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10 Most Anticipated Legacy Rock Albums of 2019

A collection of reunions, reconfigurations, studio stalwarts, road warriors, and final statements

Pearl Jam, The Cranberries, The Cure, Hootie and the Blowfish
Pearl Jam, The Cranberries, The Cure, Hootie and the Blowfish
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Releases from veteran rock bands and artists can bring a strange mix of emotions.

While we’re always anxious to hear from one of our all-time favorite bands again — an excitement often intensified as the gap between new releases typically widens over time — history also tells us that veteran acts that are several records, or even several decades, into their careers usually have their best music behind them.

That doesn’t mean that Pearl Jam will undoubtedly fizzle out again like they did on Lightning Bolt or that Bruce Springsteen doesn’t have another Born to Run left in him. It just means that we might have to listen a little closer for that spark that made us love a band in the first place. Some might even argue that’s part of the fun.

On this list, you’ll find reunions, reconfigurations, studio stalwarts, road warriors, bands you forgot all about, chart-toppers of both the present and long ago, and the songwriters and shredders behind some of the greatest rock music in history. Are the odds of another game-changing album from one of these artists long? Maybe. But something deep inside also tells us never to bet against anyone on this list.

–Matt Melis
Editorial Director

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Bob Mould – Sunshine Rock

sunshine rock bob mould 10 Most Anticipated Legacy Rock Albums of 2019

Release Date: February 8th via Merge Records

Why We’re Excited: Bob Mould makes loud and fast records. That should surprise nobody who has popped in at any point during the workhorse songwriter’s breakneck career. However, what makes every new record so welcome isn’t that it’s bound to be a proverbial (hell, maybe it’s a literal) kick in the ass. It’s that Mould can just as skillfully use his punk rock arsenal to envelop us in an emotional fog of grieving (like 2014’s Beauty & Ruin) as he can project a rainbow across the same sky that’s bombarding us with constant bullshit. And given Mould’s own words on the album and, more importantly, a couple blazing, chin-up/cheer-up singles, Sunshine Rock will largely be doing the latter. Thank god for rainbows. –Matt Melis

Sample:

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Weezer – Weezer (The Black Album)

Weezer's Black Album artwork

Release Date: March 1st via Atlantic and Crush

Why We’re Excited: The best part about the Weezer sketch on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago — besides the fact that SNL devoted an entire bit to our favorite nerd rockers — was that the argument between purist Leslie Jones and fanboy Matt Damon summed up exactly what Weezer fans have been arguing about for decades now. However, while Jones may know Rivers Cuomo better than he knows himself, we have to side with Damon — hey, we meh’d at Pacific Daydream but dug Everything Will Be Alright… — and give the Dave Sitek-produced Black Album and its zombie bastards a chance. Hey, we’re lifers and can’t knock the hustle. –Matt Melis

Sample:

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The Flaming Lips – King’s Mouth

King's Mouth Installation, Photo by The Baltimore Sun

Release Date: April 20th (Record Store Day) via Warner Bros. Records

Why We’re Excited: Go ahead and embed this promise in your gummy skull while crowd-surfing in your private hamster ball: With the announcement of a new album from our favorite experimental Sooners, The Flaming Lips, 2019 got at least a little bit stranger. King’s Mouth, as far as we can tell, seems to be the soundtrack to an immersive, multimedia installation (pictured above). According to the lead Lip Wayne Coyne, the original idea for the art installation began from watching a Japanese game show in which a komodo dragon was loosed on contestants who had cuts of meat strapped to their foreheads, The Clash’s Mick Jones will be narrating the album, and the music blends “medieval baroque sounds with futuristic Mars music.” Um, color us at least curious — not to mention hoping that our vinyl copy won’t have Miley Cyrus’ urine pressed into it. –Matt Melis

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The Cranberries – In the End

The Cranberries

The Cranberries

Release Date: TBD

Why We’re Excited: When singer Dolores O’Riordan died this past January, so did The Cranberries. That’s something the remaining band members have been incredibly adamant about over the last year. However, the Irish rockers have one final statement to make with In the End, their eighth studio album that O’Riordan had recorded vocals for prior to her untimely death. “It’s a very strong album,” guitarist Noel Hogan told Rolling Stone back in October, hinting that the songs tag back to their earliest years as a group: “It’s very, very similar, and we deliberately tried to do that. We just said, ‘Let’s go back to the original Cranberries sound.’ And anyone that’s heard it has agreed: ‘Yeah, you managed to do that.'” With that in mind, get ready for an incredibly emotional bookend that should offer some closure to both fans and the band itself. –Michael Roffman

