Advertisement

50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

From The Cure to Fiona Apple to Rihanna, everyone's roaring into the '20s

Most Anticipated Albums 2020 Consequence of Sound The Strokes Alanis Morissette The CureHeader
The Strokes (photo by Heather Kaplan), Alanis Morissette (photo by Philip Cosores), and The Cure (photo by Amy Price)
Advertisement
Advertisement

Only a few weeks ago, I was arguing that albums still matter. Now, looking at the initial slate staring back at us in 2020, I feel exactly the same way. I get goosebumps when I think of the albums Noname, Moses Sumney, and Frank Ocean might drop in our laps. I feel the same about the new depths and corners Phoebe Bridgers, Torres, and Lana Del Rey may mine and illuminate for us.

I’m also just a sucker for stories. And 2020 looks to have plenty of those — enough so that everyone can find one narrative or another to embrace. Maybe it’ll be the story of J. Cole’s The Fall Off finally coming to fruition, the creative chaos that can be a Grimes album cycle, or someone like Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan stepping out into the spotlight. Maybe it’ll be Jon Frusciante finding his way home, Cardi B ruling the universe all over again, or Alanis Morissette returning to the studio just before setting out on one of the summer’s most anticipated tours.

Hell, maybe you’re just curious how Huey Lewis & the News sound in 2020. My money is on “just too darn loud.”

It really doesn’t matter what you’re excited for, though. Only that the thought — we’re still anticipating, after all — of sitting down with, singing along to, or dancing involuntarily under the spell of one or a dozen of these reported releases suddenly makes 2020 feel a little more tolerable. I’m sure we’ll catch each other as these stories unfold: in reviews, op-eds, and, hopefully, year-end lists (ugh, too soon, I know). But, just for now, let’s savor that sweet, fleeting anticipation that comes when we know we’re about to begin a story unlike any other.

Happy listening in 2020.

–Matt Melis
Editorial Director


Kesha – High Road

kesha album high road artwork cover 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

Release Date: January 10th

Why We’re Excited: After releasing the more reflective Rainbow in the wake of her burdensome and distressing legal battle with Dr. Luke, Kesha is back to her glittery, grab-life-by-the-horns self on High Road. On early singles “My Own Dance” and “Raising Hell”, she combines feminist underpinnings with the youthful irreverence that once inspired whiskey tooth brushings and P. Diddy feels. Featuring Brian Wilson, Sturgill Simpson, and, uh, Kesha, High Road promises to be an early 2020 highlight. –Christopher Thiessen

Sample:


Selena Gomez – Rare

Selena Gomez Rare artwork

Release Date: January 10th

Why We’re Excited: Everyone knows who Selena Gomez is, but she’s still somewhat of a pop underdog, which doesn’t mean she lacks the material. 2015’s “Hands to Myself” was a languid, gorgeous hit, and 2017’s Talking Heads-sampling “Bad Liar” even won her critical acclaim. Rare’s first taste, “Lose You to Love Me”, is a winning, spare ballad co-written by Billie Eilish’s brother, Finneas, and it was Gomez’s first No. 1 single. Her best may very well be yet to come. –Dan Weiss

Sample:


070 Shake – Modus Vivendi

070 shake MODUS VIVENDI album cover artwork

Release Date: January 17th

Why We’re Excited: In 2018, as the ceaseless swirl of Kanye discourse ensued following the release of ye, there was one question that rose above the rest, one that was asked with a fervent desire for an answer: Who was the feature on “Ghost Town”? The answer: 070 Shake. There was something serendipitous about her moment on the track, her haunting rasp crooning on a song about pain, numbness, and death. It was all-consuming. Considering how much buzz she received after that one moment almost two years ago, it’s safe to assume that there is a steady stream of excitement around her imminent debut album. –Lucy Shanker

Sample:


Pinegrove – Marigold

pinegrove marigold album artwork cover 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

Release Date: January 17th

Why We’re Excited: Call your parents and never forget your first love. Pinegrove is ready to take you down another path of lost memories in the middle of the summer, with cars you jump-start in the rain while blasting Cardinal (2016) or Skylight (2018). With Marigold on the incredibly close horizon, late January can’t cover us in sunlight fast enough. –Meggie Gates

