While 2017 may have been a rocky year for America, it was an incredible year for music—with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Lorde and Taylor Swift all blessing the world with new full-lengths.
It's too early to fully predict the 2018 landscape, but it's already shaping up to be a significant year for album releases, as Justin Timberlake, Arctic Monkeys, Pusha T, Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Florence + the Machine, The 1975 and more are all rumored or expected to be releasing new projects.
A lot can change over the next 12 months, but there are already a number of artists who have been spending plenty of time in the studio or applying for trademarks—or even teasing album titles and/or release dates. Of course, there will be surprises. Could a G.O.O.D. Music album arrive? Maybe that Kid Cudi and Kanye joint record? Or Beyoncé and Jay-Z's collaborative album?
Based off what we know, these 45 acts have given us the most tangible reasons to expect a new record this year.
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The band was among our anticipated 2017 albums, but it seems they've been aiming for a 2018 release. As we first reported, they've been back in the studio since at least 2016. While frontman Alex Turner previously said the band wasn’t in a rush to release a new album, a recent interview with bassist Nick O'Malley confirmed the band started recording their new project this past fall.
Last year was a traumatic year for the 24-year-old singer, whose concert in Manchester was the target of a terror bombing, which killed 23 people. She quickly became a uniting figure in music when she rallied a number of A-list performers for a benefit concert. In the months since then, she has been in the studio and manager Scooter Braun has hinted at new depth in her upcoming music. "It's time for her to sing the songs that define her," he recently said. Grande herself also shared a teaser of new music on New Year's Eve, telling fans on Instagram she would "see you next year."
He seemed intent on maintaining his past album schedule, releasing a new record every two years, as he reminded fans on Twitter in 2016. But 2017 came and went without a new solo record. But Rocky hasn't been silent. A$AP Mob released a new project and subsequently toured, while the rapper himself has appeared on new tracks with the likes of G-Eazy and Lana Del Rey. He's clearly eyeing a new album, but perhaps 2018 will finally be the year.
Dev Hynes, the man behind Blood Orange, ended 2017 by teasing new music, sharing a brief clip featuring new music on Instagram. Just weeks prior, he assured fans his new album was "78% done," but he offered no concrete timeline. If his December teaser is any indication, his fourth record could be out just two years after his critically acclaimed Freetown Sound, which was released in 2016.
Brockhampton (Team Effort)
After building buzz throughout 2017 with an impressive Saturation trilogy, the group revealed at the end of last year they were far from done. Just before releasing the third part in December, they confirmed a new record called Team Effort is in already in the works for 2018. They have a number of tour dates scheduled throughout January and February, so it's possible a new project could arrive during that time or likely later in the year.
Coming off a monster breakout year with "Bodak Yellow," Cardi B is arguably being very methodical about the actual album, which is definitely going to be picked apart by fans and critics alike. The rapper closed out 2017 with new single "Bartier Cardi," featuring 21 Savage, but she's promised she is currently crafting the full record. There's no word on a release date, but given the sudden success of "Bodak," she and her label will no doubt be wasting little time to give fans a LP.
Carly Rae Jepsen
The pop goddess last year treated fans to the studio release of summer favorite "Cut to the Feeling." She also confirmed she was finishing up a new album, her fourth overall and her first since her 2015 standout E•MO•TION. Following news that she'll be supporting Katy Perry's tour in January, Jepsen revealed in September she is planning an early 2018 release for her album.
Chance the Rapper
While he spent the first half of 2017 on tour and last summer headlining just about every North American festival imaginable, the Chicago rapper lightened his schedule toward the end of the year. In September, he performed a song he later called "First World Problems" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but he didn't formally release the track beyond that live appearance. We know Chance is gearing up for his proper "debut album" and we also know he's a master strategist, carefully plotting his next moves. So it seems he's been intentionally saving up for 2018.
Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) has had a whirlwind couple of years, between his music and his film and television career, all of which has been churning nearly simultaneously. While his FX hit Atlanta returns early this year and he's currently working on Disney's The Lion King remake, there's reason to believe a new album could surface in 2018. Yes, he's previously suggested his music persona would come to an end, but it appears he has at least one more project in the works, ending his show at last year's Governors Ball by telling the crowd, "I'll see you for the last Gambino album!" His surprise Grammy nominations for 2016's "Awaken, My Love!" (including one for Album of the Year) could also serve as motivation to keep the music coming.