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The Cure

the cure 4 10 Most Anticipated Legacy Rock Albums of 2019

The Cure, photo by Debi Del Grande

Release Date: TBD

Why We’re Excited: Robert Smith has very little to be sad about lately. The Cure hosted two big soirees in London this past summer and they’re about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the goth lord plans to bring the angst to their highly anticipated follow-up to 2008’s 4:13 Dream. A couple of weeks ago, Smith told Sirius XM, “We’re going in about six weeks’ time to finish up what will be our first album in more than a decade. It’s very exciting times for us all around.” He credits this renewed excitement to his own 2018 Meltdown Festival, adding: “Seeing all these new bands inspired me to do something new.” Whether or not the album will include “Step into the Light” and “It Can Never Be the Same”, two new songs the band performed in recent years, remains to be seen. Either way, get that allergy-free makeup ready. –Michael Roffman

Sample:

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Hootie and the Blowfish

Hootie and the Blowfish, Photo by Sean Rayford/Invision/AP

Hootie and the Blowfish, Photo by Sean Rayford/Invision/AP

Release Date: TBD

Why We’re Excited: Yeah, you read that headline right. Hootie and the Blowfish will return to both record and tour in 2019 in celebration of Cracked Rear View’s 25th anniversary. With grunge still looming large and Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill a year away, non-revisionist history will show that the unlikely combination of Darius Rucker’s gospel-flavored vocals and the band’s rootsy folk rock was very much the taste of 1994 for teens and adults alike. Can the Blowfish be the band we only wanna listen to again a quarter century later? Hold our hands, and find out. –Matt Melis

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My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine to release two new albums 2019

My Bloody Valentine

Release Date: TBD

Why We’re Excited: Eh, we’ve been excited. My Bloody Valentine mastermind Kevin Shields has been promising new music even before the release of 2013’s m b v. (Remember when they were supposed to release an EP at the end of that year? Sh’yeah, right.) Since then, it’s been one false promise after another, boiling over earlier this year when he teased two new EPs: one for this past summer and another for this upcoming spring. Needless to say, that didn’t happen — although we did get new material during their tour — and he’s since course corrected himself.

“We’re trying to finish a short album of material… it was going to be an EP in the summer, but we decided not to and decided to make it longer,” Shields explained during an interview filmed at Japan’s Super Sonic Festival in August. “So it will be seven tracks or eight tracks, hopefully will be finished in the end of November [2018].” Oh, it gets better; he then teased that they’re “recording new material next year,” insisting: “There will be about two new records.” How’s the old adage go? Fool me once, shame on you…

On the plus side, we did get those new songs he did with Brian Eno. –Michael Roffman

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Pearl Jam

pearl jam 65 lior phillips wrigley field 10 Most Anticipated Legacy Rock Albums of 2019

Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, Photo by Lior Phillips

Release Date: TBD

Why We’re Excited: In the five years since they released 2013’s Lightning Bolt, Pearl Jam have proved they don’t need new material to stay relevant. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t want new material. No, not at all. Back in March, the Seattle rockers delivered new track “Can’t Deny Me”, which was supposed to serve as the first single off their eleventh studio album. That didn’t happen, though, and as bassist Jeff Ament told our own Kyle Meredith, “2019 is probably safe to say,” seeing how they need “a good solid six to eight weeks” to record and they spent all of 2018 touring. That’s no longer the case, and as frontman Eddie Vedder told fans this past September during their final outing of the year at Boston’s Fenway Park, the next time they play will be in a studio. So, yeah, you heard the man. –Michael Roffman

Sample:

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol 2.

Smashing Pumpkins Shiny and Oh So Bright vol 1 album stream reunion record

Smashing Pumpkins

Release Date: TBD

Why We’re Excited: Billy Corgan is going to have a very busy 2019, seeing how he’s currently working on nine separate projects and will soon take the The Smashing Pumpkins over to Europe. However, among those projects is the second volume of Shiny and Oh So Bright, as he told Kerrang this past November: “We’re in this weird place of, ‘Let’s finish this [tour and album release] and then make some decisions. We’re definitely making plans to record another LP, with the idea it will come out at the end of next year.” Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen — Corgan has a habit of biting off more than he can chew — but we’re keeping tabs on it. After all, the new reunion record delivered one of the best rock songs of 2018 in “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” and hinted at a band that was just starting to wake up. We’ll see. –Michael Roffman

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Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, photo by Rob Demartin

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, photo by Rob Demartin

Release Date: TBD

Why We’re Excited: Times are pretty rough in America right now, and there are few voices as level-headed and insightful as Bruce Springsteen. Now that he’s done conquering Broadway, The Boss is ready go “back to my day job,” as he told The Times in December, which means writing more music for what will be his first album since 2014’s High Hopes. If you recall, late last summer, members of the E Street Band and producer Ron Aniello were spotted at Springsteen’s New Jersey studio, suggesting that this might be an E Street effort. However, that’s not the case, as Springsteen says, “For lack of a better word, it’s a singer-songwriter album – more of a solo record.” Of course, that’s never stopped him from jamming with his longtime pals, so don’t be surprised if he has some familiar faces popping in and out of this one. In the meantime, you can find Bruce on Netflix. –Michael Roffman

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