25 Albums to Look Forward to in 2016

From Kanye’s long-anticipated SWISH, to Metallica’s first new album in eight years, there is a lot to look forward to in 2016. And with so many new records dropping this year, we are anticipating plenty of upcoming concert tours. Here are 25 Albums to Look Forward to in 2016. Go forth, and listen.

Tove LoTove Lo, TBA: On Christmas Day, Swedish singer/songwriter Tove Lo shared a new song titled “Influence,” a murky electro-pop tune that references drug and alcohol use over synth and drum lines. This is the first track we’ve heard from Tove Lo since a vocal surgery around Christmas 2015; the medical issue set Tove Lo back in terms of recording for her new record, along with forcing her to cancel the remainder of her tour. In a lengthy Facebook post, Tove Lo affirms that she is well, back on track, and eternally grateful for her adoring fans who continue to support her through tough times. In the mean time, she will continue to tour with Maroon 5, and, hopefully, “Influence” will be the first of many singles we see from Tove Lo this year. 

Gwen StefaniGwen Stefani, TBA: This year, No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani underwent a truly difficult and life-altering circumstance by divorcing her husband, former Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale. But, in every hardship there is a silver lining, and Gwen Stefani certainly found hers in the writing material that came forth during/after the divorce. “Used to Love You” is one of a likely few that Stefani has produced out of the recent break-up. And it’s true what they say, beginning is the hardest part, because Stefani ended up writing what will likely be the entirety of her new album in 8 weeks. Sadly for new beau Blake Shelton, Stefani will be taking time off from The Voice to record, release, and tour.

Band of HorsesBand of Horses, TBA: Just when we were beginning to forget about the indie rock band which landed a Grammy nomination with their third studio album Infinite Arms, Band of Horses drops a new holiday-inspired single: “The Christmas Thing”. This is the first single since 2012’s Mirage Rock, but the band has promised that their fifth studio album is due to come out soon, likely this spring. According to Band of Horses lead singer Ben Bridwell, their upcoming album is a “very dense record,” similar to the style and elements of Infinite Arms. The band has chosen to continue producing with Dave Friddman, who has worked with Flaming Lips, MGMT, and Sleater-Kinney.

ShinsThe Shins, TBA: Not only were legendary indie alt-rock group The Shins excited to tell fans there would be new music to come in 2016, but they also got to enjoy watching their Christmas cover “Wonderful Christmas Time” oust Mariah Carey for most played holiday song this year (Sorry Mariah, we still hope you had yourself a Merry Christmas!). The new Shins record will be their first album since 2012’s Port of Morrow; otherwise, the band contributed the single “So Now What” to Zach Braff’s 2014 film Wish I Was Here.

The 1975The 1975, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It: The emotive alt-rock band The 1975 will be releasing their sophomore record,  I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It on February 26th. The 1975 experienced some social media turbulence at the height of their fame, but after checking attitudes at the door and focusing on making music instead, lead singer Matt Healy and Co. are more than ready to show the world what they’ve cooked up since 2013’s self-titled debut. “UGH!,” the band’s latest single, is dark and funky track with tight hooks, lyrical bite, and dark undertones. The 1975 will embark on their headlining tour on April 18th, 2016.

ChairliftChairlift, Moth: The ethereal NYC duo Caroline Polacheck and Patrick Wimberley recently released another single from their upcoming record Moth, an upbeat electronic track featuring Spanish guitar titled “Romeo.” Moth will be Chairlift’s first record since 2012’s Something, likely because Polacheck has stayed busy by writing for Beyonce (“No Angel”). Moth is a very NYC record, filled with personal stories, themes of persistence, vulnerability, and “being a soft thing in a hard place.” Polacheck and Wimberley are pretty proud of “Ch-Ching” and how different it is from what they’ve done in the past. We’re excited for the diversified, complex, and upbeat material this indie duo has cultivated for their third studio album, especially if there is a headlining tour to follow.

