The 11 most anticipated albums of 2011

The new year brings new promises, new goals and new resolutions. It also brings a ton of new music for your listening pleasure. Here’s a list of some of the albums that you should be on the lookout for in 2011.

1. Radiohead*

Radiohead’s 2007 effort, “In Rain-bows,” showed that these guys are not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, it was quite revolutionary in a way. It defied all commercial rules of the music industry. For the first few months, the band simply gave away downloads of their album for whatever donations fans wanted to make. Now, in 2011, Radiohead is ready to release again and no matter what the marketing strategy will be, the music will undoubtedly be fantastic.

2. Dr. Dre: “Detox”

Trying to figure out when this album will drop is as certain as asking a magic eight-ball — with the answer often being “ask again later.” However, many signs point to 2011 being the year that Dr. Dre steps away from the producer chair and steps back behind the microphone. It is likely that “Detox” will be the Dr.’s final album and it will probably feature some of the rappers he produces like Eminem and 50 Cent. “Detox” has a tentative release date in February.

3. Kanye West & Jay-Z:  “Watch the Throne”

This year, Kanye West and Jay-Z will try to prove that two is better than one. After a successful 2010, which saw Kanye West release what many critics hailed as the best album of the year, and saw Jay-Z evolve from rapper to author, the two friends are doing what Lebron James and Dwayne Wade did before them — creating an unstoppable juggernaut of a team. Their collaboration is set for a release early in the year.

4. The Strokes*

If most bands were to take as long a hiatus as The Strokes have, they would probably be forgotten — but not The Strokes. This New York band has had such an impact on music that fans have been craving this fourth album for years, even when it seemed like the band was over. The band members didn’t disappear though. Albert Hammond Jr. continued with his solo efforts as did lead singer Julian Casablancas who also had a memorable appear-ance in The Lonely Island’s debut album “Incredibad.” Now it seems they’re ready for a 2011 comeback, and fans can breathe a much-needed sigh of relief.

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers*

It won’t be the same. The band that seemed to only get better with time lost one of its most important pieces in lead guitarist, John Frusciante, who walked away in 2010.  However, the Chili Peppers seem to thrive on this kind of thing. They’ve dealt with death, drug-addiction and feuds before and have continued to create incredible music. It will be exciting to see how the band has evolved in this next album set for release some time this year.

6. Foo Fighters*

Another band that has only benefited from the maturation of its lead singer and songwriter is Foo Fighters. Their exquisite combination of unadulterated rock power chords and insightful lyrics has propelled them to superstar status, selling out arenas and amphitheaters all over the country. This time around, Nirvana fans can salivate over the fact that ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic is rumored to appear in a song on the new album.

7. Incubus*

Incubus also took some time off. Brandon Boyd released a solo album, guitarist Mike Eisinger went back to school, and collectively the band released a greatest hits album, “Monuments and Melodies.” It is said that they are back together, recording and preparing an album to be released in 2011.

8. Death Cab for Cutie: “Codes and Keys”

Death Cab’s 2005 release, “Plans,” put the indie band on the map. It was one of the great albums of the decade. Their follow-up album, “Narrow Stairs,” was a change of pace but maintained their unique style and masterful lyrics. “Codes and Keys,” due out this spring, should be nothing short of brilliant, which is what’s now to be expected from such a talented band.

9. Coldplay*

Most people I know favor early Coldplay, although they cannot deny that they still enjoyed “X&Y” and “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.” If their 2010 Christmas single, “Christmas Lights,” is an indication that they are continuing to head in the direction of their latest efforts, that should be enough to please all fans. The band’s fifth album should be out sometime this year.

10. Beyonce*

As far as pop music is concerned, one would have to argue that it’s either Beyonce or Justin Timberlake who could make the claim of being the Michael Jackson of our generation. It’s almost like Beyonce’s career is following the same path Jackson took in his video for “Billy Jean,” where every step lights up her path. Beyonce can do no wrong. She also wields enough power to have the best songwriters in the world writing her songs, so how can she go wrong?

11. The Lonely Island*

Two years ago we were singing along to, “I’m On a Boat.” Today, Andy Samberg and his crew have done it again with the first single, “I Just Had Sex,” off of their soon-to-be-released album. It’s not just that their music is funny ― it’s really, really good. Whoever isn’t excited for this album after watching the music video for “I Just Had Sex” needs to have their funny bone checked.

2011 looks to be a great year in music. Just be sure to keep your ears open. One of these might just become your favorite album of the year.

*Album title to be announced.

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