The Most Anticipated Albums of 2024: Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande and More

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The Most Anticipated Albums of 2024: Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and 40 More
The Most Anticipated Albums of 2024: Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and 40 More

A new year in music is a lot harder to forecast than an impending year in movies or television. While other mediums have to move mountains if they want to shift release dates, that’s not the case with album releases — as Kanye West has recently shown us again and again and again. (Latest update: his “Vultures” album, which didn’t come out on New Year’s Eve, isn’t coming out Jan. 12, as last scheduled, either — he’s still tinkering, and his lawyers are likely still negotiating sample clearances.) Our long list of TBDs reflects the greater DIY ethos that is inherently a part of music: You’ll get it when you get it… not when tentpole season demands it.

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But with that uncertainty established, what a year 2024 looks to be for fans, with new music on the way, at some point, from Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, SZA, Halsey, J Balvin, Elton John, Shakira, Kacey Musgraves and many other powerhouses. Much of it does fall into that TBD neverland, but we can promise actual release dates in the first quarter for Green Day, Jennifer Lopez, Kid Cudi, Usher, Tyla, Kali Uchis, Bleachers, Sheryl Crow, the Smile and other stars.

Naturally, some judgment calls are in order about whether to predict an actual 2024 release from some of the withholding artists who we already expected to put out product in 2023… or 2022… or earlier. Like, is it possible or improbable that Rihanna will finally drop her first album since “Anti” in 2016? We’re loosely forecasting it for this schedule, because we’re determined to manifest it — even if that didn’t work for us last year, or any of the last seven years. It would be crazy if it didn’t finally happen, right? (As we always say every January.) How about the first Frank Ocean album since 2016? The first Justin Timberlake album in six years? Those all seem like good bets, although there just aren’t enough signs of definite activity yet for us to even pencil in the first all-new U2 release since 2017.

And then there’s the Taylor Swift wild card factor. We do give a damn about her possibly very good “Reputation” remake, but Easter eggs can be a lot harder to read than tea leaves or Tarot cards. But this could also turn out to be the wacky kind of year where we don’t get new product from Swift but do finally get Sky Ferreira’s eternally awaited sophomore album. Whatever surprises lay in store beyond the certainties, we’ve got a feeling ’24 is gonna be a good one.

Kali Uchis, ‘Orquídeas’ (Geffen, Jan. 12)

We won’t have to wait too long for Kali Uchis’ fourth studio album and second Spanish-language project, “Orquideas.” Dropping next week (Jan. 12), “Orquedias” serves as the follow-up to Uchis’ luscious “Red Moon In Venus” (one of Variety’s Best Albums of 2023) and was preceded by a slate of danceable singles including the dembow-infused “Muñekita,” featuring El Alfa and JT from the City Girls. She’s also released the bolero-inspired song “Te Mata” and the Karol G-featuring track “Labios Mordidos” – both of which arrived with upscale music videos to match. Uchis describes the set, which also includes guest verses from Peso Pluma and Rauw Alejandro, as an “experimental Latin project” with elements of disco, perrero, merengue and more. —Thania Garcia

Kid Cudi, ‘Insano’ (Wicked Awesome/Republic, Jan. 12)

Kid Cudi gestured towards a retirement from his stage name in the years-long lead-up to “Insano,” his ninth album, tentatively set for release on Jan. 12. As far back as 2021, the rapper shared snippets from the project and mentioned features from Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa and Travis Scott. Though he doubled back on claims of ducking out of the music game, he had several start-stops and a few singles scattered across last year — including “At the Party” featuring Pharrell Williams and Scott — before announcing in September that the set would be delayed until January. According to Cudi, the wait will be worth it, as “Insano” is set to feature more than 40 tracks. —Steven J. Horowitz

Green Day, ‘Saviors’ (Reprise, Jan. 19)