MetallicaMetallica, TBA: To begin preparing fans for what will be the first Metallica album in 8 years (2008, Death Magnetic), frontman James Hetfield sent a holiday video to fans of his cat running its paw to press play on an unmistakable Metallica-esque piece of music. The clip featured the classic thrashy rhythm guitar line and raspy song lyrics, employing a lot of the same sounds we heard on Death Magnetic. According to drummer Lars Ulrich, the new record should be out mid-2016 and be very much like Death Magnetic, a heavy rock album which experiments, though it does stay close to their roots.  “In our world, there’s been a distinct difference between the creative phase and the recording phase. With this project, we’re trying to bridge the two a little more organically and not have there be such a great divide between the processes. We want to see if we can bring some of the creative curiosity, the impulsive stuff that happens when you’re first playing a song into the studio.” Will Metallica tour in 2016 if their album drops in the Fall? We think chances are high.

Ariana GrandeAriana Grande, Moonlight: The My Everything star has name-dropped singer/songwriter Victoria Monet several times via Twitter (“Made a cool song with Monet + producer/songwriter Tommy Brown”), in addition to announcing it via Snapchat. While in the studio for Moonlight, Ariana was working on her favorite song ever (according to Twitter, Nov 17 was the most musically-inspired day of her life). In terms of what else will be on Moonlight, Ariana Grande’s third studio album, we’re thinking Charlie Puth may have some involvement, in addition to classical musician Peter Lee Johnson, who could add a more instrument-based approach to the record. According to Grande, the music on Moonlight will be the most personal material she’s ever written.

Animal CollectiveAnimal Collective, Painting With: Indie-electronic legends and Baltimore native band Animal Collective has set the release of Painting With for February 19th. Fans have responded with a lot of hype, especially considering it’s the band’s first LP since 2012’s Centipede Hz.  “Floridada” is the album’s first track and lead single, available now. From listening to “Floridada”, it seems that the band is returning to the playful pop-psych sounds of Merriweather Post Pavilion. Animal Collective finished Painting With back in July, and this November, they sent the cryptic hint via social media: ItsintheAirifyoucanFindit”. Finally, it was revealed that the Baltimore-Washington International Airport was playing the album, in its entirety, on a loop. Nice one, guys.

M.I.AM.I.A, Matahdatah: Sri Lankan artist M.I.A has released a number of visual art projects in promotion of her new record, including a politically charged music video for her single “Borders”, which blatantly poses discussion about refugees and the refugee crisis. M.I.A is using other musicians in the industry to assist with creating the new record, including Skrillex, who has worked with her before. If Matahdatah follows the tone of “Borders” then M.I.A’s fifth studio record will be her most personal album to date. The concept for the record is “broader than a border”, and aligns with the work M.I.A has done recently with her visual project which was filmed across India and West Africa, and mostly features men and women dancing.

RihannaRihanna, Anti: Rihanna songwriter John Glass has officially blamed rapper Travis Scott for the delayed release of the highly anticipated Anti, but we can’t be sure about that. “Antidiary.com”, a site fans can only navigate on their mobile devices, has been Rihanna’s platorm for unloading clues (hidden in video clips) regarding Anti. The first “room” features a clip of Rihanna walking through a crowd of dangerous looking men, her face a complete stonewall, unaffected by anything or anyone around her. The men appear to be mesmerized by her as she makes her way to a stage of mirrors.  In “The Gallery,” Rihanna faces off with herself. Rihanna has released one clip every week for the past month. She will be touring with Travis Scott, Big Sean, and The Weeknd.

GorillazGorillaz, TBA: Last year, fans were elated to see that Damon Albarn and Co. reunited with promises of recording a new Gorillaz record to be released sometime in 2016. Jamie Hewlett, who has been the animator for the Gorillaz in years past, has confirmed that Damon Albarn has already presented new music to him, and that the animation style will change from what fans have seen before. Due to a pretty obscure Instagram post, there has been speculation of a David Bowie collaboration in the works for the new record. Though we haven’t come across a lot of information in regards to what will be the first Gorillaz album to drop in five years, we are hoping for a surprise release.

