It's never been easier to feel like you're drowning in a sea of new music. There are surprise releases, delayed releases, singles and EPs and mini-albums and mixtapes, streaming platform exclusives, and artists who don't stream their music at all; finding everything you want to hear can feel like a full-time job in its own right, never mind actually listening to it. Spotify and Apple Music can feed you new releases and playlists like there's no tomorrow, but there are times when you just want someone you trust to answer one simple question: "What do I need to hear this week?"
That's the spirit in which The Verge's music fans have written our Fall 2015 music guide. There are almost 50 albums in here, spread out over three months — we're not sure about every release date, title, and tracklist, but we're positive each LP included will be worth your time. We have all of our genre bases covered, too: you'll find pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B, metal, and electronic music in here, and plenty of albums that fill the spaces in between.
It's going to be a busy autumn. We're here to help you separate the best from the rest.
Beirut, No No No
Zach Condon is releasing his fifth full-length as Beirut in the midst of personal turmoil, including a divorce and a breakdown brought on by intense touring. It doesn’t seem to be infusing his music with some new darkness, though: singles like "Gibraltar" have retained the jaunty, rich feel of 2011’s underrated The Rip Tide.
Empress Of, Me
As Empress Of, Lorely Rodriguez makes off-kilter, buoyant music that’s as unusual as it is hummable. Me is Empress Of’s debut full-length, a follow-up to her 2013 EP, Systems. It was written in a single month while Rodriguez was living alone in Valle de Bravo, a small Mexican village on the shore of Lake Avándaro. That self-inflicted isolation shows in her music; her vocals stretch over little percussive beats and nervous synths. If Me is about a single person, it makes sense that it would also be a little lonely.
Micachu & the Shapes, Good Sad Happy Bad
The smack of watermelon bubblegum against dry lips, wet sneakers on a tile floor, stifled giggles that dissolve into big guffaws: this is what you get with Micachu & the Shapes, a UK three-piece led by Mica Levi, whose slapstick pop music sounds like it was made for jumping as high as you can into the air and then freeze-framing at your peak. Good Sad Happy Bad is the band’s first LP since 2012, and with track names like "Relaxing," "Dreaming," and "Sea Air," it’s more subdued than anything the band has done yet. But you’ll still feel scattered after a listen to this one — not that the title would make you expect anything less.
Duran Duran, Paper Gods
Thirty-seven years later, Duran Duran is still around, pushing their familiar brand of synthpop onto the world. Following the critical success of All You Need is Now — arguably its best album since Rio — Duran Duran went back into the studio with Mark Ronson and brought along Mr. Hudson (Jay Z, Kanye West), guitarist John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Nile Rodgers to craft Paper Gods. The result is another album that hones in on exactly what Duran Duran excels at: soaring vocals over experimental, guitar-heavy pop music, and it works well. With appearances from Janelle Monáe, Kiesza, Jonas Bjerre, and Lindsay Lohan (yes, her) performing spoken word on "Danceophobia" (the best track on the album), it looks like Duran Duran has found its way once again.
Battles, La Di Da Di
When Battles released their debut album Mirrored in 2007, it presented a new vision for 21st century rock music. The genre could feed on electronic music, jazz, punk, metal, and soul in equal measure; it could reward technical proficiency rather than style; it could reach its potential when created by a group of versatile, skilled musicians hopping in and out of various roles. That vision hasn’t been realized on a wide scale, but that’s only served to render Battles more distinct. La Di Da Di is the band’s third album, and singles like "The Yabba" and "FF Bada" are proof they haven’t lost any of the muscle or ambition that made their early music so exciting.
Skylar Spence, Prom King
Ryan DeRobertis was approaching indie stardom as Saint Pepsi when a legal challenge necessitated a name change. He started recording as Skylar Spence — it’s a name pulled from a Woody Allen movie he’s sampled before — early this year, and the switch hasn’t compromised his ability to make sweet, self-referential disco pop like "Can’t You See."
Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon
(Interscope / Polydor)
Lana Del Rey has spent the last five years preparing her own introduction to this album. She’s lonely and lost, she’s moody and strong-willed; she kills time in dive bars where dust floats around in the stray beams of light and unshaven men stare at their reflections in almost-empty glasses. She’s romantically American. On Honeymoon, her third LP, all of that seems to have finally coalesced. From what we’ve heard of the album so far — the woozy, smoke-stained title track and the threatening but casual "High by the Beach" — Lana Del Rey is more in control, but still just as nostalgic as ever for someone else’s life. With Honeymoon, LDR has primed us on what we should expect, but she’s never been one to put faith in expectations.
Guy and Howard Lawrence have spent much of the lead-up to Caracal, their second full-length album, suffering from success: when you become the face of a revitalized genre with your debut, how are you supposed to follow it up? With sleek, polished house-pop and garage-pop singles like "Latch" and "White Noise" and a stellar album in Settle, the duo positioned themselves at the vanguard of a British dance music resurgence, one that ended up storming charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Caracal hasn’t generated the same level of enthusiasm despite a string of solid promotional singles; it’s easy to take routine excellence for granted. Pop is volatile, but I still wouldn’t bet against the Lawrence brothers: they’re young, curious, and only getting better.
Young Thug, Hy!£UN35
In almost every Young Thug track, the rapper born Jeffrey Lamar Williams plays multiple characters. On his excellent 2014 mixtape Black Portland, he hopped from muffled murmur to throaty moan to elastic yelp on "Florida Water." On this year’s Barter 6, Thugger’s sentences are rapid, strung-together run-ons and staccato sing-song riddles on "Just Might Be." No one sounds like Young Thug right now, and it’s unlikely anyone ever will. Last year’s "Lifestyle" and "Danny Glover" put Young Thug solidly in the Top 40 spotlight, plus he’s collaborated with everyone from Jamie xx to his former label boss Gucci Mane. Hy!£UN35 is Young Thug’s debut studio album, but you already know what he sounds like — you just never know which version you’re gonna get.
Youth Lagoon, Savage Hills Ballroom
Trevor Powers’ debut album as Youth Lagoon was called The Year of Hibernation. Like its name, the album was isolated and shy, burying Powers’ edgeless voice in foggy effects and muted cassette hiss. His next album, 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse, was crafty and strange; it sounded like it was recorded in a dollhouse. Then, after the death of a close friend later that year, Powers said he decided to rethink the project. Youth Lagoon’s new album, Savage Hills Ballroom, promises to be more kinetic and pop-driven than his previous efforts, but still lonesome, like a hermit hoarding little shiny things he finds in the trash.
Chvrches, Every Open Eye
(Universal / Glassnote)
Chvrches are a band that everyone likes but not everyone knows about. Their 2013 album The Bones of What You Believe was a big shiny burst of synth pop, and singer Lauren Mayberry’s voice was simple enough that it made every song something you could sing along to. If Every Open Eye can avoid the sophomore slump, it should give the music world a much-needed dose of fun that’s just stand-offish enough to still be cool.
Julia Holter, Have You in My Wilderness
While I was writing this I spilled coffee everywhere and then shocked myself on an electrical outlet trying to clean it up. It hurt, and made my body feel buzzy, but as I listened to Julia Holter’s 2013 album Loud City Song, the buzzy feeling slowly died to a low hum. I think that’s because Holter’s music is a calming force: non-intrusive and mellow, even if you don’t realize it’s manipulating your senses. Her voice elevates her minimal instrumentals to an ecclesiastical level and then washes away what’s left behind. Have You in My Wilderness will be a great fall listen; there’s really nothing to suggest otherwise.
Kurt Vile, b'lieve i'm going down
Kurt Vile has carved out a fine little niche for himself as this decade’s foremost purveyor of gentle, sprawling guitar music. 2013’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze was a patient, personal epic — it was over an hour long — and b’lieve i’m going down should strike many of the same notes. Reflection rarely sounds this relaxing.
