As 2021 fades in the rearview, it’s time to start looking forward. 2022 will hopefully bring us more normalized touring and festivals, while also seeing a number of our favorite artists returning with new work. Whether hip-hop, pop, or indie (or entirely different genres), 2022 will have no shortage of new tunes, and here’s a selection of the most anticipated albums of 2022 that we’re excited about.
After cutting himself free from the chains of life and love on Free 6lack and grappling with his own faults in romance on East Atlanta Love Letter, 6lack is perfecting the next story he wants to tell the world. The singer’s third album is set for release at some point in 2022, and if there’s anything we can expect, it’s another batch of songs backed by strong songwriting and his trademark gloomy and clouded production. 6lack ended 2021 with two singles — “Rent Free” and “By Any Means” — both of which evoked optimism for what he has to offer in the future. – Wongo Okon
We last heard from Arctic Monkeys on 2018’s weird, excitingly experimental Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Despite its left-turn sound for the band, the record still cracked the top 10 of the Billboard albums chart, and signaled a fruitful future for the English rockers. The band has been pretty silent since the conclusion of the album’s accompanying tour, and it would appear that their return is imminent. Drummer Matt Helders confirmed in an interview earlier this year that the Monkeys’ seventh album is just about “ready to go,” saying that fans can expect the project’s sound to “pick up where the other one left off in a way. It makes sense when you think about it in the context of the last record. But we always do try and do something a bit different.” – Zac Gelfand
Pandemic be damned, Bartees Strange was still 2020’s breakout indie star with his incredible debut, Live Forever. The album picked up massive critical acclaim, and when touring returned earlier this year, Bartees was catapulted onto festival stages and support slots alongside the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Courtney Barnett. Rumor has it that the producer/songwriter has been hard at work on the follow-up to Live Forever during breaks on his grinding tour schedule, and that we can expect new music soon. We’ve already heard the new song “Weights,” a Live Forever bonus track that quickly made its way onto our list of the year’s best songs. If that track is any indication of what we can expect from his sophomore album, 2022 is set to be the year of Bartees Strange. – Z.G.
Beach House – Once Twice Melody (2/18)
The gazy pop duo’s first album in four years is following an ambitious rollout. Once Twice Melody’s 18-track’s are being released in four separate chapters. The first two are already out, with part three due out January 19th and then chapter four on February 18th, marking the project’s completion. Singer Victoria LeGrande has said that these songs are her attempt to channel not her personal heartbreak, but that of the whole world’s as we try to emerge from a number of dark years. This is also the first time that the band has featured a live string ensemble, which is a promising advancement, considering their arrangements have always had a layered, cinematic feel to begin with. – Adrian Spinelli
While Beyonce certainly hasn’t been resting on her laurels, the BeyHive is pretty sure that five years since a de facto solo album is long enough. Between her joint album with Jay-Z as The Carters, Everything Is Love in 2018, coordinating and contributing to The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack in 2019, and putting together the Black Is King film in 2020 to go along with The Gift, the biggest pop star in the world has been expanding her vision into many different avenues. But, hey, who can blame us for pinning our hopes on the idea that she’s been steadily and quietly putting together another solo opus all the while? What’s the one thing that could make 2022 feel like a real break from the rest of this pandemic hell? A new Beyonce album. – Caitlin White
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe You (2/11)
Big Thief just won’t quit. 2019 saw the Brooklyn quartet releasing two stellar albums in Two Hands and U.F.O.F. 2020 brought singer Adrianne Lenker’s double solo album in the sublime songs and the hypnotic instrumentals. Then in 2021 guitarist/vocalist Buck Meek released his own solo album of charming Southern folk in Two Saviors. Now the double LP, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You presents 20 new tracks showcasing the band’s chemistry in enacting music from perhaps today’s finest folk lyricist in Lenker. More than a third of the songs have already been released for your listening pleasure, like the beautifully fluttering “Change” and the elated banjo-studded Americana of “Spud Infinity.” – A.S.