Chromeo (Head Over Heels)
The Montreal duo ended a two-year hiatus last fall when they released their new single "Juice," the lead single from their upcoming fifth album. Not much else is known about the new project, but the first track served as evidence they haven't lost their touch for crafting sexy, funky jams. Their last album, 2014's White Women, found them really finding their groove, so it will be interesting to see how they continue that momentum this time around.
The band has been hard at work on a their third full-length album, confirming early last year they were back in the studio. At the end of 2017, singer Lauren Mayberry revealed the new record was nearly complete and had been produced by pop hitmaker Greg Kurstin, who has previously worked with Adele, Sia and Beck. "It’s the most pop stuff we’ve done and also the most aggressive and vulnerable," Mayberry said of the new material, claiming Kurstin pushed the trio to go "bigger" and be "weirder."
While she was hardly silent last year, thanks to her collaborative album with Kurt Vile, the Aussie singer revealed just after Thanksgiving her own new full-length is "getting close." "I’m trying to come up with a title," she told Beats 1's Zane Lowe in November of the followup to her critically acclaimed debut Sometimes I Sit and Think Aad Sometimes I Just Sit, which was released back in 2015.
Following his impressive 2016 record Atrocity Exhibition, the Detroit rapper spent the following year focusing on his next project. In addition to his concert film, which was released in November, he also revealed last fall he has been working on a new album. "I can’t really talk too much about it," he said during a Complex interview. "I would just say, it’s being produced by one producer, who’s legendary in hip-hop. And it’s gonna be a big deal."
Death Cab For Cutie
After wrapping their 2016 tour with a string of festival appearances, Ben Gibbard and Co. spent much of 2017 back in the studio working on the followup to their 2015 record Kintsugi. Back in November of last year, they took to Instagram to share a black-and-white studio photo, promising "LP9" is in fact coming sometime in 2018. This will be the band's first record since founding member and lead guitarist Chris Walla left the group.
The Toronto rapper has had his eyes on 2018 for a while. While he kicked off last year with a bang, releasing his More Life "playlist" in March after weeks of delays, he was less publicly visible for much of the rest of the year, but that may have been the plan. "Takin' summer off," he said on More Life closing track "Do Not Disturb," adding: "I'll be back in 2018 to give you the summary." Then in November, he assured fans he'll be keeping his word. "I got shit coming for you. Don’t worry," he promised during a show in Australia.
It's wild to think this March marks three years since he released I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, but here we are. The good news is, it looks like the dry spell will be broken in 2018. He confirmed last February he has been working on a new album and he performed a new song called "Hat Trick" live back in September. After closing out 2017 with performances at Camp Flog Gnaw and Day for Night festivals, he made it clear with a New Year's Eve tweet: "New chunes 2018, don't think i wasn't at work."
Florence + the Machine
This May will be three years since the release of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, and it seems like Florence Welch is on course to release the followup sometime this year. As we previously mentioned, the band is already booked to headline Germany's Melt Festival in July, which would make a spring or summer album very plausible. In May 2017, Welch said she had been working on new music and exploring the "black hole" she fell into, including a battle with alcohol, after splitting with boyfriend James Nesbitt in 2014.
While it's hard to predict much with Frank Ocean, he had a really active 2017, perhaps the result of having fulfilled his label contract obligation with his double album releases, Blonde and Endless, in 2016. Whether it was this newfound freedom or a desire to release music more often, the singer kept fans satisfied last year with a string of one-off tracks. Teasing listeners a bit more, he wrote in an essay last fall, "If you liked two thousand and seventeen then you'll love two thousand and eighteen." Adding further suspense, he seemed to confirm in a Tumblr post he had finished a new, unreleased album before his 30th birthday, which was in October.
While Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's virtual outfit made a welcome return last year with new album Humanz, it seems they're not slowing down anytime soon. After headlining a number of festivals last summer, Albarn hinted in a September interview another Gorillaz record would arrive much sooner than the seven-year gap between their last records. For his part, Hewlett explicitly confirmed in December plans to release a Humanz followup sometime in 2018, explaining, "We decided, 'You know what? Let’s keep going.'"