Sample:


Wolf Parade – Thin Mind

wolf parade thin mind album artwork cover 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

Release Date: January 24th

Why We’re Excited: Blog rock weirdos, rejoice: your king has really, truly returned. After awakening from a seven-year hiatus with 2017’s quietly excellent Cry Cry Cry, Spencer Krug and Wolf Parade seem poised to regain their ’00 indie prominence with Thin Mind. Though early press suggests Krug was inspired by a desire to comment on our over-technologized culture (a path that usually reduces even the deftest lyricists to platitudes), advance singles like “Forest Green” are light on clangers and heavy on urgent arrangements that land with more body-shaking immediacy than we’ve seen since “Grounds for Divorce”. –Tyler Clark

Sample:


Destroyer – Have We Met

destroyer have we met album artwork 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

Release Date: January 31st

Why We’re Excited: Kaputt was one of our top 100 albums of the last decade, but it was only the first in Destroyer’s blemish-free run of records in the ’10s. Dan Bejar hasn’t released a lackluster album since 2008’s rain-soaked Trouble in Dreams, so why would he start now? Judging by the mannered bon mots and nocturnal synth grooves of early singles “Crimson Tide” and “It Just Doesn’t Happen”, the answer is “he wouldn’t, hasn’t, and maybe never will again.” –Tyler Clark

Sample:


Frances Quinlan – Likewise

Likewise by Frances Quinlan solo album artwork

Release Date: January 31st

Why We’re Excited: Hop Along have been favorites of indie music listeners for the better part of a decade. At the center of the project has always been Frances Quinlan, who actually first used the moniker for her solo work. Likewise sees her returning to solo status, now a fully developed songwriter with a powerfully unique voice. Early previews suggest a record Hop Along fans will find familiar yet fresh, a sure way to solidify Quinlan as a sleeper indie force. –Ben Kaye

Sample:


Torres – Silver Tongue

Torres Silver Tongue

Release Date: January 31st

Why We’re Excited: Mackenzie Scott, also known as Torres, adds layers of electronic grooves and understated guitars to a basic background of indie folk until you’re left with a sprawling canvas of invoked doom, devotion, and certainty. The couple of singles we got late in 2019, led by “Good Scare”, seem like a good indication that Silver Tongue, her fourth album, will continue showcasing softly elaborate rhymes and melodies that work on their own terms, guided by drama-fueled vocals and industrial backdrops. –Laura Dzubay

Sample:


La Roux – Supervision

la roux supervision album cover artwork 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

Release Date: February 7th

Why We’re Excited: British synthpop musician La Roux has only released two albums during the more than a decade she has spent in the music industry, but they’ve each been showcases for pristine songwriting and joyful ’80s influences. Her biggest single, 2009’s “Bulletproof”, sounds as fresh as it did 10 years ago. The two new singles from her upcoming record are gentler and grander — “Gullible Fool” is seven minutes long — but still outrageously hooky, suggesting a path of musical growth that will yield something beautiful. –Kayleigh Hughes

Sample:


Beach Bunny – Honeymoon

Beach Bunny Honeymoon album artwork cover debut

Release Date: February 14th

Why We’re Excited: On the backs of four self-released EPs, Beach Bunny built up a ton of buzz out in Chicago over the last half-decade. After popping up on festival bills all over the place, they eventually landed a deal with Mom+Pop. Youthfully earnest and irresistibly catchy, the quartet’s indie pop has the unfussy joy of a band making music because it’s just fun and cathartic to do so. Lead single “Dream Boy” was one of our favorite tracks of 2019, so of course we’re looking forward to the full effort. –Ben Kaye

Sample:


Huey Lewis & the News – Weather

huey lewis news weather album artwork cover 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

Release Date: February 14th

Why We’re Excited: Baby boomers have been catching a lot of well-earned shit lately, but they’re still the generation that gave us the artificial heart, the World Wide Web, and (most importantly) Huey Lewis & the News. The man single-handedly responsible for making me remember 2000 karaoke dramady Duets returns with his band’s first record in 10 years, one that promises a return to the bluesy barroom harmonies that made records like Sports and Fore! ’80s radio staples. –Tyler Clark

