Could this be the summer of surprise album releases?
With the announcement of Taylor Swift’s latest full-length, the season finally has new music from a pop superstar, to go along with anticipated releases from The Black Keys, The Lumineers and Ed Sheeran. But the list of rumored albums – records where artists have mentioned them in interviews, or released studio photos on Instagram – is outrageous. Will we see a new album from Chance the Rapper in July? Any more word on the to-be-announced Lady Gaga record? Run the Jewels? Lana Del Rey? A Lana Del Rey/Run the Jewels collaborative album that we’re now wishing into existence?
As of Wednesday, these are the albums and the concerts that we’re looking forward to — even if, as always, these lists are subject to change.
The Black Keys, “Let’s Rock” (June 28): The five-year gap between Keys albums that ends with “Let’s Rock” is the longest of the duo’s career. The band kept it simple, collaborating only with two backup singers, playing all the instruments and producing the record.
Machine Gun Kelly, “Hotel Diablo” (July 5): The Cleveland rapper’s first three albums made the Billboard Top 10, and 2016’s track “Bad Things,” a duet with Camila Cabello went platinum twice. He also appeared in the Mötley Crüe biopic “The Dirt” earlier this year.
Tycho, “Weather” (July 12): The electronic producer is said to be incorporating more vocals in his new effort, and singles “Japan” and “Pink & Blue” both feature the singing of Saint Sinner. His last album, “Epoch,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronica Album.
Ed Sheeran, “No. 6 Collaborations Project” (July 12): The British artist released “No. 5 Collaborations Project” in 2011, while he was looking for a label. Needless to say, the guest roster has changed a bit, with the first two singles featuring Justin Bieber and Chance the Rapper.
Kool Keith, “KEITH” (July 12): the Bronx MC is one of the most prolific of any era; including his alter-egos, this will be six albums in six years, along with two collaborative albums and three mixtapes.
Taylor Swift, “Lover” (Aug. 23): The August release is Swift’s seventh full-length album over 13 years. The album’s second single, “You Need to Calm Down,” has split online critics, with some appreciating her anti-homophobia sentiment, while others wondering if her Pride month release is more calculated for publicity than allyship.
Raphael Saadiq, “Jimmy Lee” (Aug. 23): It’s been eight years since Saadiq released his own album, but he’s been busy; he’s produced songs for Solange, Miguel, Mary J. Blige and Andra Day during that time. He’s also become a go-to music composer for film and TV, as well, working on HBO’s “Insecure,” among others.
Tanya Tucker, “While I’m Livin’” (Aug. 23): The country legend releases her 25th album in August, her first of original music since 2002. For the record, Tucker collaborated with country rocker Shooter Jennings and alt-country singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile.
Tool, [TBA] (Aug. 30): The hard rock quartet has reached its worldwide superstar status on the back of just four albums, with the last one released in 2006. And with rumors of this record going back more than five years, you would be excused for waiting to believe in its existence only when it shows up on your streaming outlet of choice.
The Lumineers, “III” (Sept. 13): The Denver band returns with its appropriately-titled third album, which also features three main characters and three “chapters.” It’ll be backed by a world tour that, on its first leg, at least, will miss New York City (though the band appears at Alt 92.3’s Summer Open on June 22).
Charli XCX, “Charli” (September 13): It’s been five years since XCX’s last album (though she released a mixtape in 2017), and it seems like part of that time may have just been spent trying to clear all of her collaborators’ schedules. “Charli” has 15 tracks, nine of which credit another artist as featuring, including Lizzo, Haim, Big Freedia and Troye Sivan.
Pixies, “Beneath the Eyrie” (Sept. 13): The alt-rock pioneers are putting into the world their third album since their 2004 reunion. That’s only one fewer albums than the band’s output before splitting up in the early ’90s.
Chance the Rapper and Lana Del Rey: They, along with a host of others, are talking about summer projects, but don’t have official street dates. This could be the summer of the surprise release.