Now that music festivals and stadium tours are back, all the pop fans are celebrating long-awaited chances to sing along to Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia tour, or plot glittery outfits to attend Lady Gaga’s Chromatica ball. But anticipation for new music is reaching a fever pitch as well. Over the last few years, the amount of excellent new music that rising and veteran pop stars are putting into the universe is staggering, and perhaps the rise of #poptimism is contributing to a new range of artists feeling freer than ever to speak, and sing, their truths. Here’s our picks for some of the best new pop albums that are coming out this spring, and considering the names on this lineup, sounds like it’s going to be a helluva a year.
Hatchie, Giving The World Away
Release Date: April 22
After breaking out with her debut album, Keepsake, in 2019, Hatchie is following that record up with a strong sophomore effort. We’ve already heard four singles off Giving The World Away, and her pivot to full-blown pop couldn’t be more welcome — so much so that it earned her an entry on this list. Given the fact that this record will be out in just a few days, it’s easy to keep things short with Hatchie. She’s one of the most talented new songwriters of the indie-pop set, and her second album will be the perfect addition to pop playlists this summer.
Kehlani, Blue Water Road
Release Date: April 29
Aside from collaborating with Justin Bieber, Syd, Jessie Reyez, and even Thundercat, Kehlani is beloved because she’s one of the driving forces who is bringing R&B sounds back into the pop mainstream. Her musical interests are diverse, as the tracklist for Blue Water Road reveals, but the core of every project from the soulful artist is a classic R&B sound that has danced in and out of the limelight for years. With Kehlani, it’s firmly back in the forefront, and when this album drops in just a few days, get ready to hear Kehlani everywhere.
Sigrid, How To Let Go
Release Date: May 6
Following up one of the cleanest, sharpest pop debuts of 2019, Sigrid seemed to all but disappear during the pandemic and 2020-2021. Then, she slowly made her way back into the spotlight, first by collaborating with rising UK pop star, Griff, then by dropping a new single of her own. Soon after “It Gets Dark” came out, Sigrid shared the news that her second album, How To Let Go would be out on May 6. If the retro-glam, bombastic vibes of “It Gets Dark” are anything to go off of, then Sigrid’s sophomore project is going to be a dramatic, cosmic follow-up to Sucker Punch.
Harry Styles, Harry’s House
Release Date: May 20
Given the success of “As It Was,” a comeback single of sorts for Harry Styles, which immediately went straight to No. 1, his third album is going to be a smash hit. Harry’s House is due out just before summer, toward the end of May, and is actually a pretty quick follow-up to Fine Line, which came out just days before 2020 began. Over the last few years and months, often boxed out by pandemic delays, Harry has been touring behind the record, amassing the kind of cult following that rivals the last British boy band to win over American hearts. Okay, well maybe One Direction wasn’t quite as big as The Beatles, but Harry’s success as a solo star is definitely on pace to eclipse his old band. And given how beloved 1D was during their tenure, that’s really saying something. Fans will likely get another preview of Harry’s House during Coachella this weekend,
Lykke Li, Eyeye
Release Date: May 20
While Lykke Li has Harry Styles to contend with as competition for the release date of her newest album, this Swedish singer-songwriter always manages to come out on top. Her forlorn, grief-stricken love songs have been winning over broken hearts and sad girls for close to two decades now, and her next album, Eyeye, is presented as something of a coda to that subject matter. Still, what a coda it will be! If her lead single, “No Hotel,” is any indication, Lykke has given us one last ocean of tears before she retires from crying. Get your tissues ready — and maybe a life raft.
Tate McRae, I Used To Think I Could Fly
Release Date: May 27
After a long string of singles, and a couple EPs under her belt, it’s finally time for Tate McRae to put out her debut album. Though McRae used to be a dance superstar, and has more recently transferred her talents to the world of pop, her affinity for a heartbreaking hit just won’t quit. The only letup fans have received as of late is the super upbeat “She’s All I Wanna Be,” more of a banger than Tate has released in a minute, even if it’s still a song about another woman having the man you want. McRae continues to grow and shift as she develops as an artist, but based on the recently-shared album title, I Used To Think I Could Fly, there’s still going to be plenty of downtempo tracks on her upcoming full-length. So all your summer bummer needs will be fulfilled, and then some.
Release Date: June 24
SILK. CHIFFON. Not all endings are necessarily a bad thing, as Muna’s split from their former label, RCA, so aptly illustrates. The queer female pop trio had a go at the major label thing, and amassed a very loyal following, but for whatever reason, they weren’t hitting the marks that a massive label like that looks for in their artists. Instead, after they got dropped by RCA the girls were scooped up by Phoebe Bridgers and almost immediately signed to her Saddest Factory imprint with Dead Oceans. The first thing they released under that umbrella is the Bridgers-featuring fever dream, “Silk Chiffon,” which racked up millions of streams and catapulted Muna back into the center of the indie-pop conversation. Endings are usually just beginnings in disguise, and my theory is their new self-titled will probably dig into that theme quite well. You’ll have to wait until the end of June to hear the whole thing, but “Anything But Me” is a second great single to tide fans over before then.
Carly Rae Jepsen, Western Wind
Release Date: TBA
Whether it’s a whole new album, or the lead single for a project that’s still to be announced, whenever Carly Rae Jepsen has new music on the way, her fans will always be there to listen. Even before “Call Me Maybe” became a global smash, CRJ proponents have been rooting for this pop underdog all along, some as far back as the Canadian Idol days. After EMOTION became a cult album a few years ago, and couple of solid follow-ups with Dedicated and its B-sides album in 2019 and 2020. Two years later, she’s clearly entering a new phase — one that might have a country twist? — and the anticipation is building.
Winona Oak, Island Of The Sun
Release Date: TBA
It’s a great year for debut albums. Winona Oak, an emerging Swedish singer/songwriter and pop star, has announced her first record and shared the title track. Island Of The Sun is a reflection on the remote island where Oak was raised, but also a reflection on the ever-present force of change in our lives. So far, Oak has released “Island Of The Sun” and “Baby Blue” preceding the album, but hasn’t given fans an official release date yet. Look out for more from Oak, and news on when the record will be out, likely in the next few months. In the meantime, check out “Island Of The Sun” above for a taste of her stunning alto vocals and beautiful lyricism.
Release Date: TBA
With her second single officially out, Chloe is well on her way to a fantastic debut album. Both “Have Mercy” and “Treat Me” are fabulous, dance-focused songs that balance trap impulses and diva arias with the kind of artistic flourishes we’d expect from a Beyonce protege. Chloe’s music is provocative and sexual, but only on her own terms, and her rollout might just be the blueprint for what Gen Z pop stars should do while they’re building a career. Whenever Chloe drops this album, it’s going to stop the world. Preferably we get it sooner rather than later.
Sky Ferreira, Masochism
Release Date: TBA
Well, fans who had their favorite tours delayed until after the pandemic ain’t got nothing on Sky Ferreira fans. It’s been almost ten years since her last project, Night Time, My Time dropped, and though she’s been teasing a follow-up for quite some time, and occasionally collaborating with fellow left-field pop artists like Charli XCX, no new solo music has emerged. Finally, a few weeks ago, a trailer dropped on YouTube teasing a snippet of a song called “Don’t Forget.” With signature distorted synths and breathy, echoing vocals, it was a reminder of everything Sky fans love her for — and even after a decade, they haven’t forgotten her at all. If this single emerges, and an album announce soon after, then 2022 really will be a year for the books.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.