Sample:


Monsta X – All About Luv

Monsta X All About Luv Artwork

Release Date: February 14th

Why We’re Excited: K-pop has been around since the early ’90s, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the average American music fan finally caught on to this global-dominating genre. As bands like BTS and Blackpink set records for album and ticket sales, groups like the six-member Monsta X patiently waited their turn. However, with an album, All About Luv, ready to drop next month, don’t be surprised if the talented, versatile pop act don’t claim more hearts and ears for the red-hot genre from overseas very, very soon. –Matt Melis

Sample:


Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

Tame Impala - The Slow Rush

Release Date: February 14th

Why We’re Excited: Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala are finally back after a five-year break. Their forthcoming album, The Slow Rush, is the “rush” we didn’t realize we’ve been craving until now. Riding on the high of recent singles “It Might Be Time”, “Borderline”, and “Posthumous Forgiveness”, it’s apparent this album will be more experimental than ever — in an “Oooh, this is as refreshing as a newly discovered cocktail on a summer day” kind of way. Nevertheless, we’re convinced The Slow Rush will also highlight that true Tame Impala steez that’s a fine balance between mellow and effervescent. –Gabrielle Pharms

Sample:


The 1975 – Notes on a Conditional Form

The 1975 - Notes on a Conditional Form

Release Date: February 21st April 24th

Why We’re Excited: As is the tradition of the English pop-rock band, their soon to be released fourth studio album, Notes on a Conditional Form, opens with an eponymous title track, this time a four-minute speech from 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, sharing: “Now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.” And if that doesn’t give you a sense of where the album is headed, may we also offer the band’s single “People” that launches off with frontman Matt Healy screaming, “Wake up, wake up, wake up,” and also reminding us to stop fucking with the kids, because the world could use a little civil disobedience purposely punctuated with guitar riffs right now. –Erica Campbell

Sample:


BTS – Map of the Soul: 7

BTS concert film Love Yourself Speak Yourself

BTS, photo courtesy of band

Release Date: February 21st

Why We’re Excited: BTS’ latest EP, Map of the Soul: Persona, made history last year as South Korea’s best-selling album of all time. It’s a daunting achievement for any artist to follow up, but The Beatles-level K-pop sensation has proven time and time again that they’re more than up for the task. Hopefully, 7 will gift us with more addictive hooks and pitch-perfect production while continuing BTS’ pattern of exploring interesting new styles with each release. –Laura Dzubay


Grimes – Miss_Anthrop0cene

Grimes Miss Anthropocene artwork

Release Date: February 21st

Why We’re Excited: If Grimes taught us anything for 2020, between her unlikely relationship with Elon Musk, holding Azealia Banks hostage in the tech billionaire’s house, and calling her highly acclaimed 2015 record Art Angels a “piece of crap,” it’s to expect the unexpected and then still brace ourselves for the shock. So far, she has released singles inspired by nu-metal, artificial intelligence, and even North Korea’s all-female military band, Moranbong, for Miss_Anthrop0cene, on which, she wrote on Instagram, “Each song will be a different embodiment of human extinction as depicted through a Pop star Demonology.” –Natalie Barr

Sample:


Young Thug – Punk

So Much Fun deluxe edition new songs "Diamonds", "Hop Off A Jet (Travis Scott)", "Die Today", "Millions" Young Thug, photo by Philip Cosores

Young Thug, photo by Philip Cosores

Release Date: February

Why We’re Excited: Whether or not you consider last year’s So Much Fun to be Thugger’s “official” debut is moot; with Jeffery Williams, it’s all part of the ride. So, part of the thrill is whether or not its alleged counterpart, Punk, will even materialize; remember HY!£UN35? Mainly the drunk uncle of our warped-sung rap era is still hanging with his peers in prolific, tuneful (£UN3FUL?) bursts, and there’s at least a real chance he’ll include punk songs. –Dan Weiss


