The sun is coming out; your coats will soon be extraneous. The year in music — with a few notable exceptions, and despite Pablo feeling one way or another — has been relatively dire, compared to last year’s cornucopia of excellent releases. However, we still have a long list of wishes for music we want to hear this year, and some of which have yet to fulfilled. Here’s a roundup of five albums we can expect to be delivered in time for — and suitable for — the summer months.
Rae Sremmurd- SremmLife 2
Release date: June 24
Rae Sremmurd have a lot to live up to on the follow-up their debut album of last January, Sremmlife. Personal issues and Hot 97 beefs aside, the Tupelo duo of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmi have stayed in the headlines in a positive way too. They’ve released two probable leaks from their new album, SremmLife 2, which is due out in June. “By Chance” and the recent “Look Alike,” both produced by their labelhead and guru Mike WiLL Made-It, are a little hazier and laid back than the anthems on SremmLife, but are full of the precise delivery and quotable turns of phrase that made the two brothers’ early singles so compelling.
Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman
Release date: May 20th
We’re only a month away from Grande D-Day, and all signs point to another amazingly consistent, lush, slightly retro-styled pop album from our favorite donut-licking singer and actress. The first slightly anodyne single “Focus” has been recycled to a bonus track, despite the fact that it charted in the Top 10 in the US. The follows ups — the gentle house of “Be Alright” and bluesy shuffle “Dangerous Woman” — indicate that we’re in for another typically stylistically diverse, sleek, and always catchy Grande offering.
Drake - Views from the 6
Release date: April 29th
Drake’s long-awaited album will no doubt be etched into the better part of the country’s DNA come actual summertime: It’s coming out in a week and a half, and it’s a Drake album. There is some room for concern about its quality, however. It’s unclear what songs will make the final cut, but so far what we’ve heard has been lukewarm: the modest, dancehall-inflected “One Dance” and the Kanye and Jay-Z-supported pseudo-trap of “Pop Style.” It seems about time for Drake to drop a brick — he hasn’t yet, commercially or critically — but even if Views ends up being Drake’s worst project, there’s no way at least some of these songs won’t be all over summer playlists.
Tegan and Sara — Love You to Death
Release date: June 3
The pop duo of the Calgary-born Quin twins have been honing their pop song craft for a full 20 years now, adapting tastefully to the times. Once indie crossover darlings in the mid-00s when their song “Walking With the Ghost” was recorded by The White Stripes, nowadays the sisters are cowriting twinkling, massive-scale ‘80s pop anthems with Carly Rae Jepsen. If you want anything like a followup to the sound of Jepsen’s soon-to-be cult classic E•MO•TION from last year, Tegan and Sara’s upcoming Love Me to Death album may be your best bit. That is, if their sunny lead-off single, “Boyfriend,” is anything to judge by.
Young Thug- Hy!£UN35 (HiTunes)
Release date: unknown
There have been many factors contributing to the delay of the rising Atlanta rap star’s major-label debut album, not the least of which was a leak of nearly one hundred of his songs last spring (explained here). But new tour dates in May and PR stunts point to a possible summer drop for the project. A new episode of CNBC’s Follow the Leader featuring a tense creative argument between Thug and his label head — industry vet Lyor Cohen — suggests that we are in for an album conceived as Thug’s Big Statement: to be his big push for the crossover pop success he’s always just been at the cusp of getting. And there might be a Thug version of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” on it.
Until then, enjoy this new video for T.I. and Young Thug’s supergroup Bankroll Mafia: