The Haxan Cloak, one of electronic music’s purveyors of the dark arts, will also contribute to the still untitled LP. And just this week, Björk showed up on the Governors Ball lineup, signaling that she just may have new music to promote before June.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 87%
What We Know: No one should be too surprised if Kendrick pulled a surprise release tomorrow. He spent the second half of 2014 publicly promoting an album he hasn’t even announced. He put out bright new singles like “i,” made music videos, got profiled in the Times, did SNL, and went on Colbert as his last musical guest (and premiered a fiery new song while he was at it). He’s name-dropped Marvin Gaye and promised “aggression and emotion” on the album. All this is to say, it’s coming — and supposedly has no guest appearances for reasons of ~Kendrick purity~.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 58%
What We Know: After varying levels of surprise involved in the release of Radiohead’s two most recent albums, 2011’s King of Limbs and 2007’s In Rainbows, one can never be quite sure how or when a new album will arrive. Thom Yorke has put out two albums — one solo and one with his Atoms For Peace project — in the time it’s taken Radiohead to simply start its next record. The full band confirmed studio time back in September to work on the ninth Radiohead album.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 77%
What We Know: Drake hasn’t released an album since 2013’s Nothing Was the Same. The Toronto rapper’s output to this point has been prolific — an album every year or two — and he spent 2014 releasing a slew of killer SoundCloud jams and befriending up-and-comers like iLoveMakonnen. He bragged on a new track from June, “0 to 100 / The Catch-Up,” that “We already got spring 2015 poppin’/ PND droppin’/ Reps-Up P droppin’/ Majid Jordin droppin’, OB droppin’ not to mention me droppin’.” (The others are part of his OVO Sound imprint with Warner Bros.) Plus he’s already been announced as a headliner for both Coachella and Governors Ball. But, Drake already has a name picked out for when he is ready: Views From the 6.
Chances of Happening in 2015: Too superstitious to say
What We Know: Jersey indie rockers The Wrens have been working on the follow-up to 2003’s stunning The Meadowlands for 12 years. Throughout that time, there have been false starts and snippets released. But it wasn’t until guitarist Charles Bissell faced health problems issues that the album finally came together last year. Back around Thanksgiving, Bissell wrote on The Wrens’ site that the album is done, and before that, the band teased a new label deal. Is it… really finally happening? Holy shit.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 63%
What We Know: Last May on Adele’s 26th birthday, amidst virtually no communication with the public, the singer tweeted a telling little note that seemed to suggest her third album would be out in 2014: “Bye bye 25… See you again later in the year.” By year’s end, no such plans for a follow-up to 19 and 21 were announced. So Adele’s label, XL, tucked an explanation in its year-end financial report: “There will not be a further new release by Adele during 2014 and consequently there will be a fall in XL’s turnover and profits.” It sounds as if they, too, had expected a new Adele album. All we know at this point is that past Adele collaborators, like songwriter Ryan Tedder, have mentioned their involvement with the album.
Chances of Happening in 2015: 86%
What We Know: If you trust rando radio DJs, Rihanna’s new album will be out early this year. Even if you’re skeptical of the source, it’s still likely. The evidence: it’s been more than two years — nearly a decade in Rih-world — since her last album, plus she’s been teasing snippets of dark trap tracks on her Instagram.