Six Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

Categories: lists
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Radiohead at the Henry Fonda Theater on Jan. 25, 2010
Last year looked like it might be bleak in terms of truly great albums, but a few artists (Beach House, the National, Yeasayer, Kanye West) managed to produce some future classics in 2010. And now that we've turned the calendar, we look forward to the albums that will provide the soundtrack to 2011.

1. U2
The Irish supergroup's manager, Paul McGuinness, was quoted as saying, "I would expect a new U2 album sooner than anybody thinks." Depending on your taste, this is either a godsend or like your having your grandmother friend you on Facebook. 2009's No Line On the Horizon received positive reviews almost all around, with many considering it the band's best since 1991's classic Achtung Baby. The new album will no doubt inspire the same level of anticipation or apathy.

2. Radiohead
Anything Radiohead does (or doesn't do) is going to be scrutinized by their legions of fans, especially online. Their blog has hinted that a new album will surface at some point in 2011, but there are no details as of yet. No matter; any Radiohead release automatically makes a Most Anticipated list until they disband or truly become irrelevant, which shouldn't be any time soon.

3. Lady Gaga
Speaking of a truly insane fan base, Gaga's "little monsters" are waiting breathless (and, possibly, pantsless) for new album Born This Way to drop in May. They'll get a nice preview with the release of the single titled, smartly enough, "Born This Way" in February. Both will no doubt be gigantic, so be prepared: This will be the Summer of Gaga.

4. PJ Harvey
An artistically challenging talent, PJ Harvey has stretched from abrasive guitar rock to blues-inspired swamp pop to quiet piano balladry. Her new full-length, Let England Shake, looks back to the indie noise of her first two albums, but filtered through the epic voodoo of 1995's breakthrough To Bring You My Love. Watch for this one on the Top Albums of 2011 by the end of the year.

5. The Streets
Mike Skinner has announced that his next album (due in February) will be his last under the Streets moniker. He has hinted that Computers and Blues will mark a return to the sound and preoccupations of his critically adored first two albums, which would be a lovely way to wind up the project. Of course, this being Mike Skinner, he also announced that there could be a Cyberspace and Reds companion piece, so maybe this "last album" won't be a last album.

6. Kanye West and Jay-Z
We have a love-hate relationship with Kanye. We love to hate him, and we hate to love him, but we really do love him. We cannot be more excited for Yeezy to take time out of his busy Justin Bieber-related schedule to (maybe) collaborate with Jay-Z. This summit of arguably the two biggest names in 2010s hip-hop could turn out to be the biggest release of 2011. Kanye already put out the most acclaimed album of last year, and Jigga always provides a perfect lyrical foil for his beats. Let's hope this happens.

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