Missy ElliottMissy Elliott, TBA: There’s no confirmed release date for Missy Elliott’s first album since 2005’s The Cookbook, but after a new single with Pharrell was released earlier this year, in addition to a surprise Super Bowl cameo, we think Missy Elliott has only just begun her comeback. We do know that Missy Elliott is working closely with “the only two producers who understand me,” aka Pharrell and Timbaland, for this upcoming record release. Missy Elliott has shown major respect towards Adele for taking her time in releasing her last record, so unfortunately for fans, the completion of Missy’s comeback may take a while. But from the funky, contagious beat of “WTF,” we think it’ll be worth the wait.

Charli XCXCharli XCX, TBA: Shortly after the release of 2014’s Sucker, Charli XCX made it clear that she was over it and ready to move onto her next venture as soon as possible. In gearing up for the Sucker follow-up, Charli XCX has stated her new project to be the most pop and electronic influenced album she’s made.

David BowieDavid Bowie, Black Star: David Bowie’s newest release, Black Star, will be one of the first major releases of 2016, set to drop on January 8th, Bowie’s 69th birthday. The first single off Black Star was released back in September 2014, a jazzy track titled “Sue”, which was followed by the 10-minute, epic title track, and then by “Lazarus”, which dropped just last month. Leading up to the release of Bowie’s 26th album, the 70’s popstar and purveyor of strangeness had remained out of the performing limelight due to a heart attack back in 2004. Now, in typical Bowie fashion, the release of Black Star doubles as a reemergence into the pop industry and a form of reinventing himself. Rather than looking back to his 70’s art rock heyday, Bowie has his sights set on a much more wide ranging and complex approach to music. Though Blackstar only consists of seven tracks, we are in for a real musical treat from one of the most talented forces in the industry.

James BlakeJames Blake, Radio Silence: Though fans are having to wait longer than they originally anticipated for the release of James Blake’s fourth studio album, from the list of collaborations Blake has cast for the record, it seems that it’ll be well worth the wait. The new record, titled Radio Silence, will feature appearances by Kanye West and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. And without realizing it, many fans have already heard tracks off Radio Silence, as Blake has been performing them without much recognition at all. But after managing to snack the Mercury Prize for 2013’s Overgrown, it seems that James Blake can pretty much do this record release any way he likes.

Chance The RapperChance the Rapper, TBA: It’s almost impossible to predict when independent artists such as Chance the Rapper will drop a new record, since they don’t have anyone to answer to in terms of release dates and marketability demands. We’ve already heard two songs that will presumably comprise his third mixtape, “Angels” which debuted on Stephen Colbert, and “Somewhere in Paradise” which arrived in performance form on Saturday Night Live this past month. Considering the amazing work Chance has done in the past year with Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, we think the Acid Rap follow-up will be one of the biggest hip-hop drops of 2016.

The StrokesThe Strokes, TBA: A new album from The Strokes is still quite unconfirmed, but not too long ago, the band (minus Albert Hammond) was pictured in Victoria Records’ Studios, where they held a rehearsal and recorded a drum track. This news comes a year after Julian Casablancas stated he would be open to creating another Strokes record, but a contrary remark by Albert Hammond Jr. has us staying skeptical (although this past September, while performing at the Landmark Music Festival in Washington, Casablancas alluded to a new record to come forth in the following year). So, whether Casablancas was referring to a new Strokes album or another stint with his band The Voidz, we’re unsure. But we think there’s reason to keep your hopes up nonetheless.

The XXThe XX, TBA: It’s official: As of last month, the atmospheric, indie pop group The XX have made their way back into the studio to begin recording the highly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s Coexist. Jamie XX, who experienced incredible success this past year with his solo record In Colour, posted a photo of the London three piece in “winter studio hibernation”, giving hope to fans that a new XX album will be on its way sooner than later.

