2018 Album Preview: 54 Most Anticipated Records - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music Lists

54 Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

New music from Justin Timberlake, Jack White and Cardi B, and other records we can’t wait to hear

It’s that time of year, when we take a breather from the onslaught of last year’s releases and start speculating about what’s in store once this one starts heating up. If half the scheduled, reported and rumored new albums we’re expecting actually materialize, 2018 is going to be nuts. Major pop artists like Liam Payne, Frank Ocean, Ariana Grande and Sky Ferreira are prepping LPs, as are beloved veteran rockers from Bruce Springsteen to Paul McCartney and Jack White, and indie-rock heroes like the Breeders, My Bloody Valentine and Superchunk. Here’s a rundown of everything we know about what’s on the way.  

John Prine

Taylor Hill/WireImage

John Prine

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The prospect of new music from John Prine is something the veteran singer-songwriter’s fans haven’t gotten to look forward to in more than a decade. Prine’s most recent album of original material, Fair & Square, came out all the way back in 2005, so the mere mention of his as-yet-unnamed follow-up is noteworthy enough. “I don’t wanna just sit down and write a little couplet that’s kind of witty, or something. I’ve done that,” he told Rolling Stone last year. Instead, expect real firepower: He recorded with Dave Cobb at Nashville’s RCA Studio A and recruited guests like Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires and Brandi Carlile.

Kacey Musgraves, 'Golden Hour'

Gary Miller/Getty Images

Kacey Musgraves

Album: Golden Hour
Release Date: TBA
Kacey Musgraves’ second album, Pageant Material, was one of 2015’s most celebrated country releases, earning her a Best Country Album nod at the 2016 Grammys. Since then, fans have been eager for a follow-up, and in late 2017 Musgraves announced that they’d get it this year. Golden Hour doesn’t have a release date yet, but the details Musgraves has shared are intriguing. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly announcing the album, she revealed that Golden Hour would be “trippy,” with not-so-country artists like Sade and the Bee Gees serving as influences. Though uber-songwriters Luke Laird and Shane McAnally co-produced Musgraves’ first two albums, Nashville underdogs Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian took the reins on Golden Hour, another move to shake things up. “On this record, there’s the lonely girl, the blissful girl, the new wife, the girl that’s missing her mom, the angry girl, the sarcastic girl, the Sixties-sequined Cruella de Vil with the beehive, the shy girl, the life of the party, the winner, the loser,” she told EW. “They’re all characters on this record.” 

The Breeders

David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns

The Breeders

Album: All Nerve
Release Date: March 2nd
Last October, the Breeders released “Wait in the Car,” their first new studio recording since the 2009 EP Fate to Fatal and first recording by frontwoman Kim Deal since her exit from Pixies. It was also the first offering from the group since the lineup that recorded their 1993 mainstream breakthrough Last Splash reunited. Now the tune, which is a jagged, bouncy post-punk rocker that finds Deal singing lyrics like, “Consider I always struggle with the right word/ Meow meow meow meow meow” (classic Breeders), has a home as the second track on All Nerve. The album, which features an appearance by Courtney Barnett on “Howl at the Summit,” contains 11 tunes that the band recorded in various studios around the south and the Midwest (including a session with Steve Albini). The title track finds one of the Deal sisters singing, “I won’t stop/I will run you down,” and it’s a promise we’re taking seriously for the rest of All Nerve.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

Carly Rae Jepsen

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
In October, Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen told a New Yorker Festival audience that she’d already written more than 80 songs for the follow-up to 2015’s E•MO•TION – a smaller amount than the 200-plus she had ready for that album, but nothing to sneeze at. “I was really highly attracted to this understated disco,” said Jepsen, who’s opening for Katy Perry’s Witness tour through the beginning of February. “In going into the studio sometimes I would realize that, ‘Oh, I wanted disco, but I’ve made a mambo.’ So, I’m not really doing any disclaimers about what this is going to be, because I think it’s got different flavors in there.”

The 1975, 'Music for Cars'

Roberto Ricciuti/WireImage

The 1975

Album: Music for Cars
Release Date: TBA
The 1975 announced back in 2016 that fans should expect new music in 2018. The band had the name Music for Cars locked down for most of 2017, and possibly re-confirmed their plans for this year back in July with a cryptic Instagram video showing the neon sign from their sophomore album’s cover being turned off. In September, the band’s manager Jamie Osborne tweeted that sessions for Music for Cars would begin that month. No songs have been released yet, but frontman Matty Healy spoke about his aspirations for his band’s third album with Q last March. “If you look at third albums, OK Computer or The Queen Is Dead, that’s what we need to do,” he said. “I want a legacy. I want people to look back and think our records were the most important pop records that a band put out in this decade.”

