After another year that saw a serious decline in record sales, the music industry is, once again, hoping that 2009 will be the one that turns around a nearly decade-long sales spiral. And, judging from the boatload of marquee talent expected to drop new discs this year, it's possible that the bleeding could at the very least be slowed down. Maybe.
And with a list of heavy-hitters expected to release fresh material this year (which, like everything on this list, is subject to change) including [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist], [artist id="1022"]U2[/artist], [artist id="1061"]Dr. Dre[/artist], [artist id="988"]Green Day[/artist], [artist id="860639"]50 Cent[/artist], [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist], [artist id="10489"]R. Kelly[/artist], [artist id="30064"]Black Eyed Peas[/artist] and [artist id="509026"]Christina Aguilera[/artist], who knows?
Here's our round-up of expected album releases:
» The-Dream, Love vs. Money — The in-demand songwriter comes back with a sophomore album with help from Lil Jon on "Let Me See the Booty."
» [artist id="975"]Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band[/artist], Working on a Dream — The Boss' 16th studio album is an extension of his sessions for 2007's Magic, recorded during breaks on the E Street Band's 2007-2008 tour.
» [artist id="1241057"]Franz Ferdinand[/artist], Tonight: Franz Ferdinand — The Scottish band's third album reportedly has some African influences.
» LeATHERMOUTH, XO — The debut from My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero's 1990s hardcore-inspired new band.
» [artist id="1915893"]Bobby Valentino[/artist], Rebirth — The singer's third studio album is an introspective meditation on relationships ... and sex.
» [artist id="1219435"]Bow Wow[/artist], New Jack City 2 — Six albums in, Bow Wow has already set up this latest with the Soulja Boy collabo "Marco Polo."
» [artist id="100108"]Chris Cornell[/artist], Scream — The former Soundgarden/Audioslave singer's solo collaboration with Timbaland will finally see the light of day.
» [artist id="1946832"]The Fray[/artist], The Fray — The Grammy-winning Denver soft-rockers finally follow up their 2005 debut, featuring the first single, "You Found Me."
» [artist id="2098046"]Red Jumpsuit Apparatus[/artist], Lonely Road — The emo-punkers' second full-length kicks off with the single "You Better Pray."
» [artist id="2389411"]Lily Allen[/artist], It's Not Me, It's You — After a difficult year, the British pop wreck returns with a more straight-ahead pop album featuring songs about drugs, God and commercialism.
» Lonely Island, Incredibad — The boyhood friends behind such "SNL" viral smashes as "Di-- In a Box" and "Ji-- In My Pants" offer up a full disc of sonic goodness.
» [artist id="504157"]Mos Def[/artist], The Ecstatic — Expect songs produced by Madlib and Chad Hugo, and collabos with Slick Rick and pal Talib Kweli.
» [artist id="1043"]Busta Rhymes[/artist], Back on My BS — Label drama behind him, Busta returns with songs produced by Pharrell and the late J Dilla and featuring Kardinal Offishall,
[artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist] and [artist id="1240040"]Akon[/artist].
» 50 Cent, Before I Self Destruct — Frequently delayed, 50's fourth album will come with a movie of the same title written, produced, directed and starring Curtis himself.
» [artist id="872"]Erykah Badu[/artist], New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) — After busting into many critics' top lists for 2008 with the urban confusion first episode, Ms. Badu comes back with the more spiritually focused sequel.
» [artist id="1231768"]Kelly Clarkson[/artist], TBA — Not much is known about the original "Idol" star's next one, other than the provocative lollipop-licking cover for the first single, "My Life Would Suck Without You," and a heavy dose of help from pop maestros Dr. Luke and Max Martin.
» U2, No Line on the Horizon — The Irish giants' 12th studio album finds them reteaming with production wizards Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite for what has been described as a throwback to 1991's rocking Achtung Baby.
» [artist id="2583152"]Flo Rida[/artist], R.O.O.T.S. — How will the Grammy-nominated "Low" Rida follow up his first album? With songs produced by some of the same dudes who helped him on his debut.
