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.  

Kanye West

Scott Dudelson/FilmMagic

Kanye West

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Aside from the usual tabloid noise surrounding the Kardashian family, 2017 was a suspiciously quiet year for the most influential hip-hop artist of the decade. Yes, there was the much-derided Trump Tower photo op, and news of a lawsuit against Jay-Z’s Tidal service over royalties for his controversial, widely acclaimed The Life of Pablo. Musically, West made a handful of cameos with Mary J Blige, Drake, Cyhi Da Prynce and Tyga, and reportedly decamped to Wyoming to spark inspiration. “He’s far from Hollywood and is very isolated right now. He wants to get back into his creative groove,” an anonymous source told PageSix.com, adding that longtime consigliere Pusha T participated in the sessions. (Later, a Def Jam rep threw cold water on rumors that West is entering a Twin Peaks phase.) However, Kanye’s silence may soon end. On January 5th, various members of his DONDA team suggested that new music is imminent.

Frank Ocean

Visionhaus#GP/Corbis via Getty Images

Frank Ocean

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Last year, Frank Ocean issued four solo singles, as well as the luminescent “Slide” collaboration with Calvin Harris and Migos. Last November, he posted cryptically on his Tumblr page, “Well I made the album before 30. I JUST AIN’T PUT THAT BITCH OUT! –quotes from an interview I haven’t given haha.” (It was a reference to a 2012 tweet that he’d release “five albums before 30.”) On New Year’s 2018, Frank Ocean teased his fans further by posting an image of a young man with a hat that read, “If You Loved 2017, You’ll Love 2018.” These missives could just be red herrings from a brilliant musician whose art always invites myriad interpretations. Or they could be signs that a follow-up to his widely hailed Blonde is in the works.

Tool

Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Tool

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The prog-metal masters’ most recent album, 10,000 Days, turns 12 this year, and its long-in-the-works follow-up might see the light of day sometime in 2018. Last July, frontman Maynard James Keenan talked to comedian Joe Rogan about the reasons for the delay: “[The other band members’] process is very analytical and I think, at some point, because so much time has gone by since the last album, there’s got to be a little fear in here. ‘Is this record going to be as good as the last one?’ Now the pressure is huge, so I’m sure some of that goes into play.” But drummer Danny Carey seems to be more than ready to go: “I’m saying definitely,” Carey said in December. “We’ll probably have it done in the first half [of the year] if things go as planned.”

Migos, 'Culture 2'

David Becker/Getty Images

Migos

Album: Culture II
Release Date: TBA
After conquering 2017 with a Number One album (Culture), a Number One single (“Bad and Boujee”), and a ton of cameos, the Atlanta trio that some call the hip-hop Beatles are reloading for 2018. The reported first single, “MotorSport,” which features Offset’s fiancée Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, has already cracked the Billboard Top 10. When asked by video magazine Montreality about Culture II, Offset called it “a masterpiece … real processed. It’s ready.” Quavo, who is mixing the album with DJ Durel, added, “We’re in a time where we’re setting a trend. We started this whole lil wave, we started the whole genre, we started the whole flow, we started the whole melody. … Hip-hop has changed in a whole big way. So you can mark this down as, we changed it.”

Cardi B

Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

Cardi B

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Cardi B was one of 2017’s biggest success stories, as the stripper-turned-Instagram-star-turned-reality-breakout ultimately turned into a platinum rapper. “Bodak Yellow” hit Number One and her collaborations with Maluma, Migos and G-Eazy turned into fruitful ways to solidify herself as more than a one-hit wonder. She launched 2018 with another surefire hit – a remix of Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” – and teamed up with 21 Savage for a brilliantly vicious new solo song, “Bartier Cardi.” All fall and winter, Cardi has promised fans a debut album to further assert her dominance. She’s been in the studio with J. White (the producer behind “Bodak Yellow”) and dancehall specialist Rvssian. “I got six, seven solid songs that I like, but I wonder if a month from now, I’m going to change my mind,” she told Rolling Stone last fall while indicating that the Spanish and reggae music of her youth would blend with the trap that helped her top the charts.

