Most anticipated albums of 2013 PT 5 – Little Boots

Most anticipated albums of 2013

Number 1 : 

Little Boots – As yet untitled second album


Release date: March, rumoured or more likely whenever she gets around to it.
I’m probably risking any credibility I may have (none?) by saying Little Boots’ new album is my most anticipated of the year, as I am in an incredible tiny minority. For most people, Little Boots is one of those artists who is only ever brought up in conversation when she is used as an example of how far off the BBC’s Sound of… polls can be. People scoff that she came in at number one on the Sound of 2009 poll, in a list that included, in hindsight, far more successful names such as Lady Gaga, Mumford and Sons, Florence + the Machine and La Roux.
With Little Boots, the potential was definitely there. Her buzz single, Stuck on Repeat, was a Kylie-stylie, glitchy, Hot Chip for girls, electro-pop banger. The song was released for free as a Single of the Week on iTunes. She appeared on Jools Holland playing her nerdy, Japanese Tenori-on gadget. She topped the Sound Of ‘09 poll. All was looking very promising. Then, for some reason her label, 679, who also messed up Marina and the Diamonds’ album campaigns, decided to release New In Town as the first proper single, which was a bit different to what everyone had been expecting, a more pop and less dance-oriented song, with fairly simplistic lyrics (“I’m gonna take you out tonight, I’m gonna make you feel alright”) . The song charted at number 13, the album, Hands, charted at 5 and went gold.
It wasn’t until Remedy came out that Little Boots had a proper hit on her hands, and a bloody good one it was too. A massive pop tune, a huge chorus and a video featuring Boots playing on her little Tenori-on just like the good old days. She said herself that this video was far more ‘her’ than that of the past single. It had kaleidoscope effects. It had a bit that went OH-oh-OH-oh-OH.  It was great and accepted far more readily by the public and the club scene. Next single Earthquake floundered and that was it, Little Boots was regarded as a one hit wonder. Nobody remembers New in Town, naturally.
The last album was patchy. There were some great songs, such as all of those above and Meddle, a few songs that were alright, like Mathematics, and some that were crap, such as the title track (why would you name your album after the worst song on your album?). Some of the songs sounded like early Britney Spears rejects, unsuitable for a lass from Blackpool in her mid-twenties. It’s one of those albums where you add a few tracks to your playlists, then forget about the rest, which in this case is pretty fair, I would say.
What will the new album sound like?
After that big balls-up, why would I be looking forward to Little Boots’ new album? She’s taken a massive break, four years, to come up with the goods for album two, which is enough time to cut out all the filler to avoid the same situation again. Also handily, unlike Lady Gaga and Goldfrapp, Little Boots has released a few songs in the past two years which indicate what the new album will sound like. And that sound is quite exciting.
In her time away, Boots has been releasing countless unnecessary mixtapes and touring clubs as a DJ act for some reason and all this dance music she has been hearing seems to have had a nice effect on the sounds she is now making. The first of these new singles is Shake (at top of page), a six-minute-something electro-dance-house track with a thwomp-thwomp bass bit. Descriptive. You can tell she is all authentic and cool now because there is a record player in the video and only cool people have vinyl. Shake has a good robot voice that says SHAKE every so often, which is a plus point for me, again it sounds like Hot Chip done by girls. There are drum machines, synths, a bloopy-bloop noise throughout that I cannot identify and a La-la-la-la-la-laaah bit in the chorus. Everybody SHAKE ‘til your heart breaks indeed. It does make me want to shake actually. Not in a spasmodic or convulsive fashion, but rather I want to bust some of my white-man moves and grind my hips like only Shakira knows how. Thumbs up, Botitas.
The second single, Every Night I Say a Prayer, is another step up and it actually has a proper video. Granted, it’s not a very good video, but Victoria herself features doing her awkward-in-front-of-the-camera moves. That’s part of the appeal of Little Boots for me; her music sounds like she is desperate to make it big and be a star, but then she always looks very uncomfortable in front of the camera. I like reluctance. Her awkward shuffles remind me of my own early appearances on dance floors, like at my first and only school disco, where I just stood by the Haribo bar and snacked on dolphin-shaped sweets rather than doing the Macarena in a tracksuit with the popular kids. Every Night I Say a Prayer is pretty catchy, another more dancey song that previous work, with a mashing of piano keys in the chorus and a hook of I HAVE SEEN INTO THE FUTURE, like a foxy, one-woman Busted. No talk of triple-breasted women, though. In the video, aside from the very pouty and limber gentlemen who throw serious shapes around her, lyrics pop up on the screen, but at random moments and sometimes in the wrong places, like two fingers up to the recent, pointless trend of lyric videos. Every Night I Say A Prayer is available as a free download on Boot’s Soundcloud page, along with several remixes as well, if you fancy it.
