But no matter—2022 is already shaping up to be a superb year on the new music front, with releases from The Weeknd, Rosalía, Lizzo, and Charli XCX to look forward to. There are bound to be some surprises as well—who knows, maybe R9 will come after all?—but for now, here are the notable ‘22 releases that seem to be sure things.
Considering the sustained, unsinkable success of After Hours, it’s not like The Weeknd needs to rush out his fifth album anytime soon. But the more he talks about it, the more amped you’ll be for The Dawn—Abel said last month the project is already done and was inspired by everyone from Britney Spears to Kanye West, which sounds just chaotic enough to work.
When Mitski returns with her sixth LP, Laurel Hell, on Feb. 4, it’ll end her longest gap between albums yet. We’ve already heard a few singles—“The Only Heartbreaker,” “Love Me More,” “Working For the Knife,” and “That’s Our Lamp”—most of them ruminations on existential dread wrapped up in pristine indie-pop packaging. At least we know Obama will be psyched about the end of her three-year hiatus.
While Saweetie’s long-delayed debut album Pretty Bitch Music has been put on the backburner yet again, she’s generously agreed to hold fans over with the release of a seven-song EP, Icy Season, in January. As for the status of PBM? She said in December, “One of my goals is for people to really feel something with every song, so I had to go back and reconstruct some songs. Just know that I’m a perfectionist and it’s on the way.”
Cardi’s taken her sweet old time with the follow-up to 2018’s Invasion of Privacy, but it appears the Bronx rapper may finally be revving up for album number two. “I gotta put out this album next year,” she said in a recent Instagram post, which came after she popped off last year with song-stealing verses on Lizzo’s “Rumors” and Normani’s “Wild Side.” Expect the album to pack the same punch.
Speaking of Lizzo, she, too, faces the tough charge of following up the smash success of her debut album, Cuz I Love You, which earned eight Grammy nominations in 2020 and spawned the ubiquitous tell-off anthem “Truth Hurts.” “Rumors” hasn’t been quite the chart-topper she probably hoped for, but definitely don’t count out our reigning TikTok queen.
It’s Charli, baby. The British pop maven has already previewed Crash with singles “Good Ones” and “New Shapes,” the latter of which featured fellow avant-garde tastemakers Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polacheck. The full project arrives March 18, and though Charli has said this one will be more radio-friendly, always expect some balls-to-the-wall eccentricity from XCX.
Following Aaliyah’s catalog of music (finally) coming to streaming services in 2021, her first posthumous album, Unstoppable, is set to arrive this year. Lead single “Poison,” featuring The Weeknd, is already out, and Aaliyah’s uncle and Blackground Records founder Barry Hankerson has confirmed the album will feature production from Timbaland and verses from hip-hop heavyweights like Drake, Future, and Snoop Dogg.
The Odd Future lyricist will unleash a 10-song project called Sick! on Jan. 14, previewed by the recent single “Tabula Rasa.” The inscrutable L.A. rapper said in a statement that he recorded the songs at the start of the pandemic: “I leaned into the chaos cause it was apparent that it wasn’t going anywhere. These songs are what happened when I would come up for air.” Judging by that descriptor, it sounds like we’re in for more head-spinning wooziness from Earl, à la his 2019 EP Feet of Clay.
Since releasing El Mal Querer in 2018, Rosalía’s kept us fed and happy with a steady stream of singles, like “Aute Cuture” and “Con Altura.” But 2022 will see the release of her third record, Motomami, which she described to Rolling Stone as heavily reggaeton-inspired and centered around themes of “transformation, sexuality, heartbreak, celebration, spirituality, self-respect and isolation.” That’s quite the range, and we’ve already gotten a promising tease of what’s to come with the Weeknd-featuring lead single “La Fama” and an album trailer that has the Spanish singer chanting the phrase “Motomami” over a thumping bass while she struts around in black-studded heels and glitter. Inject it into our veins.
Look, there’s no solid album title or release date to go off yet, but in the interest of manifesting a career for SZA that doesn’t start and end with one album (lookin’ at you, Lauryn Hill), we’re thinking the follow-up to 2017’s Ctrl can’t be too far away. She’s been dipping her toes back in the water with “Hit Different” and “Good Days,” which arrived in 2020, and “Hate U,” which cracked the top 10 in 2021. Time to dive all the way in and give us album number two.
