We’re only fifteen days from 2012 and 369 days from the supposed end of the world (thank you, Mayan calendar). So other than the coming apocalypse, here’s what else you can look forward to next year…
Jay & ‘Ye bossed the second half of 2011 following the release of Watch The Throne, but we could be in for a triple helping of grandiose stadium hip-hop next year. The word on the grapevine is that the rap titans are planning a second Watch The Throne sometime after the current tour for the first ends, whilst Jay-Z also hinted at the possibility of solo albums from himself and Kanye. West is going to have to dream up something spectacular to better both My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the first Throne album in such a short time. Someone else who can expect a huge amount of hype is Mr Justin Timberlake. Currently forging a fairly respectable career in Hollywood, the former boyband member is rumoured to be making his return to the music world in 2012. Timberlake is initially returning for a world tour, but it’s not too outlandish to expect an album following soon after.
On the indie side of things, The Maccabees will return with their third album Given To The Wild in January. First single “Pelican” seems like epic business as usual, but interviews and promo videos suggest things could be getting a little weird for the Brighton band. The Cribs will return with their fifth album (produced by Steve Albini), but without Johnny Marr; out go Smithsy guitar melodies, in come the scuzzy bite of old. MGMT’s third album is expected sometime in summer, but whether they continue down the psychedelic path of Congratulations or switch back to the electro-rock of their debut album remains to be seen. One good sign is the band stating the sound will be “fun and rewarding”. Sunderland noiseniks The Futureheads are stripping back and releasing an entirely acappella album, whilst Noel Gallagher’s going the opposite direction with his Amorphous Androgynous collaboration record. Even if you’re not a fan of either, these albums are definitely going to be worth a listen.
Speaking being worth a listen, Lana Del Rey will unleash her debut LP next year, which will probably be the reason for the world ending. But in all seriousness, the current idol of the blogosphere will have the chance to prove whether she’s actually worth the hype or if she’s all soft sepia filter and no knickers. Tyler, The Creator, that other big new phenomenon of the year, will be looking to better Goblin with his third album Wolf. Doubt there’ll be anything quite as good as “Yonkers” on there. Sticking with Odd Future, Frank Ocean is sure to release his first album proper in the new year, which should catapult him to the top of the R&B mountain, whilst the return of Earl Sweatshirt is likely to be rumoured throughout the next twelve months, leading to speculation of a new album.
Sleigh Bells’ Reign Of Terror arrives on Valentine’s Day, as is Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. The thinking man’s pop diva Janelle Monae is reportedly planning to release two albums in 2012, which is good news for, well,everyone. Challenging her for best popstar around is superstar offspring Willow Smith. Her first album is due sometime in Spring, which will hopefully match up to the genius of “Whip My Hair”. In the guitar-toting, forty-somethings-who-should-know-better world, Metallica and Green Day are both planning to release albums that will hopefully make up for the awfulness of Lulu and 21st Century Breakdown respectively. Finally, should he find a record label to release it, Morrissey’s ninth solo album should be making its way to bequiffed teenagers next year.
Many a fanatic already has a countdown clock ticking towards one of the big event movies of next year. The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Hobbit and Django Unchained are all huge films that stand out even amongst the top-tier cinematic fare scheduled for 2012. Christopher Nolan leaves the Batman franchise with one of the most anticipated films in years, whilst nerd deity Joss Whedon attempts to bring The Avengers together on the big screen for the first time, an unenviable task. Peter Jackson returns to The Shire in order to tell the story of Bilbo Baggins, and give LOTR devotees another three hours to sit through, whereas Quentin Tarantino finally gets to make his western opus. You’d be hard pushed not to get caught up in the hype for any of these blockbusters.
On the slightly less hyped side of things, there’s Pixar’s journey into the mythical with the Scotland-set Brave and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which is based on Burton’s early short and, shockingly, doesn’t involve Johnny Depp! The James Bond franchise lumbers on with its 23rd instalment, entitled Skyfall. Daniel Craig remains as Bond, whilst Sam Mendes directs and Javier Bardem gets villainous. Twilight wraps up with Breaking Dawn - Part 2, but it seems increasingly likely that The Hunger Games will take its place as the big teen franchise. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen…
Daniel Radcliffe will attempt to escape the Potter-shaped shadow with Hammer Horror’s The Woman In Black, which actually looks pretty damn creepy. Staying with the scary side of things, [REC]3 expands the world of its predecessors by doing away with the handheld camera format and World War Z pits Brad Pitt against a zombie ravaged world, giving us a very real look at the effect of an undead apocalypse. An all-star cast (Leo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire) will bring The Great Gatsby to a cinema near you towards the end of the year. Will Baz Luhrmann bring that Romeo + Juliet magic to this adaptation? An even more flashy cast will ignore the rubbish title to appear in Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad; Ryan Gosling (conquering Hollywood one film at a time), Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Giovanni Ribisi and Nick Nolte. Sounds awesome, no?
Man of the moment Michael Fassbender gets eclectic in his choice of roles, appearing in Ridley Scott’s sort-of-but-not-really Alien prequel Prometheus and sex addiction drama Shame, whilst both the Spiderman and Bourne franchises get rebooted; Andrew Garfield dons the red ‘n’ blue tights in The Amazing Spider-Man and Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon as the super-soldier in The Bourne Legacy.
Of course, it’s not all high expectations and top-notch casts; there are a fair few gambles and surefire turkeys being released next year. Titanic and The Phantom Menace are both getting baffling 3D re-releases, whereas The Expendables 2 and Scary Movie 5 can be labelled as “Films no one wanted. Ever”. Oh, and they’re making Battleship, based on the game Battleships, starring Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Kitsch and, erm, Rihanna. Yep, that’s actually happening.