New Order, Music Complete
It’s hard to imagine a New Order record without Peter Hook’s rock-solid work on bass, but that’s what you can expect from Music Complete. It’s the band’s 10th record overall and their first without Hook, who’s been embroiled in a spat with the band’s other members. Losing an original member could provide the spark needed to keep New Order’s music vital — they’ve been working together for well over three decades now.
Steve Hauschildt, Where All Is Fled
Steve Hauschildt might be best known for his work as part of Emeralds, one of the last decade’s most exciting ambient groups; their 2010 full-length Does It Look Like I’m Here? was a landmark, bridging the gaps between drone, ambient, and celestial synth music. Hauschildt has strung together a series of fine solo releases in the years since Emeralds’ dissolution, and his new album Where All Is Fled should make for another quality stargazing soundtrack.
(Echo / BMG)
Sexwitch is the collaborative project between Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan and Toy, a UK band best known for sounding like a mash-up of Can and the Strokes. The group announced the project live at the Green Man Festival in Wales this year, and the only other solid detail is that their debut self-titled album will be composed of covers of psychedelic songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Their debut single, "Helelyos," is a cover of a song by Iranian singer Zia Atabi. It’s harsh and muddy, soaked in a dark eroticism. Sexwitch will likely give you goosebumps while introducing you to songs you’ve never heard before.
Dungen, Allas Sak
(Mexican Summer / Smalltown Supersound)
Language barriers don’t seem to have an impact on the four Swedes who make up Dungen. The prog-rock band earned a considerable worldwide following with 2004’s Ta det lugnt, and they’ve held onto it with subsequent woodsy, complex releases. Allas Sak is the band’s first album in five years, and single "Äkt Dit" is proof they haven’t lost their touch in their time away: it’s bright, beguiling, and a little slippery.
Darkstar, Foam Island
British pop duo Darkstar emerged from an unexpected corner of the British underground at the turn of the last decade, a presence on pioneering electronic label Hyperdub alongside secretive, gloomy producers like Burial and The Bug. It turns out Darkstar weren’t particularly interested in making shadowy dubstep or skittering 2-step; by the time News from Nowhere came out on Warp in 2013, they sounded more like Hot Chip than the artists mentioned above, warm and organic and playful. Foam Island is the duo’s third album, and their second signed to Warp. Tracks like "Through the Motions" live in a hybrid space, caught between something human and something a little more — well, a little more warped.
Fetty Wap, Fetty Wap
When Fetty Wap exploded on the scene with the summer’s most dominant and somehow still not annoying smash hit "Trap Queen," the term one hit wonder was thrown around, as it usually is when a highly infectious track from an artist with a nascent discography grabs the attention of the public. But Mr. Wap wasn’t having any of that. After locking down a record deal with Lyor Cohen’s burgeoning 300 Entertainment, Fetty Wap followed up his trap anthem with two top 10 hits, "My Way" — which received the now customary "you’re-good-but-don’t-forget-I’m-still-the-best" feature from Drake — and "679," quickly cementing his spot as the top artist of the summer. With an eponymous debut on the way and the distinction of being the only artist to ever have their first four singles land in Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs after his latest hit "Again" graced the airwaves, Fetty Wap looks poised to continue his upward trajectory in the rap world.
The Game, The Documentary 2
(Blood Money / eOne)
Ten years after reviving West Coast hip-hop with The Documentary, The Game is attempting to resuscitate his own career with a sequel to his best body of work. The California native has gone back to the well for The Documentary 2, working with many of the same producers that helped him craft his first album, including Kanye West, Just Blaze, Cool & Dre, Scott Storch, and Dr. Dre, the architect of The Documentary. After releasing the well-received "100" featuring Drake, and receiving the blessing of Dr. Dre, expectations are high that The Game can regain and maintain the form that put him atop the West Coast rap scene in the mid-2000s, and continue Compton’s dominance over hip-hop in 2015.
