Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nicki Minaj Top 2012′s Most Anticipated Albums

Mumford & Sons, Justin Bieber, Rick Ross also prepping new material.

The past 12 months have seen the release of monster albums from Adele, Lady Gaga, Drake, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.

But the next 12 are promising to bring even more music from several of those artists, plus new albums from Mumford & Sons, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, Paramore, Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Maroon 5 and Green Day.

It’s a bumper crop of major albums from some of rock, pop and hip-hop’s biggest stars, who are returning from long breaks, hoping to follow up smash debuts or just trying to keep their momentum going.

While release dates are always subject to change, here are some of the most anticipated releases of 2012.

Pop:
Ironically, the status of new albums from the artists whose next moves everyone is most curious about are the ones most in the air. Rihanna tends to deliver a new album every 12 or 13 months, which means that she may have another disc in stores at the end of next year once the just-released Talk That Talk has run its course.

On the other hand, Lady Gaga has already begun talking about her follow-up to this year’s Born This Way. Gaga recently told MTV News that she’s already started writing songs and “all the concepts are beginning to flourish and take place.” She didn’t give a potential release date, only promising, “I’ll put it out when it’s done.”

Katy Perry hasn’t publicly spoken about what will come after 2010′s smash Teenage Dream, but it’s possible she could start work on new material in 2012 as well. We know for sure that Justin Bieber is planning to show his more mature side next time around, possibly even incorporating some EDM sounds into the mix.

It’s been confirmed that Madonna hooked up with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj for the single “Gimme All Your Luvin’ ” from her untitled forthcoming album, which will feature production from Ray of Light producer William Orbit.

Other artists who could release fresh material in 2012: No Doubt, Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha and Nicole Scherzinger .

Hip-Hop:
Two titans of rap are cueing up fresh tracks for early 2012, with Nicki Minaj likely to get out of the gate first with her sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, due out on Valentine’s Day. The disc will include first single “Roman in Moscow,” which sees the Best New Artist Grammy nominee getting into the character of her alter ego, Roman Zolanski.

After the delay of God Forgives, I Don’t due to a pair of seizures he suffered in October, Rick Ross is expected to come back strong as well. The Bawse has taken his convalescent time to work on a new track with Jay-Z.

Speaking of Jigga, fans may get a new record from him as well, considering he told MTV News he was cooking up fresh tracks way back when he first played us songs from his Kanye West collaborative album, Watch the Throne. In fact, Jay-Z said you might get solo albums from both men as well as the second Throne release.

Other artists that should have albums hitting stores in 2012: Nas, Frank Ocean, Slaughterhouse, Wiz Khalifa, the G.O.O.D. Music compilation, T.I., Big Sean, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Big K.R.I.T., Meek Mill and potentially two discs from Lil Wayne, I Am Not a Human Being II and Rebirth II.

Rock:
Some of rock’s biggest guns are reloading for 2012, among them Green Day, who debuted some new tracks at a benefit show in August. The title of the follow-up to 2009′s 21st Century Breakdown hasn’t been announced yet, but some of the early songs slated for possible inclusion are “Nuclear Family,” “Carpe Diem” and “Sweet 16.”

U2 have reportedly been cooking up a number of potential new albums , logging sessions with Danger Mouse and working with French producer/DJ David Guetta , RedOne and will.i.am on a disc of dance-oriented tunes.

Prog rock revivalists Muse should also have some new material for us, with bassist Chris Wolstenholme promising in a recent interview that the sound on their sixth album will be “radically different” from 2009′s The Resistance.

We may get something from Linkin Park, who are prepping the follow-up to 2010′s A Thousand Suns, and Mumford & Sons. It’s been two years since the British folk rock revivalists dropped their still strong-selling debut, Sigh No More, and they began giving fans a taste of some new material in the fall when they unveiled the majestic song “Ghosts.”

After a rough year, Paramore have finally put the drama behind them and they’re super-psyched to record an album free of tension and inter-band awkwardness. So far, they’ve already unwrapped the bouncy “Renegade” and “Hello Cold World,” which bode well for their fourth full-length studio album.

Other rock acts slated to release new albums: the reunited Soundgarden, Foster the People, Neon Trees, Sleigh Bells, Silversun Pickups, Bruce Springsteen and All-American Rejects.

Which 2012 albums are you most excited about? Which ones did we miss? Let us know in comments below.

Often guilty, never convicted. Serving 15 years to life at MTV News.