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There may be no tougher act to follow than 21—the industry-shifting 2011 sophomore smash that landed at No. 1 in 29 countries, sold 25 million copies, and won seven Grammys. What will the queen of heartbreak sound like now that she's 26 and a happily coupled mum? That famous bouffant is full of secrets; only she knows for sure.
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He earned his stripes with Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, and the producer continues to hone in on throwback sounds with Uptown Special (due Jan. 13), which includes the hit Bruno Mars collab ''Uptown Funk'' and lyrics from novelist Michael Chabon.
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The riot-grrrl pioneers regroup for Jan. 19's No Cities to Love, their first LP in 10 years. The scorching lead single, ''Bury Our Friends,'' already has fans pogoing happily in their Doc Martens, and anticipating more lady-rock excellence.
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Step aside, Springsteen: West has claimed that the follow-up to 2013's Yeezus will be his own Born in the U.S.A. That doesn't mean Yeezy's moved to New Jersey, but we do know that he's been in the studio with James Blake, DJ Mustard, and Theophilus London, and tracks have been described as ''dark'' and ''hellish.'' Given his propensity for eleventh-hour revisions, though, that could all change tomorrow.
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She dipped into country and Christmas songs most recently, but live appearances prove she's still a massive pop powerhouse. We'll know more in January, when a promised duet with a major male star that she calls ''out of the box'' arrives.
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The misanthropic dukes of Northwest indie rock are finishing up their first full-length since 2007—which means 100 percent more of the off-kilter rhythms, oddly addictive melodies, and frontman Isaac Brock's wobbly tenor than we've had in ages.
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The Caribbean queen's been keeping her Navy adrift since 2012, when she released the chart-smashing Unapologetic. But teases on social media and from possible collaborators including David Guetta point to fresh Riri in early 2015.
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Hip-hop's Grammy-nominated golden child has hinted at an imminent release for his second album, which features production by an all-star lineup including Dr. Dre and Pharrell. Lead single ''i'' is already a hit, and early listeners have called what they've heard ''phenomenal.'' Want to hear it now? You'll have to find Lamar's 10-year-old brother; the rapper claims he's the only one who has a copy.
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What happens when Iceland's kookiest export since cured shark teams up with Yeezus producer Arca? Whatever the result, it will no doubt be odd and umlauted and generally unforgettable.
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The U.K. rockers are forging a new set of slinky jams that they hope to have out by summer, with the help of reclusive producer Mutt Lange (AC/DC, Maroon 5, Shania Twain).
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Florence and the Machine
Pop music has been missing Florence Welch's beautiful wail for too long; good thing the ''Dog Days Are Over'' songstress has confirmed that she's working on new material.
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Canada's finest has already floated some half-dozen tracks that may very well land on his upcoming Views From the 6—including the Lauryn Hill-sampling ''Draft Day,'' on which he advises, ''Tell 'em fix my suite up 'cause I'm comin' home/I heard they talking crazy, I was out of town.'' Duly noted, Drizzy.
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After guesting for the likes of Drake, Calvin Harris, and Iggy Azalea, the fairy-voiced singer is fully focused on her third album, and has hinted that Drake might return the favor.
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Diplo? Nicki Minaj? Count them in. And if her Instagram hashtags are any indication, look for a track called #TrustNoBitch. But there's one bitch Madge might trust: rumored guest Miley Cyrus.
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With song titles such as ''Good Times and Cheap Wine,'' ''Ain't Enough Whiskey,'' and ''Drinking Beer With Dad,'' the good-time Kid's First Kiss (due Feb. 24) should be a 180-proof blowout.
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Her solo career took a backseat to roles as a Voice coach, fashion mogul, and mom, but the candy-colored reggae-pop blast of the Pharrell-helmed ''Spark the Fire'' proves she's still in the game.
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The R&B radical behind 2012 game changer Channel Orange has been largely AWOL, but a track dropped on Tumblr last month showed he's still a master of spare, open-hearted intimacy.
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Nine years after her solo smash The Dutchess, the former Black Eyed Pea is back and citing influences from N.W.A to Jhené Aiko and Guns 'N' Roses. But don't worry, kids; she's still Fergalicious.
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The tunes, they are a-changin': The bard takes on Ol' Blue Eyes on Some Enchanted Evening (due Feb. 3)—an ''uncovering'' of 10 Sinatra classics recorded live in raw, stripped-down studio takes.