Amidst the holly and ivy, head colds and lay-a-way lines of this most wonderful time of the year, music critics of all thoughts and tastes cozy up beside the fire and begin making a list. Was the newest Bruce Springsteen record naughty? Was the Arcade Fireâ€™s Neon Bible nice? Checked over twice or more, he or she comes up with the best 10 or so albums of the past 12 months. Itâ€™s not a hard science. Hell, it ainâ€™t even a social science. It is what it is though â€“ one personâ€™s incredibly biased, musically myopic opinion. For the most part (save for the trying-too-hard contrarians and blowing-too-hard panderers), by the time youâ€™ve finished making out with a stranger in the last few seconds of December 31st, weâ€™ve gathered together enough of these single opinions and fashioned them into some sort of representatively definitive â€œBest Ofâ€ list. This is not that list. What follows is one personâ€™s incredibly biased, musically myopic opinion not of what has come before, but rather the (potential?) best of whatâ€™s yet to come â€˜round:
1. My Bloody Valentine, ? (?) ?/?/??
Thereâ€™s still a lot of mystery – letâ€™s not call it hype per se – about the first MBV record since 1991â€™s classic Loveless. Yes, they have played a handful of reunion gigs recently in England and Scotland. Yes, Kevin Shieldsâ€™s music for 2003â€™s Lost in Translation was great. No, thereâ€™s no title yet. No, they donâ€™t have a label.
2. Guns Nâ€™ Roses, Chinese Democracy (Polydor) 2/11/08
For real this time. This canâ€™t be yet another one of Axlâ€™s trademark â€œmade you lookâ€ promises because the pre-sale started back in September. Heâ€™s had over 14 years to get this one right â€“ better not screw it up.
3. Roxy Music, ? (?) ?/?/??
14 years is nothing really, considering Roxy Musicâ€™s last record came out during the Reagan administration. The always elegant Bryan Ferry did a stand-up job doing Dylan on this yearâ€™s Dylanesque, and while Brian Eno has unfortunately declined to contribute, thereâ€™s still gonna be a new Roxy record soon.
4. Bauhaus, Going Away White (iTunes/Bahaus Musik) 03/04/08
Sadly, this seminal art-punk outfitâ€™s first new disc since 1983â€™s Burning from the Inside will also be itâ€™s last. You canâ€™t blame the Naziâ€™s for this one however as the band obliquely cited some interpersonal â€œincidentâ€ for the groupâ€™s demise. Two songs, â€œAdrenalineâ€ and â€œEndless Summer of the Damned,â€ have already been confirmed on the track listing.
5. Scarlett Johansson, ? (Atco/Rhino) ?/?/??
So sheâ€™s also been working on a record of Tom Waitâ€™s covers â€“ awesome. And she sang with the Jesus and Mary Chain this summer at Coachella â€“ incredible. And this as-of-yet untitled one was recorded in bum fuck Louisiana with help from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Dave Sitek from TV on the Radioâ€¦orgasmic.
6. Morrissey, ? (Polydor/Decca) September
The Moz shows absolutely no sign of stopping in 2008, and now that heâ€™s finally found a home for that absurdly fantastic voice of his, this dap king is set to release both a new studio album in addition to his second greatest hits compilation. Sweet.
7. Magnetic Fields, Distortion (Nonesuch) 1/15/08
In 2004, Stephin Merritt ditched those pesky synthesizers as they were obviously cramping his style, and i eventually proved that he never needed them in the first place. Hereâ€™s hoping we learn something else just as interesting about him with these 13 new tracks.
8. The Cure, ? (Suretone/Geffen) Spring
Seeing as how Bobby Smith and his band of pallbearers felt compelled to postpone an entire tour just to make sure everything was a-okay on these two discs, thereâ€™s gotta be some gothic gold here.
9. Andrew W.K., ?Young Lord? (?) ?/?/??
Maybe you didnâ€™t know, but Mr. Andrew Wilkes-Krier is something of Renaissance man. This past year saw him do everything from playing bass in Current 93, producing for legendary dub master Lee â€œScratchâ€ Perry, drumming with The Boredoms, playing jazz piano with Mike Pachelli, and re-releasing an album on Load. Remember the Boy Scouts when downloading this one â€“ â€œbe prepared.â€
10. Coldplay, ? (Capitol) ?/?/??
A lot of bands secretly want to be like Coldplay. Of course, admitting that on the record is a whole other story. Regarding their fourth full-length, Chris Martin went on record stating that one of its songs is so â€œgeniusâ€ that everyone needs to hear it â€œbefore we die.â€ Then again, such should be expected when Brian Eno produces your record.