20 Albums We Can't Wait for in 2020
Kesha, Alanis Morissette, and Rihanna all have new releases on the horizon.
The 2010s were a game-changing decade in music—new ways of consuming tunes democratized the playing field, allowing artists from all corners of the world (and the internet) to find their way onto airwaves and playlists. Social media introduced us to a brazen, hilarious, and talented rapper from the Bronx named Cardi B, who now enters 2020 a bonafide superstar, set to release the follow-up to her Grammy-winning debut album. But the start of the new decade will also usher in new work from an impressive roster of artists who dominated the charts 20 years ago: Alanis Morissette, Green Day, Weezer, and the Dixie Chicks are among the acts of yesteryear dropping new albums and heading out on tour. While nostalgia is strong, there'll be no shortage of new music from recent breakouts, too. And—fingers crossed—we'll finally get that new Rihanna album. Here are the 2020 albums we can't wait to hear.
Kesha, High Road (Jan. 10)
After years of pain and trauma, Kesha's ready to party again. "On the last record, I feel like I had to address some very serious things," she told Rolling Stone in October, referring to her ongoing five-year legal battle with former producer Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of sexual assault, battery, and emotional abuse. Her 2017 album, Rainbow, was a spiritual, cathartic experience for Kesha. High Road is different, she says: "I feel like this time around I reconnected to the unrestrained joy and wildness that's always been a part of me." Her single "My Own Dance" is a hint at the danceable, debaucherous hits we can expect in 2020.
Selena Gomez, Rare (Jan. 10)
It's been four years since Selena Gomez released her last album, and her new singles have given us a little preview of what's to come—and of how personal Gomez is willing to get. It seems the strategy is a winning one: "Lose You to Love Me," released in October, was one of her most controversial singles yet, and a No. 1 hit. The song's lyrics are thought to be a nod to the aftermath of her breakup with Justin Bieber, and his quick coupling with now-wife Hailey Baldwin. In an appearance on Jimmy Fallon, Gomez said the new album won't stray from the pop she's known for, but will be more soulful, exploring more electric and acoustic guitar sounds.
Halsey, Manic (Jan. 17)
Halsey's third album has already given us three mega-hits—"Without Me," "Nightmare," and "Graveyard." During her "Evening with Halsey" event in September at the Grammy Museum, she revealed that the album is "a look behind the curtain" and a realer reflection of who she is as a person: One of the songs on the album, "Ashley," is self-titled. K-pop fans can look forward to Suga from BTS appearing on one of three "interludes" on the album, called "Suga's Interlude."
Green Day, Father of All… (Feb. 7)
On Green Day's 13th studio album, Father of All…, the pop-punk legends are playing with genre and exploring new territory: soul, R&B, and '60s British mod and dance influences. And, of course, the classic punk jams we know Green Day for. They're calling it "glorious anarchy." It will be the band's first album since 2016's Revolution Radio, but they're staying away from the super political stuff this time. There will be no talk of the president, Billie Joe Armstrong says: It's about "the life AND death of the party. Not political. Surviving chaos." Thirty-three years after they first they teamed up, the band's still looking to rock as hard as ever. They'll be touring with Fall Out Boy and Weezer in 2020 on the Hella Mega Tour, which is sure to be hella mega nostalgic.
The 1975, Notes on a Conditional Form (Feb. 21)
While Green Day is steering away from the political, the English pop-rock band The 1975 are very firmly leaning in: The album's self-titled intro track is an original spoken-word monologue by none other than climate activist Greta Thunberg. Their latest album feels urgent and riotous in the best way, inspired by "UK nighttime culture," according to lead singer Matt Healy. Though the album's being called a "follow-up" to the band's lauded late-2018 album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, Healy said fans can expect a markedly more British sound.
Grimes, Miss Anthropocene (Feb. 21)
Miss Anthropocene is the long-anticipated follow-up to Grimes' 2015 album, Art Angels, and possibly her last full-length album ever. In an interview with Flaunt magazine in April, the Canadian artist said she's over working with labels, and will likely release future music in more piecemeal formats. Grimes has already released several songs off the album, including the moody and ethereal "So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth," and "My Name Is Dark," which offers a preview of the album's more nu-metal, synth-y, and dystopian sounds.
