Music News: Most anticipated albums of 2019

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Missy Elliott performs in New Orleans in 2018.
Will 2019 be the year that Missy Elliott - seen here performing at the 2018 Essence Festival - releases her first new album since 2005? (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Essence)
Most anticipated albums of 2019
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Most-anticipated albums: Jade's picks

After compiling my list of 5, it seems that I'm looking to rock out and hit the dance floor with some tears next year.

Mark Ronson must have been speaking directly to my emo heart when he said that his forthcoming fifth album will be full of "sad bangers." The DJ and producer, known best for his work with Amy Winehouse and the Bruno Mars jam "Uptown Funk," says his first album in three years will feature collaborations with Miley Cyrus and Lykke Li, as well as less known artists like Arkansas singer Yebba and buzzy New York artist King Princess.

Speaking of sad bangers, prepare yourself for the synth goth sounds of tragedy with new Sharon Van Etten. Remind Me Tomorrow, out Jan. 18th, showcases Van Etten in a Kate Bush mode. She recently told Uncut that she's "in a really good place...and still writing heavy songs!"

Solange seems to be in an equally good place. The underrated Knowles sister was supposed to put out her first album since 2016's highly regarded A Seat at the Table sometime in fall 2018. Well, last I checked, we're still waiting on that one. However, I do have a few details about what's on the way. The recording took place in New Orleans, Jamaica, and Topanga Canyon in California; it will be "jazz at the core, but with electronic hip hop drum and bass"; and she wants to make it "bang and make your trunk rattle."

And the rock will rattle you with two of my favorites: Sleater-Kinney and the Raconteurs.

Starting with the one there are fewer details about: Sleater-Kinney may have a new album out in early 2019. No word on when or what, but the 90s riot grrrl group consisting of Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss, and Carrie Brownstein are talking, taking it "very slowly." Remember, it was an eight-year hiatus before they released 2015's No Cities to Love.

As for the supergroup of Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler, the Raconteurs have already released their first new music in more than 10 years. The two songs — "Now That You're Gone" featuring Brendan Benson on lead vocals and "Sunday Driver" with Jack White singing lead — showcase the sound that Jack White has teased for the album, which is "genre-pushing songs that bridge the gap between Detroit and Nashville rock and roll."

Most-anticipated albums: Jay's picks

I'm a ride or die Bruce Springsteen fan, so any new music from the Boss makes a red-letter day for me...I even bought Human Touch and Lucky Town on CD when they first came out. Bruce says that now that his Broadway show is done, he's going to hunker down and release his first studio album since 2014. It will be "influenced by Southern California pop music of the '70s. Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach — those kinds of records."

Lana Del Rey already has the best album title of 2019: Norman F---ing Rockwell. Yes, there will be a title track: "who is such a genius artist but he thinks he's the s--t and he knows it and he, like, won't shut up talking about it." Like it or not, Jack Antonoff is involved.

Missy Elliott has been teasing us with singles, and 2019 is supposedly the year we're finally going to get her follow-up to 2005's The Cookbook. Will we be blessed with a tour? Any new Bon Iver album is an event, and I'm always fascinated by how Justin Vernon develops the sound of that project. The idea of a new Bon Iver album in 2019 is still highly speculative, but who knows?

And then there's Grimes. Her previous release, Art Angels, is one of my favorite albums of this decade, and her Hana collaboration "We Appreciate Power" is a banger. She's also teased a couple of demos that make it sound like a hypothetical 2019 album could be very dance-y. I'm into it.

Annual analysis of Bob Dylan's Christmas lights

Every year in Vice, Merill Markoe tries to figure out what she can divine from the holiday lights display at Bob Dylan's house in Malibu. She's been studying Dylan's lights for ten years now, noting that the string of lights in his hedge don't really change position all that much...but when it does, it must mean something, because he's Bob Dylan. Right?

This year, Markoe's study turned unexpectedly poignant due to the Woolsey Fire in November, which damaged Dylan's home. In fact, the very hedge where those lights have always hung burned down. Under the circumstances, it would have been understandable if Dylan didn't have any decorations at all this year. But...surprise! Not only did Dylan decorate for the holidays, he actually kicked it up a notch with an inflatable manger scene. Yes, seriously! With two plaster angels!

Markoe writes, "it was every bit as radical a departure for Bob as his most legendary one in 1965 at The Newport Folk Festival when he caused such an uproar because he 'went electric.'"

Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, the Holy Family was gone. What does it mean, Bob?! Fortunately, Markoe documented the decorations while they lasted.

Barack Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda collaborate

Lin-Manuel Miranda has dropped the last track in his "Hamildrops" charity series of new takes on songs from his musical Hamilton, and this one has the 44th president taking the role of the first. Barack Obama guests on the track, "One Last Time (44 Remix)," delivering a portion of George Washington's 1796 farewell address. The new track also features original Hamilton cast member Christopher Jackson. (New York Times)

Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Bob Dylan: "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
The Raconteurs: "Now That You're Gone"
Grimes feat. Hana: "We Appreciate Power"
Christopher Jackson, Barack Obama, and Bebe Winans: "One Last Time (44 Remix)"

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