Third single, Headphones, is a bit of a return to that more obviously pop sound exhibited in Boots’ first album singles, but it’s still good and it features another video of Victoria looking a bit awkward in front of the camera, but the video plays on this fact, with a sleazy back alley club where punters can listen to some Little Boots tunes on the supplied headphones and lose themselves in the music, having hallucinations of themselves as the confident figure they dream of being,. Little Boots herself goes from looking like a Countryfile presenter to a rather more confident B-list popstar, as do various other characters, some of whom are more frightening and transvestite than others. The song itself is more of the British Kylie Little Boots with another chorus consisting of LA-LA-LALALA LALA-LALA-LALALA, LA-LA-LALALA LALA-LALA-LALALA, which looks more annoying and repetitive than it really is when written down. I don’t think anyone else really wears their headphones at the disco because they don’t like the music, but it could perhaps speak to those who go to silent discos (Do those only exist in Freshers’ Week?) and find themselves singing out loud for everyone to hear. Finally that awkward moment expressed in song. This single is perhaps the weakest and least exciting of the bunch, but also the catchiest and the most easily accessible for a radio audience and it has some excellent remixes, most of which are available for free download on the Soundcloud page again. The best of all is the Dimitri From Paris remix, which has been eighties-Madonnified and sounds all the better for it. That was also free to download from Dimitri’s page at one point but that might all have changed and I can’t be bothered to check.
So there we have it, three bloody good songs which in theory should be appearing on the new album. Then again, Marina released Radioactive as a pre-album single and then ended up only including it as a bonus track on the deluxe version of the album. If these songs don’t feature, I’ll be fairly miffed. Some might argue that there’s no need to have previously available songs on the album when you can have new material, but that new material might be crap, so I’d rather have a more consistent album. Or you could just chuck it all on there and make a 20-track album that you pick your favourite bits from, but that is a bit lazy.
What about the artwork?
Boots’ imagery was pretty good last time, with all her triangles and kaleidoscopic bits and bobs (which were then stolen by everyone and used to more popular effect), but the single covers so far have been black and white photos of her with her hands in a headphone position and a saying-a-prayer position. I suppose artwork is the least of her concerns at the moment, as she is probably more worried about releasing an album and trying to claw back any relevance she may have had at one point in order to prove the doubters wrong.
What is the worst she could do at this point?
Releasing a patchy album would be inexcusable after a four year absence, I’m expecting heavier dance beats this time round and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get them. It would also be a bit of faux pas to prevent people from buying your music, which she hasn’t realised, releasing a vinyl-only 12-inch double single last week under the pseudonym LB. It’s almost as if she doesn’t want people to hear it, but one of her team uploaded the full version of side 1, Superstitious Heart on Youtube. Does it count as leaking? Is any leaking accidental anymore? Who knows or cares? The song is by far the weakest of all those that have appeared so far and not very danceable. If she could just pull a Remedy-sized pop single out from under her headphones to entice the public once more,  she would be alright, but we’ll have to wait and see what promotion 679 get her nearer the time. Probably nothing. Or releasing a non-album track as a single.  Or going for first-week sales and then abandoning the whole campaign.
How good does this album need to be?
It remains to be seen whether anyone will really take any notice so it doesn’t matter how good the album is, really, but I’d like all the tracks on the album to be at least on the level of Shake, an 8/10.

Don’t let me down, Hesketh.

