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Fall Music Preview 2013: The 26 Albums You Need to Hear

Paul McCartney, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Pearl Jam and 22 more of the season’s biggest albums

Every year, the music industry kicks into overdrive right around Labor Day. This fall is no exception: Get ready to hear brand-new music from some of your favorite stars – from Arcade Fire's epic return to Lady Gaga's freaked-out pop experiments to Paul McCartney's magical mystery album. Keep reading for the inside scoop on these and 23 more of the biggest, coolest and wildest records of the season.

Album information and dates confirmed as of press time. Reporting by David Browne, Matt Diehl, Jon Dolan, Patrick Doyle, Gavin Edwards, Adam Gold, Andy Greene, Steve Knopper and Simon Vozick-Levinson.

Cass Bird

Katy Perry, ‘Prism’ (10/22)

"It's a real carving-out process," Katy Perry says of sessions for her third LP. "I'm always fighting for 'best.'" The pop star is cagey on further details, but lets slip that she's calling from Sweden – which, not so coincidentally, is home to producer Max Martin, who helped make 2010's Teenage Dream a multiplatinum hit. Martin returned to co-write the singer's new single, "Roar," along with Perry, Dr. Luke and Bonnie McKee. "It's a more grown-up Katy," McKee recently said of the disc. "It doesn't sound like the 'California Gurls' of yesterday."

Anton Corbijn

Arcade Fire, ‘Reflektor’ (10/29)

One thing's for sure about the mysterious follow-up to 2010's The Suburbs: The recording process was pretty hectic. The roof collapsed at Arcade Fire's Quebec studio early on; the band later switched to New York's DFA Studios to work with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. On top of that, the band's Régine Chassagne (wife of frontman Win Butler) gave birth to a baby boy in April. Despite the chaotic circumstances, Murphy has described the results as "pretty fucking epic."