Fresh off a fiery performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Green Day is gearing up to release its 14th studio album, titled “Saviors.” Out Jan. 19, the album will include the politically charged single “The American Dream Is Killing Me.” The trio reunited with longtime producer Rob Cavallo to craft a new collection of pop-laced punk, 30 years after its breakout album, “Dookie.” Describing the new record on X/Twitter, Green Day wrote, “It’s raw and emotional. Funny and disturbing. It’s a laugh at the pain, weep in the happiness kind of record. Honesty and vulnerability.” —Ethan Shanfeld

Brittney Spencer, ‘My Stupid Life’ (Elektra, Jan. 19)

(Jan. 19) This talented Baltimore-born/Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s debut album has been a long time coming — she’s opened for Jason Isbell and Maren Morris, stepped into guest spots with the Highwomen and performed on the CMAs and ACMs — and the years of seasoning have paid off with “My Stupid Life.” Produced by Kacey Musgraves/Little Big Town vet Daniel Tashian, it’s very much a country album but has classic pop elements, with lyrics that veer between heartbreaking and hilarious (“You wanna be fancy like Reba / A queen like Latifah / In love like Johnny and June” are just four of the name-checks in “Bigger Than the Song”). The album features guest spots from Isbell, Morris, Grace Potter and more, but most of all it establishes Spencer as a confident and powerful new voice and persona. —Aswad

The Smile, ‘Wall of Eyes’ (XL, Jan. 26)

(Jan. 26) Radiohead frontal lobes Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood have devoted plenty of time to this raucous side project. The trio, which often creates a primal roar balanced around the keen drumming of Tom Skinner, has been sharpening new music on recent tours, and tracks like “Bending Hectic” and “Read the Room” have already become fan favorites. Also notable: the album is produced by Yorke collaborator Sam Petts-Davies, which could give it a different vibe than their previous material with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. —William Earl

Future Islands, ‘People Who Aren’t There Anymore’ (4AD, Jan. 26)

(Jan. 26) The Baltimore synth bros return with another album full of dance floor-ready emotional bangers. As always, the group’s springy melodies form a juxtaposing backdrop for Samuel T. Herring’s introspective lyrics, and while early singles have added different flavors to their sound, it remains comfort food for the band’s fans. The best part? New music means a new tour, and Future Islands have cemented themselves as an essential live act, in large part thanks to Herring’s wild onstage presence. —Earl

Brittany Howard, ‘What Now’ (Island, Feb. 9)

With four Grammy wins and nine nominations, Brittany Howard’s path with the Alabama Shakes seemed clear: Keep making gut-busting blues-rock centered around her powerhouse vocals, rinse and repeat. Happily, that’s exactly what she hasn’t done in the years since 2015’s “Sound and Color”: She struck out on a solo career, released a sonically adventurous and challenging album called “Jaime,” and follows with what is surprisingly her major-label debut. “What Now” doesn’t take the easy path either, but, as evidenced by the lead single, “Red Flags,” it finds her a few miles further down the road, and many of the songs go down more smoothly — but it also shows Howard is an artist who’s never content to play it safe.  — Jem Aswad

Usher, ‘Coming Home’ (Gamma, Feb. 9)

On Feb. 9, just two days before he’s slated to take one of the world’s biggest stages, Usher plans to preview his Super Bowl Halftime Show performance with the release of his ninth studio album, “Coming Home.” What he initially intended as a sequel to 2004’s blockbuster “Confessions” turned into “Home,” with a reported 20 tracks including the already released “Boyfriend” and “Good Good” (the latter featuring Summer Walker and 21 Savage). “I don’t want to make ‘Coming to America 2,’ I don’t wanna do that,” he told GQ last February. “What was done is done. ‘8701?’ There will not be an ‘8702.’” Listeners can expect an updated sound for modern times, with some of that classic Usher smoothness sprinkled in. —Horowitz

Zara Larsson, ‘Venus’ (Epic, Feb. 9)

