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2015: The Year in Pop Comebacks

From Missy Elliott and Will Smith to Sleater-Kinney and New Order, here are 10 acts that made splashy returns after long absences

The Year in Comebacks 2015

(clock-wise, starting at the top) Jacob Blickenstaff/The NY Times/Redux, Erika Goldring/Getty, Marina Chavez, Alexander Tamargo/Getty

Adele's return was the pop happening of 2015, but compared to many other acts who reemerged this year, the three-year gap between 2012's "Skyfall" and the seismic impact of "Hello" was a mere blip. The year has been rife with sudden comebacks by bands or solo stars who had been absent from the popular consciousness for much longer stretches. Perhaps most surprising was that the returns were frequently strong — not just attempts to cash in on pass successes, but pushes to match previous highs.

The wave started in 2014, first with Garth Brooks, who reappeared after 13 years, and then with D'Angelo, who hadn't put out an album since 2000. This year, the pace increased as a stream of big-name acts reemerged in a variety of genres, including rock (Sleater-Kinney, Blur), hip-hop (Dr. Dre), and dance music (Chic, Giorgio Moroder). The trend shows no signs of stopping, either — Phil Collins was the latest to announce that he's giving music another go. Here's who we welcomed back in 2015.

Enya

29 Oct 2015, Berlin, Germany --- The singer Enya poses in a hotel in Berlin, Germany, 29 October 2015. The Irish singer's new album 'Dark Sky Island' comes out on 20 November 2015. It is her first album in many years. Enya, with 75 million album sales, four Grammy Awards, an ECHO award, and many other awards, ranks among the most successful artists of all time. Photo: BERND VON JUTRCZENKA/dpa --- Image by © Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/Corbis

Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/Corbis

Enya

Like Garth Brooks, Enya has sold so many albums that another record is almost irrelevant; and like Garth Brooks, she refuses to phone it in, or show any lessening in her commitment to her signature aesthetic: soothing, tranquil sound baths. November's Dark Sky Island, her first album in seven years, offered echoes of Brian Wilson, choir tunes, touches of Celtic music and nods to Nineties Celine Dion. All in all, there's enough warm reassurance to last for a while, though maybe not seven more years.

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