Lady Gaga Brags, U2 to Rival R.E.M. for 2011 Rock Crown: Preview

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga predicts her next CD will be "the greatest album of the decade." Photographer: David LaChap/Universal Music via Bloomberg

Lady Gaga immodestly predicts her next CD will be “the greatest album of the decade.” Not everyone will agree. She faces tough competition.

Her “Born This Way” single comes out on Feb. 13, the title track of an album due on May 23. It was written months ago and held back because of the continuing success of the “The Fame” and its versions “The Fame Monster” and “The Remix.”

Stefani Germanotta isn't the only one to be talking up her dance albums. Beyonce’s next will be her biggest ever, says producer Sean Garrett. Mrs. Jay Z hasn’t set a date for release.

The new Britney Spears single, released Jan. 10 and titled “Hold It Against Me,” ends a three-year absence, and promotes her album set for March. It’s likely to have more of a rock sound than 2008’s pop “Circus,” which came amid headlines about hasty marriages, custody battles and rehab.

It has been even longer -- four years -- since the last Avril Lavigne album. Her “Goodbye Lullaby” is due on March 8. Amy Winehouse has been away five years since the multiple Grammy winner “Back to Black.” We are again being promised a follow-up for this year. She's lost her momentum but hopefully not her voice.

Other British singers will definitely be back. Duffy’s “Endlessly” got buried on release in November, though it may yet be a contender in 2011. Adele will release the Rick Rubin- coproduced “21,” which may surpass the charming 2008 debut “19” -- named for her age when she was writing it (Jan. 24 in the U.K., Feb. 22 in U.S.).

Shaking England

“Let England Shake” by P.J. Harvey comes on Feb. 15: I’ve heard an advance copy, and it’s powerful. Alison Krauss, Kelly Rowland, Laura Marling, Shakira and Sophie Ellis-Bextor also will issue new CDs.

U2 will reapply for the job of best band in the world with “Songs of Ascent,” an album likely to appear before it starts a North American tour in May. Bono's song “Glastonbury” raises hopes the band will play the festival after canceling in 2010 because of his back injury. Keith Richards has hinted at a Rolling Stones tour and a CD.

R.E.M.’s “Collapse Into Now” is confirmed for March 8 and sounds intriguing, with Michael Stipe working with Patti Smith. We’ll also welcome back the Strokes, with their fourth CD due on March 22; the U.K.’s Arctic Monkeys and Elbow; Foo Fighters, the underrated Social Distortion, Beastie Boys, Pulp, Gang of Four and Wire. Take That, reunited with Robbie Williams, will be touring.

I shall be watching for new releases by some less obvious acts such as Plan B, Fleet Foxes, James Blake, Funeral Party, the Naked & Famous and the Vaccines.

I can’t get excited at the prospect of another Coldplay CD, given its predecessor was the overcooked “Viva la Vida.”

Oasis Wreckage

Fans should monitor Beady Eye, the act formed from the wreckage of Oasis by Liam Gallagher. While the singer has never matched the songwriting highs of his brother Noel, he proclaims “Different Gear, Still Speeding,” due on Feb. 28, a work of genius.

As one of the few critics not blown away by Radiohead’s last, I’m hoping for a return to form on the group’s eighth studio album, due this year. I’m more excited by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ return after the split with John Frusciante.

There are interesting collaborations in the works: Jamie Smith of the group xx, remixing Gil Scott-Heron, “We’re New Here” (out Feb. 22); Kanye West and Jay Z; Jack White with Danger Mouse and Norah Jones. Watch this space.

Download fees vary across services. The CDs will be priced from $12.98 in the U.S. and 9 pounds in the U.K. Release dates are for the U.S. unless otherwise indicated.

(Mark Beech writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

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