The Swedish pop singer found professional freedom in 2022, establishing her own label Sommer House under Epic and acquiring the rights to her catalog. That announcement followed her third album, “Poster Girl,” a slick, glowing joyride and a portrait of an artist in full bloom — so fans are eager to see what what Larsson does with “Venus.” She fired up the pop engines last year with the moderately viral “Can’t Tame Her” and ’80s-indebted “End of Time,” capping it off with the holiday EP “Honor the Light.” “Venus” could very well show she hasn’t lost her lust for life as a pop star. —Horowitz

Jennifer Lopez, ‘This Is Me… Now’ (Nuyorican/BMG, Feb. 16)

Curious to learn how madly Jennifer Lopez is in love with Ben Affleck after they reunited in 2021 and married the following year? Look no further than “This Is Me… Now,” serving as a sequel to 2002’s Affleck-adoring “This Is Me… Then.” Her first album since 2014’s “A.K.A.” will pick up right where its source material left off — there’s even a track called “Dear Ben Pt. II” — and no doubt follow their romantic rekindling through their elopement on “Midnight Trip to Vegas.” And as if that isn’t enough from the world of J.Lo, she plans to drop “This Is Me… Now: The Film” on Amazon Prime on Feb. 16, the same day as the album. We all can only hope that our Valentine’s Day will be as sweet as hers. —Horowitz

Idles, ‘Tangk’ (Partisan, Feb. 16)

Coming straight out of Bristol, England, Idles are one of the most exciting rock bands to emerge in decades: a wild fusion of hardcore punk and experimental electronic skronk with a ferociously commanding frontman in Joe Talbot and two guitarists whose rancorous din shows inspiration from ‘80s indie icons Sonic Youth and Big Black. Idles know better than to live the definition of their name, and branch out even further on their fifth album “Tangk,” combining slower, darkly ambient and/or rhythmic songs with the blistering roar their audience hungers for. The album’s production (from guitarist Mark Bowen, hip-hop auteur Kenny Beats and Radiohead veteran Nigel Godrich) is suitably next-level, and finds the band going both harder (“Dancer”) and softer (“Grace”) than ever. It’s a glorious mashup of “Vulnerable / Strong like bull,” as Talbot sings — and the most traditionally punk song here is actually called “Hall & Oates.”  —Aswad

Tyla, ‘Tyla’ (Epic, Mar. 1)

Despite already being a Grammy-nominated artist, South African pop princess Tyla has yet to release her debut album. Riding on the waves of her viral hit “Water,” Tyla will release her self-titled album in March. On the track list? “Water,” of course (plus the Travis Scott remix), along with a freshly-released bundle of R&B-leaning Afropop tracks, “Truth or Dare,” “On and On” and “Butterflies.” Tyla will also embark on her first global tour just one month after the EP drops, with stops throughout Europe and North America. —Garcia

Bleachers, ‘Bleachers’ (Dirty Hit, Mar. 8)

Producer-frontman extraordinaire Jack Antonoff is back with another Bleachers album on March 8. The band’s fourth effort is also self-titled, and Bleachers has already put out its first two singles: the exuberant, sax-speckled “Modern Girl” and the moody, Lana Del Rey-featuring “Alma Mater.” The first Bleachers album from Dirty Hit, the record will have 14 songs and a handful of bonus tracks, too. And it’s produced by Patrik Berger and Antonoff, whose recent collaborators include Taylor Swift, Maren Morris and the 1975. —Shanfeld

Sheryl Crow, ‘Evolution’ (Big Machine, Mar. 29)

It’s hard to take a sabbatical. It’s more common for the stars to announce they’re doing a farewell tour before retiring from the road. Crow did something a little different — declaring she was releasing her final full album, “Threads,” back in 2019, thinking she would only put out singles or shorter-form packages thereafter. She has thought better of it, and has un-quit to prepare the nine-song “Evolution” for release. Working with producer Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Dr. Dre, Lauren Daigle) seems to have helped get Crow her recording mojo back. “I said I’d never make another record, thought there was no point to it. But this music comes from my soul. And I hope whoever hears this record can feel that,” she said when announcing the project in November, right as she was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. —Chris Willman

