Now that it seems that summer is officially over, and that it’s time to wave goodbye to outdoor festivals and frozé, it’d be understandable if you were feeling a little down. Personally, however, we’re entering into my favorite time of the year (and no, it’s not just because I have an aversion to the heat). No, it’s because the fall is usually when all the Big Guns of the music industry stake their claim for the biggest albums of the year.
So, in today’s saturated market it seemed only fitting to put together a little list of some of the biggest and most exciting music releases you can expect before the year comes to an end.
Miley Cyrus – Younger Now
After Miley moved to the woods, smoked too much weed, and wrote a requiem to her deceased pet blowfish Pablo (RIP), the idea that she might return to the twerking, naked wrecking ball straddling singer of 2013 was pretty unlikely.
It makes sense, then, that Miley’s return to radio friendly pop songs would signal a shift both tonally and artistically. Rather than (somewhat problematically) appropriating hip hop, the singer delved into her own family history and her country music roots. Lead single “Malibu” was a saccharine but enjoyable ode to her fiancé, actor Liam Hemsworth, while the wistful “Younger Now” is an acknowledgement and reclamation of oneself.
Across the upcoming album’s 11 tracks it seems, too, that Miley has only worked with one producer, Oren Yoel, while a duet with her godmother, the immutably impressive Dolly Parton, is sure to be perfectly camp. Younger Now is released on September 29.
Kele Okereke – Father Land
If you were into indie rock in the early 00s then it’s likely that you’ll have heard of Kele Okereke. The lead singer of Bloc Party, Kele is also a solo artist in his own right and he’s prepping to release his third solo album, Fatherland, on October 6. Unlike Bloc Party’s frenetic guitars and percussion, Fatherland sees a softer side to Kele, and he cites influences such as Elliott Smith, Al Green, and Joni Mitchell on the record.
Featuring a collaboration with Corinne Bailey Rae, Fatherland also sees Olly Alexander from queer band Years & Years making an appearance on the rather lovely love song “Grounds For Resentment,” which is all about expressing same sex love.
Kelela – Take Me Apart
Heralded by critics and musicians alike, American singer Kelela is finally getting ready to drop her debut album Take Me Apart on October 6. If you’re a fan of desperately confessional lyrics, experimental R production, and gorgeous harmonized vocals a-la Solange Knowles, then this album will tick all those boxes.
It’s minimal in its approach at times, certainly, but it’s handled with such accomplishment that each song draws you in with its production while every story has all those flecks of relatability that stand up to repeated listens.
St Vincent – Masseduction
St Vincent, also known as Annie Clark, has described her upcoming fifth album, Masseduction, as “all about sex and drugs and sadness,” which, tbh, sounds pretty relatable.
Lead single “New York” is a breakup ballad that, while still saturated with melancholia, is matched with understated but nonetheless powerfully propelling percussion (it also has one incredible music video). Follow up track, “Los Ageless”, is a genreless construction that only someone as daring and forward thinking as Clark could have cohesively put together, mixing distorted guitars and little pulses of synthesizers. The record is released on October 13.
Pink – Beautiful Trauma
Having not released a solo album since 2015, we’re actually glad that Pink is back and doing what she does best: Proving to everyone just how underrated she is. Picking up the Video Vanguard Award at this year’s VMAs not only reminded people what an epic back catalogue she has, but also that she’s also one of the greatest live performers out there.
Announcing Beautiful Trauma, which is released on October 13, the star also shared the album’s debut single, “What About Us”, an inspiring and rousing song that, like all good pop songs, could be about a relationship or about rebellion; like many this year, Pink is reflecting the undeniable shift in global politics and attempting to give a voice to those who stand against it.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Pink album without some bangers, and a list of collaborators from some of the best names in the business, including Greg Kurstin, Max Martin, Julia Michaels, and Jack Antonoff, means that there’ll surely be some EPIC pop songs to look forward to.
