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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.

Dominique Charriau/WireImage

MIA, ‘Matangi’ (11/5)

After nearly a year of release-date delays, the provocative Sri Lankan artist is finally finished with her latest set of hypercatchy electro-rap jams. Lead singles "Bad Girls" and "Bring the Noize" are wild future-funk anthems; other potential tracks for the new LP range from apocalyptic club grooves ("Universe") to tweaked R&B ballads ("Come Walk With Me," "Sexodus"). "The mood is a bit more playful," says Switch, who produced several tunes. "But there's deep stuff, as well."

lady gaga

Courtesy Interscope

Lady Gaga , ‘ARTPOP’ (11/11)

Expect the unexpected from Lady Gaga's fourth LP. "She does not have to please anyone," says Zedd, the German DJ-producer who worked on several potential tracks. "We do whatever we want, and we don't have to make a song that's three minutes and 30 seconds just to fit the radio." Gaga has been working on the project nonstop – even after a hip injury forced her to cancel tour dates. "She wasn't going to just lay in bed and have a morphine drip and pass out for three months," adds DJ White Shadow, who also contributed to the LP. "She doesn't sit down. She doesn't chill."

John Ricard/Getty Images

Rick Ross, ‘Mastermind’ (Fall 2013)

"Mastermind is my sixth album, and I'm a bigger boss than ever," says Ross. The album comes hot on the heels of the Miami rapper's 2012 LP God Forgives, I Don't, plus a string of street-hit mixtapes, compilations and guest appearances on tracks by everyone from Jay Z to John Legend. How does the Teflon Don plan to top all that? By bringing out some seriously big guns. Ross promises lots of cameos from his Maybach Music Group crew – which includes heavy hitters Wale, Meek Mill and Gunplay, along with R&B star Omarion – plus a track featuring vocals from Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Beatwise, Ross has been leaning toward lush, soulful sounds: He gave fans a taste of the upcoming album's overall vibe earlier this year with an online trailer accompanied by Curtis Mayfield's classic early-Seventies groove "Give Me Your Love (Love Song)." Adds Ross, "Expect a masterpiece."

miley cyrus

Courtesy RCA

Miley Cyrus, ‘Bangerz’ (10/8)

"Sorry I ain't tweeting much," Miley Cyrus recently tweeted. "Focused on #BANGERZ." Say what? "If you don't know why my record is called BANGERZ, you'll know as soon as you hear it," she added. "Nothin but #BANGERZ." The former Disney star's latest hit, "We Can't Stop," trades in the sugar-rush pop of her past LPs for a booming beat from hot hip-hop producer Mike Will and rap-slang-studded lyrics about partying; other collaborators on the disc include Pharrell, Will.i.am and Future. "This is the first time people have heard my new sound," she recently told RS. "I'm not just trying to make music for teenagers."

Avett Brothers

Danny Clinch

Also Released

Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight . . . (9/3)

Jimmy Webb, Still Within the Sound of My Voice (9/10)

Kaskade, Atmosphere (9/10)

Jonny Lang, Fight for My Soul (9/17)

Willie Nelson, To All the Girls . . . (9/24)

Deer Tick, Negativity (9/24)

CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe (9/24)

Mazzy Star, Seasons of Your Day (9/24)

Pusha T, My Name Is My Name (September)

The Blind Boys of Alabama, I'll Find a Way (10/1)

Amos Lee, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song (10/8)

Cage the Elephant, Melophobia (10/8)

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, Last Night on Earth (10/8)

Panic! At the Disco, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! (10/8)

Of Montreal, Lousy With Sylvianbriar (10/8)

The Avett Brothers (pictured above), Magpie and the Dandelion (10/15)

White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (10/29)

James Blunt, Moon Landing (11/5)

R. Kelly Black Panties (11/11)

Chris Brown, (November)

Future, Honest (Fall 2013)

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