2015 Preview: 68 Reasons This Year Will Rule – Rolling Stone
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2015 Preview: 68 Reasons This Year Will Rule

The smash albums, blockbuster movies and water-cooler TV shows to watch out for over the next 12 months

2015 Preview

2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don't see 'em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don't bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock's Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop's Yeezus will rise again. There will be Beach Boys, Fall Out Boys, and screaming females – the last, both inside and outside screenings of Fifty Shades of Grey. With the caveat that all dates are subject to change, here are the music, movies and TV you need to know about all year long.

Fergie

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Recording artist Fergie performs onstage during the 2014 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Michael Tran/Getty Images

Fergie’s Follow-Up to ‘The Duchess’ (TBD)

Fergie's only solo LP, The Duchess, remains a mid-aughts pop classic. Its follow-up comes after the two biggest albums of the Black Eyed Peas' career and the birth of a son, Axl Jack. The singer tells Rolling Stone that the record will likely include beats from Mike Will Made-It and DJ Mustard (who produced lead single "L.A. Love"), as well as guest verses from "No Flex Zone" rappers Rae Sremmurd. "It's definitely similar to The Dutchess in that each song is different and has its own character," she says. N.M.

Kendrick Lamar

FAJARDO, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Kendrick Lamar performs during the Bacardi Triangle event on November 1, 2014 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The event saw 1,862 music fans take on one of the most mysterious forces of nature in a three day epic music adventure. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for BACARDI)

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Kendrick Lamar’s Follow-Up to ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ (TBD)

Expect Kendrick Lamar's next album to pick up where the last one left off. "There was a lot I left out of good kid – it could have been a 30-track album," he says. So far, he's worked with producers like Dr. Dre and Flying Lotus and has at least one track (besides Isley-sampling single "i") that he can't wait for the world to hear. "It's one where I just went in the booth and spilled out what I want to say at that moment," he says. "I just freestyled, because I really just wanted to grab the raw emotion of it." N.M.

Rihanna

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 11: Singer Rihanna performs onstage during "The Concert For Valor" at The National Mall on November 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for HBO)

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Rihanna’s Follow-Up to ‘Unapologetic’ (TBD)

A consistent chart-topper, headline-maker, musical innovator and sartorial chameleon, Rihanna has also proven to be a mandatory follow on social media. Two months ago – two years after the release of her latest LP – the singer Instagrammed an audio clip of herself "phuckin roun in da studio," and in December she shared a video of her touring guitarist, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, tracking a new tune – called “Kiss It Better,” according to songwriter John Glass. No official release info regarding the album, rumored to be called R8, has been revealed, but keep following Rihanna, because according to a recent tweet, any news will be delivered directly from her. A.M.

Slayer

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 23: Singer/bassist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King of Slayer perform at The Fillmore Charlotte on November 23, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

Slayer’s Follow-Up to ‘World Painted Blood’ (TBD)

In May 2013, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away from liver failure, leaving a huge void in the pioneering thrash band. Hanneman hadn't toured with the group since 2011, when he contracted the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis, but he was a crucial songwriter, penning Slayer's most definitive anthems and contributing to all the group's records, including 2013's World Painted Blood. In April 2014 the band debuted "Implode," its first new song in five years, and a few months later hit the studio with producer Terry Date (Pantera, Deftones) to work on its 11th album, which, according to guitarist Kerry King, may include material written by Hanneman before his death. Look out for a new song “When the Stillness Comes” early this year. B.G.

Gwen Stefani

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Gwen Stefani’s Follow-Up to ‘The Sweet Escape’ (TBD)

No Doubt's latest LP flopped, but Gwen is back solo and "Baby Don't Lie" was her catchiest single in years. According to Pharrell, an album will soon follow. "It was time for her to really express herself and not have a bunch of people telling her what to do," says the "Hollaback Girl" producer. "I held up the mirror and [said], 'Do you know who's in there? Do you know how many people respect that person?' The more she saw, the deeper she reached, and the crazier the stuff came out." N.M.

Tool

INDIO, CA - APRIL 13: Maynard James Keenan of Puscifer performs as part of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage)

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Tool’s Follow-Up to ‘10,000 Days’ (TBD)

Fans have been waiting for nine years – or roughly a third of "10,000 days" – for a new Tool album, an unusually long gap even for a band that has only released four full-lengths over its 25-year existence. In a July interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny Carey revealed that a multi-tiered lawsuit against the prog-leaning alt-metal group has played a major role in delaying its fifth album; while the band members whetted die-hards' appetites by dropping words like "heavy," gnarly" and "nose-bleeding" when describing a new song, they also cautioned that writing was still in the incipient stages. This all appeared to change in October when Jones posted a photo of the band in the studio on Instagram —including vocalist Maynard James Keenan, who historically doesn't join the process until it's well along its way. B.G.

Van Halen

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 01: Van Halen, (L-R) Dave Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen perform as part of their 2012 North American tour at Staples Center on June 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Van Halen’s Follow-Up to ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ (TBD)

Rumors of a new record have been swirling almost since 2012’s well-received comeback album A Different Kind of Truth dropped out of the Top 10. Last December, vocalist David Lee Roth said that he and guitarist Eddie Van Halen were "starting to put music together" and that it would be ready in about 18 months. In April, he claimed that he was "working on a great Van Halen project," and in July, mastering engineer Howie Weinberg posted a photo with Eddie outside his studio. For now the band is keeping quiet, but a new eruption seems imminent. N.M.

Kanye West

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 01: Kanye West is seen performing during a Surprise World AIDS Day (Red) concert at Times Square on December 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Kanye West’s Follow-Up to ‘Yeezus’ (TBD)

If we know anything about Kanye's new album, we know that it's constantly changing. Seth Rogen heard one version early in the year, but come July the rapper told GQ that he had "a new song that's so good that the album has to be balanced against it." In September, West reportedly played the yet-unfinished record for 20 or so people at a private listening session, where, according to musician Theophilus London, the songs had its listeners "moshing drunk with mad babes." Some think that Kanye thrives off heartbreak (his car accident, the death of his mother, the unraveling of long-term relationships), so what will he make now that he's happily married dad? A.M.

Lil Wayne

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 01: Lil Wayne performs in concert during Hot 97 Summer Jam 2014 at MetLife Stadium on June 1, 2014 in East Rutherford City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Johnny Nunez/Getty Images

Lil Wayne, ‘Tha Carter V’ (TBD)

In October, Lil Wayne revealed plans to release Tha Carter V in two parts. "I got too many songs," he said. "I worked way too much to give y'all half of it." By December 4th, he wanted off his label, claiming that "my album won't and hasn't been released bekuz [label co-founder] Baby and Cash Money Records refuse to release it." Expect things to change at some point in 2015 when this album drops to fulfill the promise of lead single "Believe Me," which became a radio hit this past summer. N.M.

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