Kanye West and Ty Dolla Sign, ‘Vultures (¥)’ (Date TBD)

Public screeds and condemnations of Jewish people (followed by a lukewarm, PR-reeking Instagram apology) haven’t entirely thrown cold water on West’s “Vultures,” the collaborative album with Ty, under the name ¥$, at least according to his devoted fan base. The pair courted legions of attendees to listening events in Miami and Las Vegas last month, previewing nearly the entirety of the record — with substantial changes every time, naturally — before its oft-delayed release, now set for Jan. 12. What they experienced was a project that, on first listen, showed West is still a formidable musician: The album had an audio throughline replete with towering choral arrangements and thumping bass lines, plus guest appearances from a laundry list of artists including Kodak Black, Playboi Carti, Chris Brown and Freddie Gibbs. Whether “Vultures” will land on its intended street date is debatable, as Nicki Minaj declined to approve use of her years-old verse for “New Body” and unspecified clearance issues apparently exist for his use of the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” Given West’s penchant for pushing back releases, don’t hold your breath that the album will arrive on schedule… —Horowitz

SZA, ‘Lana’ (TDE/RCA, date TBD)

At this point it’s still unclear whether “Lana” will be its own album or a deluxe version of SZA’s top-Grammy-nominated sophomore album “SOS,” but in 2023, does that even matter? Indeed, the collection changes nearly every time we check in, and the release date, track list, and even how many songs might be on it are completely unconfirmed. Back in August, she told Variety, “It’s outtakes [from ‘SOS’] and new stuff, too”; a month later, she told a Brooklyn audience, “The deluxe is a whole ’nother album. It’s called ‘Lana.’ It’s seven to 10 songs and it’ll be out this fall.” Then in November, she admitted to Variety with a laugh, “I never get these things done until like the day before the deadline.” Lots of songs and configurations have been considered, but until “Lana” arrives, that’s as much as we know… —Aswad

Dua Lipa, TBA (Warner, date TBD)

With the long tail of Lipa’s 2020 sophomore album “Future Nostalgia” and its global tour, a hit single with Elton John on “Cold Heart” and her effervescent “Dance the Night” single from “Barbie,” it might not be obvious how imminent the album insiders call “DL3” is. Yet the album’s first single, “Houdini,” suggests it will be both a progression from and a continuation of “Nostalgia”: Its musical backing — coming from the inspired pairing of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and Caroline Polachek/Charli XCX collaborator Danny L. Harle — is more melodically nuanced than that album’s stadium-sized hooks. There’s been little advance word about what the new album sounds like — but she has given a hint about what it won’t sound like. In an interview promoting her “Barbie” single, “Dance the Night,” she said, “I was like, ‘Oh, f—, I’m moving away from [disco] for my new album… (But) I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’ve got one more in me.’” But “Houdini” made it clear she’s hardly abandoning the dance floor, even if the actual beats may not have quite the same ’70s mirror-ball nostalgia. —Aswad

Taylor Swift, ‘Reputation (Taylor’s Version)’ (Date TBD)

As always, Swift will let the world know what she has planned next very much on a need-to-know basis, but virtually her entire audience has come to the conclusion that, of the two remaining Big Machine re-recordings she has left to put out, her “Reputation” re-do will precede the remake of her debut album. The fan base has been wrong before, as it largely was when many Swifties, following some supposed clues, were sure she would announce “Reputation (TV)” on the final night of the first U.S. leg of her tour in November. But that would-be news didn’t really make sense — it would have practically stepped on the fresh release of her “1989” reclamation. Give her another 12 months, though, and it seems like a near-certainty that she won’t let a whole year go by without adding another installment to the campaign (and, we can only hope, the reintroduction of “I Did Something Bad” into the setlist before the Eras Tour wraps up). But what if she decides, as Christmas nears, that it ’tis the damn season to put out a direct, all-new follow-up to “Midnights”? A year with two new pieces of Taylor product would hardly be an anomaly in her recent catalog. If only we could really predict her 2024 end game —Willman

