2020 vision: Upcoming albums to get excited for

Enjoy some old favorites from artists who have things in store for 2020

dixiechicksmsg062003

The Dixie Chicks, pictured here in 2003, are among the list of exciting artists who have promised new albums in 2020. 

Courtesy Wasted Time Records

2019 was a mess! Good thing it’s a new year — and what’s better for a new year than new music? Here are some of the projects to look forward to in 2020, and some old faithful tunes while you wait.  

Kesha

Kesha’s follow up to her 2017 album “Rainbow” is set to be released at the end of January. The singer has already dropped three singles from “High Road,” including a collaboration with Big Freedia, the New Orleans-based queen of bounce music. “Rainbow” saw Kesha take control of her creative output and narrative, following the abuse she suffered at the hands of record producer Dr. Luke for much of the decade. The heavy themes on “Rainbow” are evident in the title track as well as the lead single “Praying,” where the singer seems to directly address her abuser by singing, “You brought the flames and you put me through hell / I had to learn how to fight for myself / And we both know all the truth I could tell.” The album was a triumphant moment for Kesha, garnering her her first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album. Judging from the singles, particularly “Raising Hell,” “High Road” will see Kesha explore more of her personality and poppy vibes, while also letting her slow it down at points.   

Normani

Normani, previously a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony which announced an indefinite hiatus in 2018, has yet to release her debut album after signing with Keep Cool/RCA Records in the same year. The pop singer has released songs with Khalid and Sam Smith, gaining her exposure and momentum leading up to the release of her single “Motivation,” which dropped in August 2019. “Motivation” — along with its accompanying music video, which features impressive basketball choreography and a retro-inspired vibe — is a promising hint at what a solo Normani project could be — a fresh, genuine and spirited ode to pop. 

Megan Thee Stallion

By all accounts, 2019 was the year of Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion. She dropped her first full-length project, “Fever,” coined the term Hot Girl Summer and signed with Roc Nation. Her first studio album, called “Suga,” will drop in 2020. The first single, “B.I.T.C.H.,” is set for release Jan. 24. Megan has teased collaborations with Pharrell, album art and a new alter ego for the project, while also collaborating with Normani on a song for the “Birds of Prey” movie soundtrack, which dropped Jan. 10. Megan’s creative, complex and hard-hitting style has served her well on tracks like “Realer,” “Cash S—t” and her team-up with Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign, “Hot Girl Summer.” Her new album will likely follow suit and could very well exceed expectations for the rapper.      

Lady Gaga

When Lady Gaga announced on Twitter in March that she was “pregnant with #LG6,” fans who had been buzzing with anticipation began promptly short-circuiting in excitement. Gaga has since provided a few more — joking? — updates, like suggesting her album’s title will be “ADELE” and tweeting about her lack of bathing with the hashtag #LG6. If the project does come out in 2020, it will no doubt be the latest in a series of successes for Gaga, which include her 2016 album “Joanne” and 2018 film “A Star is Born.” What the album will sound like is another question — will she return to the pop experimentalism of her earlier albums, the country-inspired spirit of “Joanne,” somewhere in between or something entirely new? All little monsters can do is wait.  

Dixie Chicks 

The Dixie Chicks’ debut album, “Wide Open Spaces,” came out over 20 years ago, but the band began teasing possible new music in 2018. The project, which will be called “Gaslighter,” is a more personal exploration of the lives of band members Emily Robison, Martie Maguire and Natalie Maines — especially since their blacklisting by much of the country music world because of their opposition to the invasion of Iraq and criticism of President George Bush in 2003. The promise of a new album is a welcome one, especially considering the odd gender-skew of the country music charts right now, which seem to be under-representative of female artists. “Gaslighter” will be the first album for Dixie Chicks since 2006’s “Taking the Long Way,” so the evolution of their sound will be interesting to hear when the new project is released. A hint of their faithful melodies and talent is on Taylor Swift’s 2019 album “Lover,” on the quiet and emotional track “Soon You’ll Get Better.” 

Rihanna

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