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Spring Music Preview 2014: 27 Must-Hear Albums

The season’s hottest albums – from U2’s big return to Miranda Lambert’s country-pop blowout

The cold is slowly, gradually starting to subside, the leaves will soon be budding on the trees and the album release schedule is heating up. Yep, spring is on its way. The season is shaping up to be a good one, as it'll bring new albums by rock and R&B superstars, avant-garde favorites, Internet sensations and indie heroes. These are the 27 we're most excited to hear. 

Contributors: Mike Ayers, Patrick Doyle, Cady Drell, David Fricke, Andy Greene, Kory Grow, Brian Hiatt, David Marchese, Nick Murray, Matthew Trammell and Christopher R. Weingarten

Bleachers

Courtesy Bleachers

Bleachers, Title TBD (Late Spring)

As fun. toured the world off 2012's hit Some Nights, guitarist Jack Antonoff spent his downtime recording music for his new project, Bleachers. "I wanted to bridge the gap between Disclosure and Arcade Fire," he says. "It's extremely over the top and extremely epic." Antonoff worked with producers John Hill (MIA, Jay Z) and Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yaz, Erasure) for bombastic synth-heavy singalongs, like "I Wanna Get Better," where he mines the scars of his past, from a damaging acid trip to losing his sister 10 years ago. "The record is all about finding a world where you can be kind to yourself."

Future

Courtesy Epic Records

Future, ‘Honest’ (Spring TBD)

"Everybody thought it was going to be pop," says hip-hop's reigning hook master Future, who has robo-crooned with everyone from Miley Cyrus to Justin Bieber. "But we're gonna go so hood and so underground on 'em." Indeed, Honest, possibly the year's most anticipated rap release, will have the hard-edged, tear-the-club-up feel of recent tracks like "Sh!t": "T-Shirt" is an impassioned shout over slow-mo EDM, and elsewhere, Wiz Khalifa raps over a collision of Wagner and Miami bass. "It's gonna shock the world," Future says. 

Miranda Lambert

Randee St Nicholas

Miranda Lambert, Title TBD (Late Spring)

"This is the most stressed I've been about any record," says Lambert. "Everyone's like, 'You're one of the queens, you got it made.' Yeah, but I want to stay here!" The country star went all out for her fifth LP. It's her most diverse album yet, bouncing from hook-packed, Taylor Swiftian pop (the blond-ambition anthem "Platinum") to heartfelt moments like "Priscilla" (as in Presley), a rollicking tune about having to share your husband with the world. "Insecurity and tabloids are all addressed in this album," says Lambert, who's married to The Voice star Blake Shelton. "I've never hidden anything. I'm just a little bit more high-profile now." She also made her rootsiest track ever with "All That's Left for You to Do Is Leave," a bluegrass song she first heard on SiriusXM while driving home from her fifth Beyoncé concert. "My husband had the idea to do the song Western- swing-style," she says. "I hate it when he's right."