Camila Cabello, 'Camila'

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Camila Cabello

Album: Camila
Release Date: January 12th
Pressure runs high for a young pop star leaving behind a massive girl group, but in Camila Cabello’s first year since departing Fifth Harmony she already has a Top Five hit with “Havana.” Of course the process had included plenty of trial and error, including an album name change (it had been previously called The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving.) and a few promotional singles that didn’t quite capture Cabello’s particular spark, like the Quavo-assisted “OMG” and the Christina Aguilera-sampling “Crying in the Club.” The album did a full 180-degree shift over the course of Cabello’s first year on her own. “At first I thought it was gonna be, like, a sad-song album,” she told Rolling Stone. “Then the more I got into the year, it was just better. I felt way happier. I feel that it has a good balance of the emo and the happy.”

Fall Out Boy

Suzi Pratt/WireImage

Fall Out Boy

Album: Mania
Release Date: January 19th
The pop-rock hybridists pushed back the release date for their seventh album over the summer, after feeling dissatisfied with what they’d recorded so far: “I was like, ‘I don’t think this is something the four of us will like; I don’t think it’s something the label is going to like,'” frontman Patrick Stump told Rolling Stone. “‘It doesn’t sound like Fall Out Boy. Oh, God, I can’t turn this in.'” The band went back to the drawing board (and embarked on an arena tour, which included a few Jingle Ball dates) and reworked the album, which they’ve previewed with singles like the galloping “Hold Me Tight or Don’t” and the swaggering “The Last of the Real Ones.” “Do I need another hit in my life? I don’t really care,” said Stump. “The only reason to put out a record is if it’s really great. And once you are past the radio-hit stage of your career, that becomes even more important.”

Kendrick Lamar

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

‘Black Panther: The Album’

Release Date: February 9th
After teasing their involvement via an Easter egg in Kendrick Lamar’s “Love” video, the acclaimed rapper and Top Dawg co-founder Anthony Tiffith announced that they will executive-produce the soundtrack to the latest Marvel Studios blockbuster. “The magnitude of this film showcases a great marriage of art and culture,” Lamar said in a press release. “I’m truly honored to contribute my knowledge of producing sound and writing music alongside [director Ryan Coogler] and Marvel’s vision.” Little is known at the moment about who will appear, but it seems possible that Lamar and his TDE crew will be featured on multiple tracks: The first single, Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars,” hit the Internet at the beginning of this year; and a recent trailer features a song by Lamar with Vince Staples

Jimi Hendrix, 'Both Sides Of The Sky'

David Redfern/Redferns

Jimi Hendrix

Album: Both Sides of the Sky
Release Date: March 9th
Beginning in 1968, Jimi Hendrix spent much of his time in the studio working on a follow-up to Electric Ladyland, but wasn’t able to complete it before his death in 1970. Since then, his estate has released a dozen posthumous LPs. The latest, Both Sides of the Sky, may be the last word in Hendrix’s studio recordings, as it contains the best of what’s left in the Hendrix family’s archives. On a revved-up rendition of “Mannish Boy” he sings along with his lead guitar; on “Lover Man” he leads his band on a diversion into the Batman theme; and on a previously unreleased version of “Stepping Stone” he adds some country swagger. The album also contains collaborative recordings Hendrix made with Johnny Winter, Lonnie Youngblood and Stephen Stills – with the latter, Hendrix plays bass on an upbeat cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” recorded before CSNY’s version. “Watching him play was like watching the greatest athlete you ever saw, like Julius Irving or Muhammad Ali,” Stills tells Rolling Stone. “It was unbelievable. He taught me to quit thinking and let it happen.”

Vampire Weekend

Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

Vampire Weekend

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Last March, frontman Ezra Koenig offered a few clues on Instagram about Vampire Weekend’s fourth album. “It’s a lil more springtime than the last one,” he wrote. “Guitar’s not dead.” He also confirmed the working title Mitsubishi Macchiato (“a helpful concept”), referenced songs called “Conversation” and “Flower Moon,” and teased fans dying to know more: “I can’t tell you the really good stuff anyway.” Was he serious about any of this? Hard to say – as his animated social satire Neo Yokio recently reminded fans, Koenig has a sly sense of humor. Either way, the stakes for the album are high. The album will be Vampire Weekend’s first release since the departure of co-founder Rostam Batmanglij, and it follows 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City, which Rolling Stone named that year’s best album. Speaking to RS in October, Koenig mentioned sessions with pedal-steel expert Greg Leisz and guitarist/producer Steve Lacy of the Internet, and struck an optimistic tone: “After this period of smoking weed and making cartoons, I came back fresh.”

