Bruce Springsteen is first to rejoin the fray with High Hopes, which isn’t quite a new album. Instead it’s Springsteen’s early spring clean – songs he’s had kicking around for the past decade, newly recorded with the guitar of the man he calls his new “muse”, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello.
Next month, Beck is back with his first proper album since 2008, leaving behind the gimmickry of recent releases for music that harks back to the strings and sadness of his 2002 beauty, Sea Change. Morning Phase uses the same band that played on that album.
Katy B returns at around the same time with Little Red. She’s still skipping through the varied strains of dance music, from the skittering garage of Blue Eyes to the stabbing 1990s synths of Next Thing. There’s more depth now, though. The centrepiece ballad, Crying for No Reason, might just be her Adele moment.
In indie rock, Wild Beasts release their as yet untitled fourth album at the end of February. Likely to make a bigger splash are Elbow, back in March with The Take Off and Landing of Everything, which tackles immigration and worries about ageing just as Guy Garvey turns 40. Noel Gallagher may be back in action, too, towards the end of the year. He won’t be feeling much pressure to match the double platinum success of his solo debut — he’s been in this situation before with Oasis. Someone else with a lot to live up to is Paolo Nutini, who’s taken almost five years to follow up Sunny Side Up. Its rich soul was a huge departure from his debut, so who knows what he’ll come up with when Caustic Love is released in April.
Among the girls, Paloma Faith is back in March and has been writing songs with Pharrell Williams and Plan B. But all ears will be turned to Lily Allen when she returns with her third album. So there you have it: a happy Lily Allen, a euphoric Kasabian, a caustic Paolo Nutini and a crying Katy B. With a few surprises sure to be thrown in, 2014 sounds like a good one.