2020 Album Preview: 70 Most Anticipated Releases - Rolling Stone
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70 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020

Bruce Springsteen, Drake, Lana Del Rey, Adele, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga are among the artists we’re looking forward to hearing from this year

most anticipated albums

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Which stars are releasing new albums this year? It might be easier to answer the question of who isn’t. There’s reason to believe we’ll have new full-lengths to enjoy from A-list acts including Bruce Springsteen, Drake, Justin Bieber, Lana Del Rey, Adele, Rihanna and more in the coming months — plus dozens of other artists of all kinds. Read on for more about the records we’re looking forward to in 2020, from the officially announced to the hotly rumored.

Kelsea Ballerini

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Kelsea Ballerini

Album: TBA
Release Date: Spring
Kelsea Ballerini’s 2017 album Unapologetically showed her flexing her creative and stylistic muscles, touching on wistful, diary-page folk with “Legends,” resilience-themed dance pop with “Miss Me More,” and wry, self-aware balladry in “I Hate Love Songs.” For her as-yet-untitled third outing, the Tennessee native appears to be moving in a deeper, more introspective direction. Lead single “Homecoming Queen” — stylized on streaming services with a question mark — examined the hidden anxiety, sadness, and loneliness of somebody who’s “been so good at smiling most of your life,” while the latest offering “Club” extolled the mental and physical benefits of a nice, quiet night at home.

Soccer Mommy

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Soccer Mommy

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Nashville indie rocker Soccer Mommy, real name Sophie Allison, will return this year with the follow-up to her excellent 2018 debut, Clean (one of Rolling Stone‘s 100 Best Albums of the 2010s). She’s taken a darker turn with the slow-burning single “Lucy” (short for “Lucifer”) and “Feed,” a song for the upcoming horror film The Turning. But the seven-minute “Yellow Is the Color of Her Eyes” is classic Soccer Mommy, with dreamy, melodic textures and blissfully bummed-out lyrics.

Weezer - Rivers Cuomo

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Weezer

Album: Van Weezer
Release Date: May 15th
Weeks before they launch the Hella Mega tour with Green Day and Fall Out Boy, Weezer will drop their 14th LP, tentatively titled Van Weezer as a nod to the guitar heroics of Van Halen. “The inspiration came from our live shows, where, in the middle of ‘Beverly Hills,’ unlike on the album, everything stops and I just break out with this crazy guitar solo,” Rivers Cuomo said. “We noticed that, recently, the crowd just goes crazy when I do that. So it feels like maybe the audience is ready for some shredding again.”

 

Jason Isbell

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Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Though Jason Isbell hasn’t released any new material since 2017’s The Nashville Sound, the Alabama native stayed plenty active in the interim. In 2018, he put out a live document of his famed Ryman Auditorium shows with his band, the 400 Unit and, more recently, he provided his talents to the soundtrack for A Star Is Born and the Highwomen’s debut album. One of his generation’s most gifted writers, Isbell has been back in the studio with his band and their producer Dave Cobb, who has recorded every Isbell album since 2013’s Southeastern. Instagram photos have shown him hanging out in the studio with Sixties icon (and Rolling Stone columnist) David Crosby, who suggested the two sang together on one of the new tracks. Fans who caught Isbell live in the last year may also have heard him perform the new song “Overseas,” a characteristically mournful number about two estranged people with a literal ocean between them.

Barry Gibb

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Barry Gibb

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The Bee Gees great is recording with producer Dave Cobb in Nashville. Even Jason Isbell is involved — the songwriter posted a photo of himself with Gibb back in the summer, writing that he sang high harmony with the disco survivor in the studio. “It was a great honor, and also terrifying because in order to sing with Barry Gibb, you have to sing,” Isbell wrote. Consider us excited.