» [artist id="814"]Dave Matthews Band[/artist], TBA — Following the death of founding member LeRoi Moore, the jam heroes bounce back with a record produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day,
[artist id="1231843"]My Chemical Romance[/artist]).
Spring and beyond:
» [artist id="1397"]Paula Abdul[/artist], TBA — The "American Idol" judge has been threatening to release her first new album since 1995 for over a year.
» Christina Aguilera, TBA — The Dirrty mom has promised to go all futuristic and electro on her next one, with collaborators such as Ladytron and Goldfrapp.
» Andre 3000, TBA — The movie-loving half of Outkast has said he's working on his solo album pretty much ... solo.
» [artist id="968"]Beastie Boys[/artist], TBA — After an all-instrumental affair, the pioneering New York rap trio are slated to return to the mic.
» Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. — Described as a musical "diary," the latest from the hip-hop group will reportedly be a constantly evolving project that is frequently updated.
» [artist id="5303"]D'Angelo[/artist], TBA — The long-missing R&B crooner will return to the frame after more than eight hard years on the fringes.
» Dr. Dre, Detox — The doc's swan song has been cooking for more than five years, but the concept album is reportedly on for 2009.
» Eminem, Relapse — Speaking of comebacks, Slim Shady is prepping one after almost five years out of the game, with Dre reportedly helping out on most of the album.
» Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3 — The totally not retired former music mogul will offer up a Kanye West co-produced disc as part of his final release on Def Jam.
» Josiah Leming, TBA — Last season's "American Idol" crying boy will drop his heart-on-sleeve full-length debut.
» [artist id="1737245"]Lindsay Lohan[/artist], Spirit in the Dark — The actress' third album has been described as a dance/hip-hop affair with production from J.R. Rotem, Stargate, The-Dream and Timbaland.
» Green Day, TBA — How do you follow up American Idiot? We'll find out this summer when the pop-punkers-turned-concept-album-kings unleash their Butch Vig (Nirvana) produced album.
» [artist id="1261591"]Kid Sister[/artist], Dream Date — The upstart Chicago rapper known for her "Pro Nails" will finally drop her debut.
» Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Eye Legacy — The posthumous album from the late TLC member includes collabos with Tupac, Missy Elliott, Bobby Valentino and
[artist id="2514735"]Lil Mama[/artist].
» [artist id="14481"]Prince[/artist], MPLSOUND, Lotus Flower, Elixir — The Purple One has plans to release a trio of albums this year, with the first one reportedly evoking his "Purple Rain" salad days.
» [artist id="760"]Missy Elliott[/artist], Block Party — Speaking of long-awaited, Missy finally unwraps her latest, with expected assists from [artist id="503162"]Timbaland[/artist], [artist id="1242768"]Pharrell [/artist] and [artist id="1998098"]T-Pain[/artist].
» R. Kelly, 12 Play: Fourth Quarter — The first release since the singer's acquittal on child pornography charges is slated to feature songs such as "Hair Braider" and "Skin."
» [artist id="2017563"]Lupe Fiasco[/artist], LupE.N.D. — How does a three-disc final effort sound to you?
And, finally, what to do now that we don't have Chinese Democracy to kick around anymore? The long-delayed Guns N' Roses album that finally emerged with a thud in late 2008 was an album-release-story punch line for more than a decade — and now that it's out, which long-rumored albums do we look to for solace?
There's always the perpetually just-around-the-corner Detox, the frequently delayed Amerie album, Because I Love It, and 50's latest ... not to mention the years-in-the-making albums from former 'NSYNC star JC Chasez and former Hole leader Courtney Love, as well as Eve's oft-bumped Here I Am, the legendary next Michael Jackson album,
[artist id="508987"]Ja Rule's[/artist] now-you-see-it-now-you-don't comeback, The Mirror, and, of course, that
[artist id="1632950"]Nicole Scherzinger[/artist] solo album, Her Name is Nicole.