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After spending the last few years focusing on acting, dropping in on Saturday Night Live, opening restaurants, and working on his golf game, Justin Timberlake is back with his third solo album. The 20/20 Experience premiered with the top-10 single ''Suit & Tie'' (which features Jay-Z), and includes production from frequent Timberlake collaborator Timbaland.
2 of 25
In addition to prepping for a little sporting event called the Super Bowl and directing her own autobiographical film (premiering Feb. 16 on HBO), Bey's been busy recording her first postbaby album, due in April. Kanye West, Ryan Tedder, and überhitmaker The-Dream (''Single Ladies,'' ''Umbrella'') are all reportedly involved in production, and she has been spotted in the studio with Justin Timberlake and Miguel. She'll follow the album's release with the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, which kicks off in Serbia on April 15 and arrives on American shores in June.
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While he's stayed fairly busy guesting on tracks for other artists (50 Cent, Skylar Grey), Em recently announced a new full-length, his first since 2010's Recovery. Look for input from mentor Dr. Dre and production contributions from frequent Kanye tag-team partner No I.D. when the album finally hits some time after Memorial Day.
4 of 25
The Artist Formerly Known as Hannah Montana has been changing up more than just her hair: For her upcoming fourth album, reportedly dropping in the summer or fall, the 20-year-old is said to be eschewing previous dips into country, pop, and rock for a more hip-hop and dance-oriented sound; in that vein, she's been logging studio time with Pharrell Williams, the Grammy-winning Hit-Boy (Jay-Z & Kanye's ''N----s in Paris''), and Odd Future rapper Tyler, the Creator.
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The multiplatinum rapper has been hard at work recording the follow-up to 2011's Take Care between his native Toronto and his newly adopted home base of L.A. ''I think it will be conceptually one of the best projects that I've ever worked on because there's so many new things going on in my life,'' he told MTV recently. ''Everybody knows when it's new, that's when I thrive.'' The album, titled Nothing Was the Same, already has a first single in ''Started From the Bottom'' and will be out this summer.
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Our Lady of Perpetual Excess claims that she's written ''like 50 songs'' for possible inclusion on ARTPOP, an album inspired, she's said, by themes including ''the decay of the blonde pop icon.'' And boot up your smartphones, Little Monsters — she's also promised that the album will be a ''completely interactive'' release with reams of extra visual and audio content.
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After debuting the strummy, sunny ''Unbelievers'' on Jimmy Kimmel Live last fall, the indie-pop internationalists are preparing to unveil their follow-up to 2010's Contra. ''There's some very different stuff on it, but the vibe is consistent throughout,'' singer Ezra Koenig tells EW of the new effort, which should land this spring/summer. But don't expect the New Yorkers to go trend chasing. ''I think we just missed the boat to do a proper dubstep song,'' Koenig jokes. ''If the album had come out earlier last year, maybe.''
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Mimi's 14th studio album is shaping up to be a family affair: It'll be the first new music Carey has put out since the birth of her twins, and husband Nick Cannon has already served as both inspiration and video director for the lead single, ''Triumphant (Get 'Em).''
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The Bawse wasn't about to rest on his laurels following his roundly excellent 2012 album God Forgives, I Don't. The Miami native already released a trailer for his next album Mastermind (it will be his sixth), which will be arriving some time in 2013. The trailer features Ross spinning a Curtis Mayfield album, which means we'll probably hear quite a bit more of the ''Diced Pineapples''-style loverman rap featured on God Forgives, and it's inevitable that some of his label's heaviest hitters — including Meek Mill and Wale — will be spitting alongside Ross.
10 of 25
Spears took to Twitter last month to announce ''new inspiring producers'' for her eighth album (feel old yet?), which is still in its early stages but predicted to release this spring. Studio whiz kid Hit-Boy (Kanye West, Justin Bieber) is one of the young guns she's working with, but proven Midas-touch pros Dr. Luke, Max Martin, will.i.am, and Rodney Jerkins will also be on deck this go-round.
11 of 25
The Band Perry
The sibling trio's Nashville-noir new single, ''Better Dig Two,'' has already gone top five on the country charts, which bodes well for the follow-up to their self-titled 2010 debut, featuring the crossover smash ''If I Die Young.'' Get ready for more intensity: Singer Kimberly Perry tells EW that their new album (due April 2) has been ''our labor of love, therapy session, best friend, and archnemesis over the past 12 months.''
12 of 25
How to follow their 2011 Album of the Year Grammy champ, The Suburbs? With a new studio (the Canadian collective had to abandon the converted church they used previously after its roof collapsed) and a new rumored collaborator, LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. The group is reportedly winnowing down a batch of 35 songs, produced in part by longtime studio man Markus Dravs, also known for his work with Coldplay and Mumford & Sons.
