• Madonna, U2, Ringo Starr, Metallica, Mariah Carey and Shania Twain head the list of highly anticipated albums.
  • Madonna, who will be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in March, gets contributions from Justin Timberlake, Timaland, Kanye West and Pharrrell Williams on her final album for Warner Bros., which may or not be titled “Licorice.” Due in April.
  • Bono says U2’s has a new sound that was inspired by a visit to Morocco last year. He told the ‘Independent’: “It’s not like anything we’ve ever done before, and we don’t think it sounds like anything anyone else has done either.” No due date.
  • Ringo Starr’s new album, “Liverpool 8,” comes out Jan. 15. Dave Stewart co-produced the album and directed the video of the title single which reflects Starr’s life, following him from childhood to the Beatles.
  • Metallica’s first studio album in five years features current bassist Robert Trujillo and is the first produced by Rick Rubin. It has been described as “more progressive and, at times, melodic, featuring a number of guitar solos.” Due in the spring.
  • Mariah Carey’s follow-up to her smash “The Emancipation of Mimi” (2005) will be more of the same with beats from hip=hop producers Jeremaine Dupri, Stargate, Bryan Michael Cox and, according to Billboard. Due in the spring.
  • Shania Twain hasn’t released an album in five years. It’s due in May.
  • Notable releases in the first quarter include Willie Nelson (“Moments of Forever”), Nas (“Nigger”), Ja Rule (“The Mirror”), Nicole Scherzinger (“Her Name Is Nicole”), Sheryl Crow (“Detours”), Lenny Kravitz (“It Is Time For A Love Revolution”), Jack Johnson (“Sleep Through the Static”), Dolly Parton (“Backwoods Barbie”), Janet Jackson (“Discipline”), Erykah Badu (“Nu Amerykah”), Moby (“Last Night”), Panic! at the Disco (TBA) and Ashlee Simpson (“Bittersweet World”).
  • Other albums expected in 2008: Natasha Bedingfield, Snoop Dogg, Gnarls Barkley, Weezer, Brandy, Dr Dre, Alice in Chains, Aerosmith, Green Day, Queen, Oasis, Rancid, All-American Rejects. Jessica Simpson plans a country album.