Despite how well Cardi has managed to remain a part of the cultural conversation lately, it’s been a while since her last album, her 2018 debut Invasion Of Privacy. She’s brought up her upcoming sophomore LP here and there, but she recently gave a strong indication that it’s finally coming in 2022: In a December video in which she discussed her hectic life, she noted, “I’m in a lot of positions and that requires a lot of my time, and on top of that, I gotta put out this album next year.” – Derrick Rossignol
Charli XCX – Crash (3/18)
Charli XCX kept her fans completely in the loop as she wrote her 2020 album How I’m Feeling Now. But for her 2022 release Crash, the pop singer is keeping things a bit more guarded. Bringing on a new era filled with bold leather, dramatic eyeliner, and blown-out hair, Charli announced Crash is set for a March 18 release and has shared the two disco-infused singles, “Good Ones” and the Christine And The Queens and Caroline Polachek collaboration “New Shapes.” Charli noted in a radio interview on Apple Music 1’s The Chart Show that her upcoming LP “heavily ’80s-inspired.” “There are a lot of uptempo tracks,” she said. “It’s dark, it’s kind of sexy and sexual and sort of demonic at points, I suppose. But then there are lighter moments, too. But yeah, I think the whole record is about my relationship with relationships and sex and power.” – Carolyn Droke
Coi Leray’s rise to fame seemed to occur right when our calendars flipped to 2021 earlier this year. The New Jersey native got a taste of stardom thanks to records like “No More Parties” and “Big Purr (Prrd)” as well as success on TikTok. With a XXL Freshman class inclusion under her belt as well as multiple plaques, the clock is ticking for a new project from Coi Leray. If it arrives in 2022, it’ll be her first body of work since 2020’s Now Or Never, which was quite the appetizer from her thanks to help from Gunna, Kiana Lede, Sevyn Streeter, and more. Coi stepped into the spotlight in 2021, and all she has to do this year is find a way to stay in. – W.O.
Sure, Future Nostalgia is barely two years old this spring. And sure, Dua hasn’t even had the chance to really tour behind it due to the pandemic. And yes, there’s been multiple reworks of the project that surely took up some of her time, like the Club Future Nostalgia take, and my personal favorite, the Moonlight Edition. But even with all of those irons in the fire, that still leaves plenty of time for Dua to have written and recorded her third album! With a potential breakup on the horizon, the freed up schedule of the pandemic, and increasing recognition from her industry and peers, now is the time for Dua to strike. Release that epic third album midway through your world tour, and let the veteran icons know that a new star is ready to ascend. – C.W.
Earl Sweatshirt – Sick (1/14)
When Earl dropped “2010” this past November, the Black Noi$e-produced track called back to the introspective early days of the LA rapper’s career, when on tracks like “Chum,” he lamented the family and slimy media roadblocks that were standing in the way of his budding career. Earl and Alchemist teased a new album from the rapper throughout 2021, citing everything from a hidden album on YouTube under a fake name, to a 21-minute release. Earl set it straight when he announced Sick in December, dropped the no-nonsense “Tabula Rasa” with Armand Hammer and said that the ten songs on the new album created during the pandemic “are what happened when I would come up for air.” – A.S.
Father John Misty – Chloe And The Next 20th Century (4/8)
Over the last few months, Father John Misty has been slowly teasing away at what appears to be his first full-length release since the 2018 album God’s Favorite Customer. First came the reactivation of his social media accounts, which have been mostly silent for the last few years. Then, back in November, he shared a mysterious video on that newly-reactivated account featuring a nighttime cityscape and some reverb-heavy musical ambience. Now, it would seem that fans are receiving vinyl in the mail containing a pitch-shifted voice declaring “Available April 8, 2022 on Sub Pop and Bella Union. Father John Misty’s new album: Chloe And The Next 20th Century.” There still hasn’t been a “conventional” announcement, but when has Father John Misty been one for conventional? – Z.G.
