2020 was an unusual year in music, with some artists opting to wait to release their music until they could promote the albums with live shows while other artists opted for low-key alternatives (see: Folklore by Taylor Swift). It has provided for a very exciting 2021 though as there is a backlog of artists waiting to release their albums. I've listed 6 exciting albums that have been announced to be released this year, whilst there are still some other artists who are rumoured to be releasing music after a long wait (I'm looking at you Adele & Rihanna).
Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever (July 30)
Billie Eilish was always going to have a big task when following up her smash-hit debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, but she’s kept fans engaged over the two year wait for her second album. Billie reinvented her sound to be distinctly more optimistic with lead singles ‘My Future’ and ‘Therefore I Am’, and her latest single ‘Your Power’ proved her song-writing abilities once again. This new sound has also coincided with a new look - Billie showing off her new-blonde-hair in the third most liked Instagram post of all time & a British Vogue cover shoot. Billie is leading the way for Gen Z, already known as a trendsetter and the voice of the younger generation, so this album will be HUGE. Whilst it’s unsure whether the album will follow this trend of a happier, perhaps more liberated, Billie Eilish, there’s no doubt it’ll be one of the biggest releases this year (...duh).
Lorde – unknown title (expected 2021)
The singer-songwriter from New Zealand has taken an extended break after her critically-acclaimed 2017 album, Melodrama. Lorde has taken a break from social media, using it sparingly in the past three years, and has instead opted to communicate with her fans through emails. It's a refreshing option in an age of celebrity overexposure and oversharing - and perhaps unwittingly a winning marketing tactic as it's also prompted fans to track every. single. move. but has also added an air of mystery to her work. After the death of her dog in 2019, Lorde emailed her supporters to let them know the album would be taking a little while longer before stating the album is “so good” and she is “jazzed for you to hear it” ... maybe a hint that her new album will be leaning into ‘jazz’? Lorde was called the ‘future of music’ by David Bowie before his death, and Melodrama is considered the ‘defining album of a generation’ (and 'easily the greatest of all time' by me), which only creates more anticipation about what she'll produce for her third album.
Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak (as Silk Sonic) – An Evening with Silk Sonic (expected 2021)
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak teaming up has been an unexpected highlight of pop music already in 2021, and the duo – aptly named ‘Silk Sonic’ - have already begun teasing their debut album as a super-group. Both artists are highly acclaimed in their own right; they have an impressive 15 Grammy Awards between them. Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music, they revealed they didn’t collaborate with the intention of creating a group and a subsequent album, but once they got into the studio they "kept coming up with music", reminding Bruno Mars of how he "fell in love with music in the first place". With their lead single ‘Leave The Door Open’ showing both performers have no issues taking inspiration from the 70s, there’s no doubt the album will be full of songs that have roots in pop, soul and R&B music.
Tones and I – unknown title (expected 2021)
A few years ago, Tones and I was busking in Byron Bay. The singer, born and raised on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria (we can claim her here in Ballarat, right?), became a global superstar after the release of her song ‘Dance Monkey’ in 2019. I won’t bore you with all the stats of Dance Monkey, we know its impact, but one statistic shows its impact better than most – it’s the third most streamed song on Spotify of all time. Tones and I has three top 10 hits since releasing her debut single ‘Johnny Run Away’ in 2019, and her only extended play, The Kids Are Coming, went to #3 on the Aria Albums Charts. Tones and I’s hotly anticipated debut album is due to be announced soon, as the ‘Dance Monkey’ singer revealed it was only a few months away last September.
Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR (May 21)
At 17, Olivia Rodrigo released 'Drivers License'. It became the fastest song to reach 100 million streams on Spotify, it broke the all-time record for most streams in a week, and made Rodrigo the youngest artist to ever top the US Billboard Charts - not bad for a debut single. Rodrigo debuted on top of the ARIA Charts, and stayed there for six weeks. Records aside, Rodrigo is a proven songwriter. She released 'Deja Vu' as her follow-up single to great reviews. She lists Taylor Swift and Lorde as inspirations, influences that have fingerprints all over her first two songs. Yet, Rodrigo still finds a unique authenticity through vulnerable lyrics - lyrics that have spawned more TikToks than you could ever imagine. In just a few months, Rodrigo has gone from Disney star (with a leading role in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) to a chart-topping pop star. Whilst expectations are high after the success of her debut single, Olivia Rodrigo has proved she's more than capable of the task of performing.
Dean Lewis – unknown title (expected 2021)
Dean Lewis burst onto the music scene in 2016 with his smash-single ‘Waves’, before reinstating his position as one of Australia’s best singer-songwriters with ‘Be Alright’ in 2018. The latter single charted in 28 countries and was Lewis’ first No. 1 single on the Aria Charts. His first album, A Place We Knew, was released at the start of 2019, the start of a huge year for Lewis, as he won the Aria Award for Album of the Year and performed at the AFL Grand Final. Two years later and Lewis is working on his second album with a 2021 release date hopeful – it’s a huge ask to follow up an album that debuted at #1 on the Aria Charts and finished the year as one of the biggest albums of the year, but his newest single ‘Falling Up’ shows Lewis is more than capable of writing songs that connect.