In the not-too-distant past, fall wasn’t only for back to school — it was also the time when all the record companies readied their major releases with the hopes that they would land on the charts and on consumers’ holiday shopping lists. Of course, the advent of streaming services has changed the music business dramatically in recent years, but as a wise man recently said, streaming is for the rest of the year; the holidays are when physical products sell — or so the record companies hope.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of fall 2017’s most anticipated albums. But stay on your toes — this is the era of surprise releases, so your favorite artist might just drop any album out of nowhere.
Taylor Swift, ‘Reputation’ (Nov. 10)
When Taylor releases an album, it’s big news — something you’ve likely already noticed by the mere release of the first single from the album, the Kanye-and-Kim dis track “Look at What You Made Me Do.” With the single and its video already setting records, you can bet the Reputation will top the chart, even if the “old Taylor is dead.”
Foo Fighters, ‘Concrete and Gold’ (Sept. 15)
Dave Grohl used to be everywhere — every awards show, every tribute, every album. He even had his own docuseries on HBO! Now, after taking some time off, he’s back with a new Foos album. Grohl’s been teasing that it’ll be filled with surprises, including guest appearances by Paul McCartney, Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, and the Kills’ Alison Mosshart.
Beck, ‘Colors’ (Oct. 13)
Believe it or not, Mr. Hansen hasn’t released an album since 2014’s Morning Phase, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year. The genre-shifting artist is always one to keep the freaks guessing, but this time around he’s offered us early previews with the jams “Dreams” and “Wow,” and recently offered up the funky, keyboard-driven “Dear Life”… but don’t be surprised if Colors doesn’t pack at least a few more curveballs.
Miley Cyrus, ‘Younger Now’ (Sept. 29)
She got cray-cray on 2013’s Bangerz and freaky with the Flaming Lips, but now it seems that Miley has settled down on Younger Now, with its retro title track and beachy ballad “Malibu.” The album also features a guest shot from her godmother, Dolly Parton, called “Rainbowland.”
Macklemore, ‘Gemini’ (Sept. 22)
The rapper became a household name with producer Ryan Lewis for their 2013 hit “Thrift Shop,” and now he’s back with a whole slew of her collaborators, including Skylar Grey on “Glorious” and Lil Yachty on “Marmalade.” Other guests include Kesha and King Draino.
Shania Twain, ‘Now’ (Sept. 29)
The queen of country-pop makes a return with her first new studio album in 15 years. She promises in the first single “Life’s About to Get Good.” We’ll have to see about that.
U2, ‘Songs of Experience’ (tentatively Dec. 1)
The veteran Irish rockers seemed to get their mojo back after 2014’s controversial iTunes intrusion, Songs of Innocence, by revisiting their landmark Joshua Tree album on a stadium tour. Now, they’re ready to unveil … Experience, the sequel to … Innocence — which, judging from the preview track, “The Blackout,” finds them back in fine form.
Sam Smith, title TBA (no confirmed date)
“The wait is so nearly over. Something is coming very very very very soon. I am scared & excited at the same time. I’ve poured my soul and heart into this record. Love you all, and see you in the not so distant future,” the British crooner tweeted last week after a long hiatus. This week, billboards teasing a new Smith single, out Sept. 8, surfaced in London and Los Angeles. No other details are forthcoming, but many fans have deduced that Smith’s new “TPH-50HR” tattoo — a reference to the house/street where he grew up — will also be his sophomore album’s title. (Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Fergie, ‘Double Dutchess’ (Sept. 22)
The MVPEa’s first full-length solo effort in 11 years will feature collaborations with YG, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and even her son Axl. If last’s year’s racy all-star video for the track “M.I.L.F. $” is any indication, this visual album will be an eye-popper for sure.
Demi Lovato, ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ (Sept. 29)
The former Disney Princess is back and she’s mad as hell, judging from the preview single “Sorry Not Sorry.” She tones it down a bit on the title track, but you can count on Demi to bring the drama on the rest of the album, which features collabs with several notable songwriters and producers, including DJ Mustard.