For well over a decade, Future has opened various doors of his artistry to the world. When it’s the truth of his life as Honest presented or a wave of toxicity as he grapples with love on HNDRXX, each album Future presents offers a slight change in the lens from the last one. It’s what makes the impending arrival of his upcoming ninth album so intriguing. What will the Atlanta trap star bring to the table thing time around? A focus on fame, pain, love, or evildoings? Or mix of it all? Whatever it is, we can rest assured knowing that it’ll continue his streak of strong releases. – W.O.
The Forever story is the one.. it’s otw soon I been working for years on dis bit😎I feel good about my growth
— (J.I.D) (@JIDsv) May 29, 2021
We haven’t heard a full-length project from Atlanta-bred Dreamville artist JID in over three years — Spillage Village’s extremely good 2020 group effort Spilligion notwithstanding. While DiCaprio 2 showcased an artist at the absolute peak of his craft, the events of the intervening years have given us all cause for reflection and a wealth of weighty matters to unpack. JID’s already proven adept at addressing tough topics with tracks like “Skeegee” in the past year and with the next wave of Dreamville releases in the wings, he could very well prove once again to be the crew’s standout. – Aaron Williams
Kehlani – Blue Water Road
Since her emergence with her 2014 debut mixtape Cloud 19, Kehlani has gone without releasing an project in a calendar year on three occasions: 2016, 2018, and 2021. It truly speaks to the Oakland native’s consistency and it’s something she looks to continue with her upcoming third album, Blue Water Road. So far, we’ve received it’s lead single “Altar,” a pop-leaning declaration of love, and the confirmation that the album will arrive this winter. With less than three months left until the seasons change, Kehlani’s Blue Water Road could be an early favorite in 2022. – W.O.
It’s been four years since Kendrick Lamar’s last album, DAMN. — practically an eternity in the streaming era. Of course, the delay in following up is perfectly understandable from Kendrick’s perspective. Aside from the obvious global disruption of a deadly pandemic, the Compton rapper must also contend with nearly insurmountable expectations after DAMN. accumulated both the usual assortment of accolades (Grammy nods; critical acclaim) and less than usual ones (a freaking Pulitzer Prize). That’s not the only reason he’s taking his time; his next album will be his final one for TDE, so it’s important that he goes out on top. – A.W.
Khruangbin/Leon Bridges – Texas Moon (2/18)
The union of these native Texan acts really is the best of both worlds. 2020’s Texas Sun EP was like a gift from the sky that met squarely in the middle of Khruangbin’s globally-inspired funk and Bridges’ buttery soul coo. It sure felt like a one-off project that we’d merely turn to in those sun-soaked days on the porch, but lo and behold, its companion piece is now set to drop in February. The foursome have indicated that Texas Moon is indeed the yin to the first edition’s yang: “Without joy, there can be no real perspective on sorrow,” Khruangbin explained. “Without sunlight, all this rain keeps things from growing. How can you have the sun without the moon?” – A.S.
My album been done I’m just a perfectionist so I’m tryna beat out the songs with better songs until the shit just undeniable
— BIG LATTO 🎰 (@Latto) August 10, 2021
Kicking off the run-up to her new album with the “Fantasy”-sampling “Big Energy,” the Uproxx cover artist from Atlanta is already showing growth and experimentation to begin the next phase of her career — the first part she’ll be able to tour behind, as well. And, lest anyone get nervous that she’s wandered too far afield of her comfort zone, she’s made sure to allay those concerns with tracks like “Soufside,” showing she’ll stick to her punchline-slinging trap rap roots even as she strives for the next level of pop stardom. – A.W.
Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert has been promising a handful of new albums ever since releasing his double album Eternal Atake in 2020 after a multi-year delay — or it could just be one album with an ever-evolving title. Whether it’s The Pink Tape, Forever Young, or Luv Is Rage 3, the wait has extended from 2020 into 2022, with a projected Halloween release date scuttled so as to not rush the work. Considering the Philly rapper’s intimation that Eternal Atake was “dumbed down” despite its warm reception from fans, it’s possible that whenever the new album drops, under whatever title it drops, it’ll display new dimensions to his quirky sound. – A.W.
