LOS ANGELES | Music fans, it is time to bid adieu to the sunny, slow summer months, and welcome fall — historically, one of the busiest times in the calendar year for new albums, EPs, and mixtapes.
Trends have already begun to reveal themselves: Some of the biggest names in pop (and in pop’s future) are gearing up for back-to-school releases. A-listers are returning after years. Country legends are taking on new genres. And hip-hop heavyweights are back in full force.
Others defy categorization — like a new Pretenders record (“Relentless”), the swoon-worthy “Live for Me” EP from Omar Apollo, and Steve Aoki’s “HiROQUEST: Double Helix” — and even more have yet to be announced. Take a look at what’s in store with The Associated Press’ 2023 fall music preview — a collection of releases scheduled to arrive between September and November.
After a summer full of superstar tours — Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Drake among them — surely, it’s time to dive deep into a new hook or two. The season is stacked: Olivia Rodrigo will drop her highly anticipated sophomore album. Kylie Minogue’s more than “Padam Padam,” with her new athletic-pop album “Tension.” Doja Cat’s “Scarlet” arrives.
Ed Sheeran has seemingly run out of mathematical symbols to name albums after and will return with an autumnal release. After HBO’s “The Idol,” Troye Sivan gears up to release his third full-length album. If the rest of the tracks contain songs half as sexy as the football chant homoeroticism of the lead single “Rush,” listeners are in for a treat.
BTS member V will release his debut solo album; Korean American popstar Eric Nam will drop another self-released record, centered on a pandemic-induced existential crisis.
Demi Lovato is reimagining some of her pop tune as rock anthems; Taylor Swift’s re-recording series continues with “1989 (Taylor’s Version.)”
As for ones to watch: Chappell Roan, your favorite pop star from the future, will release her debut album. Madrileño Ralphie Choo is also gearing up for his debut, and La Doña’s new EP promises to weave together cumbia, salsa, oldies and reggaeton.
Sept. 8: Olivia Rodrigo, “Guts” Sept. 8: V, “Layover” Sept. 8: Eric Nam, “House on a Hill” Sept. 15: Demi Lovato, “Revamped” Sept. 15: Ralphie Choo, “Supernova” Sept. 15: La Doña, “Can’t Eat Clout” Sept. 22: Kylie Minogue, “Tension” Sept. 22: Doja Cat, “Scarlet” Sept. 22: Chappell Roan, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” Sept. 29: Ed Sheeran, “Autumn Variations” Oct. 13: Troye Sivan, “Something to Give Each Other” Oct. 27: Taylor Swift, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)”
Blink, and you might miss a shifting release date: In 2022, rumors swirled that Kid Cudi would take a hiatus from music making. They proved to be just that — rumors — and a new album was announced for September. However, a little over a week before it was scheduled to arrive, the rapper announced the release would be pushed back to January.
A few days later, Drake announced a release date for his highly anticipated eighth studio album, “For All the Dogs.” Are the days of dropping records without warning behind him?
Elsewhere, Vic Mensa has explored social work, sobriety, Ghana and himself, leading to an ambitious and self-reflective new record.
The legendary Gucci Mane returns; Chief Keef is also back.
Flo Milli’s forthcoming album delivers her idiosyncratic — at times, absurdist — and certainly hard-as-hell raps. South African rapper Nasty C continues his global growth.
And that’s not even including all of the surprise releases that may drop in the next few weeks.
Sept. 15: Vic Mensa, “Victor” Sept. 15: Nasty C, “I Love It Here” Sept. 22: Drake, “For All the Dogs” Oct. 13: Gucci Mane, “Breath of Fresh Air” Oct. 13: Chief Keef, “Almighty So 2” TBD: Flo Milli, “Fine Ho, Stay” Delayed until January: Kid Cudi, “Insano”
Reinvention and experimentation is in the air. Willie Nelson will release his first bluegrass record; Dolly Parton will release her first rock album.
Ashley McBryde will release her fourth studio album, and if the single “Light on in the Kitchen” is any indication, we can’t wait for more mandolin.
Reba McEntire returns with her first album in five years; a few months post-Super Bowl anthem performance, Chris Stapleton is back. Margo Price preps a double album in three acts.