Alanis Morissette – Such Pretty Forks in the Road

Alanis Morissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road

Release Date: May 1st

Why We’re Excited: Riding the wave of her atomic smash Jagged Little Pill’s 25th anniversary, the Broadway show based on it, and one of the year’s hottest package tours (with Liz Phair and Garbage), an Alanis comeback is as nigh as it will ever be. But she’s been more than a one-album artist, and 1998’s worldlier Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie and bangers like “Eight Easy Steps” are as rad as anything else she’s done. Throw another on us. –Dan Weiss

Sample:


Moses Sumney – Græ

moses sumney græ album cover artwork double record

Release Date: May 15th

Why We’re Excited: Moses Sumney describes his new double LP, Græ, as a “conceptual patchwork about grayness.” It makes sense, as this ambiguous space is a place he often finds himself in. At age 10, Sumney moved from California to Accra, Ghana. He struggled to adjust, often getting teased for his American accent. Similarly, his music has no true home — no defining genre. Aromanticism, his 2017 debut, is filled with glittery, electric reflection and layered harmonies that travel across celestial dreamscapes that dramatically crash and soar. He strings together elements of folk, art pop, and electro-soul that prevent him from being labeled. Whether it be socially or musically, Sumney exists in his own gray area, allowing him to mold and grow into whatever he pleases. Like Sumney, Græ will no doubt create in its own unique, ineffable in-between. –Samantha Small

Sample:


Best Coast – Always Tomorrow

best coast always tomorrow

Best Coast, photo courtesy of band

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Best Coast’s return is long overdue. The band haven’t released an album since 2015’s California Nights, and Always Tomorrow shows a different side to them. While Best Coast became one of the most influential indie bands of the 2010s and won over fans with songs about heartache, Bethany Cosentino has a more optimistic outlook on the new record, singing about feeling free after a breakup on lead single “For the First Time”. After having a wildly successful decade, Always Tomorrow will answer what Best Coast’s transition into the 2020s will sound like. –Tatiana Tenreyro

Sample:


Broken Bells – TBA

Stream Broken Bells Shelter New Song

Broken Bells, photo by James Minchin

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Broken Bells are releasing their first full-length album in six years. If I could personally scream this in everyone’s face, I would. Waiting for years in the limelight of Broken Bells (2010) and the wonderland of After the Disco (2014) has finally paid off. James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse are ready to unearth Broken Bells from their holy grave, one spooky, mystic melody at a time. –Meggie Gates

Sample:


Cardi B – Tiger Woods

Cardi B, photo by Christian Hjorth

Cardi B, photo by Christian Hjorth

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: After dominating the rap sphere in 2018 with the Grammy-winning Invasion of Privacy, all eyes are vigilantly watching out for Cardi B’s next move. The native New Yorker’s fire flow and larger-than-life personality have only been amplified since that last record — thanks to projects like one-off singles “Press” and “Money” and her Hustlers film debut — so the momentum is still undoubtedly in her favor even two years out. Her new LP’s tentative title of Tiger Woods — inspired by the pro golfer’s unexpected comeback — also offers a hint at Cardi’s state of mind going into album No. 2, especially when it comes to her detractors: You still can’t fuck with her, if you wanted to. –Lake Schatz


The Cure – TBA

The Cure 40 Curaetion Anniversary Box Set

The Cure, photo by Amy Price

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The Cure are hitting the ground running in 2020. After taking the past decade off from new releases, frontman Robert Smith recently announced that they now have three new albums in development — with one due for imminent release. The best part? Fans likely won’t have to go through another 12 year waiting period for its followup, as Smith also disclosed that the second of the three albums is nearly set to go as well. Good things truly do come to those who wait. –Lindsay Teske


Deftones – TBA

Deftones at Pasadena Daydream, photo by Debi Del Grande

Deftones at Pasadena Daydream, photo by Debi Del Grande

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Over 20 years ago, a band out of Sacramento, CA, hit the scene with sound rooted in aggressive rock and a look entrenched in Southern Cali swag. Years later, Deftones are as active as they were in their heyday, with the planned follow-up LP to 2016’s Gore slated to be released later this year. Lead singer Chino Moreno has hinted that this ninth album will be reminiscent of their iconic 2000 release, White Pony. In the midst of the world’s chaos, we all could use some signature Deftones to stay sane. –Gabrielle Pharms


