This year saw the return of megastars like Adele, Coldplay and Madonna. Can 2016 match it for a comeback? Hell yes. Loaded gives the latest updates on some of the big names emerging from the studio. Who knows, maybe Rihanna, Radiohead and Kanye will actually release those long-talked about albums next year after all.
Kanye hasn’t released an album since his bairns North and Saint were born, and truth be told 2016 might be fallow too. Regular co-producer Mike Dean shrugs: “It’s done whenever Kanye says it’s done.” But the apparently “more joyful” album than 2013’s Yeezus has a working title of SWISH. He’s been working with Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Sia, Vic Mensa and Ty Dolla Sign.
Despite the “joyful” claims, the track he premiered at last year’s Brit Awards, All Day, was military in its approach. So too is FACTS, the new song he dropped at midnight LA time to see in 2016. More than that, Yeezus only knows for now.
Having dazzled with Blur’s comeback album, Damon Albarn’s next repaired relationship is with Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett. The pair fell out after 2010’s Plastic Beach, but Hewlett has been teasing cartoons hinting at a Saturday Night Fever vibe with John Travolta cartoons. Biggest tease: the Gorillaz-style illustration of David Bowie.
We’ve known her album is to be called Anti for what seems like decades, which isn’t a good sign. Albums whose titles take longer to arrive than most people take to actually record are invariably duff: Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy, The Prodigy’s Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. And preview singles like American Oxygen were entirely ho-hum. Hmm…
The Last Shadow Puppets
Alex Turner puts Arctic Monkeys on hold to work with under-rated rocker Miles Kane for their first album since 2008’s The Age Of The Understatement. It seems to be business as usual – they’re working with Monkeys producer James Ford and string arranger Owen Pallett. Should we thus expect wryly delivered 60s lounge smoothness?
The Stone Roses
Relax, we know nothing more than anyone about album three. Except: surely they wouldn’t tour yet again unless there was something new to offer? The most solid rumour Loaded has heard is that it’s Reni who is taking most effort to coax into the studio. Has the drummer (who was first to leave the band, don’t forget) been persuaded to bring fresh life to pretty much the best rhythm section in history?
After the iTunes-bothering Songs Of Innocence, U2 have been threatening to release companion album Songs Of Experience ever since. They’ve got history of this: 2009’s rotten No Tunes On The Horizon was meant to have had an ambient companion, Songs Of Ascent, which U2 quietly shelved four years later. However, six Experience songs have been previewed to various parties with Bono describing Larry Mullen Jr’s playing on Civilisation as “My favourite bit on a U2 album in years.” The tour for Innocence was as good as U2 have been for ages too. Fingers crossed for another Vertigo or Mysterious Ways by autumn. Oddly, they’ve been working with Andy Barlow from 90s ambient rockers Lamb.
Brandon Flowers told Loaded recently that his band have “learned lessons” from 2012’s disappointing Battle Born. They’ve been talking to regular producer Flood, but Flowers insists: “We don’t know which type of Killers we’ll be. Maybe we’ll be a brand new incarnation.” He seemed genuinely fired up, and his claim that the mood is as good as it’s ever been among the four of them is plausible.
He promised the follow-up to Channel Orange would be out by July. July came and went, since when no rash promises or any statements at all have been made. There are vague rumours of a new song titled White Ferrari, but Adele summed up feelings when she said in November: “I just want to know where Frank Ocean’s new fucking album is. It’s taking so fucking long.”
Cooped up with regular producer Nigel Godrich for around six months, the only fruit so far was their Christmas Day freebie Spectre, their alternative Bond theme which was an orchestral ballad similar to There There. So long as it’s better than the terrible King Of Limbs, that’s all we’re saying.
The Rolling Stones
Their memorabilia display Exhibitionism opens at London’s Saatchi Gallery in April, and Keith Richards has vowed to try to persuade Mick Jagger to get back into the studio around the same time. Let’s face it, the Stones’ last good album was Steel Wheels in 1989. But one-off single Doom And Gloom in 2012 was remarkably lively, so don’t make any Rocking Grandads jokes just yet at the prospect.
A brief PR statement just before Christmas confirmed Tom and Serge would be releasing something this year. Given their beloved Leicester City’s form and Tom Meighan’s natural exuberance, the results may make for the most confident album the world has ever seen.
Catfish And The Bottlemen
Kasabian’s inheritors for huge tunes and wildly entertaining interviews, singer Van McCann told Q: “The last album was the support band and this one is the headliner. There’s no limit, it’s unstoppable.” They’re finishing up with Oasis producer Dave Sardy for a May release – get this one right, and they’ll be headlining festivals by 2017.
After the patchy Sheezus, Allen has largely stayed off social media to keep her head down. Summer’s teaser tune You’re Onto Me was decent, and the tour promoting Sheezus was much better than the studio efforts. Whether she can find a way to truly update her 00s skittishness, who knows. But we suspect she’s too intelligent not to find a way.
Set to be called Mattahdatah, Maya’s follow-up to 2013’s Matangi will form a concept album and video about borders. “It’s a full-length LP and film experience,” says M.I.A., explaining that each song will be accompanied by a video.
After working with Rick Rubin on his last album, this time round Nottingham’s finest was due to collaborate with former Beastie Boy Mike D. That it didn’t work out shows remarkable determination from Bugg, who is far cannier than he’s generally given credit for. Expect radio-friendly anthems before festival season.
Also in the studio…
Due back before the end of 2016 are Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga Green Day, The Cure, The xx, Royal Blood, Primal Scream, PJ Harvey, Plan B, Jamie T, Biffy Clyro, London Grammar and Metallica.