Halsey, TBA (Columbia, date TBD)

In June, Halsey announced signing with Columbia Records after splitting with Capitol and becoming a free agent for a while. The singer has periodically assured fans since then that work is continuing apace on a new project, although she’s been sparing in giving out any details, like who’s producing. (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did her last one, in 2021.) In September, Halsey wrote in an Instagram caption, “Not pictured: me splitting myself in two everyday so that I can give you my deepest wounds (and a handful of perfect joys) for the 5th time in 10 years.” Then, just a few days ago came a new series of photos and the caption: “2023 was the biggest rollercoaster ride of my life. I have learned a lot and I have a lot to say. Looking forward to doing so in 2024. God gave you what you can handle.” One of the photos shows what appears to be a sample floating in a hospital jar, indicating that it’s not just label issues but health issues Halsey has dealt with in the past year. Sounds like there’s no shortage of possible material for the deeply personal material that’s been promised. —Willman

Lil Nas X, TBA (Columbia, date TBD)

Is Dave Chappelle actually a member of Lil Nas X’s promotion squad, rather than an antagonist? The comedian went after the rapper-singer in his New Year’s Eve special, making fun of the sexuality in the “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” video of 2021, including the lapdance with the devil. Lil Nas X quote-tweeted a clip of the comedian’s routine and responded, “Yall gotta let ‘call me by your name’ go, me and the devil broke up 3 years ago. yall acting like children of divorce.” This seemed to hark back to a November post in which Nas posted a short bit of new music and said — playfully or otherwise — “Y’all mind if i enter my christian era ?” Then, this week, he followed that with a promise new music was on the way. “I know it’s been 2 years but….yall ready for a show?” — alongside an image of him sporting a white angel’s wing and wielding a machine gun. A new single and video have been promised for next week. If nothing else, while we wait, we can count on a social media campaign full of provocation and comedy. —Willman

J Balvin, TBA (Universal Latino, date TBD)

J Balvin will be releasing his first full-length album in two years this year after dropping several hints throughout 2023. He has already released the first taste of the record – “Amigos” and the DJ Khaled-featuring “Dientes,” which samples Usher’s 2004 hit “Yeah!” – and is working with producers Mura Masa, Tainy, Mambo Kingz and more. In recent interviews, Balvin has said the album is comprised of vicarious Latin EDM music, Afrobeats and reggaeton. “The album is very advanced, but it’s easy to digest,” he told Nylon. “The flows, the deliveries — all of this is super updated.” Balvin is also reportedly working with Ed Sheeran, though it’s unclear whether their collaboration will be for this record. —Garcia

Elton John, TBA (Date TBD)

With Elton John being off the road for good, he’s had more time to devote to thinking about resuming his studio career, something he let grow fallow after last releasing the T Bone Burnett-produced “Wonderful Crazy Night” a good eight years ago. It would appear he’s gone from one boldface-name producer to another. Although he hasn’t said anything publicly about his next project himself, his friend Pete Townshend mentioned in a recent interview with Clashmusic that Elton had completed an album with the woman who has hailed him as a hero like no other. “Elton is so fraught with loss at not knowing what to do next. He’s just gone over to L.A. to make an album with Brandi Carlile,” Townshend said. “They made an album together in two weeks. He says it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done.” He didn’t specify the nature of the collaboration — it could be a duets album, for all the world knows — but the most likely scenario is that Carlile sat in the producer’s chair, as she’s done for Tanya Tucker (winning several Grammys in the process), Brandy Clark, Lucius and others. Their respective reps have not commented on the report, but without naming Carlile, John teased a new album when he was inducrting Bernie Taupin into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last November, noting that the writing duo recently completed an album that “is going to surprise the shit out of you.” Captain Fantastic, the Brown Dirt Cowboy and the Firewatcher’s Daughter, anybody? —Willman

Camila Cabello, TBA (Interscope, date TBD)