Part 1: Janelle Monae
Part 2: David Bowie
Part 3: Lady Gaga
Part 4: Goldfrapp
Part 5: Little Boots

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Most anticipated albums of 2013 PT 4 – Goldfrapp

Most anticipated albums of 2013

2. Goldfrapp – As yet untitled new album

Release date: Unknown
2013 should see the arrival of a new album from Goldfrapp, one of my favourite bands with one of the most diverse back catalogues from the past decade.  In fact, the only reason this album is at number two in my list of most anticipated albums of 2013 is because I don’t know which way it is going. Whereas 2003’s Black Cherry, most successful album, 2005’s Supernature and last album, 2010’s Head First were all more dance and glam rock orientated albums, debut album, 2000’s Felt Mountain sounded like a slightly creepy/folky  James Bond soundtrack and fourth album, 2008’s Seventh Tree was a pastoral, mellow, almost acoustic folk affair that sounded like it had been recorded in the woods. With Goldfrapp producing two very distinct sounds, it is uncertain which way the new album is heading.
When Seventh Tree was released, after the success of Supernature, Goldfrapp could have easily regurgitated the album for its follow-up but instead came out with a sex-free album with Alison dressed as a clown and caressing a giant owl. First single A&E was a top ten hit but the album was not as popular as its predecessor, despite being beautiful and very listenable indeed.
When their last album, Head First, was released, it was a return to a more upbeat pop sound but many of the songs felt a little bit hollow and the album was short, with a running time of under 40 minutes, with only 9 tracks (of which one was an instrumental). When the video for Alive came out, it was described by some as the kind of video a band makes when they realise nobody is going to see it, so they can do whatever they want. It is an album that I rarely go back to, apart from a few songs, and the public didn’t take to it. Fortunately, the whole album campaign did bring about the best non-music thing to happen concerning Goldfrapp: when they appeared on TV and were forced to mime but Alison missed her cue and pissed off the Italian hostess, who angrily asked ‘WHAT ‘APPEN? YOU AVE THE PROBLEM WITH THE BALLOONZA?’ [see below]. Beautiful. Soon afterwards, Goldfrapp parted ways with their record label, but not before a forced end-of-deal singles compilation was churned out.
 
What can we expect the album to sound like?
Nothing official has emerged yet, no videos of Alison rapping about cake, so a little digging and social media exploration has to be done, but according to Alison’s Twitter account, in messages posted in January, the album is still not finished and she is writing her socks off. She has, however, posted pictures that she took in the woods and also talked about a new music video. If the music video is indeed set in a forest, then it may end up looking like the video for A&E and so could hint at a more folky album, which I would very much enjoy. Whatever happens, a return to the overly-poppy, shallow sound of Head First seems unlikely, as Alison herself has said that she didn’t actually like the album, which, while being refreshingly honest, does seem to be shooting oneself in the foot somewhat. That album was, as she says in this interview, a bit rushed due to the record label’s demands, so hopefully this lack of pressure, coupled with unfortunate personal losses in Alison’s family life should lead to a more mellow, natural and less forced album. A mix of Felt Mountain and Seventh Tree would suit me. Songs like A&E, Black Cherry, Eat Yourself, Happiness, Little Bird, Monster Love, Number One, Pilots, & Utopia would make for the perfect sound for Goldfrapp in 2013.
What about the artwork?
Goldfrapp’s image has always pretty important for the band, or at least for Alison, while Will hides at the back. It would be a good move if the pink jumpsuits worn during the Head First campaign were never to return and if these were replaced by the imagery we saw from Seventh Tree: floaty cloaks and large paper animals. Let’s just appreciate that owl photo once more.