13 of 25
This new mom has already had an extra-productive year: jumping over to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label, brokering a deal to take Christina Aguilera's place in the next season of The Voice (beginning March 25), and putting together her fourth English-language release. (Akon, LMFAO's Redfoo, Sia, and Lady Gaga regulars RedOne and Fernando Garibay have all reportedly put in studio time.) An album and a full-time gig in one of TV's most famous spinning chairs? Don't count on a lengthy maternity leave.
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The Black Keys
There's no rest for the Ohio rock duo after 2010's breakout Brothers and 2011's El Camino (which earned them three Grammys on Feb. 10). While they continue to tour for Camino, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are planning a new album, which they hope will feature some input from frequent collaborator Danger Mouse.
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The New York rock revivalists' fifth album Comedown Machine hits stores on March 26 and features the synth-heavy tunes ''All the Time'' and ''One Way Trigger.''
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She & Him
Even in the midst of starring in a hit TV show, Zooey Deschanel still managed to find time for her long-running musical collaboration with M. Ward. The duo's fourth album, Volume 3 (out May 7) features 11 original compositions and three covers, including a new spin on Mel Carter's ''Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.'' A tour to support the album begins in Nashville on June 13.
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After a 10-year absence, Bowie shocked the world in January 2013 when he announced that he had a brand new album called The Next Day, out March 12. The first single, ''Where Are We Now?'' is a low-key, somber affair, but producer and longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti promises that the rest is ''quite a rock album.''
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The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
2013 will be a big year for bands whose future once seemed in doubt. Everybody expected Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O to set out on a solo career, but it turns out the trio has a new album called Mosquito dropping on April 16. The group's fourth album — their first since 2009's It's Blitz! — features production work from art-rock mastermind Nick Launay (who also produced It's Blitz!), TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, and LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy.
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France's grooviest dance-rock export is back with a new album called Bankrupt! due in April. The band announced its release via a pulsating, epilepsy-unfriendly presentation at their website, and an early listen promised that the throbbing synthesizer goodness that made their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix a hit is still with them.
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Fall Out Boy
Another band that came back from indefinite hiatus in 2013, Fall Out Boy are back with their unique rock hybrid on Save Rock and Roll, which comes out on May 7. The album's first single, ''My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)'' continues their signature sly melding of emo, R&B, and dance music.
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To kick off the new era of Paramore as a trio (brothers Zac and Josh Farro left the band in late 2010), the band has decided to go the self-titled route for its fourth album, which streets on April 9. The 17-track album features the crunchy, stomping first single ''Now'' and was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who has turned knobs for M83 and Tegan and Sara and also played bass for Beck, Nine Inch Nails, and Tori Amos.
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The brooding synth superstars are back after a four-year absence with their thirteenth album, Delta Machine. Produced by Ben Hillier (who also helmed the last two Depeche collections), Delta Machine features the single ''Heaven,'' a slow-burning goth throb that suggests the group is still working toward that ideal bond of man and machine.
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Queens of the Stone Age
Preparations for the follow-up to 2007's underrated Era Vulgaris have been going on for a while, but it probably took QOTSA frontman Josh Homme a while to get everybody he wanted to work with in the same place. Homme brought back Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl (who hit skins on both Queens' Songs for the Deaf and in the Homme-led power trio Them Crooked Vultures), returning QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri, and veteran vocalist Mark Lanegan. The new album, which doesn't have a title or a release date yet, may also feature the likes of Trent Reznor, Elton John, and Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears; stay tuned.
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The new year brought a new recording contract for Daft Punk, who signed with Columbia Records for the release of their upcoming new album, which is expected this spring. A number of unusual collaborators have been mentioned, including Chic's Nile Rogers and disco innovator Giorgio Moroder. It's about time; this will be the first proper Daft Punk album since 2005's Human After All (though they did provide the score for the 2010 film Tron: Legacy).
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The Flaming Lips
Oklahoma City's favorite psychedelic space cadets are back with a dark new album called The Terror, which hits streets on April 2. Though frontman Wayne Coyne is usually a dreamy optimist, his outlook for the Lips' latest is a bit edgier. ''We want, or wanted, to believe that without love we would disappear, that love, somehow, would save us that, yeah, if we have love, give love and know love, we are truly alive and if there is no love, there would be no life,'' he said of the album. ''The Terror is, we know now, that even without love, life goes on...we just go on...there is no mercy killing.'' Noted!