Gucci Mane, ‘Mr. Davis’ (Sept. 15)
The once-imprisoned Atlanta MC is back with an album that includes features from a number of his famous friends, including Migos, the Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign, Big Sean, and others.
Gregg Allman, ‘Southern Blood’ (Sept. 8)
The legendary Southern rocker returned to Muscle Shoals to record his final album while he battled liver cancer. Don Was served as producer and guests include Jackson Browne as well as a number of notable local session players.
St. Vincent, ‘Masseduction’ (Oct. 13)
Guitar goddess Annie Clark returns with her first album since 2014. Clark has described the record as being “all about sex and drugs and sadness.” Sounds great to us!
Liam Gallagher, ‘As You Were’ (Oct. 6)
He’s spending much of his time in interviews talking about his desire to reform Oasis. Until then, his solo debut is likely the closest thing you’ll get, at least until the next set from his estranged brother Noel drops.
Noel Gallagher and His High Flying Birds, title TBA (tentatively Nov. 9)
Not much is known about the elder Gallagher’s third post-Oasis album, although producer David Holmes told Gigwise it will be a “really big, bold, uptempo beast of a record” and “quite fun.” Whatever it sounds like, considering its release date’s proximity to Liam’s, expect a lot more Gallagher feuding in the press.
Kelly Clarkson, title TBA (tentatively Oct. 27)
The American Idol star-turned-Voice coach has also made the move from Sony to Atlantic Records, which is set to release her rumored soul-music album with the rumored title Meaning of Life. Clarkson’s new single, “Love So Soft,” drops this week.
Bjork, title TBA (no confirmed date)
The Icelandic alt-pop goddess just announced her new single, “The Gate,” and has tweeted that a new album is coming very soon. Reportedly, the record will be Tinder-themed. We’d swipe right on that!
Eminem, title TBA
It’s going on four years since the hip-hop legend released The Marshall Mathers LP 2, and he’s been laying low as of late. But producer and D12 member Mr. Porter’s Instagram post saying it’s “almost time” for Eminem to put out new music has piqued fans’ curiosity, so watch this space.
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ (Oct. 13)
A collaboration between two of indie rocks leading lights — whose first names happen to be Kurt and Courtney — promises to be one of fall’s biggest indie releases, given the popularity of both artists on their own. Based on the preview track and video “Over Everything,” this is going to be one album you don’t want to sleep on.
Prophets of Rage, ‘Prophets of Rage’ (Sept. 15)
The self-titled debut by three-quarters of Rage Against the Machine, plus Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, just might be the audio antidote needed for the Trump era.
The National, ‘Sleep Well Beast’ (Sept. 8)
Back with their first album since 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, the indie stalwarts have the potential to become the next Coldplay, U2, R.E.M., or Arcade Fire. It’ll be interesting to see if this is album that will fully push them into the mainstream.
Nicki Minaj, title TBA (no confirmed date)
Her Minajesty has maintained a high profile but incredibly it’s been three years since she released The Pinkprint. Earlier this year on DJ Whoo Kid’s show, Whoolywood Shuffle, Nicki said her fourth album would be her “best body of work” and a “classic hip-hop album that people will never forget” — so her fans, known as Barbs or The Kingdom, are understandably giddy with excitement.
Morrissey, ‘Low in High School’ (Nov. 17)
The master of mope returns with his first studio album since 2014. Recorded in studios in France and Rome, the set is produced by Joe Chiccarelli, known for his worked with Beck, the White Stripes, the Strokes, and Frank Zappa.
Robert Plant, ‘Carry Fire’ (Oct. 13)
The Led Zeppelin reunion you’ve been hoping for may never happen again, so the next best thing is likely new music from the voice of the band. Plant continues to churn out interesting roots rock, with a rhythmic stomp, as evidenced by the album’s first single “The May Queen.”
The Killers, ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ (Sept. 22)
Much of the band may be sitting out their forthcoming tour, but they’re all on the group’s latest album, which was previewed by the edgy dance track “The Man.” It also includes the boxing throwback “Tyson vs. Douglas.”
