Somehow we’re already a third of the way through 2022, and all but one of the albums I was anticipating at the start of the year have come and gone (Let’s Eat Grandma’s “Two Ribbons” has been delayed a few weeks – supply chain issues, not even a joke).
Now as we head into summer, more announcements for new LPs have been made from massive pop stars and indie darlings alike. Here are seven that I’m looking forward to:
(Same rules as in January – we’ve had hints at new Voidz, Arctics Monkeys, SZA and more but I’m only listing albums with release dates. This is also obviously not every album on my radar – put down the pitchforks Porcupine Tree fans).
Jack Harlow – “Come Home, the Kids Miss You” – May 6th
I know, I’m surprised he’s here too.
There’s not a single Jack Harlow song that I would say is great, or even really good – including the singles for this record that have already been released. He’s a consistent artist, just consistently mediocre. Harlow makes the kind of pop rap I don’t listen to in my own time very often, but I’m happy to hear in a club because it’s not as bad as most of what’s being played.
There’s something undeniably stylish about his sound though, and everything I just said about Jack Harlow is something I would’ve said about Lil Nas X a year and a half ago. Maybe Jack will follow in the blood-shoe-shaped footsteps of his “Industry Baby” partner and surprise us with a great record.
Florence + the Machine – “Dance Fever” – May 13th
Florence Welch & co. are set to release their 5th studio album next month. And as the title suggests, it looks like they’re going for a big stylistic shift towards dance music.
Latest single “My Love” is the first real taste of this we’ve gotten of that change (lead single “King” was more traditional Florence material, and it’s great), and I can’t say I’m dying to hear more solely based on that song.
Florence has yet to put out a bad album though. She’s definitely got the benefit of the doubt from me for now. I’m excited to hear her take her songwriting further out of her chamber pop comfort zone.
Harry Styles – “Harry’s Place” – May 20th
“As It Was” is the first new material Harry Styles has released since 2019 – a time that feels just as far away as a good Eminem album.
Oddly, “Fine Line” still feels pretty recent thanks to how much later after its initial release singles like “Watermelon Sugar” & “Golden” blew up.
If the reception to its lead single is any indication “Harry’s Place” is going to be just as big as his sophomore record from day one – if not bigger. There’s not many bonafide pop superstars making interesting music right now, let alone ones that have etched out enough critical & public clout to be able take their music pretty much wherever they want. “Harry’s Place” could be a watershed moment for mainstream music in the 2020’s.
Angel Olsen – “Big Time” – June 3rd
“All Mirrors” was in my top 3 albums of 2019, only behind “IGOR” & Show Me the Body’s “Dog Whistle”. I enjoyed it so much that I actually didn’t mind the acoustic/demo version that came out in 2020, usually a kind of project I find boring & self-indulgent.
A third version of the record was a bit much though…
Still, I love Olsen’s voice and thought the shift in sound from indie rock let her songwriting breath. Folky lead single “All the Good Times” is a return to a more acoustic style that I found pretty boring, but hopefully it’s not indicative of the entirety of “Big Time”.
Perfume Genius – “Ugly Season” June 17th
Perfume Genius’ last record “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately” didn’t set the world on fire like the acclaimed “No Shape” from 2017. It was still an interesting, eclectic album, well received despite coming out in the early days of the pandemic.
“Ugly Season”, presumably, was mostly written during the pandemic and it’ll be interesting to see how that affected Michael Hadreas’ already idiosyncratic creative output. No Perfume Genius album so far has sounded the same as the previous one. It would be shocking if the chaos of the last couple years doesn’t engender another daring shift from Hadreas.
Regina Spektor – “Home, Before and After” June 24th
Other than some contributions to soundtracks, “Home, Before and After” will be Regina Spektor’s first new music since 2016.
Lead single “Becoming All Alone” is, unsurprisingly, a gorgeously melancholy piano ballad. It would be interesting, but Spektor has no reason to hop on any trends and change her sound. She’s one of the more beloved singer-songwriters of the 21st century. More of the same will be just fine, especially after such a long wait between albums.
Maggie Rogers – “Surrender” July 29th
I’ve spoken before about my curiosity for where Maggie Rogers’ music is going next after the commentary from her compilation “Notes From the Archive” signaled a shift back to basics was on the way.
Last week “That’s Where I Am”, Maggie’s first new material since 2019, finally brought that shift to our ears. It’s far from a re-tread, leaning more into a busier sound with denser production. Echoes of Rogers’ older rock sound are present more in the song structure, particularly the bridge on “That’s Where I Am”.
Rogers’ output prior to the relatively homogenous “Heard It In A Past Life” was very diverse, so who knows if the rest of “Surrender” will sound like this, or if she’ll be diving into all kinds of different sound palettes. Either way, I’m looking forward to July 29th.