Getting one album a year set up and released is enough of a chore amid the smoking ruins of the music business. While albums frequently dropped every four to six months in the 1960s, unless you're multi-band-leader Jack White, the lag time between major releases these days tends to be three or more years. And if you're Guns N' Roses or Dr. Dre, well ...
Some, like Lil Wayne, pack that gap with hundreds of mixtape tunes and guest appearances, but even Weezy seems to be struggling to nail what is shaping up to be the new brass bragging ring in the biz: the two (or three) albums in a year watermark. While his rock album, Rebirth, was supposed to be released this spring, last we knew it was still in the "TBD" category.
So far this year, we've had U2, Eminem and Coldplay saying they'll drop a second brand-new disc of material either in the same calendar year or within 365 days of their most recent efforts. But considering the gaps between their two most recent releases (almost five years, five years and three years, respectively), and the fact that they're among the biggest acts in the world, turning that ship around so quickly would be impressive, though highly unlikely.
And, you might recall, last year Erykah Badu promised that she had a conceptual album trifecta up her billowing sleeve, but so far we've only seen the mind-blowing first chapter released, New Amerykah Part 1, 4th World War. No release date has been set for New Amerykah Part 2, Return of the Ankh, or the third "period piece" album, Lowdown Loretta Brown, all of which were supposed to originally drop in 2008. And, before all his recent legal issues, DMX had said he was going to release a hip-hop and gospel album within months of each other.
You might also recall that Chicago’s Lupe Fiasco promised to end his career with a three-album flurry entitled LUPE.N.D. but that project seems to have been back-burnered as well. Hell, even Cam'ron is talking trifecta, recently telling MTV News that he's got two albums, a soundtrack and two movies in the pipeline for '09.
While plenty of artists have beat the 12-month clock in the past (DMX, Tupac, Jay-Z, and last year, Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails), it's a tough game to play and we're not going to hold our breaths for those new U2, Eminem and Coldplay albums.
But we have full confidence that one artist will deliver exactly as promised.
Prince, notorious for his shelf-buckling backlog of recorded material, also has three albums teed up for release this year, only two of which, LOtUSFLOW3R and MPLSoUND are, technically, his own, plus a third from his protégé, Bria Valente, Elixer, that he had a heavy hand in writing and playing on.
And the reason, unlike all these other acts, that you can believe Prince? He cut an exclusive deal with Target that will see the whole thing drop for the low-low price of $11.98. Maybe front-loading is the key?
Do you think U2, Coldplay and Eminem will get two albums out this year?