It's been just over two years since Claire Boucher released Art Angels, but while she laid relatively low in 2017, it's because she was working. Last summer, she said she was "in the studio every day trying to legit make something you’ve never heard before." After revealing in December she had been fighting the flu, a fan recommended she release new music to make her feel better. Surprisingly, she responded, revealing she had recently played new music for her label and they loved it. So if all goes as planned, fans should hear the new material "soon," she promised.
While this year will mark four years since he released Lazaretto, Jack White has big plans for 2018, after essentially focusing on his new solo album for most of 2017. Last March, he confirmed he had started writing new music in a small Nashville apartment. He seems to have moved quickly, because in July, his Third Man Records shared post-studio photos announcing White had been recording his new LP. During a Making Vinyl conference Q+A in November, he said the record is "practically done," minus some "finishing touches." He added: "It's a bizarre one. I've just got to let it settle. I need to listen to it by myself."
Justin Timberlake (Man of the Woods)
This new JT record—unlike his last one—hasn't been much of a secret. And thanks to his upcoming Super Bowl halftime performance next month, there's been a pretty distinct timetable coming together. After he recently applied for a "Man of the Woods" trademark, speculation only increased and we now know the full album is coming on Feb. 2, just two days before the Super Bowl. He has logged a lot of studio time over the past couple of years, with contributions from the likes of Timbaland and Pharrell, the latter of whom previously said the new material would allow Timberlake to step away from the "pop star" world and show more of his "vulnerability."
Kacey Musgraves (Golden Hour)
There's no word yet on when the Texas singer's third album will arrive, but it's likely just months away. Back in October, she shared a photo of herself revealing she was working on new songs for her album. In December, she confirmed the album's title, Golden Hour, assuring fans it will be out in early 2018. The new record is expected to be part of busy year for Musgraves, who will be touring this spring with Little Big Town and Midland, before joining none other than Harry Styles on tour.
This February will be two years since the release of The Life of Pablo, but perhaps because of Ye's relative silence this past year, it seems like a lifetime ago. The good news is, after a series of public outbursts, a canceled tour and subsequent hospitalization, it appears the rap icon has been spending time with family and focusing on his health—and working on music. In the weeks leading up to 2018, he began making more frequent public appearances, even making nice with Kid Cudi and joining him on stage in Chicago. West has been in and out the studio, even as recently as the week after Christmas. Whenever he returns, we'll be ready.
Kimbra (Primal Heart)
Nearly four years after releasing The Golden Echo, the New Zealand songstress is releasing her third record on April 20. And what she's shared so far reveals this new material is some of her most experimental and most confident work to date. That's especially evident on her brassy single "Top of the World," which was co-produced by Skrillex. The album also sees Kimbra working with producers best known for their work with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Future, as well as a co-write from Ian Kirkpatrick, who most recently produced Dua Lipa's "New Rules" and Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar."
Almost immediately after releasing 2016's Joanne, Lady Gaga was dropping hints about working on new music. While she spent the first half of 2017 headlining the Super Bowl halftime show and then filling in for Beyoncé at Coachella, she did release a surprise one-off single "The Cure." She's already scheduled to finish her Joanne World Tour overseas in February, with a busy latter half of 2018, including co-starring in Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born remake (out in October) and her two-year Las Vegas residency, which kicks off in December. But she's also been spending a lot of time in the studio—and she hasn't been all that secretive about it, with photos floating all over social media. In fact, she confirmed back in August she was writing for the new record and she recently gave some VIP ticket holders a backstage preview of a new song.
Four years after the release of Sheezus, it seems a new Lily Allen record is imminent. Back in 2016, Mark Ronson he had been writing with Allen. "I feel like they are some of the best songs she’s written," he said. "Her voice sounds incredible." Months later, the singer herself confirmed she has indeed been working on a new album, sharing a studio photo and also revealing her new material would be influenced by her family, the end of her marriage and a battle with substance abuse. She unexpectedly released a new song called "Trigger Bang" after it leaked in December, but her label was careful to emphasize it's not an official "single."
MGMT (Little Dark Age)
After literally two years of delays, MGMT made their return official in 2017, performing a handful of festivals and debuting new music live. Back in October, they shared "Little Dark Age," which is the lead single and title track off their upcoming fourth album, which is expected to arrive early this year, nearly five years after their 2013 self-titled record. Looks like a busy year ahead.