Alanis Morissette, Such Pretty Forks in the Road (May 1)
We're in peak '90s and early '00s nostalgia mode these days, so there's really no better time for a new Alanis Morissette album. And a Broadway show. And a tour. The iconic Canadian singer-songwriter is doing just that—all of that. Her ninth studio album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road, will drop May 1. Morissette's new music is as introspective and anthemic as ever, as evidenced by the album's first single, "Reasons I Drink." She'll be hitting the road a month later, on a 25th anniversary tour for Jagged Little Pill, joined by fellow '90s rock legends Liz Phair and Garbage. Until then, you can catch her music live on Broadway, in a Diablo Cody-penned original rock musical called—you guessed it—Jagged Little Pill.
Weezer, Van Weezer (May 15)
On their 14th album, Weezer is ready to shred like never before. Inspired by Van Halen in both name and sound, the band's new album is all about big guitars, and bringing back the heavy energy of '70s and '80s hard rock and metal. Rivers Cuomo described their latest sound as "Blue Album-ish, but a little more riffy," in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Cuomo said the group was surprised by how crazy audiences were going for his guitar solos and riffs in more recent shows, and decided to go all in on the more electric vibe. "The End of the Game," the first single off Van Weezer, reportedly features 100 guitar overdubs.
The Killers, Imploding the Mirage (Spring)
The Killers' follow-up to 2017's Wonderful Wonderful is set to be released in spring 2020, and will likely be a different sound than we've come to expect from the band: a little lighter, a little more fun, and full of gratitude. Recorded in Utah, frontman Brandon Flowers told NME that the album has been influenced by the state's unique geography, and will feature more of the group's trademark synths. The Killers will be touring the UK and Ireland this spring, so fans can look forward to hearing the new material live soon.
Rihanna, R9 (TBA)
It's the album that feels like it'll never arrive. Ever since 2016's celebrated Anti, Rihanna has been badgered online by fans growing impatient for the Barbadian singer's upcoming ninth album. But can we blame her for the delay? Between running her massively successful Fenty Beauty line, her Savage X Fenty lingerie line, and starting her luxury fashion house, Rihanna has been booked and busy. R9, as it's tentatively titled, will be a "reggae-inspired" album, RiRi told Vogue in November. "Reggae always feels right to me. It's in my blood," she said. "Even though I've explored other genres of music, it was time to go back to something that I haven't really homed in on completely for a body of work." Many artists have dipped their toes into the dancehall waters the last few years, but we're waiting with bated breath for Rihanna's version.
Normani's had a busy 2019. She's toured with Ariana Grande, topped the charts with Khalid, and, in July, the former Fifth Harmony star nearly broke the internet with the release of her debut single, "Motivation," an irresistibly fun, brassy throwback to the feel-good pop and R&B of the early 2000s. The video—which had the 23-year-old singer paying homage to now-classic videos like "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé, "Goodies" by Ciara, and J.Lo's "I'm Real (Remix)"—was trending at No. 1 on YouTube worldwide. While there's no solid release date yet, Normani's been hard at work finishing up her debut, and says her new album will showcase her depth and range as an artist. After years in a group, the singer told Fader she's ready "to be vulnerable in a way that I haven't been before."
Lana Del Rey, White Hot Forever (TBA)
Before she'd even released one of 2019's best albums in August, Lana Del Rey was already at work on her seventh album, White Hot Forever. Telling The Times that it'd probably be a "surprise release" sometime in 2020, the singer revealed she has no intention of slowing down her creative pace. Her last album, which explored themes of Americana—both the romantic and the twisted—is nominated for Album of the Year at the upcoming Grammy Awards.
Cardi B, Tiger Woods (TBA)
After a massive breakout year-and-a-half—in which she won a Grammy for Best Rap Album, topped the Billboard charts, judged on Netflix's Rhythm + Flow, and appeared in Hustlers—Cardi B has been hard at work on her sophomore album. Like 2018's Invasion of Privacy, Cardi says her new album will buck trends, and stay true to the sound she wants to put out. But she hasn't been shy about sharing that she's feeling the pressure, telling Vogue she wonders if people will relate to her very different life and the new things she'll be talking about, like motherhood. But if there's one thing Cardi's great at, it's being relatable, no matter what.
Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia (TBA)
For the follow-up to her 2017 debut, British pop star Dua Lipa said she knew she wanted to make something "that felt nostalgic but had something fresh and futuristic about it, too." Enter Future Nostalgia. The album's lead single, "Don't Start Now," is a perfect example: The catchy banger is throwback in its slick disco energy, but it feels brand new. In her statement about the album, Dua Lipa said she wanted to break out of her comfort zone and make music that felt uniquely her own, but that could "sit alongside" some of the singer's favorite classic pop songs—from artists like Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Blondie, and Outkast. Expect more live elements with modern electronic production, AKA music you can dance to.
Lady Gaga, LG6 (TBA)
Between winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe for A Star Is Born, releasing jazz albums, and performing in Vegas, Lady Gaga has found herself back in the studio, recording her sixth studio album. On what's being called LG6 for now, Gaga has reportedly collaborated with Scottish producer Sophie (who's worked with Charli XCX and Madonna), as well as techno producer Boys Noize, and is rumored to have worked with Diplo, rapper CupcakKe, and even Rihanna. This seems like a departure from Joanne, her more stripped down 2016 album, but who really knows? With Gaga's range, there's no telling what she has in store.
Drake has hinted that he's been in full-album mode for a while now, but 2019 has come and gone without a new album from the Canadian rapper. However, it looks like new music is on the way—Drizzy appeared onstage during rapper DaBaby's concert and left with some hopeful words: "I'mma go back to the crib and try to finish this album up so we can turn up in 2020." No word on what to expect as far as collaborations go, though Drake has teased—or maybe trolled—fans with talk of an 85-track album. Whatever the case may be, Drake's new work will mark the start of a new era for the artist. Spotify just crowned the rapper the most streamed artist of the decade.
Miley Cyrus, She Is Miley Cyrus (TBA)
Miley Cyrus has been through it this year. Following her split from husband Liam Hemsworth this summer, the singer released the single "Slide Away," which seemed to detail the end of the pair's relationship. The song is a somber, wistful close to a 10-year chapter in Cyrus' life, and it showcases her most mature and realized sound to date. Cyrus told Vanity Fair that her new music is "genreless," and said that her work will be a "mosaic" of the many sounds she's explored throughout her career. What was originally supposed to be a trilogy of EPs has shaped into a full-length album, entitled She Is Miley Cyrus, and is rumored to include collaborations with Shawn Mendes and Cardi B.
Haim's third album will have the three sisters digging deeper and getting personal. On songs they've released so far, like "Hallelujah," they explore issues of chronic illness, family, and death. The single "Summer Girl" deals with cancer, and "Now I'm In It" has Danielle Haim exploring her experiences with depression. The band has been through a lot in the last several years, but in pouring it into their work, they've come up with some of their most powerful material yet. And though the territory they cover can be heavy, they still sound like Haim—warm, dancey, and fun.
Dixie Chicks, Gaslighter (TBA)
The Dixie Chicks are back, and it's about time. The country trio's fifth album—their first in more than 13 years—is set to be released in 2020. What was initially planned to be a covers album turned into a deeply personal work following lead singer Natalie Maines' divorce from actor Adrian Pasdar. "Our last album was the most personal and autobiographical we'd ever been," Maines said on the Spiritualgasm podcast in September. "This one is, like, 10 times that." Tentatively titled Gaslighter, the album reportedly features production by Jack Antonoff, and will likely be accompanied by a 2020 arena tour.
Sam Smith (TBA)
Get ready, because 2020 is going to be Sam Smith's year. After coming out as non-binary earlier in 2019, Smith has felt a new freedom, and that's translating into their music. "It's almost given me permission to kinda do what I've always dreamed of doing but I was always scared to do, which is pop music," Smith said in an interview on the Zach Sang Show. The new album will be full-on pop, and move away a bit from their traditional soul-infused sound. Smith told Zach Sang that their latest hit, "Dancing With a Stranger," is a good indication of what's to come—"music you can dance to, but also cry to."