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Bloody lovely.
What’s the worst that Goldfrapp could do now?
I think I’ve made this pretty clear. Trying to chase success by making the music they think people want to hear will end up in a poor album, so as long as they don’t rush things, they should be ok. A featured rapper would be worse though. Or a music video like Starships, with Alison sticking her bum up in the air and grinding in a bikini with a silly green wig on.
How good does this album need to be?
Even a 6/10 by the band’s standards will be good enough but as it’s Goldfrapp you can almost guarantee the album will be worth the wait. The love I feel for Goldfrapp is quite hard to express properly in words and I’ve felt this way for eight years, ever since I accidentally received Supernature as a birthday present (I think I was swayed by the big fold-out poster of Alison wearing a peacock’s tail). With the recent chart success of acts like Lana Del Rey, demonstrating a laid-back but chart-conquering sound, in a perfect world the new, gentle Goldfrapp album would receive the recognition that the band so obviously deserves. But then again, apparently guitars are making a comeback, so Goldfrapp might get Brian ‘Name your price’ May to axe all over the album, if he’s done with Dappy and pretending to be an astronomer. Finally, now Adele has got hers out of the way and Amy has passed on, the theme for the next Bond film should be Goldfrapp’s for the taking, someone just needs to post a copy of Felt Mountain through Barbara Broccoli’s letterbox.
One last video to appreciate, which is surely a good case for the argument of reinstating Simon Amstell on music television:
 

Part 1: Janelle Monae
Part 2: David Bowie
Part 3: Lady Gaga
Part 4: Goldfrapp
Part 5: Little Boots

Most anticipated albums of 2013 PT 3 – Lady Gaga

Most anticipated albums of 2013

3. Lady Gaga – ARTPOP

Release date: Rumours of March, but Gags is far more likely to tease her fans by revealing the release date 8 months in advance to get them all worked up and frothing at the mouths.
I am a fan of Lady Gaga, not as much as I used to be, but I still like her and believe her to be rather talented and clever. I am by no means what could be described as one of her ‘Little Monsters’ and if I ever do anything to lead you to believe otherwise, you can shoot me down with a machine gun bra. Back in 2009, Gaga was at the top of her game. She had come back from a massive-selling debut album, The Fame, which despite being very patchy, had an excellent run of singles in the UK: Just Dance, Poker Face, Love Game, Paparazzi. When her label was going to re-release The Fame with some bonus tracks tacked on, Lady Gaga put in more effort than your average pop puppet and came out with a 10/10 standalone second album.
The story was a bit different by the time 2011’s Born This Way came out. By this point in her career, Gaga had become a bit of a cult leader for dysfunctional teens and obsessive Twitter users, so the more casual user, like myself, tried to distance himself from the madness. The more Gaga exclaimed ‘we’re all freaks, let’s unite and heal the world!’, I just put my hands up and said ‘I’m just here for the big tunes actually…’. The album that followed was obviously an album for her obsessive fans and again left casual fans feeling excluded.  It also had too much Jesus.
The set up and execution of the album campaign was fairly shambolic. Lady Gaga came out with big hyperbolic statements saying things like ‘this will be the record of a generation’, then leaked (revealed) the lyrics for Born This Way, which were rubbish (You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient!). When the song came out, there was the whole Madonna rip-off furore, which I couldn’t hear at all, but apparently I was in the minority. To cut a long story short, everyone thought the album cover was one of Gaga’s hilarious jokes, but it was real (Head Photoshopped onto motorbike); she released a song that sounded quite like Bad Romance, about being in love with Judas, well-timed with Easter, to rile the Christians a little bit; there was a rumoured video about Gaga being a mermaid, for her emotional single The Edge of Glory, which was about her grandfather’s death, but instead the video featured Gags in her pants sitting on a fire escape and the featured saxophonist Clarence Clemons died a month after the single’s release, possibly from embarrassment (MERE SPECULATION).
The album had some massive tunes on it, Marry The Night, Government Hooker, & Scheiße (Release a song called ‘shit’ and people will still buy it) but also some absolute tosh, mainly the ‘be yourself’ mumbo jumbo with its awful lyrics: ‘Sometimes I want some raccoon or red highlights, just because I want my friends to think I’m dynamite’ – Hair, where Gaga sings about her emotional state through various hair-based metaphors;  ‘We can be strong, we can be strong, follow that unicorn on the road to love’ – what more can you expect from a song called Highway Unicorn (Road to Love); and ‘I’m a nerd, I chew come and smoke in your face, I’m absurd’ – from Bad Kids, all of which undo all of the good pop music work she had done in the few years prior to this release. Since then she’s done a massive tour making loads of money in the process, which features a BUS FOR COUNSELLING and she’s performed a very shouty version of Gimme Shelter with the Rolling Stones.
With all that behind her what can we expect now?
The album is called ARTPOP, which has to be capitalised, just to wind people up and is supposedly going to be arty, which is something we can all look forward to. There are rumours of one or two collaborations with the music scene’s least reliable newcomer, Azealia Banks, so we’ll see if that ever comes into fruition (it probably won’t) but the only new music to appear so far is a song called ‘Cake’ (or Cake Like Lady Gaga). Most people seem to have assumed it is a joke, but knowing Gaga’s tendencies, it is probably a deadly serious foray into rap, featuring lyrics even Nadia Oh would be proud of such as ‘Donatella on your hoes/Donatella got them clothes/Donatella that’s fo’ sho’’ and ‘Burqa Swag like Lady Gaga’.
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What about the artwork?
With one album artwork already guaranteeing its place for eternity on all Worst Album Covers lists, I would like Gaga to try and outdo herself here. Obviously having recently witnessed the closing down of HMV and Blockbuster, to which she surely shed a crystal tear, she is well aware that the future (and the present) lies in digital, so artwork is no longer a necessity, and more of a chance to take the piss a bit (albeit with slightly more effort than Hard-Fi’s effort. Who still remembers Hard-Fi?)   To be honest, I’ll be disappointed if the album cover doesn’t feature at the very least Gaga’s head pasted onto a Segway, or her tiny frame dissected and preserved in formaldehyde.
What is the worst she could do now?
I don’t think we can expect all of ARTPOP (ARTPOP!!!) to sound like Cake,  or any of it for that matter, as it will most likely be a mish-mash of excellent pop songs and inspirational drivel. Whatever happens, it will surely sell millions thanks to the unbelievably loyal fan base she has built up over the last few years, regardless of the quality of the music within. Critically, I think it is make or break for Lady Gaga. Everyone is over her wacky dressing now and for a while she has come across as more style than substance, so she really needs to whip out the big guns now (not literally like in the overblown Alejandro video). That reminds me, she needs to go back to making music videos that are the same length as the song; no long old dialogues about suicide attempts or wacky Tarantino side plots, just a normal length video where she sings, dances and wears a novelty hat. If she doesn’t cut the crap, the inspirational messages, the forced controversy, the ‘Mother Monster’ rubbish and the unnecessary pretension, she may well have sealed her fate with the masses. I want more Bad Romance and less Black Jesus + Amen Fashion.