Mitski – Laurel Hell (2/4)
Mitski’s 2018 album Be The Cowboy was one of the best albums of that year, so of course her follow up Laurel Hell is hotly anticipated. The LP is set for an early February release and the singer has already previewed the effort with three singles, showing that she’s is back and better than ever with poetic, heart-tugging lyrics which give an intimate look at the highs and lows of her lust for love. Named after a thicket of poisonous plants in the Appalachian Mountains, Laurel Hell, according to a Rolling Stone interview with Mitski, went through several different genres before landing in a pop-leaning direction. “This album has been a punk record at some point, and a country record,” she said. “Then, after a while, it was like, ‘I need to dance.’ Even though the lyrics might be depressing, I need something peppy to get me through this.” – C.D.
Nilüfer Yanya – Painless (3/4)
UK musician Nilüfer Yanya burst onto the indie scene with her 2019 album Miss Universe and after a series of singles, EPs, tours, and TV performances, Yanya is set to make a grand return with her sophomore studio album Painless. Out in late March this year, Painless is set to feature the singer’s textured, lilting vocals while taking a more direct sonic approach. So far, Yanya has shared the full track list and cover art to the new album along with her lead single “Stabilise,” a song which boasts rapid-fire instrumentation and musings on the monotony of city life. As a whole, though, Yanya says in press materials that Painless is a “record about emotion” in which she’s not scared to admit her feelings. “I think it’s more open about that in a way that Miss Universe wasn’t because there’s so many cloaks and sleeves with the concept I built around it,” she said. – C.D.
Rihanna responds to paparazzi asking if she has any new music coming:
“Soon, soon, soon.” https://t.co/K5IaISXm94
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) December 3, 2021
Rihanna has been endlessly teasing the release of her ninth album for years. So much so, it’s even turned into a joke that she’s fully aware of. But if everything goes according to plan, it looks like 2022 is the year R9 finally arrives. While she’s notoriously tight-lipped about her new music, Rihanna has said her album is going to be “completely different.” Based on previous interviews and a collaborative song teased by Skylar Gray, all signs point to Rihanna pivoting to a Reggaeton-inspired sound. “Whatever you know of Rihanna is not going to be what you hear,” she told Billboard. “I’m really experimenting. Music is like fashion. You should be able to play. I should be able to wear whatever I want. I treat music the same way. So I’m having fun and it’s going to be completely different.” – C.D.
next year late summer https://t.co/bDCPYl9Gbe
— RINA SAWAYAMA #DYNASTYEXPERIENCE (@rinasawayama) September 21, 2021
Rina Sawayama’s 2020 album Sawayama cemented her status as a buzzworthy pop star, boosted her fanbase, and earned her a number of accolades. That’s why many have been impatiently awaiting any news of a new release from the UK pop singer. And based on a series of tweets from September, the wait won’t be too much longer. Though she hasn’t yet officially revealed the title or date of her upcoming LP, Sawayama did confirm that her next project is set to arrive in late summer of 2022. The singer said her LP won’t be highly refined as it was written in “1/20th of the time of the first one.” She noted that she’s “working with some producers [she’s] always dreamed of” and cannot for the life of her “write a heterosexual love song.” – C.D.
Rosalía – Motomami
While 2018’s El Mal Querer was Rosalía’s second album, it was undoubtedly her breakthrough. The Spaniard effectively took the flamenco pop sound mainstream, winning the Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album, as well as the Latin Grammy for Album Of The Year. Suffice it to say, the stakes are high for Motomami and she’s poised to go big in every way. Like on the official first single from the album, “La Fama,” which features The Weeknd and a wild video with Danny Trejo that would make Robert Rodriguez proud. – A.S.
