There are still three-and-a-half musically fruitful months left in 2010, but there is already a whole lot of excitement over a handful of releases set to appear in 2011. Next year, we'll probably hear new music from Lady Gaga and Ke$ha (both of whom talked about new albums recently) as well as the long-awaited Blink-182 reunion album, the return of U2 and a load of other high-profile releases. For a certain segment of the population, there is one piece of album news that is especially exciting: According to drummer and producer Charley Drayton, the spring of 2011 will welcome a brand new album by Fiona Apple.
"Hate to brag but I heard a couple new Fiona Apple tracks today," singer Michelle Branch wrote on Twitter last week. "Amazing."
The news of new Apple music is thrilling, especially considering how long it has been since we last heard from the 33-year-old songwriter. Her last release, the much-maligned Extraordinary Machine, came out in 2005 and only after years of delays and label woes. In fact, the release of that album was so dysfunctional that there were two versions of Extraordinary Machine floating around out there: One produced by longtime collaborator Jon Brion (which was never released officially but made its way online) and another produced by Mike Elizondo and Brian Kehew (which represented most of the original songs in re-recorded form — this was the one released by the label). There was a lot of debate about which version was better, but the bottom line was that the songs were seriously incredible. Apple manages to tap into an incredible well of heady, complicated emotions and contemplations about relationships. If Apple's still-untitled new album contains songs that are anywhere near as good as "Not About Love," then we have a potential best of 2011 candidate already on the horizon.