Tegan and Sara – The Con X: Covers
Celebrating 10 years (!) of their iconic album The Con, Tegan and Sara have invited a bunch of their favorite musicians to take part in an epic album of covers. Not only that, but as a part of the celebration, the Canadian twins decided to pick 14 artists who they felt were “outspoken allies of the LGTBQ community or LGBTQ themselves.” This list includes the likes of Shura, Shamir, CHVRCHES, Hayley Williams, MUNA, Mykki Blanco, and Cyndi Lauper to name just a few.
Essentially, if you’re anything like us and you grew up on Tegan and Sara and you also love celebrating queer and queer friendly musicians, this is one album for you. The Con X: Covers is available from October 20.
Kelly Clarkson – Meaning of Life
Good old Kelly Clarkson knows her way around a banger, and it’s safe to say that the lead single from her eighth (!) album, “Love So Soft”, is exactly that.
While it doesn’t have the pop rock punch of “Since U Been Gone” (but then does anything?), the track, as well as the ballad “Move You”, appear to be exactly where Kelly seems most comfortable. And if recent interviews about some of the things she’s been made to do in her career are to be believed, it’s refreshing to see her enjoying the music that she’s making. It makes the album’s title, Meaning of Life, just that much more profound. The record is released on October 27.
Sam Smith – Yet to be titled
Sam Smith releasing an album in the run up to Christmas is typical Q4 behaviour. That said, it has been a while since I’ve had an album about devastating heartbreak and unrequited love all wrapped up with choirs and orchestras, and it’ll surely match with those long autumnal nights perfectly.
Having released his lead single, the gospel-tinged “Too Good At Goodbyes”, which was produced by longtime collaborator Jimmy Napes, I know for sure that you can expect more soaring ballads from Mr Smith. It’ll be an emotional affair, but sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. And while Sam Smith’s upcoming second album doesn’t yet have a title or a release date, I have it on good authority that it’ll be out sooner than you think.
Taylor Swift – Reputation
Whether you believe that Taylor Swift has successfully reclaimed the snake or whether she indeed never asked to be a part of that narrative, the fact is that when her sixth album, titled Reputation, drops on November 23 it’ll probably be the biggest album to come out this year.
Lead single, the Right Said Fred sampling and Jack Antonoff produced “Look What You Made Me Do”, has already reached the summit on the Billboard Hot 100 and shows no sign of moving anytime soon. Likewise, the music video, with all its references to feuds and deliciously salacious tabloid fodder, broke Adele’s record for the most views in 24 hours.
Follow up “buzz single”, the Max Martin produced “Ready For It?”, sees Taylor doing her best Purity Ring meets Peaches impression as she sing/raps over foghorn synths (although, there is a rather lovely melodic moment just before the chorus).
Of course, there are going to be umpteen think pieces, Twitter threads, and memes about this record. But then, deep down, isn’t that what Taylor Swift secretly wants? And isn’t it also why we keep going back for more?
There are more records coming out this year, and it’s probably worth getting excited for Jessie Ware’s third album Glasshouse, Niall Horan’s debut Flicker, and Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me. If you’re a fan of festive albums, both Sia and Gwen Stefani are attempting to become Christmas staples with holiday albums. We could, hopefully, also be about to see Tinashe’s much delayed Joyride this fall.
Also keep your eyes peeled for:
While the above have all been confirmed for the next few months, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some surprises along the way (there always are). Given that she’s been released two perfectly formed bops this year, Selena Gomez could be about to release her third solo album. Likewise, Zayn Malik has been teasing that that he’ll be back this year, too, having just released a rather expensive looking video for his song “Dusk Till Dawn”, which in Q4 style also features Sia.
There are also rumors that Kanye could be about drop something (watch it be on the same day that Reputation comes out), while we have our fingers and toes crossed that Rihanna decides to return to her album-a-year cycle and pops out another classic. Oh, and if Robyn wanted to stop dancing on her own and decide to share what she’s been working on with us that’d be great, too.