Music Article

Ten Essential 2010 Albums

CDs to watch for in the new year -- Christina Aguilera, Arcade Fire, Drake, and MGMT are some of the best acts with new releases hitting stores this year

Rejoice, music lover!! Once the New Year's Eve hangover fades — and your ringing ears are ready for more than the soothing tinkle of ''Tubular Bells'' — 2010 promises many new riches. Some are too uncertain (OutKast, Kings of Leon) or too shrouded in mystery (Coldplay, No Doubt) to get us worked up just yet, but there is still a host of sure things to celebrate.

Christina Aguilera
Her still-untitled April release will be the pop powerhouse's first studio album since 2006's Back to Basics. Alongside usual suspects Linda Perry, who penned Aguilera's 2002 smash ''Beautiful,'' and R&B hitmaker Tricky Stewart (Beyoncé, Rihanna), the guest list reads like a roll call of cool-girl cred: M.I.A., Santigold, Le Tigre, Ladytron, and ''Breathe Me'' songstress Sia.

MGMT
Congratulations, the Brooklyn duo's follow-up to 2007's groovy electro-prog boogaloo Oracular Spectacular, lands in late spring. Look for more classic-rock influences — and a song called ''Brian Eno.''

Sugarland
Can the coed country twosome match their last three albums' multiplatinum runs? You'll know come summer. Until then, check out live workshopping of new stuff like the gospelesque stomper ''So Long'' and torchy ''Blood on Snow'' on YouTube.

Drake
2009's hip-hop whiz kid — and object of one of the year's fiercest label bidding wars — will drop his official debut, Thank Me Later, in March. Elder statesmen Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Kanye lend their Midas hands.

Arcade Fire
Canada's finest indie imports are set to follow 2007's majestic Neon Bible with a third album. The seven-member collective's lineup, led by married pair Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, remains intact; everything else is a mystery.

Usher
The upcoming Raymond v Raymond — the R&B star's first release since his highly publicized divorce — is said to be a thematic sequel of sorts not to 2008's Here I Stand but to his '04 chart dominator, Confessions.

Santigold
Her blend of ragga, rock, and electronics made 33-year-old Santi White a late-blooming alt star in 2008. Friends who share her kaleidoscopic, street-smart aesthetic — like M.I.A. collaborator Diplo — assist on the fall-pegged release.

Blink 182
Five years and several side projects into their recording hiatus, the punk-pop pranksters are at work on a new disc. Searching for real-time updates? Check co-frontman Mark Hoppus' Twitter.

She & Him
Actress Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward follow 2008's fizzy folk-pop pastiche Volume One with — wait for it! — Volume Two, due in March. They promise 11 originals, plus covers of cult rockers NRBQ and '60s songbird Skeeter Davis.

Erykah Badu
The fantastically outré high priestess of R&B extends '08's excellent New Amerykah Part One on Part Two: Return of the Ankh in February — with nods to her jazzy, incense-hazed 1997 debut, Baduizm.

Originally posted Jan 01, 2010 Published in issue #1084 Jan 08, 2010 Order article reprints