Because lists aren’t just for Christmas, here are some of the most eagerly awaited albums scheduled for release in 2008. The anticipation is so high that this top ten list goes to 11.
11. Green Day How does a band follow their most commercially successful record, two Grammys, and a world tour? With a recording hiatus, of course, occasional cover songs notwithstanding. Nearly four years after American Idiot, Billie Joe Armstrong is rumored to have written a battery of some 45-odd songs about being middle-aged. Can it be done? Will Green Day do for potbellies and receding hairlines what Nirvana did for plaid? Time will tell.
10. The Vines Since signing with Ivy League Records in fall 2007, the Vines have returned to the studio to begin work on their fourth album. Says frontman Craig Nicholls in a press release posted to the band’s MySpace blog, “We really want to make an amazing album and can't wait to start recording.” Nicholls has learned to cope with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition which has primarily affected the Australian’s ability to tour. It’s a pun difficult to resist: the record will prove whether the Vines and Ivy are a match made in record heaven or down under.
9. Big Boi The slightly less eccentric counterpart of Outkast, Big Boi had planned to release a single from his upcoming solo album, Sir Luscious Left Foot, at midnight New Year’s Eve. Earlier that month, he told hiphopdx.com, “I want all the stuff to be '08, everything to be brand new. It's going to be a lot of surprises.” So far the only surprise is the single’s failure to appear. Perhaps the album is so ’08, it’s ’09.
8. The Cure Not only are the Cure scheduled to perform June 9 at Toyota Center, their first album since 2004’s The Cure is due this year. Last year’s tour was postponed in order to allow the band more time in the studio. According to Billboard, the upcoming release will be a double disc, of which singer Robert Smith says, “Whenever I think we’re finishing it, it becomes something else.” Whatever “it” is, it’s scheduled for a spring release by Geffen Records.
7. The Offspring After compiling a greatest hits album in 2005, the Offspring have promised a record of new material. They have even gone so far as to install a camera in the studio where this alleged new music is being recorded. While the camera’s functionality has been questioned on the Web site’s message board, proof that the Offspring are relatively hard at work can be viewed on several in-studio YouTube videos.
6. Black Crowes The first definite release date in this list belongs to the Black Crowes, who unveil their first album in seven years on March 4. Despite an evolving lineup, particularly in the guitar and keyboard departments, the Crowes have maintained a strong fanbase, due in part to the unpredictability of their set lists, which change with each performance. After teasing with the 2006 compilation album The Lost Crowes, the Robinson “brothers of a feather” have set the stage for this year’s Warpaint. For a preview, check out the new song “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution” on the official Black Crowes Web site.
5. Muse Always ahead of the curve, Muse plans to enter the studio in 2008 to create a record with “quite an electronic feel,” said drummer Dom Howard to England’s Daily Star on October 7. Of the band’s creative process, Howard explained, “Normally we need total time out from touring to sit down and reflect, but this time round it feels different. We’re buzzing at the moment.” Muse is also generating a buzz with their Brit Award nomination for Best Live Act. If you haven’t seen them live, see what you’re missing here.
4. Spinnerette The Distillers are no more, but Brody Dalle is alive and screaming as the lead singer of Spinnerette, who have yet to release an album. A “mashup” of forthcoming material can be heard on the band’s MySpace page. As of November 13, Spinnerette had been in the studio for 25 days, according to a post to their MySpace blog. Guitarist Alain Johannes of Queens of the Stone Age, ex-Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons, and Tony Bevilacqua of the Distillers make up the supporting players of this (hopeful) 2008 debut.
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3. Amanda Palmer Amanda Palmer is one-half of the Dresden Dolls, one-half of fictional conjoined twins Evelyn Evelyn, and 100 percent odd. No one really knows what to expect from her upcoming solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. Fellow keyboardist Ben Folds is producing and playing on the record. Between Palmer’s self-dubbed “jackhammer” technique and Folds’s use of alternative body parts, the piano will be lucky to survive the recording.
2. Judas Priest With the high priest of heavy metal Rob Halford back on board since 2005’s Angel of Retribution, JP is set to release a Nostradamus-themed record in 2008. The album has been in the works since 2006, and interviews with Halford and guitarist K.K. Downing have revealed plans for 90-plus minutes of music with possible symphonic and choral orchestrations. Judas Priest have influenced metal for over 30 years, and any activity by these “gods” of the genre, including a summer European tour, is worthy of notice.
1. Guns ‘N Roses Ah, the elusive Chinese Democracy. No list such as this would be complete without mentioning the perpetually in-progress brainchild of, in the words of Conan O’Brien, “Tubby Magoo and the Guys Who Aren’t Slash.” The last G’N’R effort was “The Spaghetti Incident?”, their 1993 covers album. Axl Rose has propagated rumors of a new album since 1999, and the truth of its existence has been continually questioned by critics and fans (much like the question of whether G’N’R truly exists with only one remaining charter member). Chances are, by the time this album sees daylight, there will be democracy in China.
– Linda Leseman