Autre Ne Veut, Age of Transparency
Arthur Ashin’s intense, art-damaged R&B sprung to life in 2013 with sophomore effort Anxiety, an album highlighted by Prince-aping epic "Play by Play." Ashin’s still on edge for Age of Transparency, in which he’s spiking his compositions with rambling jazz and exploring a world where "honesty is its own kind of performance."
Deafheaven, New Bermuda
Deafheaven became the standard-bearers of contemporary metal with 2013’s monolithic Sunbather, an album that blended shoegaze and punk and ear-shredding yowling like paint blobs on a weathered palette. It was full of massive songs, the kind you can drown in if you’re not careful: they stretched over double-digit minutes and multiple phases, expanded and compressed like lungs taking in air. New Bermuda, the band’s new album, has a lot to live up to. Its first single "Brought to the Water" took on the challenge with head held high, referencing Metallica and Sixpence None the Richer in equal measure. I can’t wait to hear what else the band has managed to build.
Janet Jackson, Unbreakable
(BMG / Rhythm Nation)
Janet Jackson hasn’t released an album in seven years, but she still casts a wide shadow over pop and R&B; it’s impossible to imagine the careers of everyone from Beyoncé to FKA twigs taking shape without her influence. Judging from singles like the title track and "No Sleeep," Jackson is eschewing the pop-centric experimentation of her ‘00s for the sinewy sensuality of janet. and The Velvet Rope. They sound like the beginning of a welcome return to form.
Protomartyr, The Agent Intellect
Detroit post-punk crew Protomartyr presented an unflinching, intense take on contemporary rock music with last year’s Under Color of Official Right, and it’s a take they’re furthering with new album The Agent Intellect. "Dope Cloud" makes for a great entry into their work because all of the band’s defining qualities are present within it: punishing rhythms, serrated guitar riffs, and brainy, incisive lyrics.
Alex G, Beach Music
Alex G was prolific before anyone knew who he was. His debut album DSU dropped last year on the backs of dozens of singles, EPs, and full-lengths already up on his Bandcamp. But with DSU, people finally knew who Alex G was. And it turned out he was just some kid from Philly who made music in his bedroom. It doesn’t sound that unique, but all of his songs — his many, many songs — are gentle, little lo-fi gems that sound wooly and warm and intimate all at once. His voice rises, falls, cracks, and sputters out. Beach Music is an innately human album, and as such, it will already feel familiar.
YACHT, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler
YACHT have never done anything the usual way, and their upcoming album is no exception. Details about I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler were rolled out over the course of several weeks, through billboards and listicles and fax machines. So it makes sense that the album itself is a futuristic kind of disco party, with aquatic percussion and poetic-robot vocals. The future is here, and the dress code is white thigh-high pleather boots and anything lamé.
Majical Cloudz, Are You Alone?
Anyone who has ever seen Majical Cloudz perform live knows it’s a unique experience. Frontman Devon Welsh, always with a shaved head and always wearing a plain white T-shirt, stomps around the stage, clenching his fists, doubled over as he sings in a heavy baritone. No one in the audience breathes, or at least not loudly. Majical Cloudz’s debut album, Impersonator, was raw and quiet, covered in a dusty film of a lonely lounge singer’s spittle. Live, it’s almost suffocatingly intimate. Details on Are You Alone? are slim, so we can only hold our breath and hope it will be a worthy follow-up.
Neon Indian, VEGA INTL. Night School
(Transgressive / Mom & Pop)
Alan Palomo kept rather quiet in the four years between 2011’s Era Extraña and his upcoming VEGA INTL. Night School: beyond a remix EP and a song placed on one of Grand Theft Auto V’s in-game radio stations, he didn’t release any new music. For synth pop fans, the silence was deafening: Palomo became one of the genre’s leading lights with 2009 debut Psychic Chasms, one of the records that defined half-scene / half-joke chillwave at the turn of the decade. New singles "Annie" and "Slumlord" suggest that time away from the studio has refined Palomo’s pop instincts and increased his ambition, great news for anyone with even a passing interest in contemporary indie pop.