The 1975 - Matt Healy

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The 1975

Album: Notes on a Conditional Form
Release Date: February 21st
In 2018, the 1975’s lead singer, Matty Healy, revealed that his band were scrapping their previous idea for a third album, Music for Cars, in favor of two new LPs. Later that year, they dropped the first one, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, and they’ve been working on the second, Notes on a Conditional Form, ever since. Over the course of 2019, the group released three songs off the album, each politically charged and one featuring climate change activist Greta Thunberg. “Notes is a U.K. nighttime record,” he told Rolling Stone, citing the Streets and Burial as influences. “I’ve spent so much of my life in vans and cars, stopping off at a McDonald’s when you don’t want McDonald’s. I wanted to make a record that reminds me of that.”

Caribou

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Caribou

Album: Suddenly
Release Date: February 28th
Six years ago, Caribou’s Dan Snaith took an unexpectedly graceful leap into R&B-flavored house music with Our Love, one of last decade’s most whole-heartedly romantic albums. Signs for this long-awaited follow-up are promising: Early singles “You and I” and “Home” dip rewardingly into Hall & Oates pop, mutant disco, and sample-deck soul, among other sounds. In a statement, Snaith said that the former song “captures a lot of what the record, and the title of the album, are aboutthe track changes suddenly and unpredictably, and it is about a change in my life that happened out of the blue.”

Grimes

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Grimes

Album: Miss Anthropocene
Release Date: February 21st
After nearly a year of build-up — this album was announced back in March of 2019 — Canadian producer Claire Boucher is ready to release her fifth studio LP as Grimes. She’s described the project as a concept album about “an anthropomorphic goddess of climate change,” and promised to take on a villainous tone, taking inspiration from nu metal and industrial rock. So far, she has released five tracks from the album, including “Violence” and “We Appreciate Power.”

Lucinda Williams

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Lucinda Williams

Album: TBA
Release Date: April
After co-producing Jesse Malin’s Sunset Kids with her husband, Tom Overby, in 2019, Williams returns her attention to her own material. The Americana songwriter recorded the follow-up to 2017’s This Sweet Old World in Nashville with producer Ray Kennedy, who engineered Williams’ 1998 breakout LP Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. A lucky few have already heard it during an album preview party she hosted just before the holidays in New York. “It really rocks,” Williams told Rolling Stone of the yet-untitled project, describing it as “a lot of stuff that is blues-rocky, edgy, grungy, and political.”

Ashley McBryde

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Ashley McBryde

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Ashley McBryde’s 2018 debut album, Girl Going Nowhere, brought together disparate types of fans through its mix of intricate storytelling, rock & roll attitude, and McBryde’s singular voice. The title track and “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” were uplifting numbers about perseverance even in the lowest of moments, while “American Scandal” hinted at a bolder, edgier perspective around matters of the heart. “One Night Standards,” McBryde’s first release from her new album, continues in this direction and puts a new spin on the country cheating song trope by laying out some dispassionate, clearly defined boundaries before the encounter goes down. “Can’t you just use me like I’m using you?” she implores, gritty and sweetly sad all at once.

Phoebe Bridgers

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Phoebe Bridgers

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The last time Bridgers released a solo album, it was 2017 and she was feeling the effects of emotional motion sickness. Three years later, the 25-year-old phenom has become one of the most dominating forces in indie rock, forming two excellent supergroups: boygenius with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker and Better Oblivion Community Center with Conor Oberst. This spring, she’ll release a proper follow-up to Stranger in the Alps. The new LP was recorded at the famed Sound City Studios in Van Nuys and mixed by Mike Mogis in Omaha, who previously worked with Bridgers on Alps. A single has yet to be released, but we can expect to hear more introspective, heart-wrenching lyrics over crushing guitar riffs.

Ozzy Osbourne

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Ozzy Osbourne

Album: Ordinary Man
Release Date: Early 2020
The Prince of Darkness spent most of last year in excruciating pain as he recovered from a nasty fall. After Post Malone asked him to guest on “Take What You Want,” the former Black Sabbath leader decided he felt like making a new album and worked with Post’s producer, Andrew Watt, and members of Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on what will be his first solo record in a decade. The lead single, “Under the Graveyard,” is a gothic headbanger that recalls his early solo classic “Diary of a Madman” but with poppier hooks, and “Straight to Hell” is a galloping rocker with a solo by Slash and Ozzy doing his best demon laugh. If his health continues to improve, he’ll be singing some of these songs on new legs of his ongoing No More Tours 2 trek. “This is quite possibly the most important album I have done in a very long time,” Osbourne said in a statement.

