It's gonna be a big year...

The Christmas decorations are down, the festive sweets have (almost) been demolished...

Yep, 2020 is most definitely under way. With memories of the hectic arguments surrounding our Best Of 2019 lists still fresh, we've begun to cast our minds forwards, looking ahead at what's about to come.

Put simply: 2020 looks like a big year for music. With iconic artists returning and superb newcomers pushing ahead, it could be a memorable 12 months.

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Deftones

Deftones are one of the most definitive art-metal groups of our time. Praised for their poetic sad-rock aesthetic, imperative albums include ‘White Pony’ and ‘Around The Fur’.

Four years since they dropped ‘Gore’, 2020 should bear witness to their long-awaited ninth album release and 21 years of shredding the ambit of experimental rock to pieces. (Laviea Thomas)

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Rihanna

In recent years Rihanna has worked seamlessly hard to give us everything but R9 - however we have it on good authority (some tweets) that 2020 will finally see the powerhouse return to music.

Riri’s new music is said to be reggae-infused and perhaps a step away from those pop bops we’re oh so used to. Regardless, we are ready and waiting. (Laura Copley)

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Caribou

Caribou’s ‘Our Love’ is very much a time and place moment, a release packed with memories of long, heady summers and endless nights. Dan Snaith took a step back from the project, but 2019 represents his emphatic return. New album ‘Suddenly’ lands on February 28th, just in time for the first green roots of Spring.

With some huge live shows already on the books, 2020’s euphoric high points could well be soundtracked by Caribou. (Robin Murray)

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Run The Jewels

RTJ have broken their streak of never going more than two years without an album release, but with FOUR years now in between us and their last album, big things are expected and deserved to those waiting.

Albums one, two and three all had such a consistent tone, it’ll be interesting to see if the plan is to stay true or to mix things up. Here’s hoping for the latter… (Laura Copley)

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Bombay Bicycle Club

Landing on January 17th, ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ will be the band’s seventh album. Continuing to grow and evolve since the early stages back with 2007s ‘The Boy I Used to Be’ and ‘How We Are’, this marks Bombay Bicycle Club’s first album release since returning from a three- year hiatus. Newest EP, ‘I Can Hardly Speak’, provides a glimpse of what they have to offer. (Lauren McDermott)

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Tame Impala

‘The Slow Rush’ is the upcoming fourth studio album by these astounding Aussies, set to be out February 14th. Bundled with signature spaced-out sounds, compelling guitar riffs and woozy yet prominent drumbeats, Tame Impala never fail to provide a sonic masterpiece. Teasing with ‘Lost In Yesterday’ to follow a thread of singles, fans eagerly await. (Lauren McDermott)

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The Strokes

It’s been twenty-two years, and The Strokes are still going strong. Handing fresh album news to their Brooklyn crowd on New Year’s Eve was effective, as Julian Casablancas described them as “unfrozen” and “back”. 2013’s ‘Comedown Machine’ and ‘Future Present Past’ EP came out in 2016. Smooth, measured experimentation is part of their secret.

Surely, magic can be expected…? (Susan Hansen)

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Grimes

Grimes is still one of the most inventive artists working in pop. ‘Miss Anthropocene’, her last on 4AD, drops in February, promising a darker, ‘nu metal (ish)’ sound and dealing, conceptually, with climate change and human extinction.

The promo campaign has had its moments which, in a way, have paved the way for it to be an interesting, unnerving listen. (Wilf Skinner)

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My Bloody Valentine

Kevin Shields said in 2018 that we could expect two new MBV albums. Could 2020 see their release Maybe – there was a 22-year wait for 'm b v'.

Recent comeback successes from Slowdive and Ride should hearten the group, and yet, always a cut above, they tend to do things on their own terms. (Wilf Skinner)

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Ed O’Brien

Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien has been open about his desire to work on solo material, telling press back in 2017 that he was constructing an album under his own name. 2020 should see his plans come to fruition, with Ed O’Brien recently sharing a short clip on socials titled ‘EOB – Coming Soon’. The music therein was abstract, drone-heavy, but undeniably entrancing – what follows next could be very exciting indeed. (Robin Murray)

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Kendrick Lamar

It’s been a minute since Kendrick dropped the sublime, Pulitzer-winning ‘DAMN’, despite popping up on plenty of other artists’ tracks recently - Beyoncé, 2 Chainz, and J Cole among them - and creating the Black Panther soundtrack.