Courtney Barnett

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Courtney Barnett

Album: TBA
Release Date: Spring 2018
Courtney Barnett’s 2015 full-length debut, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, catapulted the wonderfully wry Melbourne songwriter to international fame. That left her in a tight spot when it came time to make a follow-up: Barnett told RS this past summer that she spent much of 2016 “struggling” with songwriting, adding, “I just have this thing where I feel like everything has to be finished and perfect.” She got over that block by teaming up with like-minded Philly dude Kurt Vile for the low-key, excellent duets album Lotta Sea Lice, and as of late 2017, she was close to completing her next solo record. “I’m trying to come up with a title,” she told Zane Lowe in November. “It’s all one-sentence thoughts – you know, trying to come up with something clever.” In the meantime, Barnett will be joining her partner, Jen Cloher, as a backing guitarist when Cloher tours the U.S. starting January 23rd.

Car Seat Headrest, 'Twin Fantasy'

Burak Cingi/Redferns

Car Seat Headrest

Album: Twin Fantasy
Release Date: February 16th
Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo was 19 when he recorded a concept album called Twin Fantasy on his laptop and self-released it on Bandcamp in the fall of 2011. In the years that followed, as his band broke through to indie rock’s upper echelons with 2015’s Teens of Style and 2016’s Teens of Denial, Toledo kept dreaming of revisiting that early project, which has remained a favorite among his day-one fans. “It was never a finished work,” he says in a press release about the re-recorded version of Twin Fantasy that’s out next month, “and it wasn’t until last year that I figured out how to finish it.” The original Twin Fantasy was lo-fi by necessity, but it’s an album about huge, high-definition feelings – mostly, the world-collapsing weirdness of being a teenager in love. Now songs like the 13-minute “Beach Life-in-Death” (“I pretended I was drunk when I came out to my friends/I never came out to my friends/We were all on Skype, and I laughed and I changed the subject”) have the gleaming, raging alt-rock grandeur they were always crying out for.

Andrew W.K., 'You're Not Alone'

Mat Hayward/Getty Images

Andrew W.K.

Album: You’re Not Alone
Release Date: March 2nd
The thrasher-turned-motivational-speaker’s first rock album in almost 12 years has a dayglo-paint-worthy cover (painted by renowned fantasy artists Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell) and a tracklist that hints at an inspirational song cycle of sorts – “Music Is Worth Living For,” “Keep On Going,” “Total Freedom,” and so on. “I’m going for the sound of pure, unadulterated power,” he said in a September statement. “Every emotion, every thought, every experience, every sensation, every fear, every joy, every clarity, every confusion, every up, every down … all extruded and concentrated into one thick syrup of super life-force feeling, and then psychically amplified by the celebratory spirit of glorious partying.”

Rhye, 'Blood'

Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images


Album: Blood
Release Date: February 2nd
It’s been nearly five years since Rhye’s debut Woman entranced listeners with its blend of airy dream pop, chilled electronics, sensuous R&B and singer-songwriter candor. Initially conceived as a one-off collaboration with silky singer Mike Milosh and producer Robin Hannibal, the project has since evolved into a full-fledged band. Last summer, Rhye began issuing new material, including their most recent single “Count to Five,” as well as collaborating with like-minded musicians like Bonobo and Sylvan Esso. “We’ve spent the last few years on the road translating the Woman album from a bedroom project into a full live experience,” Milosh says in a press release. “With Blood, it’s been the opposite process; the music and sounds were really born out of the live environment and are built for performance.”

Superorganism, 'Superorganism'

Jordi Vidal/Redferns


Album: Superorganism
Release Date: March 2nd
The first full-length by this left-field pop collective (comprised of eight members, seven of which share the same East London crash pad/studio) will build on the meme-heavy glitchiness of their debut single “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” – think the woozy weirdness of 120 Minutes‘ final half-hour filtered through a post-Tumblr sensibility. “For us, pop music is a thing unto itself,” songwriter and producer Harry told Rolling Stone. “It’s something that makes genre irrelevant. Something concise, to the point, it’s catchy, it’s in your head and it’s creatively arranged and produced. That’s ultimately what our goal is with this. We’re not thinking we have to produce in this specific genre. We could take it in any direction we wanted to.”

Maluma, 'F.A.M.E.'

