While 2013 has already yielded many critically acclaimed albums, several big names are releasing albums that have high expectations to live up to.
M.I.A.’s fourth album Matangi, released November 5, follows 2010’s Maya, which was the singer/rapper’s most popular album to date. The single “Bad Girls” is in the same vein as her previous work, R&B with a strong world music element, and lyrics that center around female empowerment. Canadian R&B artist The Weeknd features on three of the songs on the album, as well. The album is unlikely to disappoint fans, and mainly focuses on exploring styles that M.I.A. has dabbled with previously.
ARTPOP, the fourth album by Lady Gaga, described by the singer to MTV as “a celebration and a poetic musical journey,” is expected to be more upbeat and positive than its predecessor, Born This Way. ARTPOP’s first single “Applause” has been out since August, and peaked at number four on on the Billboard Hot 100. Critical reception for the album has been lukewarm, and while it isn’t the singer’s strongest release, it shouldn’t let down listeners.
Panic! at the Disco’s newest release, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, which has been out since October 8, marks another stylistic shift for a band that has already released three albums of wildly contrasting material, and has undergone several lineup changes. The album draws from R&B and hip-hop influences, and album’s lyrics were inspired by singer Brendon Urie’s home city of Las Vegas. In an interview with MTV, Urie said, “over the past couple years, I’ve started to get rid of [past] cynicism and see [the city] in a new light.”
Canadian indie rock outfit Arcade Fire, who won a Grammy for album of the year for their 2011 release The Suburbs, return with Reflektor, a double-CD, released October 28th. The songs take cues from Haitian dance music, and are co-produced by James Murphy, the former lead singer of indie funk group LCD Soundsystem. Its lyrics are inspired by the 1959 film Black Orpheus and the Orpheus myth. The album follows a long promotional campaign, and should excite fans with its heavier use of synthesizers, drum machines, and complex rhythms than previous releases.
Paul McCartney’s New was released on October 11, and is his first studio album since last year’s Kisses On the Bottom and his first album of entirely original songs since 2007’s Memory Almost Full. The lyrics draw inspiration from both the ex-Beatle’s teenage and young adult years and recent events like McCartney’s marriage in 2011. The album has four different producers, which means the songs are varied, though they don’t stray far from the styles McCartney has explored before.