Sky Ferreira – Masochism
2022 marks almost a full decade since Sky Ferreira dropped her debut album Night Time, My Time. Since then, Ferreira has regularly been promising the release of her sophomore album Masochism is coming soon, citing difficulties with her health and her label as the cause for continued delays. Back in 2019, she released the single “Downhill Lullaby,” which seemed to indicate that Masochism was actually ready. Three years and zero new songs later, Ferreira is once again claiming that the album will finally drop in 2022. “Top 5 most anticipated albums of 2022 @Stereogum,” she wrote on Instagram. “(it happens every year, but it’s actually coming out this time).” – Z.G.
Spoon – Lucifer On The Sofa (2/11)
Spoon does everything well. The Austin staples fronted by Britt Daniel have been one of the tightest units in indie for the past 25 years. When their 10th album and follow-up to 2017’s well-received Hot Thoughts is released, it will end the longest period the band has gone without releasing an album. For Lucifer On The Sofa, Daniel and company moved back to Texas to write and record and were feeding off the energy they built from years of touring Hot Thoughts. Daniel told NME that rather than recording demos and using that as a starting point, they tried to channel the magic that they were finding on stage: “You’re not figuring out the song as you record it: You figure it out, then you record it.” First single “The Hardest Cut” features a furious guitar part that Daniel refers to as “the Texas riff” and it’s a fresh wrinkle in their always impeccable sound. – A.S.
Recorded w lizzo til 5 last night .. very pure experience. Always a vibe .Really love my fren🥺
— SZA (@sza) March 11, 2021
For seemingly the third or fourth consecutive year, SZA fans will begin a new year with the hope that TDE’s first lady will grace them with a new body of work in 2022. For what it’s worth, the past year and a half has been the most active period for SZA since she released her 2017 debut Ctrl. She delivered a trio of singles with “Hit Different” alongside Ty Dolla Sign, “Good Days,” and “I Hate U.” If there’s any year in the past half-decade that points to good signs of a SZA album en route, 2022 is the one. – W.O.
After a massive breakthrough with his second studio album, Bloom, back in 2018, Troye Sivan has been biding his time for the follow-up. Focusing on a a shorter EP in 2020, In A Dream built up more dream-pop synths and yearning lyrics. But he released a string of new singles last year, like a collaboration with Regard and Tate McRae on “You,” and the adoring “Angel Baby,” paving the way for a full-length in 2022. Between quarantine romances and pandemic-induced loneliness, listeners around the world could really use more polished, romantic pop from one of Australia’s brightest stars. – C.W.
Before dropping Vince Staples, his eponymous third studio album, in July, the Long Beach rapper had been teasing numerous new projects to be released in the coming year. Circumstances being what they are, it makes sense that he wasn’t able to follow through on these designs — but that just gives fans more to look forward to in 2022. While we were never quite sure whether the full project Vince had supposedly completed with Alchemist was the same one he teased prior to the release of Vince Staples, the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to Vince, who takes delight in defying expectations. – A.W.
The Weeknd – Dawn FM (1/7)
In October 2021, The Weeknd noted his impending After Hours follow-up was just “a couple characters that are key to the narrative” short of being finished. He then started 2022 by not-so-subtly hinting that he’s just about ready to drop the project. It didn’t take long for him to return with some more substantial, concrete, and exciting info: Dawn FM, as it is titled, is dropping on January 7. Jim Carrey, who is featured on the project, has already heard it and declared it’s “deep and elegant.” – D.R.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg (4/8)
The next big thing? Here it is. The debut album on Domino Records from Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg comes on the heels of earth-shattering singles like “Chaise Lounge” and “Wet Dream.” The post-punk matter-of-factness of singers Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers comes across like recent London revelations Dry Cleaning, but with a far more playful streak. And they totally rip. Big basslines lean up against sticky guitar hooks and F Yeah lyrics like “Is your mother worried? Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?” This is the stuff right here, man. – A.S.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.