OK, so Camila Cabello hasn’t publicly confirmed a new record from her will arrive in 2024, but she sure has given fans a lot of material to speculate with. The singer shared a series of photos on her Instagram Story late last week of herself in the recording studio, and another picture of her music collaborators, Jasper Harris and El Guincho. She also shared a text message to her mom, where she seemingly described the sound of the record as “slutty, but it’s art.” The record would be the follow-up to her 2022 album, “Familia.” —Garcia

Shakira, TBA (Sony Latin, date TBD)

After releasing a string of successful collaborations with Karol G, Fuerza Regida, Manuel Turizo and Bizarrap in 2023, Shakira has big plans for 2024. The Colombian superstar confirmed she will release a new album and will set out on a global tour – her first since 2017 – in a September interview with Billboard: “I think this will be the tour of my life. I’m very excited. Just think, I had my foot on the brakes. Now I’m pressing on the accelerator ­— hard.” —Garcia

Normani, TBA (Epic, date TBD)

The perennial waiting game continues for Normani, former Fifth Harmony member turned purgatoried solo star. Over the years, she’s released singles like “Motivation” and “Wild Side” here and there, all conveying the promise she has a singer, dancer and full-on entertainer. Yet nothing has materialized, despite claims in 2021 that she had “two, three albums worth of music” sitting in the vault. But last year may have signaled a sea change for Normani, who signed a new management deal with Brandon Creed and Lydia Asrat. A report from Rolling Stone said that “new music [is] on the horizon,” but we’ve heard that before… —Horowitz

Justin Timberlake, TBA (RCA, date TBD)

It’s been nearly six years since Justin Timberlake slapped on his best flannel shirt and ventured into the woods with his fifth album, and one could argue he still hasn’t emerged. Years after the 2004 Super Bowl performance that ravaged Janet Jackson’s mainstream career and left his unscathed, he faced a public reckoning and, finally unable to tune out the noise, issued an apology to both her and ex-girlfriend Britney Spears in 2021, claiming “I know I failed” and that “I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down ever again.” Last year, he reunited with his *NSYNC members to record what was poised to be their comeback with “Better Place,” the lead single off the “Trolls Band Together” soundtrack. However, the Hollywood strikes prevented the group from promoting the film; add the fact that Spears aired some very dirty laundry about his behavior during their relationship. Long story short, everyone may be waiting it out for a more ideal time frame for a JT comeback, even though his longtime collaborator Timbaland raved to Variety about the album last year. “It’s fun Justin,” Timbaland said, likening the sound to “FutureSex/LoveSounds” with a lighter touch. “Just giving you what you’d expect from us: not overthought, the lyrics are not so deep, it’s bob-your-head, dance-to-it music.” —Horowitz

Selena Gomez, TBA (Interscope, date TBD)

Gomez may be deep in her acting phase (as if she ever left it), supplementing a co-starring role on “Only Murders in the Building” with upcoming projects including a reboot of “Working Girl” and the musical comedy “Emilia Perez.” But she recently said she may have just “one more album in me.” After securing a hit with a guest turn on Rema’s “Calm Down (Remix)” and dropping the pulsing “Single Soon” in August, she seemingly revealed (in an Instagram response to a fan) that her next solo album will arrive around February. She also mentioned to Vogue Mexico at the end of last year that there would be “no sad songs” on the record, a little tease of what listeners can expect. —Horowitz

Frank Ocean, TBA (Date TBD)

The only appropriate comment here would probably be a ROFL emoji, because Ocean has made scarcity into an art form all its own. He hasn’t released an album since 2016 or an official single since 2020, and his Coachella performance last year featured some interesting rearrangements but was enough of a debacle for him to cancel the second weekend. There’s been little recent indication that new music is coming, except for some grabbing-at-straws speculation from increasingly frustrated fans. Late last month, some enterprising leaker posted a bunch of songs that were purported to be a scrapped album from 2020 (and featured several of his post-“Blonde” singles), but it was apparently a fan’s creation. Hey, after all these years, it’s better than nothing… —Aswad

