2012 Culture preview: what’s ahead in music and film
Though seemingly improbable, 2011 marked a revenue increase in the music industry. The overwhelming success of young artists such as Adele, The Black Keys, Drake, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj breathed new life into a struggling market. Will 2012 continue to see record sales increase? It remains to be seen. In the meantime, here are some of the most anticipated albums of 2012.
Lana Del Rey, Born to Die (Jan. 27)
Despite the negative press Del Rey has caught in the past year in light of her shifting and ambiguous public persona, her unique brand of soul has captured the ears of many fans and her second studio album Born to Die could be the turning point in the public’s opinion of the young seductress.
Kid Cudi and Dot Da Genius, WZRD (Jan. 30)
The punk-rock influenced sound of WZRD shows that Kid Cudi continues to make his own lane in hip-hop. This album is likely to see Cudi experimenting with the sounds of the electric guitar, which he began to infuse into his music about a year ago.
Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas (Jan. 31)
Cohen, now 77 years old, is set to release his first album since 2004. “It’s arguably the most spiritual of the revered artist’s records,” Columbia Records recently said in a release about the upcoming album. The artwork for the album was created by Cohen himself and incorporates several of his drawings.
Paul McCartney, Kisses on the Bottom (Feb. 7)
Kisses on the Bottom is a long anticipated McCartney project, almost 20 years in the making. Although the album consists of mainly covers, it includes two original songs ( “My Valentine” and “Only Our Hearts”) and collaborations with both Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton. According to McCartney’s personal website, the album title was inspired by the opening lines of the song “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” made famous by Fats Waller in 1935. A consequent tour could be in the works for the 69-year-old ex-Beatle.
Madge is set to perform at the Superbowl half time show in Indianapolis on Feb. 5 and in March she will release her unnamed 12th studio album on Interscope Records. Look for big name female stars Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. to make appearances on the album. This is the first album in a three-album deal Madonna has signed for Interscope, earning her a reported US$40 million.
Kanye West, G.O.O.D. Music Compilation Album (spring)
In 2011, Jay-Z hinted to MTV that in addition to a new Watch the Throne project to follow up the immense success of 2011’s “The Throne” debut, both he and Kanye West would be releasing solo projects in 2012 The G.O.O.D. Music Compilation appears to be the most imminent of these projects, as on Oct. 19 West took to his Twitter page to tweet “GOODMUSIC.THE ALBUM.SPRING2012.” Appearances by Pusha T, Big Sean, John Legend and Kid Cudi are likely, as the two appear on many G.O.O.D. MUSIC tracks. Judging by the success of the last few Kanye projects and the names associated with the buzz around the compilation, this is an album that will make serious waves in the hip-hop community and hints at a new trend in hip hop of collaborative albums.
Bruce Springsteen (winter)
Writing on his personal website in November, Springsteen declared he was almost finished mixing a new album. The Boss has since announced his European tour dates — North American dates will follow — and he is set to give a keynote address at 2012’s South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX. This will be the 18th studio album from Bruce Springsteen.
In regards to film, 2012 is set to be the year where everything old is new again. Rereleases of blockbusters such as Beauty and the Beast, Titanic and Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace in 3D are among the most anticipated films of the coming year.
The Amazing Spiderman (July 3)
Absent for the first time from the Spiderman franchise is the 36-year-old Tobey Maguire, replaced by the 28-year-old Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) for a new onscreen love-affair with real life girlfriend Emma Stone (The Help). Led by the direction of Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), the chemistry between the two leads as well as the solid acting chops on Garfield’s part make this a highly anticipated summer Blockbuster.
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
Christopher Nolan once again directs Christian Bale as Batman, who presented a brilliant portrayal in the 2008 hit The Dark Knight. Missing from the project will be the late Heath Ledger, whose Joker was arguably the best villain in Batman history. In the sequel, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy are the villains, with Hathaway as Catwoman and Hardy as Bane.
The Bourne Legacy (Aug. 3)
Jeremy Renner (The Town) takes over the franchise for Matt Damon, who chose not to return to the project without director Paul Greengrass. The film is based on a novel by Eric Van Lustbader with direction from Tony Gilroy. Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz round off an already stellar cast.
Gangster Squad (Oct. 19)
In the 1940’s period piece, Sean Penn plays Mickey Cohen, a crime boss in L.A. at the time. The movie focuses on the criminal action of gamblers, prostitutes and cops, with a league of straight cops played by Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling aim to straighten out the town. Emma Watson plays Gostling’s love interest and that pairing alone makes Gangster Squad a must-see for 2012.
Skyfall (Nov. 9)
Daniel Craig returns as James Bond and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) has signed on to play the villain in this instalment. Bond films long ago solidified their reputation as solid action entertainment.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14)
Peter Jackson directs Lord of the Rings fan favourites such as Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian McKellens Gandalf, Hugo Weavings Elrond, Orlando Bloom as Legolas and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Perhaps the most highly anticipated film of the year, fans have been waiting for the release of The Hobbit for the better part of a decade and this will be the perfect release to wrap up the year in film.
The Great Gatsby (Dec. 25)
Based on the legendary American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception), Carrey Mulligan (Drive) and Tobey McGuire (Spiderman). Baz Luhrmann directs and his directorial resume (William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) instills hope in the heart of the film enthusiast for a great picture about America’s golden age.