Spring 2014 promises great entertainment lineup

2013 was a stellar year across the entertainment mediums. Sony and Microsoft joined Nintendo into the new console generation with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, respectively. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake released new albums. Major blockbusters like Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness dominated summer theaters while award hopefuls like Gravity and American Hustle were released in winter.

It is no baseless claim that 2014 has big shoes to fill.

The video game industry is looking to start the year strong again. Highly anticipated Bioshock: Infinite stole the spotlight last spring, a job that falls this year to two exclusive titles: Infamous: Second Son for PlayStation 4 and Titanfall for Xbox One.

The third Final Fantasy XIII game sees the light of day as Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The next numbered entry in the franchise, Final Fantasy XV, formerly known as Final Fantasy Versus, is still plagued with a vague 2014 release schedule.

Other high profile games include Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for Wii U, Dark Souls II for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Elder Scrolls Online for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC and South Park: The Stick of Truth for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Spring offers a wide selection for films as well. Early blockbuster titles include colon-riddled sequels 300: Rise of an Empire and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

All-ages films being released include the latest Muppets movie, Muppets Most Wanted, complete with an all-star cast. Hayao Miyazaki’s rumored final film The Wind Rises, voiced by such talents as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, hits theaters Feb. 21.

Wes Anderson’s newest film The Grand Budapest Hotel, George Clooney-directed The Monuments Men and Pulitzer-prize-winning play turned film August: Osage County  are other films to keep an eye on.

Atlanta itself will host a variety of concerts and shows. Three musicals are scheduled at the Fabulous Fox theatre: Book of Mormon in late January, Once in March and The Lion King in April. Concerts at the Fox include Robin Thicke and Ellie Goulding.

Spread across the great venues of Atlanta will be acts like Switchfoot at the Buckhead Theatre on Mar. 2, Fratellis at the Masquerade on Feb. 21, Panic! At the Disco at the Tabernacle on Feb. 7 and  AFI at Center Stage Theater on Jan. 18.

Even if there are not any imminent secret album releases, the next few months already promise a few gems.

A little over a decade after his death, Johnny Cash is having a posthumous album, Out Among the Stars, released collecting lost recordings from sessions in the 1980s.

Glee star Lea Michelle releases her debut solo album, Louder, in March. Foxes, the singer of Zedd’s hit single “Clarity,” also releases her debut album, Glorious, albeit one day ahead of Michelle.

Upcoming albums also include Young the Giant’s Mind Over Matter, Of Mice and Men’s Restoring Force, Switchfoot’s Fading West, The Fray’s Helios and Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes.

Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 has further legitimized short stories as a serious genre, and this year’s book selection reflects this changing mentality.

Lydia Davis, practitioner of experimental literature, has a book of short stories entitled Can’t and Won’t: Stories in April. Ben Marcus’ new short story collection Leaving the Sea was recently released this past week. And short story writer Loorie Moore’s new collection Bark will come out late February.

Novels are still, naturally, dominating the bookshelves. New titles from Teju Cole, Emma Donoghue, Jesse Ball and Rachel Joyce are just a sampling of the major talents publishing this spring.

Comics continue to see a rise in popularity thanks to their Hollywood counterparts. Marvel is putting out a wave of titles as part of their NOW! initiative, making perfect jumping-on points for new readers while DC continues their evolving New 52 line-up.

2014 seems to be hitting the ground running, and this spring may be the start of a great year in entertainment.