Deerhunter, Fading Frontier
Deerhunter became one of the best American rock bands of the last decade on the strength of records like Microcastle and Halcyon Digest, full of music that was expansive, emotionally astute, and marked with an indelible queerness. On 2013’s back-to-basics effort Monomania, all of those qualities were stripped away; its songs were recorded straight to eight-track tapes, rusty and unvarnished like songs dug out of a junkyard. Fading Frontier finds the band returning to the sound of their definitive work — a melting pot full of the last 50 years of popular rock music — and flaunting a few new tricks, too: lead single "Snakeskin" is funky, swaggering and even a little sexy, qualities not usually associated with Deerhunter’s music.
Joanna Newsom, Divers
With her long, intricate compositions, prodigious harp skill, and unavailability on streaming services, Joanna Newsom can’t help but feel like a woman out of her time. Divers is her first album in a half-decade, following up the triple-disc opus Have One on Me; its lead single, "Sapokanikan," traces three centuries’ worth of New York City history over a serpentine piano melody and wild, windy orchestration. It might be hard to believe, but it’s the sound of Newsom at her simplest and most accessible.
5 Seconds of Summer, Sounds Good Feels Good
Australian quartet 5 Seconds of Summer boarded a rocketship to stardom by opening for One Direction on their 2013 Take Me Home tour. A year later, the band had a best-selling debut in their own right and a sizable legion of rabid, (mostly) teenage fans. Don’t expect choreographed routines or sparkling synth-pop, though: 5SOS is following in the footsteps of bands like Green Day and My Chemical Romance, churning out stadium-sized pop-punk. "She’s Kinda Hot" is juvenile and bratty, but the chorus is undeniable — that’s 5SOS’s appeal in a nutshell.
Beach Slang, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us
Beach Slang is fronted by James Snyder, a scene veteran who spent nearly two decades leading Pennsylvania punks Weston. The music he’s making now is more concise, catchy, and impactful than ever. The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us is the band’s full-length debut, following in the footsteps of last year’s Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken? EP, and it pairs the vitality and intensity of bands like Japandroids with a unique kind of reflectiveness. There’s something beautiful about hearing a song like "Young & Alive" from a group of people with enough experience to know not to take being young and alive for granted.
Escort, Animal Nature
Dust off your parents’ disco ball and put on your dancing shoes: Escort make old-fashioned, devastating dance music, songs that hang on glammy keyboard melodies and showstopping diva turns. Animal Nature is only the band’s second album, but they’ve been pumping out singles for almost a decade. Tracks like "Body Talk" and the album’s title cut betray that kind of experience. They’re finely tuned and perfect for an impromptu living room boogie.
EL VY, Return to the Moon
The National’s Matt Berninger and Menomena’s Brent Knopf are teaming up as EL VY for a record that’s shaggier and sunnier than the music they usually record. Berninger still sounds dour — he really can’t help it — but he’s working with lyrics that are stranger than his main band’s usual upper-middle-class Brooklyn scenes. He’s surrounded by spinier, more surprising arrangements, too. The album should make for a strange palate cleanser between more conventional rock records.
Floating Points, Elaenia
(Luaka Bop / Pluto)
With an advanced degree in neuroscience and years’ worth of classical training backing up his production, Sam Shepherd is the rare musician you could call a Renaissance man without humiliating yourself. Elaenia is his debut full-length, and it’s capping off a half-decade of solid singles, EPs, and DJ sets. Its lead single, "Silhouettes (1, 11, 111)," is an ambitious, constantly mutating piece that sits somewhere between jazz and dance music.
After producing the majority of Beyoncé’s eponymous album back in 2013, and working with FKA twigs on M3LL155X, Boots is stepping out on his own, preparing to release Aquaria, his first solo project. The elusive and seemingly genre-less Boots has released everything from the melodic indie slow jam "Mercy" to the hypnotic R&B track "Dreams" featuring Beyoncé, to the industrial hit "I Run Roulette" off his EP Motorcycle Jesus. If the divinely murky title track featuring Deradoorian is any indication, Aquaria (co-produced by El-P and Carla Azar of Autolux) will be anything but conventional.
