1. Bruce Springsteen
Due out Jan. 14, High Hopes is a highly anticipated album. With guitar work coming from Tom Morello, and a few tracks with deceased sax player, Clarence Clemons, this album is not one to be missed. The title track, released in November as a single, presents Springsteen in a modern light with raging guitar and boisterous horns. Although this track is instantly recognizable as “The Boss,” complete with the raggedy and low-pitched vocals, High Hopes will likely bring something new to the table.
2. Neil Young
Live at the Cellar Door
Originally recorded in 1970, Live at the Cellar Door, will be released for the first time on Dec. 10. This album showcases an intimate solo performance by Young at a highpoint in his career. Hits like “Cinnamon Girl,” usually performed with raucous distorted guitars and loud drums, are played on a stripped-down scale leaving only the barebone song structure and the unrehearsed feeling that Young is famous for. Live at the Cellar Door highlights a valuable piece of rock and roll history in its most organic form.
3. David Crosby
Although in his early 70s with over four decades of performing and recording behind him, David Crosby’s music is as fresh as ever. Croz, out Jan. 28, is an example of his immense energy. Crosby’s solo career in recent years is best characterized by wide-open acoustic guitar parts, drum and bass parts with loose in-the-pocket grooves, and, of course, rich vocal harmonies that he is known for. With this album, his first studio release in 20 years, listeners certainly have something to be excited about.
4. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
Cheek to Cheek
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett make up one of the strangest duos in music today. Few people would think to put 87-year-old swing superstar Bennett together with Gaga, the boundary-breaking popstar. But, somehow it works. Their single “The Lady is a Tramp” puts a modern spin on swing. Gaga showcases her impressive pipes that seem to lend themselves to swing easily, and Bennett gives a surprisingly youthful energy. With their full-length album, Cheek to Cheek, out on the first of the year, listeners should stay tuned.
5. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
Give the People What they Want
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings release their sixth album, Give the People What they Want, on Jan. 14. Their energetic style, reminiscent of old-school high energy funk, is refreshing in how straightforward it is. Listeners can expect powerful grooves similar to those popularized by masters like James Brown and Al Green. This album, along with proving that funk is still vibing, is certain to get you moving over the lazy winter break.