2007 included one of the most surprising artistic comebacks in recent years among 9 other impressive returns.
Gossip columns spent the year reporting on the embarrassing details of Britney Spears' personal life. However, when we finally heard her latest music in October, to the surprise of many, the album Blackout turned out to be one of the most mature works of her career. It has already generated 2 hit singles, "Gimme More", only the 2nd top 3 single in the US of Britney's career, and "Piece of Me", with more likely to come.
2. The Eagles
Until this year the last Eagles studio album was The Long Run released in 1979. The group got back together for a tour and live album Hell Freezes Over in the early 1990's. The title referred to Don Henley's comment that the group would get back together "when hell freezes over."
Now, more than 10 years after that reunion, with a number of top-selling reunion tours under their belts, the Eagles decided to re-enter the studio. The Eagles released a new full-length studio album Long Road Out of Eden through an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart and proved they are just as commercially potent as at their mid-1970's peak. Just over a month after the initial release, the album has sold nearly 2 million copies.
3. Maroon 5
Maroon 5's first album Songs About Jane was released in 2002. It slowly built an audience and finally peaked inside the top 10 of the album chart in August of 2004. Due to the length of time after Songs About Jane was initially recorded and released, much speculation occurred about when a second album would appear. A stopgap live album was released in 2005 to keep fans interested in the band. Finally, in May of 2007, It Won't Be Soon Before Long headed to stores.
It was almost as if the band picked up right where they had left off. The album and its lead single "Makes Me Wonder," both reached #1 on the charts. By year's end the group had scored 3 hit singles in 2007.
4. Kid Rock
Back in 2001 Kid Rock was at the top of the pop music world riding the success of the single "Picture," recorded with Sheryl Crow, to nearly 5 million in album sales. Then the popularity started to slide. The follow up, self-titled album, was a comparative disappointment selling less than 2 million copies. Negative gossip coverage, including an assault arrest and marriage followed by divorce with Pamela Anderson, plagued Kid Rock. Finally, Kid Rock's first live album, Live Trucker, released in 2006 barely sold 250,000 copies.
Kid Rock headed back to the studio with acclaimed producer Rob Cavallo for his 2007 release. The album, titled Rock n Roll Jesus, became his very first #1 hit.
5. Linkin Park
Linkin Park didn't exactly disappear in recent years, but by spring of 2007 it had been 4 years since their last proper studio release Meteora. Their remix project with Jay-Z, Collision Course, hit #1 on the charts but failed to even approach the sales figures of the band's studio projects. Minutes to Midnight was released in May of 2007 with one of the biggest opening sales weeks of the year and has generated 2 major hit singles, "What I've Done" and "Shadow of the Day."
6. Matchbox Twenty
After helping define the sound of the alt-rock mainstream in the late 1990's, the band Matchbox Twenty went on indefinite hiatus following the release of their 2002 album More Than You Think You Are. Lead singer Rob Thomas pursued a highly successful solo career with his debut album ...Something to Be landing at #1 on the album chart and including the top 10 smash single "Lonely No More."
Many band watchers wondered if Thomas' solo success would spell the end of Matchbox Twenty. After promises to the contrary, the band went back to the studio, recorded new tracks to put together with their classic hits on the compilation album Exile on Mainstream, and made plans to head out on the road in 2008.
7. Celine Dion
Celine Dion spent the last 4 years entertaining audiences on stage in Las Vegas. It has been 8 years since she last had a top 10 pop single in the US. She returned to the studio in 2007 and release her first English-language album in 4 years, Taking Chances, late in the year. It has not yet generated a major hit single, but it does represent one of the world's bestselling artists moving in new directions and bringing her fan base along for the ride.
8. Annie Lennox
The last studio album from Annie Lennox, Bare was released back in 2003. In the meantime she recorded 2 new songs as Eurythmics with Dave Stewart for a Greatest Hits collection in 2005. The new album Songs of Mass Destruction entered stores in October of 2007 and debuted in the top 10 of the chart picking up where Annie Lennox last left off in her solo career.
9. Garth Brooks
When many music fans think of Garth Brooks and his impact on country music, they forget that he also 7 #1 albums under his belt and a top 10 pop single. He is one of the most successful crossover country artists in history. Although he is officially in retirement, Garth Brooks demonstrated his power to pull an audience once again in 2007 with the release of a new compilation, Ultimate Hits, selling almost a million copies in under a month, and selling out a series of concerts with fellow artist Trisha Yearwood.
10. Jennifer Lopez
The recording comeback of Jennifer Lopez in 2007 has been a mixed bag. Her last studio album Rebirth struggled to sell a million copies in 2005. This year she released both a Spanish-language album and an English-language album, Brave. Sales have been disappointing, but the 2 albums combined with a lauded stint as coach on American Idol and a powerful performance in the 2007 Fashion Rocks concert have kept her in the public eye throughout the year.