Over the last year, we’ve been fortunate enough to receive not one, but two new albums from pop heavyweights Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. Which got us thinking… who haven’t we heard from lately? With new innovative ways to consume music thanks largely to the introduction of streaming, the traditional album cycle rulebook has been ripped up. These days artists are either dropping surprise releases out of nowhere when inspiration strikes, or meticulously crafting a body of work over a couple of years. With a great deal of appreciation for both approaches, we thought it’d be nice to check in with a few key players who haven’t released an album in a hot minute.
While the likes of Drake, Lewis Capaldi, and Billie Eilish have been teasing new material for a while now, others have been a bit more secretive. Yup we’re looking at you Rihanna (please don’t come for us, or do, we miss you badgalriri). It’s impossible to say for sure whether or not all of these albums will actually come out this year, but the hype is still well and truly alive.
We’re waiting for Rihanna, Kendrick, and Drake to drop a new album… hbu? pic.twitter.com/SatyP1sRR3
— iconsandgiants (@iconsandgiants) March 23, 2021
It seems only fitting to kick things off with @badgirlriri. Not to be loud, but it’s been over five years now since Robyn Rihanna Fenty dropped her last album Anti. Originally slated for release in 2019, then 2020, will 2021 finally be the year we get R9? The fans are starving. Hitting her up on social media daily, despite her keeping them in check with the occasional sassy response. As much as we are obsessed with her one-woman beauty and fashion empire, our Spotify playlists are well overdue for a new Riri banger.
Lately, the anticipation for R9 has been at an all time high, following the rumour that she also has a new documentary in the works. In a recent interview, Rihanna also revealed that quarantine has helped her “creativity blossom” and that in 2021 she wants to “take [her] music and brands to a different level.” Finally some crumbs! We will gladly take them.
riddle me this. if they can find a vaccine for covid, how come scientists haven’t already found the new rihanna album 🤔
— Naomi (@flurtcobain) February 20, 2021
When Lorde took her trip to Antarctica in 2019, she didn’t just return with her musical “palette cleansed”, she also came back with album news. Since the release of her 2017 sophmore masterpiece Melodrama, she ditched all social media (apart from reigniting her onion rings Instagram account of course), and made it clear that she was taking some time off to chill and find new subject matter to write about. After this break was extended following the death of her beloved dog Pearl, she announced in a new email to her fans back in May last year, that her third album was in fact underway with BFF and Melodrama producer Jack Antonoff.
She wrote, “I started going back to the studio again in December , just for something to do, and to my surprise, good things came out. Happy, playful things… The work is so f&#king good.” OMG! We’re so f&#king excited.
what can i say? the answer is still no, lorde did not release a new album
— did lorde release a new album today (@DidLorde) March 19, 2021
It seemed like the wait for a new album was over after Kendrick Lamar was announced as a headliner for Glastonbury 2020. But since the pandemic put a halt on any live music, there’s only been whispers from him ever since. It’s been 1,439 days (at time of writing) since Kendrick dropped 2017’s DAMN, and all eyes are on the rap-genius to give us a sign of life. But quality takes time. Speaking in an interview with i-D in October last year, Kendrick said, “I spend the whole year just thinking about how I’m gonna execute a new sound, I can’t do the same thing over and over. I need something to get me excited. I see you get frustrated sometimes because you want some new sh*t.”
With the lyric, “when I leave, even my shadow got a sound to it” on his verse on 2020 collab ‘Look Over Your Shoulder,’ with Busta Rhymes, no body knows the pressure of topping his own work than Kung Fu Kenny himself. Whatever, and whenever he decides to drop, our notifications are on.
A Kendrick Lamar album would save the world right now
— This Is Hip Hop (@ThisIsHipHop2) March 18, 2021
After a whirlwind 2019, Billie didn’t slow down in 2020. Making it no secret that her and her brother Finneas were continuing to work hard in their home studio during isolation, Billie released a bunch of singles including the James Bond theme song ‘No Time To Die,’ the lowkey diss track ‘Therefore I Am’, ‘my future,’ and ‘everything i wanted’, which casually went on to win Record of the Year at the 2021 Grammys.
During her annual interview with Vanity Fair back in December, she revealed that her and Finneas were crafting 16 songs for her sophomore LP, before going on to say that she loves all of them. And if anything screams gearing up for an album release, it’s a new haircut. Do the new blonde locks mean a new era is upon us? Only time will tell…
me tryna figure out when billie eilish is gonna drop her new album pic.twitter.com/E97PGtwIcZ
— Gaby (@aflairytale) March 17, 2021
It’s been over two months since Lewis Capaldi left social media and life hasn’t quite been the same since. The internet certainly misses his self deprecating humour, being informed about his bowel movements, and watching his songs rise up the charts faster than it takes ya local bottomless brunch to get booked out on the weekend. Back in August of last year, he joked that he wouldn’t be releasing any new music in 2020 because people “have suffered enough”. But 2021 is here, and he has promised that he will indeed be dropping his second album later this year despite preaching that, “most people that have a very successful first album go on to have an absolute shocker of a second one.”
In his last note before his hiatus he wrote the delightful message, “I’ll see you big lovely bastards later in the year with some new music that I imagine will be universally panned by critics and will fail to be as commercially successful as my last outing. Thus spelling the beginning of the end of the 15 minutes of fame, that quite frankly, I never deserved in the first place.” No pressure, or anything!
See you all later in the year with a new album to shove down your throats ❤️x pic.twitter.com/ed9O3UQOnX
— Lewis Capaldi (@LewisCapaldi) January 4, 2021
After being uncharacteristically quiet in 2020 (except for ‘Toosie Slide’, and the warm up Dark Lane Demo Tapes), it’s hard to remember that Drake hasn’t actually released a full-length project since 2018’s monumental Scorpion. After his sixth studio album Certified Lover Boy was delayed from January 2021 due to recovering from knee surgery, he’s well and truly back on his feet after setting the Billboard Hot 100 ablaze securing the top 3 spots with all three tracks from surprise EP Scary Hours 2. Skipping the main and ordering dessert is a ballsy move, but one a waiter wouldn’t even question after seeing Drake behind the menu.
Although CLB is still yet to materialise, Drizzy did mention on OVO Sound Radio that “it’s in the pot and it’s coming soon.” As he continues to serve up the fresh love-heart shaped fade to signal a new era, we can’t help but wake up every day hoping we finally have a new release date for an album that’s no doubt going to be one of the biggest of the year.
Us waiting on Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole to drop new albums pic.twitter.com/kXV58tnESX
— XXL Magazine (@XXL) March 23, 2021