2016 Music Preview

2016 is well underway with already more unfortunate losses than should happen in the span of a few short weeks. One of those, David Bowie, also led the year as far as major new album releases go. Looking ahead into the rest of the calendar, it’s shaping up to be a much more active year than 2015 was; the year it seemed like everyone was holding up for Adele to drop her wig lest wigs be snatched.

First up, it seems to be becoming a trend that high profile albums stay in the dark. Chinese Democracy became its own empty entity and Detox kept going back in the studio until it became nonexistent, but there seems to be little word on these overdue albums.

Rihanna - AntiRihannaAnti
After a strange album campaign that has already seen three singles – all different from her past material and each other and all released in the first four months of last year, an event unveiling of the album cover, and an even stranger set of videos of eight rooms (each supposedly representing her discography) that also included Samsung, there’s still no word on when or even if Anti is coming out. Rihanna is supposedly performing at the Grammys and her tour is starting up really soon so it’s really only a matter of weeks or even days.

DrakeViews From The 6
Drake dropped two albums last year, but neither of them were the expected follow-up to his 2013 hit Nothing Was The Same. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was a surprise mixtape that sold really well despite the lack of hits, while What A Time To Be Alive was a mixtape with Future that also sold well despite the lack of hits. Drake’s big hit last year, Hotline Bling, wasn’t from any album. Maybe it’ll be on Views From The 6? We’ll know when we know.

Frank OceanBoys Don’t Cry
The follow-up to the perfection of channel ORANGE was expected out last summer. It’s now winter of the next year and nothing. Unlike both Drake and Rihanna, Frank Ocean hasn’t been as visible. Other than supposedly working with Rodney Jerkins, Danger Mouse, Pharrell Williams and Tyler, the Creator, there’s not really much else known about the album – including an expected date of release.

Kanye WestSWISH
Up until a week and a half ago, Kanye was part of this list as he was expected to put out his album last year. Instead, it’ll be February 11, or so he says. In the meantime, he’s been dropping songs possibly in anticipation for the album.

Here are some albums with actual release dates for the next few months:

Basia BulatGood Advice (February 13)
I discovered Basia through iTunes Canada’s Free Song of the Week back when it was still a thing. Now I’m really into her new single Infamous. (audio)

Blue OctoberHome (April 22)
If the title track is any indication, Blue October’s eighth record will be even more positive than Sway was. Quite a contrast from the earlier albums but we could use some positivity. (lyric video)

Bonnie RaittDig In Deep (February 26)
Bonnie’s 17th album and first in four years, with the lead single Gypsy In Me (lyric video).

Brandy ClarkBig Day In A Small Town (April 1)
One of the best new artists in country and one of the writers behind some of Kacey Musgraves‘ best songs, Brandy’s second album is out this spring. Its first single, Girl Next Store, will be out this week.

Charlie Puth - Nine Track MindCharlie PuthNine Track Mind (January 29)
The hook singer on last year’s See You Again by Wiz Khalifa sees his debut album out later this month. He might be more interesting than Sam Smith. I’ll find out and report back. One Call Away is the first single. (video)

Lucinda WilliamsThe Ghosts Of Highway 20 (February 6)
She put out a double album at the end of 2014 so I wasn’t expecting a new one from Lucinda Williams so soon. Her twelfth record with songs based off of Highway I20 in Louisiana. Includes a cover of Springsteen‘s Factory.

LissieMy Wild West (February 13)
Lissie’s last album Back To Forever is one of my most played of the decade so far so, suffice to say, My Wild West is my most anticipated of this moment. If Don’t You Give Up On Me is any indication, this new one will be a welcome extension of her last. (video)

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - This Unruly Mess I've MadeMacklemore & Ryan LewisThis Unruly Mess I’ve Made (February 26)
Downtown didn’t quite make the splash it was probably expected to, but it still outperformed the Ed Sheeran collab Growing Up, which was basically an inferior attempt at Will Smith‘s Just The Two Of Us. I’m still expecting great things. (video)

SiaThis Is Acting (January 29)
This is an album of rejects, songs Sia intended for other people that were either rejected by them or she kept for herself. First single Alive was for Adele, who recorded a demo but decided not to use it. Sia kills it of course, but it shouldn’t have been the lead-in for the album. (video)

Weezer – (The White Album) (April 1)
Their fourth eponymous record being dubbed The White Album, Weezer has come a long way since Buddy Holly. Thank God For Girls will tell you that. (lyric video)

The following artists have completed albums, are confirmed to be working on new material, or expected to have something out this year. Many of these are included because I’m excited about them:

Alicia Keys
Last I heard, Alicia was recording with Pharrell Williams for her sixth album.