Dinosaur Jr. – TBA

Dinosaur Jr. New Record Studio

Dinosaur Jr., photo by Nina Corcoran

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Christmas came early for Dinosaur Jr. fans this year when bassist Lou Barlow took to Instagram early last month to share that the band’s next album was officially underway. The album will be their first since 2016’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, and while no further information has been made available at the time of writing, it’s safe to say that we can always count on J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph to deliver something well worth waiting for. –Lindsay Teske


Dixie Chicks – Gaslighter

Dixie Chicks

Dixie Chicks, photo courtesy of artist

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: A lot of women musicians have been done dirty by the country music machine, but perhaps none so bad as the brilliant, passionate, mind-blowingly talented Dixie Chicks. They reinvigorated country music in the early 2000s before being pilloried for speaking out against then-President George Bush and subsequently releasing their seemingly final record, 2006’s Taking the Long Way, which features the incredible stick-to-your-guns anthem “Not Ready to Make Nice”. Now they’re back, and quite simply, we are not worthy. –Kayleigh Hughes


Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

Dua Lipa on Fallon

Dua Lipa on The Tonight Show

Release Date:

Why We’re Excited: Dua Lipa’s debut disc made her a global superstar and gave fans an arsenal of soul-infused pop anthems to help get over the ex that keeps on crawling back in songs like “New Rules” and “IDGAF”. Now, the English songstress returns with her sophomore record, promising the same kind of cultural bite with a fresh sound. If “Don’t Start Now” is any indication, Future Nostalgia will have us getting down on the dance floor all the way into 2021. –Irene Monokandilos

Sample:


Fiona Apple – TBA

fiona apple cover beach boys in my room song release new soundtrack jakob dylan

Fiona Apple, photo courtesy of artist

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Fiona Apple doesn’t really care if you’ve been waiting eight years for a follow-up to one of the 2010’s best records, The Idler Wheel… The notoriously unhurried and particular singer-songwriter will work in the ways she works, in the time it takes her to do so. We will simply wait here patiently, appreciating the occasional one-off contribution to a soundtrack or Jeff Goldblum jazz album, chuckling at the playful social media videos. And when she deems the album she says is nearly finished ready for release, we will absorb it hungrily and gratefully. –Ben Kaye


Fleet Foxes – Shore

Fleet Foxes First Collection 2006 2009 Box Set Ben Kaye boston Calling

Fleet Foxes, photo by Ben Kaye

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: When asked about new music in a recent Instagram post, Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold described his upcoming work (tentatively teased as a 15-track album called Shore) as “15 Big Ones”, a reference to the 1976 Beach Boys record that found the band embracing their nostalgic sound after a period of diminishing experimentation. Does that mean we’re about to get “White Winter Hymnal” 2.0, or is Pecknold prepping another sojourn through the fractalizing landscapes of his inner world a la 2017’s Crack-Up? Either way, we’re keen to find out. –Tyler Clark


Frank Ocean – TBA

frank ocean new music album update interview w magazine

Frank Ocean, photo by Philip Cosores

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: There’s probably a 3% chance that the always enigmatic and revelatory Frank Ocean will announce an actual release date for his next album. But, in his cover story for W Magazine, Ocean revealed that his follow-up to the earth-shattering Blonde does exist, and it will wield influences from “Detroit, Chicago, techno, house, French electronic.” He also disclosed that it would be a “full motion picture fantasy,” which at once garners a deluge of excitement and, predictably, reveals absolutely nothing. –Lucy Shanker


