Dust off your Walkman, switch on your Game Boy and fire up those Cheers re-runs. If 2019’s projected musical releases are anything to go by, we’ll soon be welcoming an epic mid-90s/early 2000s revival. As we bid farewell to a year of great — and sometimes questionable — music, we bear witness to a cluster of seasoned acts (think Dido, Weezer and the Backstreet Boys) returning to the airwaves with updated material. So, say hello to ‘new year, new me’ — and five new albums to keep you company.
Backstreet Boys — ‘DNA’ (January 25)
As diehard Backstreet Boys fans, we admit: our support has wavered over the last couple of albums. But lately, they have been putting out their best material in ages. The fivesome celebrated their 25th anniversary in top form in 2018. ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘DNA’s’ lead single, has been enjoying ample radio play already since May. By peaking at 63 on the Billboard 100, it became BSB’s highest charting single since ‘Incomplete’ in 2005. The band’s follow-up track ‘Chances’ — co-written by pop golden boys Shawn Mendes and Ryan Tedder — is another certifiable earworm. We can’t wait to see what these guys have in store for us next.
The Cranberries — TBA (TBA)
After lead singer Dolores O’Riordan died unexpectedly in January of 2018, fans wondered if they would ever get another Cranberries record featuring her inimitable warble and timeless voice. The band confirmed they would release one last project featuring O’Riordan, hopefully in early 2019. “After much consideration we have decided to finish what we started. We thought about it and decided that as this is something that we started as a band, with Dolores, we should push ahead and finish it,” they wrote.
Weezer — Weezer (‘The Black Album’) (March 1)
Weezer has been putting out self-titled, colour-coded albums since 1994’s Weezer (The Blue Album), and this latest go-around marks their fifth such record to date. But something about the title — The Black Album — seems particularly consequential, like it could be a milestone for the pop rock group. Weezer’s 2017 record Pacific Daydream received mixed reviews, so it’ll be interesting to see if this swift follow-up can have a stronger impact.
Rihanna — TBA (TBA)
In true Rihanna fashion, she’s been keeping everything about her upcoming release, ‘R9’, hush-hush. But she finally confirmed (in an Instagram comment) that whatever follow-up she has planned to 2016’s ‘Anti’ would be coming in 2019. Rumour has it that the Barbadian pop star is working on not one, but two new records — the first filled with chart-friendly hits, and another that’s more experimental. Count us excited.
Dido — ‘Still on My Mind’ (March 8)
In the age of rapid digital releases, a six-year gap between albums can feel more like a full stop than a semicolon. But a break can do wonders for an artist’s creativity. Dido’s latest release, ‘Still on my Mind’, will follow up on her 2013 album ‘Girl Who Got Away’; she recorded it with brother Rollo, stating: “It was simple, I only wanted to make another album if it was with him.” Most impressively, the English singer will be embarking on her first tour in 15 years. Let’s see what she’s been brewing while she’s been away.