How good does this need to be?
The album could be a big, fat 0/10 and still sell ridiculously well, especially if Amazon sell it for $1 like they did with the last one, to forcefully inflate the sales statistics, not caring about making a loss, (so virtuous), but I think she would need a safe 8/10 to regain my trust and/or keep me interested.
The disco ball’s in your court, Germanotta.

Part 1: Janelle Monae
Part 2: David Bowie
Part 3: Lady Gaga
Part 4: Goldfrapp
Part 5: Little Boots

Most anticipated albums of 2013 PT 2 – David Bowie

4. David Bowie – The Next Day

Release date: 8th March

 This is one we didn’t expect to be expecting two weeks ago. In a modern media world where an artist can’t usually record an album without somebody leaking all of their demos (insert GIF of Marina Diamandis running about screaming ‘WHO’S LEAKING MY TRACKS?!?’) the world’s most important living pop icon, Lord David Bowie, somehow managed to write, orchestrate and record his first album in ten years without anybody knowing, then spring it on the world as a little surprise last week on his 66th birthday. Many people had wanted Bowie to write something new since 2003’s Reality, but nobody expected it. The closest the media got to guessing was when Bowie was seen in public last year, but that was put down to him buying a sandwich. You can’t help thinking now that perhaps he was doing more than buying a sandwich, we all told off the media for overreacting but perhaps they were right after all?!. After that little event, and the world’s overblown sandwich reaction, I wrote a piece  about how I was pleased David Bowie had not come out of retirement and ruined his legacy like all of his peers, so I was in two minds about Bowie’s comeback, but this is the first time I’ve been artistically conscious enough to anticipate new Bowie music.  

