In addition to prepping for her Feb. 3 performance at a little sporting event called the Super Bowl, Bey’s been busy recording her first postbaby album. Kanye West and überhitmaker The-Dream (”Single Ladies,” ”Umbrella”) are both reportedly involved in production, and she has been spotted in the studio with Justin Timberlake and Miguel.
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. 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.
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. 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 has been ”our labor of love, therapy session, best friend, and archnemesis over the past 12 months.”
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. 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.”
The Artist Formerly Known as Hannah Montana has been changing up more than just her hair: For her upcoming fourth album, 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 both Pharrell Williams and the much-in-demand Hit-Boy.
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).”
The Black Keys
There’s no rest for the Ohio rock duo after 2010’s breakout Brothers and 2011’s El Camino (the latter of which has them up for five 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.
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.
The Toronto native 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 pregnant star, due this spring, 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.
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. Though the title and track list are a long way off, look for input from mentor Dr. Dre and production contributions from frequent Kanye tag-team partner No I.D.