Rihanna, TBA (Def Jam, date TBD)

We’re closing in on eight years since Rihanna last dropped an album, and the reality is she doesn’t need to: She’s a billionaire based on her fashion and cosmetics lines alone, the mother of two young children, and her music catalog is already strong enough for her to headline last year’s Super Bowl. Over the course of those eight years, she’s given only hints about the music she was recording; the most substantial update was four or five years ago, when she said she was recording both a pop album and a dancehall album, but who knows where things are at now. Fans will be there whenever she decides to return… if she decides to return. —Earl

Sky Ferreira, ‘Masochism’ (Date TBD)

It’s been more than a decade since Sky Ferreira’s storied, genre-shifting debut full-length “Night Time, My Time,” and what a long, strange decade it has been for the singer. She’s released just two singles in that time amid reports of conflict with her label, Capitol Records — but she apparently parted ways with the company last fall, and although she’s toured regularly, there’s still no sign that the album is imminent. If art is life, “Masochism” is unfortunately living up to its title. —Earl

Kacey Musgraves, TBA (Date TBD)

The honeymoon album’s over — “Golden Hour,” that is. And so’s the divorce album. “Star-Crossed.” So what will Musgraves do for an encore, now that she took us autobiographically through the rise and fall of her marriage, so vividly? Maybe we’ll hear about yet a new chapter in her personal life, or maybe she’ll go back to the kind of John Prine-esque storytelling she did on her first couple of albums. We’re there for it, whether it’s a similar or different trailer park she lands in. Musgraves affiliated herself with Interscope as well as Universal Music Nashville on “Star-Crossed,” but if you think being hooked up with a pop label means she’s moving toward strictly a pop play, we’ve heard the forthcoming album is something that is still very much for her longtime country base. Waiting to find out what she’s bringing us with this one definitely counts as a slow burn. —Willman

Ariana Grande, TBA (Republic, date TBD)

There’s a subtle difference between hiding in plain sight and being in plain sight while hiding, and for the past three years Grande has done a masterful job of the latter. She hasn’t released an album or even a single under her own name since her sixth full-length, “Positions,” dropped in October 2020, but she guested on two massive hits with the Weeknd (remixes of “Save Your Tears” and “Die for You”), appeared on singles with Lizzo, Childish Gambino and Demi Lovato, and of course she’s been hard at work on Universal’s big-screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical “Wicked.” More quietly, she also split with longtime manager Scooter Braun and is now repped by Brandon Creed (who handles Lovato, Troye Sivan, Charli XCX, Mark Ronson and others). And while there was little official word, a series of Instagram posts last year revealed that she’s been hard at work on album number seven with longtime collaborators Max Martin and Ilya Salmanzadeh — posting silent clips of herself singing in the studio (“No snippets this time!”). On Dec. 27, she finally confirmed that the album is coming this year, possibly sooner than later (since she also tagged video director Christian Breslauer and several dancers in that post). Among the photos were ones of herself dancing and another of her weeping in the studio, saying “I’m so tired… But so happy and grateful.” She offered, by way of explanationm “The two moods of the album,” which will presumably reflect a new perspective from the singer, who turned 30 and got divorced in the past year alone. —Aswad

Kate Hudson, TBA (Date TBD)

The actress first revealed she was working on music in an April 2022 Instagram post showing her at a microphone and captioned, “Finally realized it’s time to say f#%! it and saaaannngg!!!!!” Later that year, while promoting “Glass Onion,” Hudson said her debut album would be out in 2023. That didn’t come to fruition, and she’s been quiet about the project lately, but sources say the project is indeed on the docket for 2024. Not many specifics have been revealed, but we do hear Hudson co-wrote every song on the album. And although she signed for management with Sandbox Entertainment, which handles Kacey Musgraves and a number of country stars, the forthcoming debut is said to be in a straight-up pop/rock direction. As December came to a close, she wrote, “Two and a half years in the making. Lock down reminded me to have no creative regrets in life, take chances, don’t let anyone determine why or when you chose to put art in the world, be fearless in moves you make and music is my first creative love story that I would regret not sharing. Might be time… 2024 gonna be fun.” —Willman