Oneohtrix Point Never, Garden of Delete
Daniel Lopatin makes electronic music with an adventurous spirit and an interest in time: he’s always looping it, looking backwards and forwards, toying with memory and digital artifacts like some sort of computer-age archaeologist. Garden of Delete is his eighth studio album, and it will be dressed in harder edges than almost all of the music he’s made before. 2009 compilation Rifts collected dozens of gentle, melodic drones; 2011 highlight Returnal built a world out of stuttering, alien patterns and strange samples, but its songs were soft and formless. Lead single "I Bite Through It" suggests a new interest in structure and aggression from one of music’s most restless minds.
Justin Bieber, Title TBD
Justin Bieber, the boy-wonder-turned-bad boy-turned-apologetic-pop-messiah, is making a comeback, and the world can’t wait. The album has been a long time coming, but Bieber’s transformation has been a work-in-progress for a few years. 2013’s Journals was full of collaborations with the likes of Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne that proved Bieber was trying to move beyond that silken haired pop star behind "Boyfriend." This year’s album will decide if he can do it again and still find his way to the top of the charts. Recent signs — like the gentle, tropical "What Do You Mean?" — point to yes.
Any day now... (we think)
After releasing seven albums between 2005 and 2012, Rihanna took a well-deserved break from the music industry. But rust and Rihanna apparently don’t go together, as she came back in full form, releasing the first single from her album, the acoustic "FourFiveSeconds" with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, back in January. Following that up with the bombastic trap banger "Bitch Better Have My Money," RiRi made it clear that she’s here to reclaim her spot as one of the best hitmakers in the game. Now on a new label (Roc Nation) and with full creative control, Rihanna wants her next album — which is executive produced by Kanye West, and may arrive by surprise — to be a bit of a departure from her past work. "I wanted an album that I could perform in 15 years," Rihanna told MTV about her upcoming release. "So I want to make songs that are timeless." With her usual November release spot coming up, it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer for Rihanna to fully return into the fold.
Frank Ocean, Boys Don't Cry
(Jason Merritt / Getty Images)
Frank Ocean has been torturing the internet for weeks. The architect of Channel Orange, the seminal R&B album of the 2010s, made it known back in April that his next album, Boys Don’t Cry, would be released in July. July came and went, and Mr. Ocean was nowhere to be found. Did he forget? Was he lost? It’s not clear what’s going on with his release date, but we do know that Ocean has been working with Pharrell Williams and Danger Mouse on the project. Ocean did give the world a glimpse of what’s to come when he released "Memrise" last November, before quickly pulling it off the internet. At one point Ocean was working on a concept album inspired by The Beach Boys and The Beatles, but there’s no clear indication what direction Boys Don’t Cry finally ended up taking. Given Ocean’s musical history, it won’t be one to overlook.
Drake, Views From the 6
(Cash Money / OVO Sound / Republic)
(John Phillips / Getty Images)
Despite all of his hit records, career-destroying diss tracks, and commercial success — his mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is the only album to go platinum in 2015 — Drake doesn’t have a classic album. It’s the gaping hole in his rap résumé, if you discount the whole "not writing your raps" claim levied by Meek Mill and expertly avoided by Drake. His past albums have been good, some could even argue great, but none have been close to a classic, and Drake realizes that. In a profile on Four Pins, Drake acknowledged that his next album must be his 808s & Heartbreak moment — the time when Kanye West went from a truly great rapper to a legendary, generation-shifting futurist who paved the way and created the sound the current wave of rapper-slash-singers like Drake, Future, and The Weeknd thrive off of. Back in the studio with his longtime producer 40 and Boi-1da, Views From the 6 is Drake’s greatest challenge yet. The question is, can Drake make the jump from one of the greatest rappers of the 2010s, to a rapper who can legitimately argue for a spot on the all-time list?
