With the first half of the year done and dusted, we look at what pop stars have up their sleeves for the rest of the year — from long-awaited debuts and unexpected comebacks to attempts to beat the sophomore slump.
1. Taylor Swift — Lover (August 23)
We’ve lost track of how many times Taylor Swift has reinvented herself, but it looks like the prolific songwriter — now on her seventh studio album — is regenerating yet again for ‘Lover’. Unlike the slick black-and-white cover art of her last album, ‘Reputation’ — where Swift is staring straight into the camera — the cover of ‘Lover’ takes on a much more saturated, whimsical aesthetic, as Swift turns her gaze downwards amid a cloud of pastel colours. Change is coming.
2. Bon Iver — I, I (August 30)
Indie folk band Bon Iver have likened their upcoming album ‘I, I’ to autumn, as it completes the cycle of seasons that their previous three albums presented. Frontman Justin Vernon called it their “most adult record” yet.
3. Lana Del Rey — Norman [Expletive] Rockwell (August, TBA)
Producer Jack Antanoff has had an extremely successful professional partnership with Taylor Swift. He also co-wrote and produced Lorde’s Melodrama. Now he teams up with Lana Del Rey for the first time on her sixth studio album. Speaking to Zane Lowe, Rey said: “In our first week, I had two songs I just thought were maybe two of the best songs I had written. He just has a lot of truth in him.”
4. Alessia Cara — This Summer (September 6)
Following her critically-loved sophomore album ‘The Pains of Growing’, Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara has announced the follow-up EP ‘This Summer’. “Caught the writing bug out of the blue and made an EP,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’ll be releasing a new track every couple of weeks until its release.”
5. Jax Jones — Snacks (Supersize) (September 6)
‘Snacks (Supersize)’ is a full-length revamp of Jax Jones’ first EP, ‘Snacks’. While the first is filled with deliciously relevant collaborations, including Years & Years, Demi Lovato, and Jones’ biggest hit to date, ‘You Don’t Know Me’ ft. Raye, ‘Supersize’ offers six new songs. These include the Tove Lo collaboration ‘Jacques’ and the Ella Henderson track ‘This is Real’.
6. Iggy Pop — Free (September 6)
‘Free’ will be Iggy Pop’s 18th studio album, exploring post-tour fatigue. The 72-year-old singer describes it as a “uniquely sombre and contemplative” record that follows 2016’s ‘Post Pop Depression’.
7. Charli XCX — Charli (September 13)
It’s always interesting to see when pop stars decide to release a self-titled album, typically a self-assured turning point. Much like on her two previous albums, Charli XCX — born Charlotte Aitchison — is a primary songwriter here. Troye Sivan, Haim, Lizzo and more feature.
8. Goo Goo Dolls — Miracle Pill (September 13)
The crux of Goo Goo Dolls’ upcoming album is collaborations with other songwriters and producers, like Sam Hollander, who has previously worked with Panic! At the Disco, Train, Weezer and One Direction. Frontman John Rzeznik told Spin the album will be “a comment about everyone needing an instant fix, an instant cure for everything” during an “incredibly tumultuous time”.
9. Blink-182 — Nine (September 20)
After Blink-182’s last album ‘California’, guitarist Matt Skiba returned to his band Alkaline Trio, bassist Mark Hoppus started Simple Creatures with All Time Low’s Alex Gaskharth, and drummer Travis Barker focused on solo collaborations. The trio return with the 15-track album ‘Nine’, which features angst-ridden titles such as ‘I Really Wish I Hated You’ and ‘Remember to Forget Me’. The band also worked with songwriter-producer Sam Hollander — who collaborated with the Goo Goo Dolls this year — on the single ‘Happy Days’.
10. Liam Gallagher — Why Me? Why Not. (September 20)
‘Why Me? Why Not.’ is Liam Gallagher’s sophomore solo album, featuring his second-highest-charting solo single to date in the UK, ‘Shockwave’. In a press release, Gallagher said he wanted to focus more on his strengths (“I’m an OK songwriter, but I’m a great singer and frontman.”) The song ‘One of Us’ will feature Gallagher’s 18-year-old son Gene on the bongos.
11. Westlife — Spectrum (November 8)
It’s a boy band comeback! After splitting up in 2011, Westlife are releasing their first album together in nearly 10 years — and they’re doing it in style. ‘Spectrum’ will feature foolproof pop collaborations, including Ed Sheeran and James Bay. Colour us excited.
12. Celine Dion — Courage (November, TBA)
Celine Dion’s last English studio album released in 2013, and shortly after her husband Rene Angelil passed away in 2016, she released a French album ‘Encore un soir’ to critical success. Now, following a Las Vegas residency, Dion is returning with another English record — reportedly featuring a collaboration with David Guetta and Sia — called ‘Courage’. Discussing the title, she said: “I think I went through a lot. And life had given me the tools… to find my inner strength, to find courage, and to keep going.”
13. Cardi B — (TBA)
The follow-up to Cardi B’s hugely successful debut album ‘Invasion of Privacy’ will possibly release this year. She’s already dropped singles ‘Press’ and ‘Money’, which continue to explore themes of privacy, fame and wealth. Cardi B told Variety she’s eager to release her sophomore album this year, adding: “There’s big pressure on me. It’s like, aw snap, what the hell am I gonna come up with?”
14. The Chainsmokers — World War Joy (TBA)
The Chainsmokers are packing half a surprise with their upcoming third album ‘World War Joy’. Cover art shows 10 tracks, but the first five song titles are blacked out. From song six onwards, we see the duo’s already-released singles with Bebe Rexha and 5 Seconds of Summer. We can also see that there will be collaborations with Ty Dolla Sign, Illenium and more. Nonetheless, the first half of the album is a complete mystery.
15. Dua Lipa — (TBA)
Dua Lipa has been riding the massive success of her self-titled debut album. Her sophomore album, arriving two years later, will be influenced by some pretty exciting names — from Nile Rodgers (who features on studio recordings) to Prince and OutKast.
16. Ellie Goulding — (TBA)
Ellie Goulding told Billboard that her upcoming album — her first in four years — will be “very much written by me. “It’s much less collaborative than the last album. It has much more clarity and space. This album is the album of my voice, and my songwriting,” she said.
17. Selena Gomez — (TBA)
It feels like ages since Selena Gomez’s last album ‘Revival’ (2015) released. The singer took her time with her upcoming record, which she recently told Jimmy Fallon was complete. “I think there’s always going to be a sense of strong pop in my music. I definitely explored more with electric guitar, a lot of more soulful tracks underneath things, acoustic guitar,” she added.
18. Louis Tomlinson — (TBA)
Formerly of boy band One Direction, Louis Tomlinson has released several singles as a solo artist, but this will be his first studio album. Influenced by Oasis and Arctic Monkeys, Tomlinson told BBC Music: “My whole mission with this album is to not write these Hollywood-esque songs that talk about some unfathomable crazy love story. I’m so bored of that,” he said.
19. Miley Cyrus — She is Miley Cyrus (TBA)
‘She is Miley Cyrus’ — the singer’s seventh album — will be a complicated affair. It comprises three EPs, six songs each, released in the lead up to the full length-album. They’re titled She is Coming (released in May), She is Here and She is Everything.