Ariana Grande - FocusAriana GrandeMoonlight
Ariana has already released Problem, err, Focus. She may be refocusing her efforts to something else. (video)

The Band PerryHeart + Beat
Live Forever, the first single from their third album, was slammed for being more pop than country. ….ok. Though to be fair, it was co-produced by RedOne. The album has been pushed back. (video)

Beyoncé does what she wants, when she wants. We’ll know about new music when she wants us to.

Bruno Mars
I haven’t actually heard what’s going on with Bruno Mars but it’s been four years since Unorthodox Jukebox. Last year he headlined the Superbowl Halftime show and had Uptown Funk so it would make sense to expect a new single or album from him any day now – or after his repeat Superbowl appearance next month.

Chantal Kreviazuk
I asked over Twitter back in October after the release of Into Me whether there was an album coming and she said there was – in the new year. If true, it will be Chantal’s first since 2009. The video for Into Me just came out (today) so the album campaign could be just around the corner. (video)

Gwen Stefani
Thrice she’s tried to stage her comeback as a solo artist. The third time seemed like a charm when Used To Love You made an impact – but then Adele dropped Hello and everyone stopped hating their ex’s and tried calling them instead. (video)

I’ve just decided HAIM is this era’s Feist/Florence. The indie favourite who will go full-on mainstream with their next album – maybe out this year.

Iggy AzaleaDigital Distortion
Expected in March. There’s already a buzz single out called Azillion.

Katy Perry
Nothing official but if I were a betting man, I’d guess that Katy will be back just in time for summer.

KT Tunstall
Yes, she’s still around. Yes, I still love her. Yes, she’s put out albums since Black Horse And The Cherry Tree. Yes, they were all pretty good. Yes, I’m looking forward to the next one. Yes, she’s recording it now. No, I don’t know if it will be out this year.

Lady Gaga
It could be the comeback of the decade or just a huge setup but good-will for Gaga has never been this strong. Last year’s Oscar performance, her well-received role on American Horror Story, her Golden Globe Award, Grammy nomination and Oscar nomination for Til It Happens To You. Linda Perry may not be on board but it seems like she’s in the minority. Slay, Gaga.

Now that she royal, what will Lorde bring to us next? We should find out this year.

Missy Elliott - WTFMissy Elliott
Missy’s comeback has been years in the making, with several attempts this decade that didn’t amount to much until she dropped WTF at the end of last year. It isn’t burning the charts the way she did in the early 2000s but the thirst for Missy is real. (video)

One Republic
Other than a co-write on 25, Ryan Tedder has been awfully quiet lately. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say new song by mid-February.

As with Bruno Mars, I don’t know what’s going on with Pink. Like Bruno, it’s been four years since her last album, and while she did have the collaboration album with Dallas Green, it still seems like ages since Pink dominated the charts. So this isn’t even speculation as much as it is a reminder to ourselves that she is due for something new.

Sarah Harmer
I saw Ms. Harmer last summer perform in the middle of nowhere and it was glorious. New music is being written. That’s pretty much it for now. Fingers crossed.

Sarah Slean
Sarah has been more or less cryptic about her musical intentions, but she’s all but confirmed that she will be writing/recording soonish if she hasn’t already started. 2011 was so long ago, Sarah.

Serena RyderUtopia
Serena slammed us with Harmony at the end of 2012, had a string of hits, won the Juno for Artist of the Year in 2014 as she hosted, recorded the theme song for the Pan American Games last year, and performed a concert from the ocean floor. Utopia is expected early this year. I’m going to guess June.

Tegan & Sara
The Quin twins are once again working with Greg Kurstin for their eighth album, which was finished a few months ago. Whether everything can remain awesome is yet to be seen but let’s be real, they’ve yet to let us down.

Did I miss anything? Of course I did. Let me know in the comments.

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