We at Scene love music, and we’re all looking forward to something in 2014. Take a look at what some of our writers are eagerly expecting in the new year, and let us know what we’re missing!
When thinking about music in 2014, one has to start by mentioning a big name from the past. Axl Rose is supposed to release a new Guns N’ Roses album six years after the underwhelming Chinese Democracy, which took him 14 years and $13m to complete. We can only hope he manages to bring the name of GNR back to glory with his new material.
Indie rock fans should already be excited about Bombay Bicycle Club’s new offering So Long, See You Tomorrow released in February. Judging by the single ‘Carry Me’, they have kept their distinctive style whilst adding a new twist with sampling, creating huge anticipation to hear what the rest of the album sounds like.
Similarly, the Danish alt rock group Mew have developed their style in every album while keeping the boyish melodic singing of Jonas Bjerre the constant and dominant feature of their music. They are now recording their next effort, but while waiting for next year, check out ‘156’ or the rhythmic ‘Repeater Beater’ to decide if you love or hate them.
As a self-confessed fanboy, I’m trying to look forward to something in 2014 other than The Amazing Spider Man 2. Music looks to be a great alternative (sadly, not a re-release of that Asian lady playing the theme tune in a subway). With his critical and commercial hit Christmas, Michael Bublé would’ve been crackers not to release another holiday-themed anthem. This time, it’s Easter-related, and is said not to be filled with messages about Christ’s resurrection but egg puns.
Johnny Cash was one of the 20th century’s most versatile musicians and, arguably, had the 20th century’s best surname. Next year marks a release of some of The Man in Black’s unreleased tracks, which I couldn’t be more excited for.
And finally, whilst there’s a certain peer pressure for a student to love Bombay Bicycle Club, I await their “fourth album in five years” with anticipation. Does liking Johnny Cash reconcile my mainstream-ness?
Kanye West and Jay Z have announced that the follow up to their 2011 collaboration, and possibly the best hip hop album of the 21st century, will be released in early 2014. Producer Mike Dean confirmed that Watch The Throne Part 2 is in the works on Twitter, when he tweeted Hudson Mohawke in July saying “yep. It’s happening.” Watch this space. Or the throne…
MTV’s Video Music Awards seem to get crazier every year. Britney Spears performed with a live snake in 2001, but Lady Gaga outcrazied her in 2009 when she pretended to hang herself at the end of the set. When Kanye West jumped on stage to interrupt Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech in 2009, it felt like the craziness had peaked. But Miley Cyrus managed to top it this year when she twerked on Robin Thicke. What will they do next? Will Beyonce set herself on fire and perform while eating live tarantulas? Whatever happens, 2014’s VMAs will no doubt have us talking for months.
Wrecking Ball (Bruce Springsteen‘s Wrecking Ball, not Miley’s; Miley’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ has done little to further Bruce’s career) proved that even after 40 years and 17 albums, The Boss has still got it. In the forthcoming High Hopes, set for a January release, fans will recognise a few tracks that Bruce and the E Street Band have played on previous tours, and Springsteen has also revealed that it will include a new version of ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’, featuring Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. The album will probably be accompanied by a tour, which, if the Wrecking Ball tour was anything to go by, will be another major music highlight of 2014.
“The future of the galaxy depends on The Temples and Jagwar Ma records,” said indie stalwart Noel Gallagher. That’s a pretty huge statement live up to but The Temples do. They take obvious influence from the psychedelia of the Sixties and Seventies, with The Beatles and early Pink Floyd being big reference points, and they have been tipped as the next big thing by acts like Suede and Johnny Marr. You could imagine this whole endeavour easily turning into complete kitsch, or mere style over substance. But it doesn’t – they consistently deliver the tunes. The kaleidoscopic organ of ‘Prisms’ sounds as good as anything which came out in the 60s, and so does the dazed lyricism of ‘Shelter Song’. They manage to take us back to a time when rock music could be something exciting and experimental. For a band so rooted in the past they seem so oddly fresh. The Temples realise their début album Sun Structures on February 10th. I hope they live up to their promise.
With 2013 having been an astonishing year for music, you’d be forgiven for thinking that 2014 promised us listeners a breather from all the ruckus. As it turns out, 2014 could get a whole lot bigger. First up, the Foo Fighters’ hiatus seems to have lasted all of twelve months, as Dave Grohl’s band returned this week, playing a gig in Mexico. No new songs revealed as yet, but with an album mooted for a summer release, coupled with a potential first appearance at Glastonbury, 2014 could see the Foos scale new heights.
Speaking of Glastonbury, a certain Fleetwood Mac are favourites to make their debut. John McVie is allegedly on the mend after his cancer scare, so health permitting, Worthy Farm can surely start preparing. Will the likes of Bowie and Daft Punk be joining them?
Elsewhere, Kanye West has claimed that an eight-track follow-up to Yeezus will be released next summer. Rick Rubin has said that there were several tracks leftover from the Yeezus sessions. On current form, the enigmatic rapper’s seventh LP should be a corker.
If there’s one thing I’m intrigued about in pop music for 2014, it’s Rihanna’s new album. 2013 is the first time since 2009 the Barbadian pop mega-star hasn’t released an album and time-off can only be a good thing. True, her chart-Blitzkrieg hasn’t exactly let up, with six singles dropped from 2012’s Unapologetic this year alone. But she’s at least taken time away and – I hope – time to reflect on 2009-13. In my opinion, Rihanna’s best album in the period was 2010’s Loud and the quality has only deteriorated with her two successive albums – she can still create mega-hits but her albums, overall, are duds and she’s risked saturation. A year-off did Katy Perry the world of good in producing 2013’s stellar album Prism and I can only hope Ri-Ri takes a note out of Perry’s book and comes back with a brilliant record instead of the faux-badass trash she’s given us since ‘We Found Love’.
With Outkast reportedly working together for the first time since 2007 and Tool making some vague headway on their first album since 2006’s “It’s not quite Lateralus, but I suppose it will do” 10,000 Days, 2014 could be a year of long-awaited returns for musical veterans. If either of these happen, I will be a very, very happy man. That’s all I need from 2014.
There are a few other projects to look forward to. Warpaint will be releasing another atmospheric dreamscape in January as a follow-up to 2010’s The Fool. The Kills are also working on new material, and Kendrick Lamar will be in his laboratory cooking up an album that, if Good Kid MAAD City is anything to go by, I will love more than life itself.