Ghetto Sage – TBA

Ghetto Sage New Song Häagen Dazs Noname Saba Smino Stream

Ghetto Sage, photo courtesy of the artist

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: As Chicago hip-hop and R&B fans, we know we’re spoiled. Not only did we get to see Chance the Rapper catapult into stardom from the friendly confines of our little big-city, but we’ve since watched other local talent like Jamila Woods, SABA (and Pivot Gang), Noname, and Smino (an honorary Chicagoan) transform the Windy City into one of the hottest beds for up-and-coming hip-hop talent and collaboration. And despite Noname’s recent frustration with the music industry, we pray that she, SABA, and Smino will carry on and pick up where lead single “Häagen Dazs” left off and deliver us some more chill beats before the 2020 summer heats up. –-Matt Melis

Sample:


Greta Van Fleet – TBA

Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet, photo by Travis Shinn

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: There’s no denying that people, whether they consider themselves fans or not, are definitely interested to see what Greta Van Fleet has in store for their sophomore album. Expected to arrive at some point early this year, the album will follow the quartet’s much-buzzed-about 2018 debut LP, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. Though Greta Van Fleet’s classic rock-like sound resulted in their rapid rise into cultural consciousness, vocalist Josh Kiszka and guitarist Jake Kiszka have said in recent interviews that listeners can expect to hear something a little different this time around. As for how, we’ll have to wait and see. –Lindsay Teske


HAIM – Hallelujah

HAIM fire manager over gender pay gap festival

HAIM, photo by Kimberley Ross

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: HAIM evokes the power of God in performances. Battling depression, diabetes, and death, the sisters channel pain into pleasure, the proof found in Something to Tell You (2017) and the certified gold Days Are Gone (2013). They’ve teased the album with title track “Hallelujah”: electric, raw, and energetic. A cry from the heavens when the three touched down on Earth. –Meggie Gates

Sample:


J. Cole – The Fall Off

j cole revenge of the dreamers 3 stream dreamville

J. Cole, photo by Ben Kaye

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: J. Cole had a successful 2019 even without a solo record. Hit single “Middle Child” became Cole’s highest-charting song at No. 4, while Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III cemented his role as one of hip-hop’s top curators and community builders. The Fall Off follows 2018’s KOD where Cole claimed on “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off’)” to be “looking for the next wave.” We’ll have to wait and see if he found it. –Christopher Thiessen


Kid Cudi – Entergalactic

Kid Cudi Entergalactic Netflix New Album Kenya Barris

Kid Cudi, photo by Philip Cosores

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Kid Cudi was one of the more influential rappers on 2010s music, despite his low-key persona. However, Cudi capped things off well with 2018 collaboration Kids See Ghosts alongside Kanye West. Promised last summer, Entergalactic marks Cudi’s first solo record since 2016 and will be accompanied by an animated Netflix series. Cudi’s hazy, astral raps will hopefully inspire stunning visuals in 2020. –Christopher Thiessen


The Killers – Imploding the Mirage

The Killers, photo by Eric Weiss

The Killers, photo by Eric Weiss

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Nearly 20 years after the release of their breakthrough infidelity fueled sing-along “Mr. Brightside”, The Killers are kicking off the new decade with their sixth studio album, Imploding the Mirage, set to be released this spring. So what do fans have to look forward to this time around? The band have already dropped a list of tracks on Instagram with some hinting at religious symbolism and other lofty titles like “When the Dream Runs Dry” that would sit nicely among track names of their early records. One thing for sure, the songs will have to reach the back walls, and nose bleeds of stadiums around the world since the band kicks off an (already) sold-out UK and Ireland tour in support of the album in May. –Erica Campbell


Lana Del Rey – White Hot Forever

Lana Del Rey new spoken word album "freestyle poetry" 2020, photo by Philip Cosores

Lana Del Rey, photo by Philip Cosores

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Lana Del Rey made a breakthrough with Norman Fucking Rockwell! in 2019, pushing her pop into a new sphere that marked both a shift in tone and a thematic evolution from her previous albums. She’s using her glass-sharp songwriting, off-kilter patriotic preoccupations, and lush production as the weapons they were always meant to be, and a productive time for the princess of American melodrama coinciding with a tense election year is likely to yield another album rife with beauty and gravity. –Laura Dzubay


