13 albums we’re anticipating in 2021, and one we’re not

Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Lorde, My Bloody Valentine, Lykke Li, Tierra Whack, Modest Mouse, GZA, Ghost, The Cure

You should be excited about new albums from (clockwise from top left) Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Lorde, My Bloody Valentine, Lykke Li, Tierra Whack, Modest Mouse, GZA, Ghost and The Cure.

Will this be the year Zack de la Rocha releases one of his shelved solo albums? No! But besides a COVID-19 vaccine, 2021 will bring us some exciting and hopefully terrific albums by the likes of Foo Fighters, Lorde, Kelly Clarkson and My Bloody Valentine. Here are the top records we have on our calendar. 

2020 in Review, Best of 2020, best albums of 2020, best concerts of 2020, 2020 in review, The Most OK of 2020

Illustration: Skott Bennett/STAFF.

My Bloody Valentine – TBA

Kevin Shields, MBV’s guitarist and sonic sorcerer, is one of rock and roll’s most notorious perfectionists. Twenty-two years separated their breakthrough second album, 1991’s Loveless, from their third album, 2013’s m b v. So this eight-year wait for the Dublin band’s fourth album is just long enough to suggest Shields has donned yet another fancy pair of shoes for us to gaze at. — Writer David Gill

Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight – Feb. 5

Dave Grohl has dropped a few hints about the band’s forthcoming LP, saying that it will be more of a party album. After 25 years and 10 albums, it’s a stylistic territory the Foos certainly have yet to venture. Lead single “Shame, Shame” is a fun, acoustic groove-heavy track that would seem to offer a partial glimpse. It will be nice to hear a rock band venture into new territory instead of trying to recreate past success. — Reporter Mike DeWald

Lykke Li – TBA

Lykke Li always seems to cruise under the radar. Perhaps it’s that she’s neither a folk singer-songwriter nor pop diva, but somewhere in between. What she’s good at is writing songs that are both incredibly deep and catchy at the same time. And her voice is also a contrast—warm and inviting, yet icy and distinct at the same time. The first taste of the forthcoming album came in October—and it’s sung in her native Swedish! The record follows 2018’s So Sad So Sexy. — Editor Roman Gokhman

GZA – Dark Matter – TBA

GZA released his last album, Pro Tools, 12 years ago. The announcement of new music makes us all wait with eager anticipation for the return of Wu-Tang’s The Genius. — Editor Tim Hoffman

Ghost – TBA – late 2021

Ghost is the rare band that improves with every release. So the news that the band will be recording its fifth album in January for a late-year release, and is planning a fall tour, is a breath of fresh air in a bad year. I can’t wait to hear Cardinal Copia after his promotion to Papa Emeritus IV. — Editor Daniel J. Willis

Kelly Clarkson – TBA

The world is a better place when Kelly Clarkson has new music out. The “American Idol” OG is expected to release her eighth LP—one she’s described as being more personal following a recent divorce. I would love to see Kelly Clarkson dig into the creative space that brought about the phenomenal My December, which was seen as a commercial failure but became beloved by fans. Whatever path Kelly Clarkson decides to take, it’ll most likely result in a song you can’t get out of your head over the summer months. — Reporter Mike DeWald

Modest Mouse — TBA

Many had their hearts set on a new Modest Mouse album after the band dropped a handful of singles in 2019. Now at the tail end of 2020, it isn’t entirely clear when to expect a new release. But an attempt to speak it into existence wouldn’t hurt, right? If “Poison The Well,” “I’m Still Here” and “Ice Cream Party” give any indication of what’s in store, then Isaac Brock and crew are definitely cooking up something sweet. The three recent singles pack in the band’s affinity for all things eerie, gloomy and fierce. Their signature flavor is very much present, and as always, the lyrics invite us for a deep dive into possible interpretations. While we don’t have a follow-up yet, there is one thing from 2020 worth celebrating: 20 years of The Moon & Antarctica! — Editor Chloe Catajan

The Offspring – TBA

Since the release of the lukewarmly received Days Go By back in 2012, not much has been heard from The Offspring outside of covering a certain big cat enthusiast’s diss track. Here’s hoping the skate-punk band will return with an abrasive and energetic sound. — Editor Tim Hoffman

Carcass – TBA

The English death metal band’s heavily anticipated seventh LP was originally slated for release in 2019. It got pushed back to 2020; then coronavirus took over. Will 2021 be the year the vegan shredders return in rampant glory? EP Despicable, which offers a (strictly vegan) taste of the band’s newest material, dropped in October. — Writer Alex Baechle

Humanity’s Last Breath – Väde – Feb. 12

These guys have been creating a lot of buzz with the three singles they’ve dropped in anticipation of their follow-up to 2017’s Abyssal. HLB is so unbelievably heavy that it’s almost hilarious. Still, the cacophonous breakdowns and monstrous guttural vocals clearly have a method to the madness. HLB has the potential to go toe-to-toe with ultra-heavy bands like Black Tongue while providing unique melodic and atmospheric overtones. These Swedish upstarts are one of the best things to happen to deathcore, imbuing it with much more than brutality. — Editor Max Heilman

Lorde – TBA

OK, so we thought this one was coming in 2020. A direct quote from last year’s version of this column: “You can expect this star to shine brighter than ever in 2020.” If it was, Lorde took one look at the state of the world and decided her will would not be done. Lorde is a pop queen, but her music has never been as flashy or gimmicky as the rest. She’s also apparently been working with Porches’ Aaron Maine! Then again, information has been sparse. Your guess is as good as ours. It’ll be her third album and first since 2017. — Photographer Adam Pardee

Tierra Whack – TBA

This is another record we thought was coming in the year that took so much from us. In 2019, the Philly rapper was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and XXL’s Freshman class in 2019. Then she released five singles… and nothing. There was relative silence in 2020 until the fall, when she released three more singles between October and November. We presume something is coming in 2021. — Editor Roman Gokhman

The Cure – Live From the Moon (working title) – TBA

We took a chance last year around this time. We really thought it was going to happen, but The Cure again delayed this incredibly anticipated album. We’d like to tell you that Robert Smith said this year how the pandemic allowed him to finish the record. But we won’t. Instead, read last year’s blurb instead. We’ll save our celebration until we see a cover image. “After Robert Smith provided a glimmer of joy early in [2019] by suggesting there’d be a new Cure record before Christmas, goths have resorted back to contemplating their sadness once again. Heck, the legendary frontman even mentioned in an interview with NME that he had three new projects in development. [See? That’s why we’re not getting excited this time]. … Smith has provided a working title—Live From the Moon—along with some insight into what listeners should expect: ‘It’s very much on the darker side of the spectrum…like Disintegration.’” — Editor Roman Gokhman

And one more…

Zack de la Rocha – TBA

Since Rage Against the Machine broke up, Zack de la Rocha has recorded at least three albums. The first was 20 songs he wrote and recorded before scrapping it entirely. The second, produced by Academy Award winner and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, was done and produced… but will never be released. The third was recorded in 2017, and only one song, “Digging for Windows,” was released as a single. Metacritic lists a Zack de la Rocha album as a potential 2021 release. We don’t know which one, but we do know one thing: It’s not coming out. There’s roughly a 0 percent chance we ever hear a Zack de la Rocha solo album. But if there was ever a year to release it, it’s 2021. The sort of people who would listen to and enjoy a de la Rocha solo effort earned it. — Editor Daniel J. Willis

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