Mauricio Santana/Getty Images


Album: F. A. M. E.
Release Date: TBA
Colombian reggaeton singer Maluma has been steadily rising since 2011. Yet 2017 proved the most prosperous year for the 23-year-old international playboy, who graced the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with the balmy “Felices Los 4.” He followed with a feature role in not one, but two Shakira hits, as well as a scandalous showing at the Latin Grammy Awards. The full-length follow up to his 2015 album, Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy, F. A. M. E. will accompany a U.S. tour in spring 2018. “I couldn’t be more excited to announce my return to the United States on tour exactly one year after announcing my first-ever U.S. Tour – and so much has happened since,” the singer said in a statement. “The best part for U.S. fans is that I will be coming with an entirely brand new show with all of the hits and also new music!”

Brandy Carlile, 'By the Way, I Forgive You

Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

Brandi Carlile

Album: By the Way, I Forgive You
Release Date: February 16th
On her sixth studio album, Americana heroine Brandi Carlile ramps everything up a notch, working with Waylon Jennings’ rebel-yell son Shooter, who co-produced with Dave Cobb. She takes deep dives into her family history (“Most of All”) and offers up an anthem for the downtrodden (“The Joke,” a chin-up call to arms for anyone feeling oppressed, was blasted out in a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!). While largely adhering to her unplugged, modern-Appalachian approach, Carlile also pushes a few musical envelopes: “Harder to Forgive” is swoony, luxurious pop, “Hold Out Your Hand” has a wall-of-drums wallop and “Party of One” wraps up with shivery orchestration.

Judas Priest, 'Firepower'

Chiaki Nozu/WireImage

Judas Priest

Album: Firepower
Release Date: March 9th
On Firepower, Judas Priest aimed to make an album of modern heavy metal that retained the classic sound of their Seventies and Eighties masterpieces. So they turned to producers Tom Allom, who’d helmed their hits “Breaking the Law,” “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Heading Out to the Highway,” and Andy Sneap, whose credits include recent albums by Megadeth, Fear Factory and Arch Enemy. “Tom Allom has got this classic metal thing, and Andy is a bit more of a ‘modern metal producer’ but his thinking is a little bit different to Tom’s,” frontman Rob Halford has said. “I think to get this balance between that classic old-school metal to what Andy’s world is was just a remarkable coalescence.” Listening to “Lightning Strike,” Firepower’s lead single, it’s clear that the gamble paid off: Halford howls a chorus that recalls Priest at their most triumphant while his bandmates wage the sort of full-on eardrum assault that younger bands like Power Trip and Mastodon aspire to.

Lanco, 'Hallelujah Nights'

Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage


Album: Hallelujah Nights
Release Date: January 19th
The road to Lanco’s debut album has been long for both the band and their fans. The group signed to Arista Nashville way back in 2015, releasing a debut EP, Extended Play, the following year. Since then, they’ve built buzz with engaging live shows and big singles, like “Greatest Love Story,” which became Lanco’s first chart-topper. That song, written by frontman Brandon Lancaster, also appears on Hallelujah Nights, as do the EP’s three additional tracks. Lancaster wrote or co-wrote all 11 of the album’s songs, which marry evocative, narrative lyrics with infectious, Southern-rock–influenced arrangements – all bearing Lancaster’s signature raspy drawl. “Country music is about finding people where they’re at right now,” he told Rolling Stone last year, “working a 9-to-5, going through hard times, questioning life.”


Rick Kern/WireImage


Album: Primal Heart
Release Date: April 20th
Since 2014’s kaleidoscopic The Golden Echo, the New Zealand pop savant has kept busy, collaborating with soul explorer Bilal and Danish dream-pop outfit Mew, and talking Bowie and Prince with Questlove at Yale. Her third album, which she co-produced with John Congleton (Goldfrapp, Alvvays, St. Vincent), takes inspiration from the Mars Volta and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life while featuring assists from Skrillex and Natasha Bedingfield. “These songs have a sense of groundedness and tell stories,” Kimbra told Magnet recently. “It feels like I’m really just hanging with someone and telling them what’s up with me. In a way, I feel more connected to my audience on this record than I have in the past.”

Superchunk, 'What a Time to Be Alive'

Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images


Album: What a Time to Be Alive
Release Date: February 16th
The title of Superchunk’s upcoming LP might be even more wickedly sardonic than that of their prior LP, 2013’s I Hate Music. Frontman Mac McCaughan has said that the impetus for What a Time to Be Alive was the feeling he and his bandmates had once Donald Trump was elected president. But by his estimation, the music itself isn’t totally bleak; instead it’s a “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.” The title track is a buoyant, punkish nugget in the vein of the Chapel Hill indie mainstays’ best work, even if McCaughan is singing lyrics like, “To see the rot in no disguise … the scum, the shame, the fucking lies/Oh, what a time to be alive.” It should come as no surprise that the band wrote the entire album, which features guest appearances by Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan, among others, between November 2016 and the following February.

Titus Andronicus, 'A Productive Cough'

Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus performs at Saturn Birmingham on September 17, 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by David A. Smith/Getty Images)

David A. Smith/Getty Images

Titus Andronicus

Album: A Productive Cough
Release Date: March 2nd
Titus Andronicus are planning a hard left on their upcoming fifth LP. “The previous album we made, the rock opera, was an attempt at quite a grand statement, trying to encompass a lot of different things, both musically and thematically,” lead singer Patrick Stickles explained in an interview posted on the band’s website this month. “This album has a much narrower focus, both in terms of the nature of the material and the sheer volume of it.” In particular, A Productive Couch is a ballad-centric set, and lead single “Number One (In New York)” swells grandly over eight minutes, reaching back to the urgent-but-highly-orchestrated rock sagas of the 1970s. This might be a shock for the Titus Andronicus fans who prefer the band’s rowdy side. Stickles is aware of those listeners and uninterested in “pandering” to them. “Thing like extreme volume or fast tempos or a lot of screaming – these are just signifiers of intensity,” he said, “and If I take those away, perhaps I can illuminate what it is I think my true purpose as an artist is.”

Lucy Dacus, 'Historian'

Timothy Hiatt/WireImage

Lucy Dacus

Album: Historian
Release Date: March 2nd
Richmond singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus’ forthright lyrics and fuzzed-out riffs turned heads in 2015, when she released the disarming, catchy No Burden. Her upcoming second album was inspired by her realization that as a touring musician, she had a platform, and she felt duty-bound to use it for “the thing that’s most important to say.” The lyrics explore heartache, grief, racism and other topics that touched Dacus’ life in recent years. “[Historian] starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she said in a statement. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”

Phife Dawg, 'Forever'

Noam Galai/WireImage

Phife Dawg

Album: Forever
Release Date: TBA
While serving as one-fourth of legendary Queens hip-hop ensemble A Tribe Called Quest, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor stockpiled plenty of solo material. However, he only released one album, 2000’s Ventilation: Da LP, before passing away in March of 2016. That November, at a ceremony dedicating a portion of Linden Blvd. in Queens to the MC, Phife’s widow, Desha Taylor, announced plans to issue a posthumous album, Forever. It’s release was initially scheduled for early this year. But despite the release of two singles, “Nutshell” and “Wanna Dance,” nothing has emerged yet. “I hope they find the right deal for that, and it get platformed the right way where we can all help push the shit” Redman told the late podcaster Combat Jack last October.

Django Django, 'Marble Skies'

Frank Hoensch/Redferns

Django Django

Album: Marble Skies
Release Date: January 26th
Art-rockers Django Django envision their upcoming third LP as a course correction of sorts. “The last album felt a little bloated,” producer/drummer David Maclean told Mojo. So the group eschewed the fancy studios where they recorded 2015’s Born Under Saturn and set up shop in a rented warehouse space where they can “do what [they] want to do without worrying about clock-watching or studio fees.” Lead single “Tic Tac Toe” is sinewy and clap-happy, a breezy, double-time blast of chiming guitar pop. Elsewhere on the record, there’s an homage to Miami Vice maestro Jan Hammer, drumming from Metronomy’s Anna Prior and vocals from Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor. “It’s a bit of a curveball for people maybe,” said Maclean. But he’s confident that everything will cohere as long as “it’s got the Django melody.”

"Tune-Yards, 'I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

Scott Dudelson/WireImage


Album: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life
Release Date: January 19th
Merrill Garbus’ fourth album under the Tune-Yards name is dazzling and danceable, inspired by the DJing she’s done at gigs and online, her explorations of hip-hop, her confrontation of her racial privilege and the increasingly fraught 21st-century political landscape. (Garbus and her longtime collaborator Nate Brenner wrote Private before the 2016 Presidential election, but, as she noted to the Financial Times, “All the divisions were already there. Under Obama. Before Brexit. They’ve just been revealed.”) Songs like the sinewy “Coast to Coast” are boisterous and dancey, allowing her to flaunt her increased vocal prowess and interpretative skill.   

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.