Belfast Telegraph

Musical comebacks to watch out for in 2019 - from Westlife to Rihanna

Lucy Mapstone looks ahead at some of the most hotly anticipated musical comebacks over the next 12 months — those that are already confirmed and some that our fingers are firmly crossed for.

Westlife

Now that One Direction are on their extended hiatus and Boyzone are calling time on their 25-year run, the Irish boyband have seemingly spotted the opportunity to make their much longed-for comeback years after splitting.

The pop quartet, comprising Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan (former member Brian McFadden is not rejoining them), are releasing a new album this year, their first since Gravity in 2010, alongside a 20th anniversary tour.

They recently signed a record deal with Virgin EMI, and their new collection will include one track penned by Ed Sheeran.

The group is arguably among the most successful boybands of all time, with more than 55 million records sold worldwide and 14 UK number one singles, behind only Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

Expect plenty of timeless ballads and epic songs with key changes, perfectly complementing their “sitting on stools” stage performances.

Samantha Mumba

After an almost inexplicably too-long hiatus, Irish singer Samantha Mumba is returning with her first new album in nearly 20 years.

Mumba rose to fame in 2000 with debut album Gotta Tell You, which spawned a string of hit singles including Body II Body, Always Come Back To Your Love and, of course, the catchy title track.

Arguably one of the hottest, brightest stars of the early Noughties, she never released a second album.

She did release a Christmas EP in 2001 and a compilation in 2006, but the new record will be the first since her debut.

Mumba’s music career might have been short-lived initially, as she ventured into acting, but she made a big impact overseas and in the UK and Ireland.

She is clearly still very much popular with fans. She recently revealed that her music was streamed four million times on Spotify alone in 2018.

She is said to have worked with singer-songwriter and producer MNEK on her new music, and she told fans she is “so hyped” to be making her comeback this year.

ABBA

It may sound like a dream come true, but there is a good chance of Abba releasing a new album this year — their first in nearly 40 years.

The Swedish legends have already reunited to create a number of new songs ahead of their digital avatar tour and, in October, Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus dropped a hint that a record may be on the cards in 2019.

He said “possibly” to the idea of a new album, although has also made it very clear the foursome would not ever go so far as to reunite on stage.

A new record would be the first collection of new music from the Waterloo hitmakers since their final album, The Visitors, in 1981.

Having shifted more than 400 million records worldwide since they arrived in the 1970s, and with the likes of the Mamma Mia! films being such a huge success, there is no doubt that a comeback album from Abba would be one of the most exciting things to happen in music in this century.

The Cure

Ten years have passed since The Cure released an album, but they will be back with fresh music in 2019. Frontman Robert Smith recently told US radio station SiriusXM that he has felt inspired by new, younger artists coming out, and added: “We’re going in about six weeks’ time (to the studio) to finish up what will be our first album in more than a decade. It’s very exciting times for us all around.”

The new wave rockers have been touring and performing in recent years, with a line-up of appearances set for this summer on the European festival circuit, as well as a headline tour, but this will be the first offering of new stuff for a sizeable chunk of time.

The forthcoming new album will mark the 40th anniversary of the British goth rock group’s debut record, Three Imaginary Boys.

Rihanna

Okay, so it has only been three years since Rihanna released her latest album, Anti, but for an artist who had pretty much dropped a new record every year since 2005, that’s a long gap. It’s a comeback, in Rihanna terms.

The R&B star went on a break from music in 2016, focusing on her acting career, as well as working on her Fenty beauty and lingerie brands.

In 2018, Rihanna confirmed she was back in the studio working on new music with a more reggae vibe to it, much to the delight of her millions of fans, although she has yet to reveal details of its release date or its title.

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