Maxwell, ‘Night’ (BMG, date TBD)

Except for Sade, this superlative R&B master may have the music world’s most patient fans. He has released just five albums in almost 28 years, and “Night” is the closing chapter in his “BlackSummers’Night” trilogy that began in 2009 and continued in 2016… and he started teasing this one three years ago. Luckily, Maxwell tours regularly; he even did a “Night” tour last year, even though the album wasn’t out, making a joke about how some of the people in the audience were probably conceived to the song from his 1996 debut album he was about to play. Although he didn’t premiere new material on those dates, it’s a safe bet that the album will include further evolutions of his sumptuous R&B. As with all things Maxwell, “Night” will fall when he decides it’s time.  —Aswad

Billie Eilish, TBA (Interscope, date TBD)

Eilish and her brother/creative partner Finneas have talked about how writing “What Was I Made For?” on assignment for “Barbie” opened up the floodgates after a logjam they’d been experiencing in coming up with material for Eilish’s third full album. Chances are they’ll get through the Oscars cycle before we hear any of it. “There is a whole album of music coming,” Eilish said in September. “We’re in the final stages of making it, so that doesn’t mean it’s about to come out, but it is getting there and it’s very exciting.” In December, appearing on Jimmy Fallon’s show, she further described it as “almost done.” Fans may agree they “don’t know how to feel,” knowing new music is close but not that close. —Willman

Sierra Ferrell, TBA (Rounder, date TBD)

Ferrell was a featured artist on Zach Bryan’s latest album, and in 2024 she’ll be spending much of the month of June opening for him in stadiums, a pretty significant co-sign for her, given Bryan’s current blockbuster mainstream appeal. But roots music enthusiasts are already well aware of her as one of the brightest young lights playing acoustic music — kin of sorts to her pal Billy Strings, as someone who appeals to both traditional bluegrass, country and rock jam-band audiences. A follow-up to her 2021 debut on Rounder, “Long Time Coming,” really does seem like it’s been a long time in arriving from the highly talented West Virginia native. That sophomore effort is rumored to be coming sooner rather than later, to tie in with a spring/summer headlining tour that includes two-night stands at L.A.’s Fonda and Nashville’s Ryman, among other locales, before she joins up with Bryan in ballparks. Her recent appearance at the Grammy Museum, in which she paid tribute to Gram Parsons as well as performing her own material, made it clear that Ferrell has what it takes to bridge the hillbilly/hippie/mainstream divide. —Willman

Maggie Rogers, TBA (Date TBD)

All the way back in May 2022, Rogers revealed she was done. “That’s a wrap on LP3 !!!!” she wrote, alongside photos of recording sessions at Electric Lady Studios in New York, with the assurance that the album was “written + recorded + off to mixing.” In a message sent directly to fans, she said the new material shows her “silliest, most unguarded self” and “sounds like a Sunday afternoon. Worn in jeans, hair undone, a long ride in your favorite car with the windows down.” The actual release of the apparently finished music hasn’t come quite as quickly as fans might have hoped, but Rogers did at least stay in the public musical eye with a Zach Bryan collaboration, “Dawns.” (She also came by Variety’s Hitmakers event last month to introduce her honoree friend, Maren Morris.) Come the turning of the year, she took to social media to preview a snippet of a new song that sounds like it might be called “Don’t Forget Me.” The fandom hasn’t. —Willman

‘Wicked: Part One’ Soundtrack (Date TBD)

Ariana Grande will have more than one new album release in 2024, presumably. It’s not 100% clear how the “Wicked” soundtrack will be handled, since the movie version has been split into two parts. We’d guess the accompanying album will be as well, rather than making the world wait to get the whole shebang when the second volume of the film comes out. Even if it does end up being halved, an album that ends with Grande singing “Defying Gravity” is gonna be pop-u-lahr. —Willman

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