Kvelertak

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Kvelertak

Album: Splid
Release Date: February 14th
Metal birthed all kinds of wild hybrids in the 2010s, from Deafheaven’s blastbeat-powered shoegaze to Babymetal’s bubblegummy shred pop. Of all these, maybe the most fun came courtesy of Kvelertak, a Norwegian band that mashed up aggro black metal with big, beery riff rock and slyly sophisticated hooks. Their upcoming fourth LP is their first without co-founding frontman Erlend Hjelvik, whose unhinged yowl was a key element of their sound, and their first to feature English lyrics on some songs. New screamer Ivar Nikolaisen has a scrappier, punkier delivery, but the band’s basic M.O. — and their trademark beefy sound, realized with help from longtime producer Kurt Ballou — is unchanged. New songs like “Crack of Doom,” which features guest vocals from Mastodon’s Troy Sanders, still gleefully trample the boundaries separating various metal subscenes. “Splid (‘discord’ in English) is a deep dive into Western gluttony, our own stupidity, and the abyss of the earth,” the band said in a press release.

Carly Pearce

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Carly Pearce

Album: Carly Pearce
Release Date: February 14th
Carly Pearce swam upstream in a tough radio environment to earn a Number One song for her 2017 single, the heartbroken ballad “Every Little Thing,” but didn’t see the same result for its funkier follow-up, “Hide the Wine.” Pearce regrouped and released the sleek, romantic “Closer to You” as a preview of her self-titled second album as well as the gentle, live-in-the-moment anthem “It Won’t Always Be Like This.” She also appears to have another bona fide hit on her hands with “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” a wrenching duet with Lee Brice that was co-written by newly minted superstar Luke Combs. In addition to featuring contributions from Hillary Lindsey, Shane McAnally, and Laura Veltz, Pearce’s new album includes a duet with her country-singing husband, Michael Ray: the appropriately titled “Finish Your Sentences.”

Green Day

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Green Day

Album: Father of All…
Release Date: February 7th
After the back-to-basics approach of 2016’s Revolution Radio, Green Day decided to go in a drastically different direction for their upcoming LP. “I’d always loved British mod music from the Sixties,” said Billie Joe Armstrong, “but I wanted to go to where the source was and see if I could put [soul] through the Green Day filter.” The result is a bold experiment that incorporates dance grooves, New Wave, and vintage R&B. And while “Meet Me on the Roof” and “Junkies on a High” may have somewhat of a classic Green Day flavor, the others are way out there. “Billie was pushing himself to get to a newer place,” said bassist Mike Dirnt. “We had to chase that down. Which is par for the course, because nobody digs deeper than Billie.”

Caroline Rose

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Caroline Rose

Album: Superstar
Release Date: March 6th
The rootsy singer-songwriter turned electro-pop auteur doubles down on the slacker-synth storytelling on her 2018 breakthrough Loner. Rose recorded and produced the bulk of the record, which she wrote during her past two years of relentless touring, in her home studio. “I realized at some point that I’m not going to fit into any one box, and maybe that’s a good thing,” Rose said of her upcoming record. “This new record is me embracing feeling like an outsider making my own path.”

Hayley Williams

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Hayley Williams

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Paramore’s Hayley Williams marked the end of a decade (and her 31st birthday) by announcing that she’s preparing to release her debut solo album in 2020. Previously, the singer had been unsure what would be next for Paramore following the release of 2017’s After Laughter. “The guys [Taylor York, Zak Farro] and I just had dinner the other night at my house, and I think we’re just really enjoying being friends and adult human beings at home by ourselves, without music,” she told ET earlier this year. Williams’ solo music could come as early as January.