Tori Amos, ‘Native Invader’ (Sept. 8)
The veteran singer-songwriter goes au naturel on her 15th studio album and first since 2014’s Unrepentant Geraldines. The album focuses on nature and its destruction.
Wyclef Jean, ‘Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee’ (Sept. 15)
The former Fugee and onetime presidential candidate in his native Haiti gets political on his latest set, which takes on such weighty topics as America’s racial divide and immigration, but he still brings the funk in tracks like “What Happened to Love.”
Quicksand, ‘Interiors’ (Nov. 10)
The NYC ’90s heavy rockers resurface with their first album in 22 years. A video teaser proves the guys can still pack a powerful punch no matter how much time has passed.
The Darkness, ‘Pinewood Smile’ (Oct. 6)
Justin Hawkins and his merry men are back to rock your world. If the single “All the Pretty Girls” is any indication, we’re in for a rollicking good time, filled with power chords, falsetto vocals, and a few dog barks and howls for good measure.
Weezer, ‘Pacific Daydream’ (Oct. 27
Rivers Cuomo and company keep the hits coming with their latest, which includes the jaunty preview tracks “Feels Like Summer” and “Mexican Fender.”
Jack Johnson, ‘All the Light Above It Too’ (Sept. 8)
The usually mellow Hawaiian folk-rocker takes on Donald Trump in the preview single “My Mind Is for Sale” without losing his breezy groove. Also inspiring the album was his trip sailing through the Atlantic while making a documentary about plastic pollution in ocean, so he’s got a lot on his mind.
Ringo Starr, ‘Give More Love’ (Sept. 15)
Any time a surviving Beatle releases a new album, it’s cause for celebration for two reasons — we’ve only got two of them left, and who knows how long they’ll still be at it. The preview tracks include the rocking “We’re on the Road Again” and the country-flavored “So Wrong for So Long.”
Thomas Rhett, ‘Life Changes’ (Sept. 8)
With a growing family, the country crooner gets deep on his latest effort, teaming with Maren Morris on the No. 1 country hit “Craving You” and his father Rhett Atkins on “Drink a Little Beer.”
Neil Young, ‘Hitchhiker’ (Sept. 8)
Recorded in 1976 at Indigo Studios in Malibu, this set features Young solo on guitar and harmonica. Though eight of the tracks have been released elsewhere, this is the first time the session has been released as an album.
Sparks, ‘Hippopotamus’ (Sept. 8)
The brothers Mael return with their first album under the Sparks banner since 2009’s The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, through they did keep themselves busy with the Franz Ferdinand collaboration, FSS, a few years back.
Leon Russell, ‘On a Distant Shore’ (Sept. 22)
The keyboard legend died late last year. This posthumous release has him revisiting such classics as “A Song for You,” “Hummingbird,” and “This Masquerade” and serving up less familiar tunes, like the emotional “Just Leaves and Grass.”
Darius Rucker, ‘When Was the Last Time’ (Oct. 20)
The guy casual rock fans once called “Hootie” has long since evolved into a legitimate country star. Don’t expect him to go back down the Blowfish route any time soon, as he recently told Rolling Stone, “I set out to make country records; I don’t want to make pop records.”
The Horrors, ‘V’ (Sept. 22)
The dreamy British rockers get down with noted producer Paul Epworth for their aptly titled fifth album, previewed with the Krautrock-inspired “Machine.”
Kamasi Washington, ‘Harmony of Difference’ (Sept. 29)
After blowing our minds with his 2015 album The Epic, the sax man known for his work with Kendrick Lamar offers up an EP that’s a “six part suite that explores the philosophical possibilities of the musical technique known as ‘counterpoint.'”
Jessica Lea Mayfield, ‘Sorry Is Gone’ (Sept. 29)
The folk-rocker takes her life back on this 11-track set produced by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth), her first solo album since the acclaimed 2014 set Make My Head Sing.