Matt Berninger – Serpentine Prison

Matt Berninger Big Thief cover Not The National, photo by Ben Kaye

The National, photo by Ben Kaye

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The frontman for The National’s special chemistry with his bandmates has allowed them to produce eight beautiful studio albums with nary a dud in the mix, but Berninger has also brought his mournful baritone and anxious desires to a number of great collaborations over the years — including side project EL VY and recent duet “Walking on a String” with Phoebe Bridgers. We’re excited to see what path he takes with his solo album, dubbed Serpentine Prison, which Berninger says was produced by Booker T. and will be loaded with features from many of his “brilliant” musician friends. –Kayeigh Hughes


Megan Thee Stallion – TBA

megan thee stallion nye

Megan Thee Stallion on New Year’s Eve

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: It’s almost impossible to imagine life before Megan Thee Stallion. Between her onslaught of hits to the now trite (but still beloved) mantra, “hot girl summer,” Megan was inescapable in 2019. As she earned monumental success, she also faced incomprehensible loss: Both her mother, a former rapper and Megan’s greatest teacher, and grandmother passed away in the same month. The emotional ebb and flow of her year has undoubtedly supplied her with an endless amount of topics to delve into on her debut album. And if the project is anything like Fever, it will shape the entirety of 2020. –Lucy Shanker


Nine Inch Nails – TBA

Nine Inch Nails, photo by Lior Phillips

Nine Inch Nails, photo by Lior Phillips

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Though Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has been busy creating buzzy soundtracks and scores as of late, it’s been a long seven years since the release of the band’s disappointing last album, Hesitation Marks. To be honest, we’re still rage dancing to tunes from that gritty LP (“Copy of A” could easily be played at Berghain because pulsating, dark techno-inspired beats ftw). Will the forthcoming album be as corrosively raw as their 1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine? Who knows? Who cares? Whatever the case may be, we’re completely here for what the legendary band has in store for us. –Gabrielle Pharms


Noname – Factory Baby

Noname Quit Music White Audiences

Noname, photo by Julia Drummond

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Noname recently decided to quit touring for the time being, but that doesn’t mean she’s done with music. Factory Baby, hopefully due out sooner than later, is the follow-up to her impeccable 2018 record, Room 25. Noname has kept details under wraps to this point, only offering cryptic tweets about the album’s direction. As always, however, we expect sharp rhymes with impactful reflections on self and society when Noname finally drops Factory Baby. –Christopher Thiessen


Pearl Jam – TBA

pearl jam holiday singles spotify streaming ten club

Pearl Jam, photo by Lior Phillips

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Plain and simple: One of the most fiercely beloved American rock bands hasn’t released an album since 2013’s not-special Lightning Bolt. In that time, they’ve aligned themselves with punk legends like the Buzzcocks and indie heroes like Sleater-Kinney. Plus, a certain prolapse in a rusty toupee became the most powerful person in the world. If these factors don’t add up to the most vicious, energized, cathartic Pearl Jam release in years, we’re really in trouble. –Dan Weiss


Phoebe Bridgers – TBA

Phoebe Bridgers Newport Folk Festival The Cure Friday I'm in Love Spotify Singles Ben Kaye

Phoebe Bridgers, photo by Ben Kaye

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In the almost three years since releasing her masterful debut album, Stranger in the Alps, Phoebe Bridgers has been a well of wistful sonic woe. In 2018, she joined forces with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus to fill our cups with boygenius. In 2019, they ran over with one of the best albums of the year, her Conor Oberst collaboration, Better Oblivion Community Center. In 2020, fans look to Bridgers to continue her steady drip of nearly perfect indie rock to drown out their depressive episodes, this fan included. –Irene Monokandilos


Red Hot Chili Peppers – TBA

Red Hot Chili Peppers with John Frusciante

Red Hot Chili Peppers with John Frusciante

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: One proper name, damn difficult to spell, and not the easiest to pronounce either: Frusciante. Sure, we’re always going to be game to get on top of what Red Hot Chili Peppers have been working on, but the recent announcement that the on-again, off-again guitarist responsible for the band’s most indelible songs has returned for the latest patch of Pepper tunes only heats anticipation up on the old Scoville Scale. Think about this: The other two records John Frusciante has made when joining or reuniting with the Peppers are Mother’s Milk and Californication. We might need a big glass of milk pretty soon. –Matt Melis