Migos (Culture 2)
Just a year after releasing their standout Culture, the Atlanta trio is ready to release the sequel. They had originally planned to have it out by the fall, but that timeline proved to be too ambitious. Instead, they did treat fans to an October release of lead single "MotorSport," which features Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, followed by Pharrell-produced "Stir Fry." As of this writing, the new record is aiming for a January arrival, but it doesn't have an official release date.
This year marks 13 years since Missy Elliott released The Cookbook, but since her 2015 appearance alongside Katy Perry during the Super Bowl halftime show, she has released a handful of tracks, all while keeping mum about any specific album plans. Last year, she released a new single called "I'm Better" and months later made a surprise appearance with Janet Jackson during the final show of her North American tour. But she also confirmed in a recent Fact magazine interview she has "at least five, six albums of music"; however, she said probably wouldn't announce a release date. "The element of surprise works for me," she confessed, acknowledging the unpredictability of music releases. "It gets a little crazy out there and I don’t wanna get jumped by my fans, so I’m gonna keep it a secret."
The band was increasingly active in 2017, headlining multiple festivals. In addition to their live performances, they also revealed last spring they had been in the studio working on the followup to 2015's Drones. While they released new single "Dig Down" last May, frontman Matt Bellamy said during a subsequent interview with Zane Lowe the full album would likely arrive in 2018. They already have a handful of spring festival dates on the calendar, so a mid-year album release wouldn't be out of the question.
While this was one of Variance's albums to watch for in 2017, it seems it's taking a little longer to craft what could be the album of Nicki Minaj's career. Last year marked 10 years since the release of her first mixtape and it's clear she's aiming for a big one. Calling the upcoming followup to 2014's The Pinkprint her "most memorable and the most impactful" material to date, Minaj said in an interview last fall she believes she has to "release a classic at this point." She later added: "This album is everything in my life coming full circle ... I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her."
Five years after releasing their debut album, the Canadian duo emerged from hibernation last year with a new song "Asido," a standalone track to commemorate the five-year anniversary of Shrines. But that was hardly all they had up their sleeves. In addition to contributing three tracks to Katy Perry's latest album Witness, the band closed out 2017 by joining the pop star on her North American tour. While they cautioned over the summer they were working "at our own pace" on a new record, it would seem like an organic move to continue the momentum into the new year.
Pusha T (King Push)
This album has been in the works for years, even before the release of 2015's Darkest Before Dawn, which was meant to be a prelude to the long-awaited King Push. After a string of tracks arrived in late 2016, it seemed the stage had been set for a 2017 release, but nothing materialized. Fortunately, Push has remained active, collaborating with Linkin Park and Gorillaz, and subsequently confirming Kanye West was producing the entire record. On top of possible G.O.O.D. Music offerings, it looks like 2018 is going to be a good one for Pusha T.
Following a handful of tracks in 2017, the Los Angeles duo confirmed late last year their sophomore record would be out in 2018, the followup to 2013's Woman.
"We've spent the last few years on the road translating the Woman album from a bedroom project into a full live experience," frontman Milosh recently said of the new record. "With Blood, it's been the opposite process; the music and sounds were really born out of the live environment and are built for performance."
Run the Jewels (Run the Jewels 4)
It seems Killer Mike and El-P have been in the studio or on the road for much of the past three years, but since releasing Run the Jewels 2 in 2014, they have clearly seen no reason to slow down. Following their 2016 Christmas Eve release RTJ3, they were back on the road hitting a number of festivals along the way. Back in December, El-P took to Twitter to inform fans plans were already "unfolding" for RTJ4. While he offered no other details, there are a couple of facts we know: Run the Jewels work fast, as demonstrated by their past releases. And they're also joining Lorde on her North American tour in March (with a curious gap during SXSW), so it's safe to bet they've already got a strategy laid out for 2018.
Just months after releasing Blank Face LP in 2016, ScHoolboy Q said he was working on a new album for 2017. While the album ultimately didn't make the cut last year, he later revealed had as many as 50 songs he was sorting through for the record. He said when his album was 90% complete, he wanted to get back to the gym, which he confirmed back in September, uploading an Instagram video of himself boxing.