What can we expect?

First single ‘Where Are We Now?’ is not exactly a disco classic. It’s a down-tempo, fairly dreary track with far too many German words than I appreciate in one song and, as much as I truly love David Bowie, I don’t think I would be interested in it if it were by anyone else. Bowie’s voice sounds quite frail, but he himself looks far from it, thankfully. However, we need not worry that the whole album will be about walking the dead and sitting in the dschungel, as we have been assured by one of Bowie’s team, all of whom were asked to sign confidentiality agreements so as not to spoil the surprise before the big reveal, that there will be more rocky tracks on the album than the first single, so all is not lost.  Track titles for the album include ‘Dirty Boys’ and ‘Dancing Out In Space’, which both sound like they would be far from ballad territory and maybe see the return of Major Tom? That’s mere speculation but who knows? Dave loves singing about space though, I wonder why he hasn’t signed up to one of Richard Branson’s voyages or jumped out of a big Red Bull balloon? Because he’s too dignified, that’s why! He doesn’t even want to tour anymore and he doesn’t need to, he probably wears diamond encrusted slippers and decorates his food with more gold leaf than everyone in the Great British Bake Off combines.
What about the artwork?
It’s the cover of Bowie’s “Heroes” album with a white square bunged on top of it and the title written on in a horrible font. Apparently it took ages to come up with the concept, and seemingly one minute for an eight year old to create the image on Microsoft Paint. The less said about it, the better really. I assumed it was a joke image at first, like when Lady Gaga released the artwork for Born This Way, everyone hoped she was having a laugh. Bowie’s people say the cover is supposed to represent ‘forgetting the past’ but I think a far more powerful image would be a 66 year old Bowie facing the camera in the same pose as the Aladdin Sane cover, but with the lightning bolt rubbed off his face, paint smeared across his cheek. That would be far more powerful.

What The Next Day should sound like.
What is the worst thing David could do now?
As much as I don’t want the album to be a disc of dreary ballads, without meaning to sound hypocritical here, Bowie does need to act his age. If he released a dubstep album featuring Nicki Minaj guest raps, about being a boy gone wild and wanting to romp and mutually swap genes with a younger generation, I would be tempted to say goodbye to him forever. I think there’s more chance of the whole album being Ziggy Stardust played backwards than that though. Artists need to realise they have gotten old, Madonna hasn’t realised this yet, but David has. Of course, an older artist can release songs that are more suitable to their age group without being as dull as Where Are We Now?, such as when Johnny Cash released his cover of Hurt at the age of 71.I would be happy if the songs were more in the vein of Absolute Beginners and Heroes, with the occasional guitar solo chucked in, rather than the industrial drum machine racket Little Wonder or Jump They Say. The best thing Bowie could do now is a Glastonbury headline set though.
How good does this album need to be?
The Next Day needs to be at LEAST a 9 to make Bowie’s comeback worthwhile, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have bothered doing all of this with a dud album.

Part 1: Janelle Monae   
Part 2: David Bowie
Part 3: Lady Gaga
Part 4: Goldfrapp
Part 5: Little Boots

