Five albums for 2014
CASSANDRA'S chants of woe, repeated throughout Aeschylus’s ancient play “Agamemnon”, are hardly likely to become chart-toppers next year. Despite her bitterness at this fact, Cassandra considers below the potential popularity of more modern vocalists in 2014.
1.“High Hopes”. By Bruce Springsteen. To be released in January 2014.
Bruce Springsteen’s new album will feature 12 songs. Some, such as “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and “American Skin”, are rebooted old ones. Tom Morello, from Rage Against the Machine, appears on the former track (expected to be an electrification of the acoustic original). The album also includes a cover version of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream”, but the rest of Mr Springsteen’s offerings are entirely fresh. Cassandra isn’t always convinced by old rockers with new material, however, and Sting’s recent “The Last Ship” proved a case in point. Perhaps the very title “High Hopes” is inviting disappointment.
2 & 3.“When the World Began” and “Ten Billion Hearts”. By Stevie Wonder. To be released in 2014.
Not content with unleashing his first album in eight years in 2014, Stevie Wonder instead has designs to bring out two new musical collections. The Motown star has reportedly leaned on other genres to enhance his communication skills: "I listen a lot to rap, and I'm inspired to take it, to use it in another way, to get the message across," he has said. Gospel music will also have its place on forthcoming tracks, possibly with an Arabic twist. More will be known after Mr Wonder has performed much of his new material at his annual benefit concert in Los Angeles later this month.
4. A new album from U2. To be released in 2014.
Details concerning U2’s next work are scarce. It might be called “Songs of Ascent”. Then again, “10 Reasons to Exist” is another title apparently in the running. Billboard, an American music publication, reckons an April release date for the album will be announced in an advert during the Super Bowl on February 2nd. Cassandra cringes lest such commercial tactics prove true. Nevertheless, producer Danger Mouse has had a hand in proceedings and the album will be U2’s first since 2009.
5. “Mozart Concert Arias”. Sung by Rolando Villazón. To be released in January 2014.
Mozart’s arias are lesser-known, and thought to have been composed with various librettists over the course of his career. This new collection marks an exciting introduction to them. Mr Villazón’s album also features the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Pappano, but the exact repertoire covered by the Mexican tenor remains a haze (and one that Cassandra is not able to see through, sadly).