Little Big Town - Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Phillip SweetCMT Music Awards, Show, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, USA - 05 Jun 2019

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Little Big Town

Album: Nightfall
Release Date: January 17th
For Nightfall, the follow-up to 2017’s The Breaker, the Grammy-winning country vocal group took the reins and self-produced their new 13-song project. The hushed ballad “The Daughters,” the cinematic “Sugar Coat,” and their trad-country single “Over Drinking” reflect a Little Big Town that’s embracing its sonic diversity — no song on Nightfall sounds much like any other. All four members of the band wrote on the album, too, especially Karen Fairchild, who teamed with Kacey Musgraves collaborators Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian to pen “River of Stars” and “Bluebird.” The group will preview the album in grand fashion: they’re playing it at Carnegie Hall in New York the night before its release.

Perfume Genius

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Perfume Genius

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Tame Impala recently announced that Perfume Genius will be joining them on their summer tour this year — which means we’re on the lookout for new Perfume Genius. Mike Hadreas last released music in 2017, with his gorgeous fourth album, No Shape, which Rolling Stone’s Will Hermes called “startlingly optimistic, with pop and rock tropes queered into dreamlike scenarios.” We say it’s high time for Hadreas to churn out some more beauty.

Elizabeth Cook

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Elizabeth Cook

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Word on the street is that Elizabeth Cook has made one hell of a rock record with a hook-minded, big-name producer. She’s already been performing guitar-forward new tracks like “Bones ” and “Thick Georgia Woman” in concert, flanked by her electric-guitar foil Andrew Leahey, a member of Cook’s ferocious live band (and occasional Rolling Stone contributor) who she has said plays all over the album. The follow-up to 2016’s Exodus of Venus, the as-yet-untitled LP is poised to introduce Cook to some new fans and give the frequent Grand Ole Opry guest performer (and host of a new fishing-and-interview series) a long-overdue moment outside of the Americana universe.

Destroyer - Dan Bejar

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Destroyer

Album: Have We Met
Release Date: January 31st
As 2020 marches toward a landmark election, we could all use a dose of Destroyer’s “watch the world burn” (and warm your hands by the fire) energy. The Canadian band, fronted by Dan Bejar, has always made its bones by finding the beauty in the dark side, and their upcoming album, Have We Met, promises to be gloriously dark. Singles “Crimson Tide” and “It Just Doesn’t Happen” are wonderfully claustrophobic (Bejar recorded all vocals at his kitchen table) and laden with doomy touchstones: Satan and vultures in “Crimson Tide,” unbearable silence and poisonous looks in “It Just Doesn’t Happen.” What’s more, the album is set to arrive just in time for the dead of winter — or, as we know it, Destroyer season.

Hamilton Leithauser

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Hamilton Leithauser

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Following his 2016 collaboration with Rostam, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, former Walkman frontman Hamilton Leithauser told Vogue that his next album would be a fully solo endeavor (save for some samples provided by his old Walkman bandmate Paul Maroon). “I play everything — even drums — and I’m going to record it and mix it myself,” he said. “I just like the process better.” Leithuaser spent much of last year touring, while he also teamed with Maroon for a new song, “The One That Got Away,” and Angel Olsen for another, “Heartstruck (Wild Hunger).”

Lydia Slagel and Laura Rogers of The Secret Sisters

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Secret Sisters

Album: Saturn Return
Release Date: February 28th
For their first record since 2017’s overlooked You Don’t Own Me Anymore, Laura Rogers and Lydia Slagle headed to Brandi Carlile’s Washington state studio, teaming up with the singer-producer for an intense collection about grief and love. The Alabama duo’s single, “Cabin,” is a piercing statement on restlessness inspired in part by the 2018 Brett Kavanaugh hearings. “To be a harbinger for their honesty in these songs…was one of the greatest gifts of my career,” Carlile has said. “Those are two very powerful people in a very interesting point in their lives.”

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