LordeLorde, TBA: As Lorde’s debut album Pure Heroine approaches three years of age, fans are more than anxiously awaiting the prolific young musician’s next move. According to a recent tweet, Lorde hasn’t revealed her next album name to just about anyone…except her mother. It’s evident that Lorde is taking a pretty quiet approach in terms of promotion for the Pure Heroine follow-up, and we don’t blame her. Between several music festival performances, award shows, and special cameo performances with BFF Taylor Swift, Lorde hasn’t had much time to get to work on her next album. But we’re hoping that as the new year begins, that our favorite New Zealander indie-pop artist will have the time to do what she loves.

RadioheadRadiohead, TBA: Besides the unreleased “Spectre” theme that Radiohead surprise dropped on Christmas Day, there hasn’t been a whole lot of word surrounding the iconic rock band’s next venture (though, Thom Yorke has reportedly played a new collection of tracks at a recent solo gig). This past September, drummer Phil Selway confirmed that the band has been in the studio recording and they have a good amount of new material ready to sit down and go through, but there are no promises yet as to if Radiohead will get their ninth LP out this year, and if they do, it a tour will be pushed through. The good news is, each band member has expressed in some way or another that they wish to get the album done with already. And Radiohead fans are right there with them.

Run the JewelsRun the Jewels, RTJ3: In similar fashion to how several artists are revealing news about upcoming music, hip-hop duo Run the Jewels (EL-P and Killer Mike) have taken to Instagram to confirm that they are in fact in the studio working on Run the Jewels 3. This came as a surprise to fans, who earlier were told by the duo that because of extensive touring, their strange Meow the Jewels remixes of cat sounds, and Killer Mike’s ongoing endorsement with Senator/Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, that RTJ3 wouldn’t enter the beginning stages until 2016. So, now what we know they’ve gotten the ball rolling, can we start hoping for some guest verses from Bernie Sanders? I think so.

DrakeDrake, Views from the 6: On New Year’s Eve Drake hosted a show/party in Miami, using his stage time to answer the question Drake fans have been wondering since the 2015 surprise release of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. At the show, Drake assured fans that Views from the 6 will drop very soon. The rest of the evening, Mr. ChampagnePapi himself took to Instagram to share photos from his fabulous night, many of them captioned with the number 16. Though many fans speculate that the artist was simply referring to 2016, many people think (and wish and hope) that Drake means Jan. 16th as the drop date for his record. Either way, our inclination is to trust Drizzy, and hope that Views from the 6 is due out as soon as he says. Knowing that Drake went straight back to his hometown roots for much of the record’s inspiration, we’re more than excited for the long awaited final product.

Kanye WestKanye West, SWISH: With little to no information being released about Kanye’s next album drop, fans have resigned to thinking that if and when SWISH arrives, it will be when West is ready to do it. On New Year’s Day, Kanye shared “Facts”, a Nike/Jordan inspired diss track that addresses both Bill Cosby and Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe winner mix-up (which only occurred 11 days before “Facts” debuted online). “Facts” also directly speaks to Drake and Future’s hit “Jumpman” (“Yeezy! Yeezy! Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman!), but knowing Kanye and Drake’s history of mutual respect and collaborations, we know that the shout out was made in good fun. In an interview last month, Pusha T stated that his and Big Sean’s will be the first G.O.O.D Music drops of 2016, and in regards to Kanye’s new album, he has no idea when its coming, but that it will when Kanye is ready.

Frank OceanFrank OceanBoys Don’t Cry: Perhaps the most anticipated album of 2016 is one that everyone, including Queen Adele, expected to come out in 2015. Frank Ocean has delayed the release of Boys Don’t Cry, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Channel ORANGE, without giving fans any sort of reason why. But due to his undeniable talent, the strength of his first record, and the respect he’s maintained in the industry and with his fans, we are willing to wait for what will probably be one of the best albums of 2016.


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