Entertainment & Arts

Music in 2014: A look-ahead

What are the cultural events to look forward to in 2014? The BBC's arts and entertainment team picks some of the big books, films, TV series, albums, exhibitions and shows for the new year. Click on the links or use the tabs above to navigate.

Image caption Adele is back in the studio after giving birth to her first son in 2012, according to reports

For the first time in more than 20 years, no album sold more than a million copies in 2013. Will anyone be able to buck the trend next year?

The music industry certainly hopes so - and it's lining up releases from several artists who've broken the 1m barrier before, from Ed Sheeran to Adele.

"Adele sounds even better than before," said her co-writer, and OneRepublic frontman, Ryan Tedder in October. "I love where she's at."

But the notoriously tight-lipped star has shared very little about her third album since she told Q Magazine it would be "acoustic and piano-led" in 2011.

Sheeran, who got six platinum discs for his debut, started work on the follow-up immediately after wrapping up a US tour with Taylor Swift in November.

Less than a month later, he tweeted a photo of himself standing next to legendary rap-rock producer Rick Rubin, commenting: "Finished... And I managed to get Rick to smile."

Image caption Ed Sheeran's album is expected in the first half of the year

There's no word on a release date yet, but expect something before the summer.

Elsewhere, Lady Gaga is threatening a "part two" to her undercooked ArtPop project; while Gary Barlow says he's stepping off the X Factor treadmill to start work on a new Take That album in January.

Scottish singer Paolo Nutini is back in the spring with his third album, Caustic Love. The follow-up to 2009's Sunny Side Up (1.7m sales in the UK) it was recorded in the US and is heavily influenced by 70s Stax soul.

Facing up to their 40s are former Mercury-winners Elbow, who've been hard at work on an "experimental" sixth album in Salford and Bath this autumn.

"Quite a few of the songs are from the point of view of an older man, with quite paternal advice," singer Guy Garvey told the NME in September.

Bono, meanwhile, reckons U2 are still "faffing around" with their 13th studio album but he'd "like to think" it will be out in 2014.

Produced in New York by Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley), Billboard magazine claims the record will be officially announced via a commercial during February's SuperBowl.

Speaking of which, Bruno Mars is in charge of the half-time show, shortly before he heads over to the UK for the Brit Awards.

He'll join Katy Perry and Arctic Monkeys as performers on the night; with all three tipped to take home limited-edition trophies, designed by hat enthusiast Philip Treacy.

Image caption Katy Perry's Prismatic tour hits the UK in March

The Arctics headline T In The Park later in the summer, but they presumably won't be returning to Glastonbury, where Michael Eavis has promised all three Pyramid Stage headliners will be "bands who've never played here before".

Acrade Fire were the first to confirm, revealing they'd take the Friday night slot via a chalkboard message last week.

That leaves long-rumoured acts like Fleetwood Mac, Daft Punk, Dolly Parton and Prince in the frame for the remaining slots.

Elsewhere, One Direction play three nights at Wembley Stadium in June (expect glow sticks, hormones), while Neil Young plays Hyde Park with Crazy Horse in July (expect grizzled faces, feedback) and Kings Of Leon have a date booked at Milton Keynes Bowl (expect anti-pigeon defence systems).

Also on tour is Justin Timberlake, taking a career break from acting in the likes of Yogi Bear: The Movie, and Katy Perry, whose Prismatic tour premieres in Belfast on 7 March.

The rumour mill has it that Abba will be doing something to mark the 40th anniversary of their Eurovision victory in May; while influential hip-hop duo Outkast are due to reform at US music festival Coachella.

Image caption Kylie (centre) has been working on her 12th studio album

If you'd rather sample some new music, you should check out the BBC's Sound Of 2014 longlist, featuring the likes of pop starlet Chloe Howl, soul crooner Sam Smith and tortured R&B singer Banks... The overall winner will be revealed in the first week January.

Meanwhile, former Sound Of nominee Clare Maguire has, after a bust-up with her record label, gone independent and started releasing a series of heart-wrenching pop ballads on her SoundCloud page.

The latest, the Jarvis Cocker-penned Half Hearted Love, suggests great things from her in 2014.

There are also new albums on the way from (deep breath) Lana Del Rey, Bruce Springsteen, Lily Allen, Kasabian, Foo Fighters, The Pierces, Cee-Lo Green, Cheryl Cole, Johnny Marr, Beck, Paloma Faith, Pharrell Williams, Wild Beasts, Rita Ora, Forster The People, The Staves, Kylie Minogue and Blondie.

But, as with David Bowie and Beyonce in 2013, I suspect the best records of 2014 will be the ones that take us by surprise.

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