The calendar-planning festivities continue. With movies out of the way, we now turn our attention to the music which you’ll need to take some time out for this year. There are a lot of artists gearing up for release and only so many spots to fill on the charts. Here are the names we expect to see near the top.
Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails over the Country Club
Back in 2012, Born to Die invited us to the romantic American 60s and like a Vegas casino, robbed us of any desire to ever leave. In the three studio albums since then, Lana Del Rey has walked us through a world of her whimsy — one where the Californian sun’s always on the horizon and the cars are all classic convertibles.
Though we only have a lead single to go off, Chemtrails over the Country Club is all set to keep the adventure going — it’d seem the sultry strings and angelic harmonies have plenty more stories to tell.
Drake – Certified Lover Boy
Mainstream music changes favourites quicker than I change channels when Shopee advertisements come on. One minute, an artist is touted to be the future, and the next, they’ve fallen off the face of the planet with just the 2016 single Panda to their name. There seems to be some sort of unwritten rule that you can only stay at the top for a year or two. And that rule seems to apply to everyone not named Drake.
Drake, unlike anybody else, has lived at the top for so long that he’s probably eligible for citizenship. The man has enough chart-toppers to fill two full-length studio albums. He has so many plaques that he’s started eating dinner out of them. There’s just no room left to cast doubt.
Certified Lover Boy comes out later in January, and you will hear it, whether or not you want to, because every radio station, H&M, and enthusiastic speaker-wielding e-biker will have it queued up for months to follow.
London Grammar – Californian Soil
English indie pop band London Grammar took a three-year long hiatus following their 2017 album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing, which topped the UK charts upon release. The radio silence was tough to sit through, but as it turns out, bad things too, come to an end.
The trio made their return late in 2020, setting the stage for their upcoming project with a new single. And another. And another. Building upon their signature brooding sound, they’re now all set to fill a London Grammar-sized hole in the pop scene. Full steam ahead to an April release, and by all counts, it’s looking to be quite the spectacle.
Kendrick Lamar – TBA
The face of conscious hip-hop, the voice of a generation, the only rapper to win a Pulitzer for his efforts — it’s been three whole years since we last heard from Kendrick Lamar. And he hasn’t even confirmed a release yet! However, the speculation is well-backed and as a back-alley fortune teller probably once said, “if you think about it hard enough, it will happen.”
Kendrick is set to headline Roskilde festival in summer 2021, which certainly feels like reason to believe that he’ll have new music to perform. Now, this theory might rely on an optimistic quick track to a pandemic-free world, but fingers crossed and the dream’s alive!
Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight
Yes, they’re still a thing. No, I didn’t realise either, until quite recently. Apparently, Foo Fighters continued making music after that one album in 2007 which had Pretender on it. In fact, it turns out they’ve released a studio album about every three years since then.
Now, I can’t tell you much about these albums. I’m not sure there exist too many people who could. But a new decade does bring about a sense of nostalgia. And with nostalgia, comes excitement to renew some distant, yet fond memories of a rock band who were quite an essential part of to the soundtrack of the early-2000s.
Japanese Breakfast – TBA
With her solo project Japanese Breakfast, artist Michelle Zauner has gifted the world two albums — Psychopomp and Soft Sounds From Another Planet — which have become essential listens for any aspiring indiehead. They’re also the only two albums which she has in her discography. It’s literally a pristine track record.
There’s no reason to believe her upcoming LP, which was recently confirmed via a tweet, will be anything short of a classic. If the past is anything to go by, ready yourself for an immersive experience courtesy of reverb-washed vocals and ethereal soundscapes.
Travis Scott – Utopia
Travis Scott is one of the most recognizable voices in hip-hop right now, known for having concerts which could easily be confused for riots. The crowd goes wild, always. That speaks volumes about the kind of music he makes. It’s uplifting, it inspires energy — and that’s something you can never have too much of.
Coming off the success of his highly-acclaimed album Astroworld, he’s set to repeat history two years later with a project we know nothing about, apart from the name: Utopia.