She had a busy and emotional year in 2017, between releasing a steady stream of new singles, executive producing Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and getting a kidney transplant, but she somehow kept a new album on the front burner. In October, she revealed she had two albums worth of material completed. "I'm ready. I want to get back in and re-focus on all of my music," she told Zane Lowe. Two weeks before Christmas, she again assured fans she had been hard at work, confirming an album is definitely coming "very soon." She's previously said the contents of the album will be "more meaningful [and] honest," avoiding some of the familiar, "over-glamorized" pop formulas.
Sky Ferreira (Masochism)
The wait for a new album from Sky Ferreira has entered its fifth year. While she did play a new song back in 2015, the following years have been relatively silent. Until last summer, when she provided fans with an update, confirming she has been working on multiple music projects. Revealing she was finally in a "good place" creatively and personally, she seemed to suggest there had been a lot of music industry politics preventing her from releasing anything. "I'm very excited to put out new stuff," warning that she couldn't "promise that you'll like it" but it would hopefully be out "soon."
The 1975 (Music for Cars)
The U.K. outfit catapulted to music giants with their 2016 sophomore effort I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, which was celebrated by fans and critics alike. But frontman Matty Healy recently sparked speculation about the band's third album, which he referred to as "the end of an era." He later attempted to calm fans' nerves by explaining they were "always going to do a trilogy of records," but it didn't necessarily mean it would be the end of the band. He also made clear he's aiming for a big, career-defining LP this time around. "If you look at third albums, [Radiohead's] OK Computer or [the Smiths'] The Queen Is Dead, that's what we need to do," he told NME. "I want people to look back and think our records were the most important pop records that a band put out in this decade."
At various points over the past two years, it seemed Tinashe might soon release her new album Joyride. Instead, in 2016, she released her Nightride project, claiming the former was still in the works. Last year, she hinted the album could be out before the end of 2017, which ultimately didn't pan out. But she assured fans last summer the record hasn't just been "sitting in a vault locked up." It just hasn't been ready yet. "Things haven’t always gone according to my original plan," she told The Guardian last year. "But that’s life, and things change." After spending the last half of 2017 in the studio, this coming year looks promising.
Until the Ribbon Breaks (Until the Ribbon Breaks)
After practically vanishing not long after releasing their 2015 debut album, the Welsh outfit returned as a duo last fall with new single "Here Comes the Feeling," the first preview of their upcoming self-titled record. Singer Pete Lawrie-Winfield has said the new material has largely been inspired by his journey of recovery from alcohol and prescription drug addiction. "In September of last year, I had reached the end of my rope," he recently wrote in a letter to fans. The new record is expected to arrive early this year.
Ezra Koenig and the gang have been in and out of the studio since at least early 2016, possibly late 2015. This year will actually mark five years since the release of Modern Vampires of the City, their most recent full-length. Following his support of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election, Koenig recently told Entertainment Weekly he doesn't necessarily believe music needs to be explicitly critical or political, but it can "show what’s happening through a certain lens." He said the new record could be described as a "snapshot of my view of what’s happening." Now it's just a matter of when, not if. In September, Koenig responded to a fan on Twitter, confirming album No. 4 is "80% done. But he cautioned: "The last 20% is always the hardest."
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This is another band hitting the five-year mark since their last album, but there's been very little in the form of tangible evidence of new music—until late last year. The band was scheduled to headline Austin's Sound on Sound festival in November. While that festival was ultimately canceled, the band already had fans on notice, advising them to "watch for more news coming soon." Adding to the excitement, the band's debut Fever To Tell was reissued and released on vinyl back in October. While there's been no official word about a new record, they're believed to have recently spent time in the studio and they're expected to perform at a number of major festivals in 2018.
Not long after their Mercury Prize-winning debut Dead, they released the stunning 2015 album White Men Are Black Men Too, almost without a break in between. The U.K. trio has since taken a moment to breathe, but they returned in November with their stirring new song "Lord." They also announced a U.K. and European tour starting in March, while confirming they've recently "finished" recording a new album. A release date has yet to be announced, but as of late last year, the group said the new record will definitely be out in 2018.
Editor's note: Lindsay Howard, Jonathan Robles & Troy Skidmore contributed to this story.