MGMT

Noam Galai/WireImage

MGMT

Album: Little Dark Age
Release Date: TBA
The onetime darlings of the blog-to-festival circuit turn 10 this year, and the duo’s fourth album is more world-weary, as its bummer-ride title track indicates. It’s the result of what vocalist Andrew VanWyngarten called “a slightly more focused attempt to write more structured songs” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, as well as some quality studio time with their longtime producer Dave Fridmann (Spoon, Flaming Lips). “I still get a lot of inspiration from British punk music, where all of the songs are just how shitty life is in England,” Ben Goldwasser told EW. “But there’s also a real sense of humor about it, black humor, and just finding this human element in a world that has become so industrial and dark.”

Selena Gomez

Chris Polk/AMA2017/Getty Images

Selena Gomez

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Selena Gomez proved her pop prowess with 2015’s Revival and continued to toy with her own persona and sound with her 2017 singles, which included the Talking Heads-sampling “Bad Liar” and the seductive “Fetish.” Her battle with lupus, however, has kept elements of Gomez’s music career somewhat stalled: The singer and actress canceled tour dates and got a kidney transplant this summer. Still, she’s been in and out of the studio with the likes of Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels (the songwriting duo behind “Bad Liar” and many of Gomez’s Revival tracks) as well as Jacob Kasher, Ryan Tedder and the Futuristics. Still, Gomez seems to still be – rightfully – taking her time with a new album, telling Billboard that her label has been “itching” for new music. “There is such power in saying ‘no,’ she said. “I like how we’ve presented the music this year because it wasn’t in an aggressive way; it felt very genuine.”

Rae Sremmurd, 'SremmLife 3'

Noam Galai/Getty Images

Rae Sremmurd

Album: Sremmlife 3
Release Date: January 
Rae Sremmurd teased Sremmlife 3 for nearly a year, but so far all we’ve gotten is an August single, “Perplexing Pegasus”; and Swae Lee’s standout vocals on French Montana’s summertime smash “Unforgettable.” Revolt TV reported that Swae promised that the album would drop in January. Other than that announcement, little is known about the Mississippi brothers’ latest, except that it will feature production from mentor Mike Will Made It’s Eardrummers squad, and maybe a Young Thug cameo.

Loretta Lynn, 'Wouldn't Be Great'

Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

Loretta Lynn

Album: Wouldn’t It Be Great
Release Date: TBA
The Country Music Hall of Fame vocalist delayed the release of her already-recorded new album Wouldn’t It Be Great until 2018 after suffering a stroke last May. Like the Grammy-nominated Full Circle that preceded it, the LP was co-produced by John Carter Cash and Lynn’s daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and cut at Johnny Cash’s cabin studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Boasting new songs like “I’m Dying for Someone to Live For” and “Ruby’s Stool,” written with songwriter Shawn Camp, Wouldn’t It Be Great also includes new versions of Lynn staples “Don’t Come Home a-Drinkin'” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” “You can’t get them anymore,” Lynn told Rolling Stone in 2016 of her decision to update her classics. “You’ve got fans that want it. So we will give them to ’em.”

A Perfect Circle

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

A Perfect Circle

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The prog-metal supergroup fronted by Tool’s Maynard James Keenan used their 2017 tour to premiere the brooding “Feathers” and the chugging “Hourglass,” and studio versions of the storming “The Doomed” and the “silicon obsession” indictment “Disillusioned” followed a few months later. Shortly before the January release of “Disillusioned,” guitarist and co-founder Billy Howerdel took a break from recording to call into alt-rock stalwart Matt Pinfield’s podcast and offer an update on the album, the band’s first since 2004. “We are gonna be finished imminently – I’d say in the next several weeks, we’d be done with this record,” Howerdel said. The still-untitled LP should be out in the late spring or early summer.  

Liam Payne

Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Liam Payne

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
As Payne readies his debut, he has a strong tailwind from lead single “Strip That Down,” an Ed Sheeran co-write that reached Number One on the American pop radio chart. That track featured an interpolation of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” and a guest verse from Quavo of Migos, and Payne-iacs can expect more of the same on the singer’s upcoming album. “I didn’t really want to nail myself down so … [I made] some super urban tracks and a lot of trap music,” Payne told iHeart’s Olivia Jones. But he also plans to appease fans hoping for some more traditional One Direction fare. “It’s really important to do something that you want to do, but you can’t forget your fan base, you can’t forget your roots,” Payne explained to Entertainment Weekly. “The hardest part of the job for me,” he added, “is waiting for the next song to come out.”

Sky Ferreira, 'Masochism'

Taylor Hill/Getty Images for The Meadows Music & Arts Festival

Sky Ferreira

Album: Masochism
Release Date: TBA
Sky Ferreira has kept busy since the 2013 release of her debut full-length Night Time, My Time. She appeared in Twin Peaks: The Return and Baby Driver, and she directed a holiday-themed video for Iceage side project Marching Church. She’s been using Instagram to keep people updated on the process of her second album. In April she posted snippets of new music to Instagram (collected here, via Dazed), and she said in a July post, it had been held up by “other people” who have since exited the picture. “I don’t know why this happens every time I make a record after a decade (yoinks) of doing this because…I MAKE POP MUSIC?!?? It’s not THAT complicated?” she posted. In December, she told The Fader that an amuse for Masochism­ – “an EP that is heavily visual, and the videos will all connect to each other in an abstract way” – would be out in February or March.

Ariana Grande

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Republic Records

Ariana Grande

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Ariana Grande faced the unthinkable in 2017 when a terrorist attack at her Manchester, England, concert killed 22 young fans. In the shadow of that event, she managed to keep working on the follow-up to her million-selling 2016 LP Dangerous Woman. “I started an album already a year ago, over a year ago, but I want to keep creating, and it’s not done yet,” the singer told told Billboard in September. “So I’m going to take my sweet ass time, so I’ll be rested and ready to go again as soon as possible.” A few months later, Grande posted a snippet on Instagram of her singing the phrase “you can feel it,” with a gospel choir riffing behind her. The video’s caption read, “see you next year.” “The things that she has to say on this album, it’s pretty next-level,” Pharrell Williams assured The Los Angeles Times. “Her album is amazing.”

Joan Baez, 'Whistle Down the Wind'

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Joan Baez

Album: Whistle Down the Wind
Release Date: March 2nd
As she began planning a farewell tour of Europe and the U.S. scheduled to start this year, the folk legend also began thinking about making one last record: “I had the feeling things are winding down and I wanted to do one more studio effort, and kind of the old-fashioned way,” she told Rolling Stone. With producer Joe Henry at the helm – an ideal choice given his previous work with legends like Bonnie Raitt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and Mose Allison – that approach centered around Baez’s voice and guitar, with minimal, largely acoustic accompaniment and no famous-friends cameos. “We didn’t want guest artists,” says Henry. “Her manager said to me, ‘That’s not on her agenda,’ and I was delighted to hear it. I wanted to focus on her.” There’s little that’s old-fashioned about the material Baez chose, which includes songs by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (the title track and “Last Leaf”), Josh Ritter, and Anohni (whose “Another World” Baez calls “so deep and dark and beautiful”). Aptly for these times, the album ends with an 18th-century manuscript, “I Wish the Wars Were All Over,” set to new music. And how has Baez’s dusky-soprano voice managed to hold up so well? “She uses an old country singer’s trick,” says Henry. “She eats potato chips before she sings. It lends a good kind of grease to your voice.”

The Distillers

Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images

The Distillers

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
It’s been 14 years since the last album from punkers the Distillers, eight years since Brody Dalle put out an LP under the name Spinnerette and three years since the singer released her solo debut, Diploid Love. But last year, Dalle hinted that she was working on new music, sharing a photo from her studio on Instagram with the caption, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.” Then, on January 3rd, she upped the ante by posting a teaser video captioned “The Distillers 2018.” She hasn’t shared any other information about the lineup of the reunited band or potential touring plans. But it’s safe to assume that if she’s working on new music, it will be as raucous and defiant as her previous work. “I’m not afraid of aggression or conflict,” she told Noisey in 2013. “It’s a natural state of being for me. That’s what makes me feel alive.”

My Bloody Valentine

Gaelle Beri/Redferns via Getty Images

My Bloody Valentine

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
It’s dangerous to assign a release date for a new My Bloody Valentine album – two decades elapsed between their 1991 masterpiece Loveless and their 2013 comeback MBV. Still, band founder Kevin Shields has predicted that the English shoegaze legends would soon release their fourth album. “We started recording it a year ago,” Shields told Pitchfork in November. “Basically, the record started off as an EP, and I realized it has to be, like, a mini-album, because it’s going to be at least 40 minutes long. So it’s going to be an album, but I don’t really know how many tracks it’s going to be. It’ll probably be seven or eight, by the looks of it.”