As cool as it was to see Hayley Williams branch out with two alluringly experimental solo albums in the past couple years, we’re ready for Paramore’s hiatus to be over. And it sounds like they are, too. In a letter to fans shared in November, Williams teased that new music from the band—their first since 2017’s After Laughter—would arrive in ‘22. “Paramore can’t be ‘on a break’ forever now can we?” she wrote. “I love y’all… See you sometime next year?”
Cabello has said she plans on infusing her upcoming third solo effort with lots of flamenco and Latin pop energy, as heard on the bubbly lead single “Don’t Go Yet.” That one didn’t come close to “Havana”-levels of chart domination, but we’re still itching to hear what she has cooking for Familia—especially considering that her recent split from Shawn Mendes has possibly inspired a song or two.
The Linda Lindas
After lighting the internet ablaze in 2021 with “Racist, Sexist Boy,” everyone’s favorite misogyny-trashing punk rockers are set to drop their debut project this year, which includes their recently released cut about a feisty cat, “Nino.”
Brockhampton fans have been in mourning ever since Kevin Abstract announced plans for the band’s final two albums. The first one, Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine, arrived last spring, and the second one has been pushed back to 2022 while the genre-bending boy band supposedly experiments with new members. As for leaving their cult following in the lurch, Abstract simply reasoned, “Everybody just getting a lil older and got a lot to say outside of group projects.”
After releasing two excellent albums in 2019 and then taking last year off, the indie-rock quartet is charging back in 2022 with a supersized, 20-song album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, out Feb. 11. They’ve released a string of singles to hype fans up—including the free-flowing folk jam “Time Escaping”—and it’s shaping up to be a “more uplifting and hopeful” collection of songs, according to singer Adrianne Lenker.
Twenty years after her seminal debut album, Let Go, Avril’s back for more pop-punk fun. She recently told Entertainment Weekly that her new album will arrive “at the top of the year” and is a Green Day-inspired “love letter to women.” “I just wanted to have fun and rock out,” she said, and who can blame her?
We’re only a couple weeks away from Cordae’s second album, From a Bird’s Eye View, which comes almost three years after his debut effort. Ahead of its release, he’s dropped two singles, “Super” and the Hit Boy-produced “Sinister” featuring Lil Wayne. And it sounds like he may have more high-profile assistance on tap: Cordae tweeted this week, “Finishing my second album in Paris with one of my idols, I’m truly living the dream.” Intriguingly, that came the same day he shared a throwback video of him as a 16-year-old freestyling over a Kanye West track. Coincidence or not? We’ll find out soon.
Will 2022 finally be the year Normani puts us out of our misery and delivers her debut solo album? According to her, yes—at the Soul Train Awards in November, the “Motivation” singer was asked about the album and replied with a wink, “I wanna tell you that summer is gonna be lit.”
After focusing his efforts on the screen this year with the documentary A Man Named Scott and a role in Netflix’s Don’t Look Up, it sounds like Cudi’s refocusing on music this year. At December’s Rolling Loud festival, he updated the crowd on his Entergalactic album, then teased even more new music on the way: “I have Entergalactic coming in the summer, but I wanna drop another album before that. And I got some tasty surprises and I’m really excited about all this new shit, all this new music, to give to you guys.”
Good things take time, including Khalid’s aptly titled third album, Everything Is Changing. After originally being slated for fall 2021, the follow-up to Free Spirit is now expected to arrive in 2022, headlined by lead single “New Normal.” As you can probably guess from that title, the album’s heavily inspired by the pandemic, and will presumably find Khalid continuing to muse about growing up and leaving his “young, dumb, and broke” old self behind.
Megan Thee Stallion
Following her Something For Thee Hotties mixtape in October, the newly-minted college graduate hinted that her second album isn’t far behind. In the fall, she told Essence to expect something “aggressive,” saying, “I feel like this project is definitely something very well thought out. This project is me talking my shit, getting back comfortable with myself, getting back to the Megan that was on the come-up.”
After sister duo Chloe x Halle made one of the best (and most underrated) albums of 2020 with Ungodly Hour, Halle went off to be a Disney Princess while Chloe stepped out on her own. Or maybe strutted out is more like it, considering the red-hot energy with which she tackled her debut solo single, “Have Mercy.” Armed with acrobatic vocals and dance moves that would make mentor Beyoncé sweat, we’re thinking she’s gotta be gearing up for more new music in 2022.