But this could be the year Kendrick fans finally get that overdue album they’ve been crying out for. In 2018, the LA Times said that someone in his camp “mentions they’re going to the studio”, and live dates for summer 2020 have started cropping up.

Could these be the clues we want them to be? For rap’s sake, let’s hope so. (Emma Finamore)

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Michael Stipe

R.E.M. parted ways in 2011, with singer Michael Stipe taking a defiant step back from music. Immersing himself in visual arts, he re-appeared to work on the final Fischerspooner album, before launching his own solo endeavours.

Two wonderful songs have appeared to date, with much more planned. Fingers crossed for a full scale project in 2020, if only to soak up that magnificent voice once more. (Robin Murray)

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Matt Berninger

There’s simply no stopping Matt Berninger. The National had a fruitful 2019, releasing studio album ‘I Am Easy To Find’, working with Mike Mills on a film of the same name, and closing the year with a full live album. As the year drew its final breath Matt Berninger revealed another pearl was incoming, with the singer steadfastly working on a full solo album, to be titled ‘Serpentine Prison’.

As he told NME recently: “It’s not the greatest solo album in the world, but it’s in the top five.” (Robin Murray)

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Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey has always had a poetic flair to her lyrics, matching those astute observations – so often hewn from vintage Americana – with a glamorous sense of melancholy.

Having previously made clear her intent to produce a book of poetry, Lana Del Rey has revised this, promising a spoken word album of her verse at some point in 2020. Speaking to fans on Instagram recently she re-affirmed those plans, and explained that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Native American charities as “I guess I would say, my own reparative act…” (Robin Murray)

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Pet Shop Boys

Legendary synth pop duo Pet Shop Boys just never tire. The new single ‘Monkey Business’ is out now, and their new studio album is due to land later this month – so now is the perfect time to start the countdown.

Never predictable, but always inventive and full of surprise, ‘Hotspot’ looks set to give us something ultra-special. (Susan Hansen)

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Frank Ocean

Marching into four years since his highly acclaimed album, Blonde, was released Frank announced news of a new album to drop this year.

From the GQ music issue to W magazine, he has graced the covers and maintained a heightened anticipation from his listeners. He continues to stay on a pulse, enrapturing us with secret nightclubs, single track vinyls (sold out) and his Blonded radio station. His recent single releases: ‘Little Demon’, ‘In My Room’, ‘Dear April’, ‘Cayendo’ and ‘DHL’ usher in this sentimentality to disco but an imbued modernity.

He dares to define and do what is different, there’s no predicting the scope of invention and artful intention he will bring into this upcoming album. (Rae Niwa)

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The xx

With a sound that is both alluring and haunting, The xx’s last album ‘I See You’ is a beautiful orchestration of poetic lyrics on loss, longing and loving. They really shine in their execution of lyrics within a symbiotic nature of meaning to the constructed sounds by member/producer Jamie xx.

Although there are no further details pointing to their next album, we can expect a lyrical decadence and juxtaposition to all they do best. (Rae Niwa)

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La Roux

La Roux’s ascent to the pinnacle of British pop was marked by unassailable creativity. 2014’s troubled but undeniably fantastic full length ‘Trouble In Paradise’ was a worthy follow up to the project’s breakout debut, but was followed by a prolonged spell in the shadows.

Now Elly Jackson is back. New album ‘Supervision’ lands in February, with the succinct, eight track listing offering a tantalising glimpse of what is to come. (Robin Murray)

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Selena Gomez

‘Rare’ could well be 2020’s first huge release. Selena Gomez’ first full length project – well, music project – in five years, it comes amid a barrage of hype and an imposing list of guests.

Working with some pop big-hitters, the star of the show remains Selena Gomez, with ‘Rare’ offering another chance to soak up that magnificent voice. (Robin Murray)

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GZA

It’s 25 years since GZA released his debut solo classic ‘Liquid Swords’. A melting pot of all the elements of Wu Tang Clan that made them The Wu, it deftly folded in mysticism, martial arts, even chess, set alight by RZA’s cinematic, atmospheric production.

This year Genius is set to give us 'Dark Matter', an equally high-brow, sci-fi flavoured project revolving around space, with composer Vangelis (of Blade Runner fame) building a stellar sci-fi soundscape for GZA’s intergalactic bars.

This could be a stratospheric moment. (Emma Finamore)

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