Every year, the excitement for new music is palpable—and rightfully so. With 2020 just beginning, a decade of brand new music is on the horizon. The songs will define a new generation, break records, and document the rise of groundbreaking artists.
To kickstart this promising year, here are some stunning albums we’re already loving (and some others that we’re bound to love) in 2020.
1. Selena Gomez, ‘Rare’ (Jan. 10)
Selena Gomez has finally returned with her new album ‘Rare’—her first release since 2015’s ‘Revival.’ After her highly-publicized health struggles and breakups, she shows a new side to her persona. When she debuted the album’s first single ‘Lose You To Love Me,’ we knew we were in for something much bigger than the everyday chart-toppers. She overcomes all of her tribulations with a pop star flare, something we love to see from the 27-year-old. ‘Rare’ is perseverance, strength, and vulnerability all wrapped into one cosmic force—and it’s Selena at her most powerful.
2. Halsey, ‘Manic’ (Jan. 17)
Halsey has mastered the art of dark-pop. She stays true to her story and doesn’t pander to the audiences that want women to be silent. In her new album ‘Manic,’ she dives into the darkness of heartbreak, and its aftermath. She uncovers its raw intensity with her unique vocals and clever lyrics. One of the album’s singles ‘clementine‘ says it all: “I don’t need anyone/I just need everyone and then some,” she croons. Halsey conveys what it means to be lonely despite wanting independence and to love someone when that’s what is damaging us most. ‘Manic’ is most likely the breakup album to blast when we’re feeling at our lowest—it’ll lift us up and make us feel less alone because Halsey understands.
3. Kesha, ‘High Road’ (Jan. 31)
There is no one who likes to empower their listeners more than Kesha. After her previous album ‘Rainbow’ earned her a Grammy nomination, she’s bound to wow us. Judging from her recently released singles ‘My Own Dance,’ and ‘Raising Hell’ she is back to her old booming pop roots with a little twist. While ‘Rainbow’ dabbled in folk-pop, ‘High Road’ gives us the sassy Kesha from her early ‘TiK ToK’—but she’s stronger than she was then. She’s more assured of herself and fighting for her place in a cutthroat, male-dominated music industry—and we can’t wait to hear more.
4. Louis Tomlinson, ‘Walls’ (Jan. 31)
Louis Tomlinson‘s solo debut has been a highly-anticipated one among loyal One Direction fans. He’s spent the past few years releasing singles, dabbling in a handful of collabs alongside well-known artists like Steve Aoki and Bebe Rexha. But now, it’s his turn to do it on his own and it’s already proved to be promising. His most recent singles ‘Don’t Let It Break Your Heart,’ ‘Kill My Mind,’ and ‘Two of Us’ all showcase a rockier edge rather than the upbeat pop he settled himself in. When the world’s biggest boyband thrived, Louis became known for his stellar songwriting chops, writing the majority of their songs during their five-year run. There’s no doubt ‘Walls’ is guaranteed to have tattooable lyrics.
5. BTS, ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ (Feb. 21)
With the new decade beginning, a new boyband will need to dominate—and it definitely won’t be One Direction. BTS will gladly take that crown. The K-pop band have already solidified their place as superstars, collaborating with other well-known pop stars like Charli XCX and Halsey following their epic rise in the U.S. They dazzle with their high-energy pop songs and upbeat choreographed performances, something we don’t see often from today’s boybands. BTS isn’t planning to stop anytime soon—their next LP ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ will be released Feb. 21.
6. Lauv, ‘How I’m Feeling’ (Mar. 6)
We’ve already gotten a decent taste of Lauv‘s sophomore album ‘How I’m Feeling’ but there’s more to come. He’s released a handful of tracks including ‘Tattoos Together,’ ‘Mean It’ and ‘fuck, i’m lonely.’ These singles allowed us a chance to travel back to the singer’s ‘I Like Me Better’ days—soft pop-perfection. Lauv touches on love, emotions, and everything in between with an easy demeanor. He doesn’t intimidate with overly-masculine lyrics and hard beats, it’s packaged and delivered with gentleness. It’s not often we see emotional vulnerability with an edge of softness from male pop stars—but Lauv offers it wholeheartedly.
7. The 1975, ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ (Apr. 24)
Anything The 1975 put out we’re excited for. Since their groundbreaking album ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ wowed critics in 2018, they’re ready to make waves with their next release. ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ is already defying what we’re used to seeing from the band—if their single ‘People’ is anything to go by. But they’ve also managed to circle back to their usual roots with ‘Frail State Of Mind,’ a fast-paced electronic jam that delves into loneliness. It’s reminiscent of the band’s 2016 album ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.’ There are also glimpses of early 2000s rock in their recent single ‘Me & You Together Song,’ a welcomed sound that we’re hoping the group explores further.
8. Niall Horan (TBD)
Niall Horan has been teasing a new record for a while now. Last year, he released his first single ‘Nice To Meet Ya’ since his solo debut in 2017—and it means something epic is about to arrive. His most recent track ‘Put A Little Love On Me’ is emotional, and unveils Niall’s ability to be vulnerable. His debut LP ‘Flicker’ proved his promise as an artist who could stand on his own, something most members of famous groups struggle with. While the album’s release date is yet to be announced, the former One Direction member has already planned a world tour alongside Lewis Capaldi and Fletcher, setting to the tone for an adventurous year.
9. Dua Lipa, ‘Future Nostalgia’ (TBD)
Dua Lipa had one hell of a breakthrough when she dominated with her single ‘New Rules.’ She won Best New Artist at the 2019 Grammys and became one of the most in-demand artists in pop music. So it’s no surprise the expectations for her sophomore LP are through the roof. Can she top a year of absolute chart-toppers? The answer: Of course, she can. She’s already shifted her sound—’Don’t Start Now’ is a groovy tune that differs greatly from her debut. And now, with the ‘Future Nostalgia’—also the album’s title track—she’s full of attitude, and upbeat pop. Dua defies the men trying to bring her down as she rasps, “No matter what you do, I’m gonna get it without ya/I know you ain’t used to a female alpha.” That line alone makes us want to follow Dua until the very end.