By Tobias Handke
We might only be a few weeks into 2020, but it’s already shaping up as another banging year for music lovers.
Many major artists have already announced the release of new projects, including Aussie legends Tame Impala and Elon Musk’s better half Grimes, while our fingers are crossed for new projects from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Noname, and King Krule.
No doubt we’ll get a number of surprise drops and collaborative projects as the year rolls on, but until then, here are five albums confirmed for release that we can’t wait to hear.
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush: Five years on from the critical and commercial success of Currents, Aussie favourites Tame Impala are back with new album The Slow Rush. Dropping this Valentine’s Day, the album will feature 12 new tracks produced by founder Kevin Parker. The multi-instrumentalist has been teasing fans, steadily releasing four singles over the past six months to build hype. ‘Borderline‘, ‘It Might Be Time‘, ‘Posthumous Forgiveness‘, and latest single ‘Lost In Yesterday‘ are great tunes giving Tame fans a taste of what to expect. If these four singles are anything to go by, The Slow Rush will be another psychedelic affair with a strong emphasis on 70s synths and engaging melodies, with Parker proving his genius once again.
Grimes – Miss Anthropocene: Grimes hooking up with Elon Musk is one of the weirdest celebrity relationships of the past decade, but if the Tesla boss can inspire her to create an album as beguiling as 2015’s Art Angles, then I’m all for it. Described by Grimes as ‘a concept album about the anthropomorphic goddess of climate change’ with each song representing ‘a different embodiment of human extinction as depicted through pop star Demonology,’ Miss Anthropencene covers some pretty heavy territory. Having already spawned five singles (the swirling intensity of synth-pop ‘My Name Is Dark‘ a clear highlight) and being feverishly anticipated by fans, Miss Anthropence could be one of the most experimental pop records we’ve heard in years.
Run The Jewels – RTJ4: Hip-hop is set to dominate music once again with J. Cole, Lil Uzi Vert, Cardi B, and Drake all rumoured to be releasing new albums in 2020, but it’s the announcement of Run The Jewels 4 that’s got me buzzing. Killer Mike and El-P’s pairing has become one of the most successful in modern hip-hop, with the two MC’s spitting vicious rhymes over beats that resonate like a kick to the guts. Details are scarce on their fourth long-player, but EL-P has tweeted the project will contain 11 tracks, be around 40 minutes long and is set to drop before they take the stage at Coachella this April.
Mura Masa – R.Y.C.: Rising to fame off the back of A$AP Rocky collaboration ‘Lovesick‘, American producer Mura Masa quickly became a hit among hip-hop and electronic music fans, with his self-titled and critical acclaim debut record. Sophomore effort R.Y.C. (Raw Youth Collage) arrives later this month and could very well surpass his debut. Featuring the likes of UK rap star slowthai (read our interview with the enigma here), R&B up and comer Tirzah and American singer-songwriter Clairo, R.Y.C. is 11 tracks of genre-crossing electronica exploring nostalgia and escapism. Single ‘Deal With It‘ is a winner.
Rihanna– R9: It’s only been four years since Rihanna dropped her underrated eighth album, Anti, but if you listened to her rabid fan base you’d think it’d been over a decade. Putting music to the side in favour of acting, designing photo books and launching her own beauty and fashion line under the Fenty banner, RiRi has spent her time building an empire while teasing fans about her forthcoming album. While there’s still no official release date, we do know the sultry Barbadian is working on a reggae and dancehall-inspired release that won’t feature Shaggy. But whatever she creates and whenever she releases it, there’s no doubting R9 will be a chart-topper you won’t be able to escape.