Album Watch: Great Expectations of 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's that time again...

Looking into the crystal ball it looks like 2011, musically, is shaping up to be just as brilliant as last year. Hopefully, most of what has been speculated or confirmed at the moment of post press lives up to the high hopes I have prematurely placed on them. Plus, I also hope there are some surprises in store this year as well, in order to give me a real nice fix for my ears.

Like last year's 'great expectations', let's take a peek-a-boo at what we can sort of expect this year to bring us in terms of new projects from some artists that you may be familiar with. Note that, album titles and artist's minds are subject for change, so this "mini-list" is just something to to sort of get you all hot n' bothered about all the tantalizing treats coming to your headphones this year.

The Confirmed Brigade

Adele - 21
"Rolling In The Deep" is merely the beginning. We got an sophisticated album cover. We got a tracklisting. We even got a release date. 21 is happening and it's probably one of my most anticipated albums to arrive this year. 

Sam Sparro - Return To Paradise
With the Pink Cloud EP the first glimpse of what is in store, Paradise, Sparro's second installment, is already confirmed for arrival this year. Rumor has it that he has recorded over 40 songs for this, which means he's been busy. Sparro has hinted that he's taking Paradise to the late 80's and early 90's dance parties, so brush up on your Crystal Waters, Deee-Lite, and Black Box tunes before this drops.

Jill Scott - Light Of The Sun 
2010 was the initial target year for this project, but amid starring in Tyler Scary Perry movies, discussing race related topics in-between the pages of Essence, and battling it out with her record label, Hidden Beach, Scott didn't have enough time to really put this project into motion. Now, 2011 is being thrown around as the year where will get to hear Scott's luscious vocals back for round number five. Another anticipated release for me.

Raphael Saddiq - Stone Rollin' 
Didn't think Raphael could top the fantastic The Way I See It? Well, he's soon going to be "stone rollin'" this year, with his brand new album. A single, "Radio" (well, a snippet) has already surfaced, and so has the tracklisting . Chatter is saying that the material on Rollin' will be akin to 'Electric Ladyland'. Saucy.

Marsha Ambrosius - Late Nights, Early Mornings
The Floacist delivered this year (with her long-awaited debut, Floetic Soul) now the other half of Floetry is ready to step in the solo spotlight. With guest spots and mixtapes out the wazoo, Ms. Ambrosius has been busy, busy keeping us just plain waiting for a long player. She has already dropped the album cover, and the single, "I Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player)" has picked up steam. This all means that the first full length Ambrosius experience has a confirmed appearance this year. 

Lady GaGa - Born This Way 
GaGa announced cryptically on her Twitter before the new year rang in, that Born This Way is arriving in May and the first single from that, the title track, will be popping up in the frigid dreck of February. There was a rumored tracklisting a while back for this project, but it proved to be a fake. Still Elton John is supposed to be present on this release (a song called "You and I"), which just adds to the amazingness that is to be in store. So hold the telephone and put on your best pokerface, GaGa is gonna dominate pop again in '11. 

James Morrison - In My Dreams 
Third album is a-go. How do I know? When you sit by a Christmas tree strumming away on a guitar singing a brand new song called, "In My Dreams" and claiming that you have been working on a new album with the same title, you just kind of know. 

Lupe Fiasco -  Lasers
Like Scott, Fiasco was embroiled in a legal battle with his record label, Atlantic, which led to the release of Lasers being stalled. The aptly titled "The Show Goes On" was released as the first single back in October, with it's music video following behind two months later. Lasers has a drop date for March 8th so things seem to be on the up and up.

Rahsaan Patterson - Bleuphoria
The surprise drop of  "Easier Said Than Done" just put the wheels of Bleuphoria into motion. Expect to hear the glowing warm touch of vocals from Rah this coming Spring.

James Blake - James Blake  
Already this album is being a lauded, and can't say I blame people for being just a bit excited for this. From the sprinkle of tracks leaking from this project already, I'm assured that the album should be quite the hot commodity.

The "It's Coming In 2011, Or So I Think" Club 

Madonna - Rumored
Her Queeness had this to say about making music this year: “Its official! I need to move. I need to sweat. i need to make new music! Music I can dance to. I’m on the look out for the maddest, sickest, most bad ass people to collaborate with. I’m just saying……..”...and I'm not complaining.

Alana Davis - Rumored
Sounds like I'm describing a mirage, as Alana Davis hasn't released an album since 2005's Surrender Dorothy and has taken to motherhood instead of picking up her guitar, but somewhere I saw a blurb about her returning to the scene and well, maybe if I post about this rumor, maybe she'll come a la Field of Dreams, with her guitar in tow of course. 

Roisin Murphy - Rumored 
It's all supposed to happen back at 'momma's place' this year. She teased us with "Momma's Place" and "Oral Fixation". She's had her child. I want to be sow into her again.

Esperanza Spalding - Rumored
Q-Tip tweeted that he is working on the production side of Spalding's follow-up to the spinetingling, Chamber Music Society. All I have to say about that is: Please.Hurry.Up. !!!

No Doubt - Rumored 
They reunited. It felt so good. Went on tour. It was even better. They said give them a year and an album should formulate. It's been a year. Actually, it's been 10 years since Rock Steady, but it's not like I was counting or anything...

Maxwell - The Sequel to 'Summers'
We were supposed to have another BLACKsummersnight last summer, but since the first installment was doing so well in the single department, things got pushed back. It is being chatted that this summer Maxwell will return to the sequel of his big comeback record.

