A host of established rock and pop artists are preparing their comebacks and hoping their new music will be embraced by fans in the coming year.
Ahead of the revelation of the top five new artists on the BBC Sound of 2010 list, some of the pundits from the Sound of 2010 panel have picked the established artists whose returns they are most looking forward to in the next 12 months.
CORINNE BAILEY RAE
Four years have passed since the Leeds-born soul singer released her debut album, which sold four million copies. The death of her husband in 2008 saw her take a complete break from music but she is now returning to the public eye with her second album The Sea, out in February.
Matilda Egere-Cooper, music journalist,
Her 2006 debut was such a groundbreaking album and her retreat from the music industry has made fans a bit antsy for her return - me included. The Sea shows she's managed to use personal tragedy as an inspiration for creating more of that beautiful music that made her such a star in the first place.
BRITISH SEA POWER
The grandiose, exuberant and erudite indie quartet will return two years after they reached the UK top 10 with their LP Do You Like Rock Music? They also released a largely instrumental soundtrack to the 1934 documentary Man Of Aran last year.
Chris Salmon, music journalist,
In these days of the firework career (rocket up, rocket down), few bands manage to hold listeners' interest for more than one or two albums. British Sea Power are one of the UK's most glorious exceptions. Having already made three terrific albums of imaginative, artful, eccentric and very beautiful rock music, it's hard to imagine that the new record won't be worth hearing.
Damon Albarn's genre-busting animated pop heroes are preparing their third album Plastic Beach, which he says is "the most pop record I've ever made in many ways". The enticing list of collaborators this time includes Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, De La Soul, Mos Def and Barry Gibb and The Horrors.
Re-energised by the Blur reunion, Damon may well have his pop head back on for a bit. That's very much a good thing, as is the inclusion of Lou Reed and Bobby Womack in Gorillaz' ever evolving cast. Plus, the audio-visual aspect means they're already several steps ahead in answering the question of what on earth artists should be doing now it's all gone digital. Expect great things.
Difficult second album syndrome may have struck the industrial-rave-pop trailblazers, who won the Mercury Prize for their debut in 2007. "Our manager wants us to make Thriller meets Dark Side Of The Moon for album two," singer Jamie Reynolds said. But record label Polydor rejected the follow-up and forced them to re-record it and they scrapped sessions with producer Tony Visconti.
Klaxons' first album turned indie upside down. In the same way that The Clash helped bring punk and reggae together, so Klaxons fused indie rock and dance in an unprecedented fashion - and as a genre defining band, this next album could take us anywhere. Their willingness to push boundaries means that if they get it right, 2010 will belong to Klaxons.
Few albums are more eagerly anticipated among critics and bloggers than the third offering from New York producer James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem. Clinically dissecting and reassembling disco and post-punk, his second, 2007's Sound of Silver, was called a "masterpiece" by some.
Sean Adams, editor,
Drowned in Sound:
James Murphy's follow-up to critics-list topper Sound of Silver could easily be the album of 2010. He's been writing in the LA sunshine and is currently making things "more spartan and muscular" in his beloved New York. We can surely expect the same lazer-sharpened wit and anti-hipster cynicism atop his party-starting intellidisco throb.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
The Californian rockers are back after 2006's double album Stadium Arcadium. But they have lost guitarist John Frusciante. Before starting work on their 10th studio album, drummer Chad Smith took to the road with two side-projects, while bassist Flea studied music at the University of Southern California.
Simon Harper, editor,
I was hoping that they would return with something better than Stadium Arcadium, and was optimistic they'd be rejuvenated and inspired after their two-year hiatus. However, then it was announced that guitarist John Frusciante had quit, which doesn't bode well. I'll be more than interested to hear what direction the band will take without John's creative genius, and how new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (if indeed he is confirmed) will fit into the fold.
Since FutureSex/LoveSounds in 2006, Timberlake has been busier collaborating with other artists than making solo material. He has enjoyed hits with Madonna, TI, Rihanna and Ciara, while also starring in films. But his record label say they are not yet sure whether he will have an album out this year.
Jakki Healy, talent and music executive,
I am looking forward to Justin Timberlake's return because he is always pushing the boundaries, working with new people and writing fantastic pop music. He is an incredible performer and makes it look easy. The return of JT... he's bringing sexy back, can't wait.
This New York band won many fans with their sunny, infectious debut in 2008. The follow-up Contra comes from a similar mould, and the band list a tour of Mexico among their inspirations alongside Brazilian baile funk, Congolese thumb pianos, Beethoven and Bollywood.
Matt Mason, senior editor,
Not as immediate as their debut, Vampire Weekend's second album Contra should generously reward repeated listens. Still rooted in dexterous, African-tinged pop, their sound has been broadened by the influences of Latin, classical, disco and house. And, vitally, the air of smugness that shadows the Brooklyn four-piece is countered by a new vulnerability to some of the lyrics.
The east London producer and MC is preparing to capitalise on the success of his 2008 hit single Wearing My Rolex as well as the breakthroughs of friends like Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk. He has just released Take That, his first single under a major new record deal.
Ras Kwame, DJ,
BBC Radio 1
For 2010, Wiley stands up as an iconic artist in UK black music. Hailed as the "godfather" of the grime scene that birthed many chart-topping artists, his musical contributions have inspired a generation of new talent. With his uniquely individual approach to creating a crossover persona that's stays true to his grimier roots, I anticipate he's soon to be even bigger.
One of only three albums to sell three million copies in the UK in the last decade, Amy Winehouse's Back To Black also made her a tabloid monster. So where now? She has written a number of new songs and been working with Back To Black co-producer Salaam Remi. She may yet also reunite with Mark Ronson and has been talking to hip-hop stars Nas and Mos Def about possible collaborations.
Mark Adams, head of music,
Amy is a fantastically talented woman who has had some bad times. Her new album, I'm sure, will nod to this in her usual unforgiving way and deliver music that has more punch then David Haye. She's been working with Salaam Remi again too (remember Fu-Gee-La?) and I think this record will be bigger than Back To Black.