Pop had a good summer in the singles department, but as far as albums are concerned it’s been pretty quiet. In fact, it’s been a quiet year. Avril, Britney, Will, Adele and Gaga have released some top-notch LP’s, but very few others have managed to make much of a lasting impression.
Hopefully, things will pick up a tad this autumn, with the arrival of some hot-to-trot work from some real pop heavyweights. Here are ten albums worth pre-ordering, just so you get them exactly on time:
Title: ‘Cinderella’s Eyes’
Artist: Nicola Roberts
Release date: September 25th
What’s on it: ‘Beat Of My Drum’ and ‘Lucky Day’ lead an assault of electronic pop.
She says: “It’s electronically lead, and if you’re a fan of electronic music then hopefully there’s something for you on there. ‘Sticks and Stones’ is a ballad but not a slushy one, and hopefully people will be able to relate to the lyrics. There’s the Dragonette track which has a dancey, Robyn-esque production, and then there’s the hard and dramatic Metronomy sounds on the song ‘Eye’.”
I say: This has potential to be the best Solo Aloud album yet. Nicola’s music is much cooler than anyone really expected, and hopefully the album will stay on the right side of pretentiousness and deliver the goods.
Artist: Leona Lewis
Release date: November 28th
What’s on it: New single ‘Collide’ signals a new era of dance-lead pop for X Factor’s first lady, but don’t worry – there’ll still be a Ryan Tedder team-up. There’ll also be work from Dallas Austin, Ne-Yo and Fraser T. Smith.
She says: “It’s been a bit different because I have gone on tour, had time off, had different things happening and I was just at a different place when I was doing this album. I was given a bit of free range to do it.”
I say: ‘Collide’ took a few listens to take hold, but it is a really good song. Apparently next single ‘Trouble’ is generating a helluva lot of buzz as a potential single of the year, with comparisons being drawn to Massive Attack. I am fond of but not crazy about Leona’s back catalogue. This record could change that.
Artist: Matt Cardle
Release date: October 16th
What’s on it: Debut single ‘Letters’ leads the charge of light-rock-y music.
He says: “The album is actually quite diverse in the sound. We’ve been working with a few producers, so a lot of the tracks sound different. ”There’s some soul stuff, some rocky stuff, there’s a lot of stuff that is stripped right down to just guitars and cellos and strings. It’s got a bit of everything in there. I’m really proud of it.”
I say: ‘Run For Your Life’ is poo. But with so many quality songwriters and SO MUCH HYPE being fed into the media, surely the album must be quite special? Amiright?
Title: ‘Mylo Xyloto’
Release date: October 24th
What’s on it: Summer anthem ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’ and upcoming single ‘Paradise’. Tracklisting is still to be confirmed.
They say: “We never stop writing. We go into the studio with all the best laid plans then what we end up with is not what we intended. It’s time to take our music down different directions and really explore other avenues.”
I say: If ‘Every Teardrop’ – and indeed every preceding Coldplay album – is anything to go by, ‘Mylo’ should be fantastic. It’s Coldplay, for crying out loud. The second single, premièred and released within the next few days, will give us more of an idea of what’s to come.
Title: ‘Rebecca Ferguson’ (TBC)
Artist: Rebecca Ferguson
Release date: November 14th
What’s on it: NOBODY KNOWS
She says: “:) off to work with the genius that is eg/Francis White xxx” (sic)
I say: Nobody really knows a thing about this album, other than it is released on November 14th and Eg White (renowned pop maestro) has been hired to produce any number of tracks. Rebecca’s voice was the most interesting on last year’s ‘X Factor’ and I hope it’s done justice on her first record. Even if it’s twelve tracks of her ‘X Factor’ cover of ‘Make You Feel My Love’, I’ll buy it.
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Release date: October 24th
What’s on it: ‘Mr Know It All’, the album’s lead single, sees in Kelly’s fifth album campaign, but other tracklisting details are being kept strictly under wraps.
She says: “[The title is] mainly because the entire album is very much about empowerment and just strength overall and I love singing songs like that.”
I say: ‘Mr Know It All’ indicates an interesting shift for Kelly away from hi-NRG pop-rock and into more subtle toe-tappers. Still, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t bust out the glass-shattering belt notes at some point or another.
Artist: Demi Lovato
Release date: September 20th (US Import only)
What’s on it: Surprise smash ‘Skyscraper’ is there but it has been pushed to the rear of the tracklisting to make way for collaborations with Ryan Tedder, Timbaland, Iyaz and Jason Derulo. One track was co-written with JLS’ Aston Merrygold.
She says: “It’s definitely a lot more mature than the other stuff that I’ve done. It’s not pop rock, it’s more R&B vocals and it really showcases my vocals, which I’m really proud of. There are some other songs that are as equally intense as ‘Skyscraper’ that I’m excited for people to hear, but for the most part it’s going to be a lot more fun.”
I say: Call me sad, but this is among the year’s most exciting album releases for me. Demi’s got one of the best voices in pop, Disney background or no Disney background, with Ryan Tedder likening her pipes to Kelly Clarkson’s. The shift away from tween-friendly kiddie-rock towards mature pop puts anticipation through the roof.
Artist: Florence And The Machine
Release date: October 31st
What’s on it: Buzz single ‘What The Water Gave Me’, alongside a collection of tracks thought to be “less indie, more soul” in comparison to the work on ‘Lungs’.
She says: “It still feels like I’m very much drawn to dark metaphors in the new songs. It always feels like as if with each song you write, you’re trying to understand something about yourself: Why am I this way? What’s wrong with me? It feels as if there’s still a lot of questioning left to do.”
I say: ‘Lungs’ was a global success and no doubt this follow-up will fly off the shelves too. I’ll be interested to see if she can keep up the quality this time around, but ‘What The Water Gave Me’ seems very promising.
Artist: The Saturdays
Release date: November TBC
What’s on it: Singles ‘Notorious’ and ‘All Fired Up’ get the girls away to a dance-pop start, but apparently there are some “tear-jerking” ballads on there, too.
They say: “We’re just adding the finishing touches to it now really. It’s really exciting for us because we’ve actually written half of this album ourselves and we’re so excited to be selecting the songs that have made it onto the album.”
I say: ‘Chasing Lights’ was very, very good; but the problem is that was three years ago. ‘Wordshaker’ was a solid listen, but last year’s mini-album ‘Headlines’ packed very little punch indeed, aside from the bollocking good single ‘Higher’ – so basically, this album is where the girls need to steer it back on track. Both singles are exceptionally good, particularly ‘All Fired Up’, so the early signs are good.
Artist: Pixie Lott
Release date: November 7th
What’s on it: Midweek No1 ‘All About Tonight’ is the lead single, and is expected to be joined by a number of collaborations – including Stevie Wonder and, apparently, Ke$ha. Tracklisting and title to be announced.
She says: “[It's] still pop stuff, but maybe a little more soulful. That’s the kind of thing that I’m into. That influence is stronger on this album.”
I say: Nobody expected Pixie to sell over a million copies of ‘Turn It Up’, and the obvious downside of that is the pressure to follow it up successfully. Pixie’s a solid songwriter, so it should be a good set.