Fiona Apple - Rumored 
It's been five years since Extraordinary Machine, but fans of Apple know that she takes sweet time with dropping releases. Still there are words aflutter about Ms. Apple's return in the Spring with a follow-up.

Ledisi - Rumored 
She tweeted exuberantly about listening to new tracks for a new CD. She's also been dropping tweets about being in the studio. Hmm.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Make A Scene
The dance poplet had been latched with the The Freemasons back in '10, and has released sporadically songs such as "Heartbreak, Make Me A Dancer", "Bittersweet", and "Not Giving Up On Love". She has been dancing around news concerning the follow-up to 2007's Trip The Light Fantastic, but with a tracklisting and a street date (April 2011), Make A Scene seems a tangible possibility this year.

Who Should 2011 Themselves

Santigold popped up this past year by being minimized to only doing background vocals on the Scissor Sisters' Night Work ("Running Out" was the track), and her work got put on the cutting room floor during Christina Aguilera's Bionic sessions. I think it's time Santi returns to follow-up that brilliant debut she had.

"Black Mermaid" got me all riled up about her return. She's been sticking to doing more behind the scenes work, notably with Timbaland and Kanye West, performing for intimate crowds, and she's highly entertaining on her blog and on Twitter...but she's overdue for a new long player.

Van Hunt 
My little wishful thinking moment. The fiasco of  Popular's handling may have turned him away from releasing anything from now on. Still, what do I know? There is always a chance for a possibility. 

Alice Smith
It's been a spell since For Lovers, Dreamers and Me, and anyone who has at least heard the album knows about how Ms. Smith has kept us in the waiting room since 2006. She has semi-returned. She appeared this past year with a brand new track, "Fire" that she's been touting around on the performing circuit. I'm wishing on a star in hopes that she drops something new this year.

Saunders Sermons
His Classic Delight EP was just amazing, it'd be nice to see what he can really do with a full album.

Amy Winehouse 
Come on. You were thinking it too.

Edit (9/7/2011)
Nneka - Soul Heavy
Florence + The Machine - TBA
Marina & The Diamonds - TBA
Eric Roberson - Mr. Nice Guy
Goapele - Break Of Dawn
Patrick Stump - Soul Punk
Sneaky Sound System - From Here To Anywhere 
Feist - Metals 
Lalah Hathaway - Where It All Begins

What are your expectations, predictions, and musical wishes for 2011? 


  1. Thanks as usual for sharing the excitement -
    I had to do a double take when I saw Alana Davis' name! That would make my decade! I also agree and am excited about the who should 2011 : Santigold, Esthero and Alice Smith. To that list I'd add:
    1-Res: she says she's back working with Doc (Esthero Doc)
    I've been hearing the Eska is finishing up (fingers crossed) so that would be fantastic and I'm looking forward to the following:
    1-Cocknbullkid - "Adulthood" (I was glad to see your feature on her and have been a big fan for a while now )
    2-Jamie Woon - "Blue Truth"
    3-Rhian Benson - on a smooth, but she says slightly electro-tip
    3-Brittany Bosco
    And hoping for the following to make it to the States:
    1-Asa-Beautiful Imperfection
    2-Ladi6-The Liberation Of
    3-Rox - Memoirs

    That's my 2011 wish list - nothing much!

  2. Gracie: GREAT picks!

    Eek! I forgot about Jamie Woon, Res, and Brittany Bosco! Bosco had a song out, "Ragdoll" last year and I was for sure thinking she was coming out with the album, 'Black' last year, but nothing. I hope to see that as well because "Ragdoll" was like a demented and spooky Tina Turner/Janis Joplin song. I just want to know where she was going to go with that...

    I wish I could remember where I exactly saw the blurb about Alana Davis. I just wrote it down on a notepad (like I usually do when I want to remember something cause I have a hard time remembering things sometimes) and I just didn't write the source...dopey me. If I hear anything more, I'll be sure to post it here because it's such good news if it's true!

    Oh, and isn't Cocknbullkid great? I feel so dopey for just now hearing about her cause she's right up my alley, but Adulthood is another anticipation for me. I need to check out the unfamiliar names to me, on your list like Tawiah, Rihan Benson, and Ladi6.

    2011 is seriously shaping up to be really good!


    Seriously though, the ones I am looking forward to (if they do see the light of day) are:

    Jill Scott (obviously)
    Marsha Ambrosius
    SugaSmak (a Nate James project)
    Nate James
    Raphael Saadiq
    Rahsaan Patterson
    Lupe Fiasco
    Van Hunt
    Amy Winehouse
    Saunders Sermons
    Syleena Johnson
    Joy Jones

    I'm sure there are others I'd welcome with open arms, but they're all I can think of at the moment.

  4. Wait a minute. Joy Jones is dropping something or is that a prediction?!?

    Gosh, I hope it's the truth! 'Godchild' was fantastic.

    And Tweet had me in knots for two years with all those unreleased tracks. Her and JoJo just keep me going in circles with their "I'm releasing tons of songs, but I still have no follow-up third album."

  5. That's just something I'm hoping for, I loved her 'Godchild' album, that was easily one of my favourite albums of 2009.

    I tweeted Tweet (that sounds weird in itself). lol She stated that she's planning on releasing her album this year, so I hope that actually materialises. I need that album.

  6. Great picks!

    I still bump Alice Smith's 'For Lovers, Dreamers and Me'...One of my favorite CDs...

    I also need some new music from Goapele, Curt Chambers, Joy Denalane, Mystic, Brandy, Stephanie McKay and India.Arie to name a few.


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