Rihanna – TBA

Rihanna New Book Visual Autobiography

Rihanna

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: R9. One letter, one number, and one angry mob of people disastrously desperate for Ms. Robyn Fenty to release her next album. Originally supposed to be released in 2019, Rihanna’s influence is so strong that she had fans spending the final seconds of the decade checking if it would drop at 11:59:59. She’s fully aware of the chaos being brewed in suspense of the record, her first since ANTI, which was categorically the best album of 2016 (Yeah, I said it). In fact, she finds it funny, teasing fans on social media that she’s listening to it yet refusing to release it. Let’s just say that when she finally allows the new album to grace our ears, all hell is going to break loose. –Lucy Shanker


Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 4

Run the Jewels, photo by Philip Cosores

Run the Jewels, photo by Philip Cosores

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: From 2013 to 2017, Run the Jewels were a constant. The hip-hop duo put out a trio of genre-shaking albums — including one of the best of the decade — and were featured on just about every festival bill that would have them. And suddenly it’s been four years since their last full-length. Killer Mike and El-P have more fun in the rap game than most of their contemporaries, a no-holds-barred rawness too often feigned and so rarely unmitigated. These guys perfected it, and hopefully we’ll finally be getting more this year. –Ben Kaye


Sky Ferreira – Masochism

Sky Ferreira winter return new music maschocism

Sky Ferreira, photo by Ben Kaye

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Sky Ferreira won loyal fans with her debut album, Night Time, My Time, in 2013. Two years later, she began teasing her sophomore LP, Masochism, promising it’d be released soon. But nearly six years later, there’s still no word on when Masochism will finally be shared. The lead single, “Downhill Lullaby”, shows a darker side, marking a stark contrast from the pop songs she’s known for. Its Gothic inclination brings up more questions about what Masochism will actually sound like, but from that preview alone, it feels worth the wait. –Tatiana Tenreyro

Sample:


The Strokes – TBA

The Strokes at Lollapalooza 2019, photo by Heather Kaplan

The Strokes at Lollapalooza 2019, photo by Heather Kaplan

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The most recent music from The Strokes came by way of their 2016 EP, Future Present Past, and 2013 studio album Comedown Machine. But, according to frontman Julian Casablancas’ onstage announcement of their forthcoming 2020 LP, neither of those counts, because “The 2010s, whatever the fuck they’re called, we took ‘em off. And now we’ve been unfrozen and we’re back.” Lucky for us, it appears a bit of dethawing has done the New York City post-punk purveyors some good, or at least it sounds that way based on fan reaction to the first listens of new tracks “Ode to the Mets” and “The Adults Are Talking”, both of which sound like a return to the band’s earliest sonics somehow dipped into a new decade. –Erica Campbell

Sample:


The War on Drugs – TBA

The War on Drugs, photo by Kimberley Ross

The War on Drugs, photo by Kimberley Ross

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Nothing is officially announced yet, but the idea of hearing new sprawling guitar epics from The War on Drugs will haunt us until release date. With 2014’s Lost in the Dream and 2017’s A Deeper Understanding, Adam Granduciel and co. became one of rock’s most important new groups. Their immersive soundscapes and Granduciel’s wispy voice feel timeless as they at once evoke echoes of rock’s past and foretell its future. –Christopher Thiessen


The xx – TBA

the xx new music recording 2020 update

The xx, photo via Instagram

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The xx inspired a decade of minimalism with now-classic records like 2009’s self-titled LP and 2012’s Coexist. With their third full-length, 2017’s I See You, however, the three UK indie artists welcomed some of the brightest, most open and vivid sounds into their palette — a decision doubtlessly inspired by resident producer Jamie xx’s own dive into clubby technicolor bliss. For a band that’s ultra conscious of space in music, and the many evolving ways to occupy it, their new album will answer a most pivotal question: Where will The xx go next? –Lake Schatz

Advertisement