Sept. 8: Ashley McBryde, “The Devil I Know” Sept. 15: Willie Nelson, “Bluegrass” Oct. 6: Reba McEntire, “Not That Fancy” Oct. 13: Margo Price, “Strays ll” Nov. 10: Chris Stapleton, “Higher” Nov. 17: Dolly Parton, “Rockstar”
Cool air and a heavy riff — few partnerships make more sense. For metalheads, it is a stacked season: Baroness and Cannibal Corpse return, as do Pittsburgh punks Code Orange.
For the alternative crowd: Poppy continues her Nine Inch Nails-inspired industrial streak, Beartooth’s melodic screamo powers on and Jared Leto ‘s Thirty Seconds to Mars bring an optimistic take on the apocalypse.
Deftones fans will have to continue to wait for a new record from the only nu-metal act able to transcend the limitations of that genre — the California band is celebrated for taking an artful approach to a musical genre most commonly associated with backwards baseball caps and machismo. In the meantime, they can enjoy a new one from ††† (Crosses), the dark wave side project of frontman Chino Moreno and Far guitarist Shaun Lopez.
Sept. 15: Baroness, “Stone” Sept. 15: Thirty Seconds to Mars, “It’s the End of the World but It’s a Beautiful Day” Sept. 22: Cannibal Corpse, “Chaos Horrific” Sept. 29: Code Orange, “The Above” Oct. 13: ††† (Crosses), “Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete” Oct. 27: Poppy, “Zig”
Indie’s not dead
At some point in the last few years, “indie” has morphed into a genre designation (think Taylor Swift’s “folklore” and “evermore”) instead of shorthand for “independent” artists — you know, acts who self-release their own music and/or work with a niche record label. Despite that confusion, truly “indie” releases aren’t going anywhere, with forthcoming releases from established voices Sufjan Stevens (Asthmatic Kitty Records), Teenage Fanclub (Merge) and Wilco (released on the band’s dBpm Records).
Nostalgia runs deep for Puerto Rican reggae artist PACHYMAN, who preps the sentimental “Switched-On” for a late September release. Lead single “Trago Coqueto” is all vintage Korg Poly-800 synths and sunshine.
Most fascinating of all are the newer class of talents, driven by women: Mitski (Dead Oceans), Cherry Glazerr (Secretly Canadian), L’Rain (Mexican Summer), Vagabon (Nonesuch), and the Indonesian power-pop-punk group GRRRL Gang (Kill Rock Stars).
Sept. 15: Vagabon, “Sorry I Haven’t Called” Sept. 15: Mitski, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” Sept. 22: Teenage Fanclub, “Nothing Last Forever” Sept. 22: GRRRL Gang, “Spunky!” Sept. 29: Wilco, “Cousin” Sept. 29: PACHYMAN, “Switched-On” Sept. 29: Cherry Glazerr, “I Don’t Want You Anymore” Oct. 6: Sufjan Stevens, “Javelin” Oct. 13: L’Rain, “I Killed Your Dog”
Nostalgia rules the entertainment industry, but that doesn’t necessarily make for derivative work. Often, it means celebrating the artists we love after years of inactivity, or a simply a break between albums. Such is the case in this grouping. Diddy will release his first full-length album since 2006’s “Press Play.”
In fact, it’s a strong season for R&B returns: Jorja Smith will release her first album since 2018; Jamila Woods follows up 2019’s “Legacy! Legacy!” with “Water Made Up.”
Elsewhere, the Bruce Springsteen-approved New Jersey band The Gaslight Anthem will release their first album in nearly a decade, “History Books.”
And Nicki Minaj, leader of the Barbz, will bring back with “Pink Friday” franchise with “Pink Friday 2,” her fifth full-length album and first since 2018’s “Queen.”
Sept. 15: Diddy, “The Love Album: Off the Grid” Sept. 29: Jorja Smith, “Falling or Flying” Oct. 13: Jamila Woods, “Water Made Us” Oct. 27: The Gaslight Anthem, “History Books” Nov. 17: Nicki Minaj, “Pink Friday 2”