Most anticipated albums of 2013 PT 1 – Janelle Monáe

2013’s Most Anticipated Albums

For me personally, pop music in 2012 was a pretty big let down.  188.6 million singles were sold in the UK, which is a pretty hefty number, but the biggest hits of the year were Gotye’s overplayed, xylophone-bothering Somebody I Used To Know and Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy and world-uniting yet lyrically- abominable (“Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad”) Call Me Maybe, neither of which appealed to me.
In 2012 I didn’t purchase very many albums. There was Marina and the Diamonds’ Electra Heart in April, which she this week admitted was supposed to be a side project thing but her label wouldn’t allow it.
 Despite being an excellent pop album and entering the charts at No.1, it was handled pretty badly by the label (who also messed up Marina and Little Boots’ first albums) and sunk without a trace due to the wrong choice of singles and Marina’s insistence to release a non-album single, which eventually got a video after months of faffing. I’m still fairly sure How to Be a Heartbreaker still hasn’t been released officially, but nobody cares anymore.
The month of May gave us Scissor Sisters’ Magic Hour, which was a bit of a step backwards from their career high of Night Work and featured only a handful of tracks worth revisiting. When the first track was released online on 2nd January yet had its release pushed back indefinitely, it was clear something was wrong (though it may have just been Azealia Banks messing everyone about again) and the group later announced they were going on hiatus later in the year.
The third and final album that I purchased in 2013, (aside from numerous Greatest Hits albums) all of these being digitally/online, much to my guilt, what with the closing down of reliable old HMV, was Amanda Palmer’s ambitious crowd-funded Theatre is Evil, which came out in September and was well worth the optional $1 price tag. More on that here.
Those were the only albums I forked out for in 2012, so 2013 doesn’t have to do much to eclipse that. Fortunately, a host of greats have got new albums due out this year, so there’s plenty to look forward to. Here are my top 5 most anticipated of the year:

5. Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady

WARNING: Video contains audience call and response.
Estimated release date: When she feels like it
Following Janelle’s 2010 debut, The Archandroid, the lack of Suites in the new album’ title leads me to believe that she is taking a break from the Metropolis/Cindi Mayweather android concept, which may be advisable if she intends to tap into the mainstream market. Janelle featured on the third highest-selling single of 2012 in the UK, Fun’s We Are Young, but her part was so minor that it didn’t help her to become a household name, unfortunately. Hopefully it will at least give her a leg up onto some radio playlists.
When Janelle first came to my attention, thanks to the overwhelmingly positive reviews The Archandroid was receiving, she was a breath of fresh air for female pop. Appearing with her strange android love story concept album and wearing a tuxedo, she stood out from the rest of today’s pop sluts by promoting art rather than prostitution. As she sang on Sincerely, Jane, “When you take off your clothes, all your dreams go down the drain”, with much appreciated brass backing. The first track I heard from the Metropolis suites was Many Moons, with its video featuring funky footwork and the best middle-eight list of words since Vogue and We Didn’t Start The Fire. Suite II started off with an excellent handful of danceable tracks which eventually petered out and led to more orchestral numbers but this just showed off the variety of genres that Monáe meddled with: rock, pop, soul, rap, jazz, RnB etc  and showcased Janelle’s excellent musical ability, while her appearances at music festivals throughout the last few summers have shown her to be an incredible live vocalist who knows how to treat an audience, making her performances unmissable.
What can we expect?
Performances of two songs that may be due to appear on the new album have appeared on Youtube, Electric Lady and Dorothy Dandridge Eyes, with the former, the title track and first single, featuring heavy amount of brass, making for a jazzy treat. I hope Janelle manages to cut down her tracklisting this time to a manageable 10-12 tracks, more in the vein of up-tempo tracks such as Cold War and Come Alive, yet with a few of her film score-like slower tracks. I would be rather pleased if she cut out all interludes, intermissions, backwards tracks and overtures and just stuck to some excellent tuens this time, but whatever happens, she can’t go wrong with a nice load of brass, in my book.

SPOILED MILK, STALE BREAD, WELFARE, BUBONIC PLAGUE, RECORD DEAL, LIGHT BULB
Still Janelle’s best song.
What artwork can we hope for?
The artwork for The Archandroid was pretty good, what with our Jane having a big city on her head, so for The Electric Lady I don’t think it’s too much to hope for a wind farm nestled into her big Swiss roll hairdo.
What is the worst thing Janelle can do now?
It would be sad to see Janelle start advertising herself as ‘that lass off the Fun song’, as her own songs are far superior. In addition, Janelle has been a very vocal supporter of the Obama campaign recently, but I hope none of that seeps into the new record. Pop and politics should stay separated. Nobody like poplitics. Finally, Janelle will be ok as long as she doesn’t take her clothes off and start marketing herself as a sex symbol, but I don’t suppose there’s much chance of that; the tux is probably staying on.
How good does the album need to be?
An 8 out of 10 would give Janelle the push she needs.

Part 1: Janelle Monae
Part 2: David Bowie
Part 3: Lady Gaga
Part 4: Goldfrapp
Part 5: Little Boots