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Will Next Year Rock?

December 26, 2006 3:40 PM ET

This was a colossal year for rock & roll. Will 2007 produce similar results? A slew of highly anticipated albums are slated to drop in the next 12 months. Here are some of the most buzzworthy and what to expect:

Arcade Fire — Neon Bible
Throughout U2's Vertigo Tour, they took the stage to Arcade Fire's "Wake Up," off the band's brilliant 2004 Funeral . Fans can get a sneak preview of lead single "Intervention" by calling 1-866-NEON-BIBLE ext. 7777.

Courtney Love — How Dirty Girls Get Clean
The buzz on the dirty blonde's second solo disc has been mega. We found America's Sweetheart to be criminally underrated, but one could easily blame that on Courtney's public persona and not the music. Here's hoping this time she lets the music do the talking.

The Shins — Wincing the Night Away
While the Shins' third album is no grand departure in sound, it is a great step forward. This beautiful album is an early contender for the best record of 2007.

Gnarls Barkley — Title TBA
The crazy duo of Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse spent the holiday season in the studio recording their funky follow-up to 2006's St. Elsewhere. Expect the band to preview a new song or two when Gnarls open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in February.

The Doves — Title TBA
The Mercury Prize nominated Brits will drop their fourth proper studio album in late summer/early autumn of 2007.

Metallica — Title TBA
The metalheads disappointed many folks with St. Anger, but their next record, slated for the fall, is said to be very Master of Puppets. This is the band's first time recording with new bassist Rob Trujillo and new producer Rick Rubin.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah — Some Loud Thunder
The band that scares the shit out of record companies will release its sophomore album in January. With no major label backing, CYHSY sold an uber-impressive 125,000 copies.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists — Living With the Living
This will be their first new album since the band left Lookout! for Touch & Go Records. Expect them to tour the album for two years straight.

Radiohead — Title TBA
The band previewed a bunch of new songs during a 2006 small theater tour and have been updating fans on the album's progress via their Dead Air Space blog.

Modest Mouse — We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Will the band's success float on?

John Mellancamp — Freedom Road
The lead single, "Our Country," became the official song of Chevrolet in October. Now, his new record label worries that the song is over-exposed and will hurt sales.

Fall Out Boy — Infinity Is High
The emo superstars drop their highly anticipated new record, then head out on a massive tour.

Norah Jones — Not Too Late
Norah has been keeping herself busy with secret side-projects, including the country music styling of the Little Willies and the pop-punk of El Madmo. Not Too Late marks her return to adult-friendly music and marks the return of her hit-songwriting partner Jesse Harris, who penned "Don't Know Why."

Lucinda Williams — West
You never know what to expect from a new Lucinda Williams record, but the bar is always extremely high. Her last effort, 2003's World Without Tears, saw her playing around with blues and hip-hop beats.

And that's not even including new albums from Interpol, Britney Spears, Björk, Lifetime, Sam Champion, Stephen Malkmus and Takka Takka.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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