The 50+ Most Anticipated Albums Of 2012

A whole lot of music happened in 2011. Like a whole lot. Virtually every artist on our collective radar seemed to release and album or a mixtape or five mixtapes or a cassette-only EP that, if you wanted it, you had to rob somebody at knifepoint outside Other Music. Music in general could be excused for taking a breather in 2012, especially with the Mayan apocalypse looming and all. But no, that’s not happening. Already, we’re excited to hear a whole ton of music that’s slated to arrive over the next 12 months.

The year ahead of us raises a whole ton of questions. Can James Mercer’s reconstituted Shins recapture their once-dominant indie majesty? Do Sleigh Bells have anywhere left to go after their face-rupturing first album? Can the xx possibly follow up that first album? Is Nicki Minaj, a certified pop star at this point, really going back to her jackhammer demon-rap roots? What are Best Coast and Jon Brion cooking up together? Will the return of Leonard Cohen leave a smoking hole at the center of all of our hearts? And will Lana Del Rey still be worth arguing about a couple of months from now? We don’t know, and we can’t wait to find out, but the period of speculation is, in its way, just as fun.

Below, you’ll find our alphabetical list of fiftysomething albums that we can’t wait to hear. We’ve limited our scope to albums that are definitely (or, at the very least, almost definitely) coming out during the next calendar year, which means the Detoxes and Aphex Twin comebacks will have to find spots on someone else’s list. (For real though, can those please come out finally?) And even without the hypotheticals, we’re left with a deeply interesting list of new records. And if the world does crumble next December, at least we’ll have fun batting these records around between now and then.

So that’s our list. But what are we missing? What are you guys looking forward to hearing next year? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments section, and we’ll update as we get more confirmations…