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Lorde performing in 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

Let’s call 2016 the year of the surprise album release. There was David Bowie‘s Blackstar, Beyoncé‘s Lemonade, and Radiohead‘s A Moon Shaped Pool, all of which knocked us sideways for very different reasons.

But some surprises don’t come off perfectly — take last year’s chaotic release of Kanye‘s The Life of Pablo. This year, however, we plan on being ready for whatever our favorite artists have in store for us.

In the cards are new projects from big hitters such as Fleetwood MacBruce Springsteen, U2, ’90s girl group TLC, and Katy Perry. But we’ve put together a list of the releases that have got us really excited about 2017. Save it, study it, add to it — and don’t say we didn’t give you enough notice.

Lorde (TBA)

The music industry sat up and took notice when 16-year-old Lorde (real name Ella Yelich-O’Connor) released her debut album Pure Heroine in 2013, and ever since we’ve been waiting for a follow-up. That looks set to happen in 2017. Last November — on her 20th birthday, no less — she updated fans on its progress, writing, “The big day is not tomorrow, or even next month realistically, but soon.”

Beck (TBA)

Many musicians would seek to replicate the success of 2014’s Morning Phase, which won the Album of the Year Grammy, by sticking to a tried and tested formula. Not Beck, however. Recent songs like “Dreams” and “Wow” all signal the chameleon-like star’s new album, far from having its predecessor’s low-key vibe, will be a much poppier affair.

Haim (TBA, expected summer 2017)

The three singing sisters debuted two new songs during their U.S. tour last spring and, by the sound of them, the new album will recapture the dreamy 1980s mood of their 2013 debut Days Are Gone, which entranced fans and critics with songs like “Falling” and “Forever.”

Jay Z

Yes, Drake and Kanye also have new music in the works, but both artists are so prolific it’s as if they’ve never gone away. Jay Z, on the other hand, really has, or that’s how it’s seemed since his last album Magna Carta Holy Grail dropped way back in 2013. There’s one obvious reason he might have been keeping a low profile: Last year his wife Beyoncé lifted the lid somewhat (ahem) on their life together, leading many to speculate a new Hova album is on its way in response, or a joint project, or even a follow-up to his 2011 collaboration with Kanye, Watch the Throne. Whatever Jay puts out, we’re listening.

Gorillaz (TBA)

Nothing has been officially announced about the virtual band reuniting to record a follow-up to 2010’s Plastic Beach, but last April artist Jamie Hewlett posted this video of him and Damon Albarn in the studio, prompting many to conclude new Gorillaz music is imminent.

Taylor Swift (TBA)

Tay-Tay’s put an album out every two years since her debut in 2008, until last year, that is, when no new album was forthcoming. Could it be that a very public romance with a certain British hotty (whose name may or may not rhyme with “Dom Middleston”) has got in the way? More likely it’s the fact that 1989, like Red before it, was a stone-cold pop classic that’ll take some beating: Hopefully 2017 is the year Taylor attempts it.

Sampha, Process (3 February 2017)

Long known for his collaborations with artists such as STBRKT, Solange Knowles, Kanye West, Drake, and Jessie Ware, London singer-songwriter Sampha is finally releasing a solo album. Expect pared-back electro-R&B like “Timmy’s Prayer” or the muffled intensity of “Blood on Me.”

Sky Ferreira, Masochism (TBA)

Masochism, the follow-up to Sky Ferreira‘s 2013 debut album Night Time, My Time, has been a long time coming. She first announced it way back in 2015 but upcoming roles in Twin Peaks and director Edgar Wright‘s next film Baby Driver presumably proved distracting. Still, with the promise that her sophomore effort will be “radically different” and “more aggressive” than her synthpop debut, we’re willing to wait.

Ryan Adams, Prisoner (February 17, 2017)

Prisoner will be singer-songwriter Ryan Adam‘s 16th studio album — his first since 2014’s self-titled effort — and it’s said to be inspired by his recent divorce from singer and actress Mandy Moore. Frankly, we were expecting a bit of a sob-fest. However, this rollicking track, released last December, suggests maybe our fears were unfounded. Somber second single “To Be Without You”, on the other hand, doesn’t.

LIV (TBA)

Want to know what the “love child” of ABBA and Fleetwood Mac might sound like? Well, Swedish songstress Lykke Li could be that kid. She’s teamed up with members of indiepop band Miike Snow to form supergroup LIV, making the kind of breezy pop that evokes both bands. Recently they told Pitchfork they have an album’s worth of songs, but whether they’ll release them traditionally is yet to be seen.

What new music are you looking forward to?

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Filed Under: 2017, Music
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.