Music is notoriously difficult to predict. Who at the start of 2013 knew that forgotten Timberlake-lite R&B sleazeball Robin Thicke would become the most reviled man of the year, and go on to have the biggest-selling single? Who could have foreseen that Emeli Sandé would still be shifting lots of records? What soothsayer realised Beyoncé would actually release an album? Crystal ball-gazing is fraught with pitfalls and misdirection, but this is no time for faint hearts. Here's what will happen in 2014.
The Avalanches – Back! Back! BACK!!!
It looks as if Australian sampladelicists The Avalanches are finally on the comeback trail, 13 years after classic debut album 'Since I Left You'. The first signs are cryptic billboards that start to appear across the world during February; they're followed by a 15-second teaser during the commercial break of US show Saturday Night Live and a longer song clip projected on screens at Coachella Festival. Soon Kylie is tweeting about her joy at working on the new album with her elusive compatriots. The hype is almost tangible. By Christmas 2014 the album has still not appeared.
Adele returns in ignominy
Nation's sweetheart Adele releases her third album '26' in April. Unfortunately it's still a few weeks before her birthday and she's only 25. Twitter goes nuts. It's the kind of online apocalypse not seen since the days of Lily Allen's 'Hard Out Here' video (come on, you remember) and culminates in Graham Linehan thundering, "I probably won't buy the album now."
Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich save the music industry!
Fighters for Truth, Justice and Some Kind Of Alternative To Spotify Not Exactly Sure What, Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich at last come up with a new way for fans to access music – and they guarantee it'll rescue an ailing industry. What is it? "It's an ethically sound stream-exchange platform," beams Yorke. "Customers will buy their, um, streams of tracks and then, uh, swap them with other users who… oh Jesus, Nigel, this doesn't even make sense."
Bowie wows Glastonbury
April also brings the thrilling news that David Bowie is continuing his retirement u-turn with a headline slot at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival. The internet is alive with rumours of what the Dame will play. A greatest hits set? Ziggy Stardust from start to finish? The Berlin trilogy in its entirety? As Sunday night comes around, the Thin White Duke marches on with his whole face obscured by a square bit of white cardboard sellotaped to his nose and performs 1982's 'Baal' EP and nothing else.
Ooh, that Miley Cyrus is a one
The Miley Cyrus controvowagon rolls imperiously on, as a set-piece in her new video features her licking a Black & Decker Workmate. "It shows the world how I'm moving on," declares the rebellious starlet. "Stick THAT on a Christmas tree bauble."
The Church of Kanye
In July, Kanye West takes a leaf out of Bob Dylan's pre-'Nashville Skyline' book and crashes his motorcycle. Naturally, Yeezy goes one step further and fakes his own death. A falsified police report suggests the rapper "couldn't see past Kim" and veered off the road, and he's believed to have slipped into a coma. On the third day West returns, claiming "resurrection". The West Brrrrm Baptist Church is founded and Kanye's on Christmas cards by the end of the year.
Marr spawns a blockbuster
Not to be outdone by his former Smiths colleague, Johnny Marr's autobiography is a revelation. Bookended by tales of his boyhood and a forensic examination of every single one of his tour dates with The Cribs, the centrepiece is a 250-page section on the writing of Modest Mouse's 'Dashboard', including a verbatim 2,000-word argument with Isaac Brock about a key change in the middle eight.
The 20/20 Experience – The Final Insult
Despite protests, Justin Timberlake announces that the summer will see the arrival of 'The 20/20 Experience – Part 3'. When it turns up, it's a six-hour-long suite of 15-minute slow jams detailing exactly what Timberlake hopes to achieve on his circular waterbed sometime later this evening. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Drake and The Weeknd start work on a joint seduction symphony that will last the whole of 2015.
A new Stone Roses album hits the schedules
In a candid interview with The Sun's investigative Bizarre column, 1989-haired bassist Mani confidently reveals The Stone Roses' eagerly awaited third album will arrive "in 2016". "I'm buzzing, man," gushes the gurning bottom-endster. "Squireboy's been laying down an outrageous guitar solo for the last eight months."
Azealia Banks finally releases 'Chinese Democracy'
And Hell gets a bit parky.