Kanye West, Swish
(Roc-a-Fella, Def Jam)
After the abrasive, industrial protest album that was Yeezus, Kanye West is looking to come back with a more absorbable body of work for the masses. To accomplish that, he’s called in a cavalcade of cohorts including Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Sia, Travis $cott, Ty Dolla $ign, Hudson Mohawke, and Mike Dean to craft Swish (née So Help Me God), West’s seventh studio album. After dropping three completely contrasting singles — "Only One," an emotional ballad sung from the perspective of West’s late mother to him, featuring Paul McCartney; "FourFiveSeconds" with Rihanna and McCartney; and "All Day," featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, and McCartney (Kanye may have Paul trapped in a studio somewhere) — Swish may be West’s first album without a distinct theme. But then again, who knows with Kanye? He notoriously scrapped portions of Yeezus when he went in the studio with reducer-in-chief Rick Rubin, and it looks like they’ll be back in the studio together once again.
(Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)
Ever since Adele blessed the world with 21 way back in 2011, it’s been all quiet on the musical front, sans the Grammy, Golden Globe, and Oscar-winning theme song for Skyfall in 2012. But finally — after dropping hints about 25 last May with a tweet — Adele is reportedly back in the studio preparing to release her latest album this November, which will hopefully make the world cry in unison once again. Not much is known about her third studio album other than Ryan Tedder ("Rumour Has It") is back in the studio with Adele once again. But given her track record of completely crushing everything she touches, Adele’s next album will likely dominate the airwaves.
A lot of musicians on this list are following big debuts, but no one is as equally reclusive and anticipated as Arca. His name is Alejandro Ghersi, and he’s produced for the likes of Kanye West, FKA twigs, and Björk. Last year’s Xen was proof that Ghersi’s oddball production translated well to solo work, and that his screwy beats and razor-sliced synth work could compose an entire album. Now Arca has to follow that album without falling into the trap of bringing his leftfield work too close to center.
Grimes, Title TBD
What do you do when the buzz surrounding the long-awaited follow-up to your break-out album reaches a saturation point? If you’re Grimes, and you’re trying to follow up the delicate synthwave of 2013’s Visions, you write a new album and then scrap the entire thing. Last year’s "Go" sounded like a wide right turn toward pop stardom, but now it’s looking like it wasn’t much more than a one-off single. A revised version of the album should be coming out at some point soon, but now the stakes are even higher.
James Blake, Radio Silence
(Polydor / Republic)
(Larry Marano / Getty Images)
James Blake’s last album, Overgrown, brought his special brand of electronic soul and experimental bass music to the forefront, led by his beautifully bleak single "Retrograde" leading the way. Now the British crooner is gearing up to release his third album, Radio Silence — which he announced last year — sometime before 2015 comes to a close. Blake’s been performing the title track, a haunting, moody, lovesick song about his lover cutting off all contact, during his concerts for the past year, and has only helped raise anticipation. Blake has been in the studio with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Kanye West — who called Blake his favorite artist — and is living and recording with Chance the Rapper in Los Angeles, which should make Radio Silence one of the more intriguing projects of the fall.
(Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images)
M.I.A. is in a rough spot right now. 2013’s Matangi was just a watered-down version of everything she had already done, and she hasn’t put out a really great full-length since 2007’s Kala. With Matahdatah, her fifth studio album, M.I.A. has promised to release the album’s singles in a series of short films. M.I.A.’s music has always found value in visuals.
Sky Ferreira, Masochism
(Capitol / Polydor)
(Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)
Sky Ferreira’s debut album presented her to the world as a pop star’s pop star. She worked with Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes and hit-machine producer Ariel Rechtshaid. The album’s big single, "Everything is Embarrassing," was a "Dancing in the Dark" for the new millennium. Masochism has a lot to live up to, but Ferreira has already proven she can be a pop star — now she just has to prove she can keep it up.