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Can Justin get his mojo back? Will fans dig Outkast's way-back sound ...


Page 2


Beyoncé's working on striking platinum again, and Maroon 5 look to Prince for inspiration ...


Page 3


Can Nick and Jessica bring the focus back to their music? And can Evanescence do it without Ben Moody? ...


Page 4


Are the Black Eyed Peas as good in individual servings? And Fall Out Boy stay in our faces ...


Page 5


Kanye keeps it moving, Paris' singing career may begin and end, and the Chili Peppers plan to make it a double ...



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Paris Hilton
Can the queen of all media storm the charts?

Hilton has been working on her debut solo album with famed beatmaker Scott Storch, who said the two are making "amazing" music together. Paris hadn't chosen the first single at press time, saying, "Every song I'm doing with Scott is so hot, so it's hard to pick which one we want as a single." Among the frontrunners are "Turn It Up," "Screwed" and "That's Hot," and the album, due in April, could also include a hip-hop track featuring Fat Joe called "All the Boys Are Fighting Over Me," in which he'll battle another MC over her affections. Storch said the untitled album stretches from "serious, heartfelt rock" to "club-oriented, sing-along hot records."

Prediction: This album has been so long in the making and so hyped that unless it's, um, hot, it could be the beginning and end of Paris' singing career.

Eve
Has diversification sapped Eve's strength?

The pitbull in a skirt has done commercials, TV shows and movies, but her Aftermath debut has been pushed back a few times, leaving us wondering if it's all too much for her to handle. She's recorded tracks with her new mentor, Dr. Dre, as well as Scott Storch and Swizz Beatz so far for the album, which is slated for a May release.

Prediction: With a hit team like this behind her, we suspect another hit on the horizon.
 Kanye West
We know he thinks he's great, but is it too much too soon?

Kanye knows the importance of staying in your face. Which is why he's planning to release part three of a planned four-album cycle, Graduation, in late 2006. No word yet on collaborators or song titles, but if it's anything like Late Registration it could be another year of West-isms. Oh, and did we mention part four is going to be called Good-Ass Job? We are not kidding.

Prediction: This is Kanye's decade, we're just living in it.

 Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker
With so many new bands to choose from, what's a poor Blink-182 fan to do?

When Blink-182 announced they were going on indefinite hiatus, fans were probably psyched to hear a solo album or two, but now the break has spawned at least four other bands. Seemingly first out of the gate will be Tom DeLonge's Angels & Airwaves album and movie, which he's promised will "usher in this entire new culture of the youth, obsessed with the future." It's due in April, features 10 songs with titles like "Start the Machine" and "It Hurts" and DeLonge swears it will change the world. In addition to his work with the Transplants, Box Car Racer and Plus-44, drummer Travis Barker is also cooking up a band with Transplants rapper Rob Aston and Paul Wall called Expensive Tastes and jamming with former Nicole Richie fiance DJ AM.

Prediction: Box Car Racer and the Transplants have already proven to be viable outfits; the success of Plus-44 and Angels & Airwaves may depend on which members of Blink their fans choose to side with.

 Red Hot Chili Peppers
Is two too much?

You can look forward to a whole lot of Chili Peppers next year. The veteran rockers were so prolific in the studio with producer Rick Rubin that their upcoming album, Stadium Arcadium (due in May), is a double. Look for the first single, "Dani California," in early 2006 and a tour to follow.

Prediction: The Peppers are infamous for all kinds of excesses, but musical overkill is not one of them. If they're doing a double, there's probably a good reason.

 Diddy
Should he stick to picking hits instead of making them?

Diddy's career as an entrepreneur is like his jewelry: flawless and shiny. His success behind the mic, though, has been a bit spottier. But that hasn't stopped him from working on his first new hip-hop album in almost five years (due in April). There's not much known about the record other than that it will have "a lot of live instrumentation," according to a Bad Boy source. But you can forget about that club-oriented, techno-inspired dance album for now, in the U.S. anyway, because the source said if it comes out, it will only be released in Europe.

Prediction: Say what you will about his skills, Diddy has a flair for focusing our attention on whatever he's doing.

And that's not all. If we're lucky, Kevin Federline will have second thoughts about his debut solo release. Though we can't tell you anything about it yet, Mrs. Federline is also supposed to have a new album in 2006, and look for the second release of new songs from "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken in the summer.

You can also expect new albums from Prince, LL Cool J, Wilco, Christina Milian, Pearl Jam, Eagles of Death Metal, Nas, Beanie Sigel, the Roots, Mobb Deep, Young Buck, Hawthorne Heights, Frankie J, Jet, Incubus, Yellowcard, Godsmack, Lil' Flip, the Arcade Fire, Ghostface Killah, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, New Found Glory, Trick Daddy, Juvenile, Jagged Edge, AFI, Method Man, Velvet Revolver, Mandy Moore, the Shins, P.O.D., Ruben Studdard, JC Chasez, Jadakiss, Twista, Dashboard Confessional, Deftones, Redman and maybe even Radiohead.

But we can't forget about those other albums, the ones we've included in this preview story every year for at least, oh, five years now, and which we hope are closer to release than the last time we reported on them. We're talking about Dr. Dre's long-promised rapping swan song, Detox, Guns N' Roses' decade-in-the-making Chinese Democracy and the solo debut from ex-Rage Against the Machine leader Zack de la Rocha, who has been mostly MIA since quitting Rage more than five years ago. Reps for these artists tell us there is no new information on them, but here's hopin'.


Whose album are you most looking forward to? Vote in our poll.



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  Justin Timberlake
"Cry Me a River" (live)

Justin Timberlake performs on TRL
(Jive)



  Beyoncé
"Naughty Girl"
Dangerously In Love
(Columbia)



  Christina Aguilera
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
My Kind of Christmas
(RCA)



  The Game
"Put You on the Game"
The Documentary
(Universal)



  Maroon 5
"Harder to Breathe" (live)
Live Friday the 13th
(BMG)



  Jessica Simpson
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin' "
Music From The Motion Picture "The Dukes Of Hazzard"
(Sony)




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