The Sound of 2021


Photo by: Rob Copsey

What new music can you expect this year?

Years are defined in many different ways: world events, personal accomplishments, and even popular trends. Perhaps the most common way to define a year is by its pop culture. Music, especially, is a memorable and timeless way to look back at past years. So what new music will define 2021? 2020 may be hard to beat with new albums from Kid Cudi, Chloe X Halle, Taylor Swift, The Strokes, Sam Hunt, and The Weeknd along with many, many others. Putting those in the past, here are the albums that will rattle the new year. 

Chemtrails Over the Country Club- Lana Del Rey (expected release: March 19, 2021) 

Chemtrails will be Del Rey’s seventh released studio album. Two singles from the track are already released: “Let Me Love You Like a Woman” and the title track “Chemtrails Over the Country Club”. Both songs are very Del Rey-esque, with somber melodies and optimistic crescendos. Jack Antonoff, a critically acclaimed producer and friend of Del Rey, was confirmed to have worked on the album. Antonoff was also recognized on Lana’s 2019 album, Norman F****** Rockwell. The album is being watched due to the highly anticipated song, “White Dress”, which was confirmed to be on the tracklist. Features from Nikki Lane and Joni Mitchell are expected as well, which is notable considering the last and only Del Rey album with features was 2017’s Lust For Life

Van Weezer- Weezer (expected release: May 7, 2021)

Weezer’s 15th studio album is expected to be released in May of 2021. It has hard rock influences, which is fitting considering the title is directly alluding to the famous rock band Van Halen. Rivers Cuomo, the frontman of the band, also accredited Kiss, Black Sabbath, and Metallica as influencers to this album. One single from the album, “The End of the Game”, was released in 2019. The second single, “Hero”, was released on May 6, 2020. The album is dedicated to the late Eddie Van Halen, the lead guitarist for Van Halen and perhaps the biggest inspiration for this album. A tour for the album, which included guests Fall Out Boy and Green Day, was postponed for May 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Certified Lover Boy- Drake (expected release: Apparently not January 2021, but 2021)

Following the release of 2018’s Scorpion, Drake promised another album release in the beginning of 2021. He has been releasing independent songs that aren’t confirmed to be tied to a larger project, including “Tootsie Slide” and “Laugh Now, Cry Later”, which blew up on Tik Tok in 2020. The project was postponed due to Drake’s recent surgery. The rapper took to Instagram stories to announce that the project, although still set for 2021, would not be released in January.

Life Rolls On- Florida Georgia Line (expected release: February 12th, 2021)

The popular country duo best known for their radio hits are set to release their fifth studio album in February of 2021. The album follows rumors of a break up and COVID-19 diagnoses, and contains 16 confirmed tracks. The album is packed full of songs that have already been released. The 6-Pack EP was released in May of 2020, and all songs will also be released on Life Rolls On. Songs such as “New Truck” were confirmed to have songwriting and production help from Priscilla Renea. “I think this personally is just a big, celebratory chapter,” said frontman Tyler Hubbard to Rolling Stone. 

Those albums are all in the confirmed, and highly anticipated, collection of music set to release in 2021. But if you didn’t see anything to be excited about, don’t worry. There is an even more extensive list of artists who have not necessarily confirmed or denied an album release in 2021, but certain hints lead fans to believe that they will have some form of music released this year. 

Adele- Hopes of new Adele music coming out in 2021 are not far fetched considering her return to spotlight with a Saturday Night Live hosting gig. Following her divorce, Adele said in 2020 that she will “be back next year”, and fans hope that she is alluding to new songs. 

Bleachers- Jack Antonoff is keeping himself busy, let’s just say that. He has released music in the form of producing albums for other people *cough* Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey and Lorde?? (one can hope). And while everyone loves the work he did with those albums, fans also hope to see a Bleachers album released soon. Antonoff had plenty of time to work on his production skills, and fans are excited to see how he displays them in the new Bleachers album. 

Cardi B- WAP defined 2020. But could that single be preceding a possible album release in 2021? Cardi continues to announce collaborations that hint toward an upcoming album. She told Elle Magazine, “If you all are so curious to know about my relationship and blah, blah, blah, I’m going to put it in the music, and you can buy it, too.” 

Billie Eilish- Eilish made 2020 her year. From sweeping the Grammys to releasing a new track for the James Bond Movie, she does not show signs of pausing her music career any time soon. Many fans think she has started to move towards a “new era” for 2021, which typically leads to a new album from artists. 

Kendrick Lamar- Following 2017’s DAMN album will be a tough job to do. However, Kendrick Lamar is taking his time and making sure that fans are pleased with the possible album release of 2021. Lamar made two features on songs in 2020, proving he had not lost his musical touch. 

Lorde- So she went to Antarctica. And that was Lorde’s 2020. People were hoping that she was visiting an arctic recording studio, but alas, Lorde was not. She did make it public that she needed some time off after the tragic death of her dog, Pearl. Next to going to Antarctica, she took some steps towards making new music. She also met up with long time collaborator, you guessed it, Jack Antonoff, and a third studio album from Lorde is rumored to be in the works. 

Saweetie- Saweetie is one artist who you can be confident will release music in 2021. Her anticipated album, Pretty B**** Music will follow her single released in 2020, “Tap In”. The single swarmed the internet, making Saweetie’s first studio album an exciting project for many fans. 

SZA- Please. Please, please, please let this one be real. SZA has released two singles in the past four months, which is very “upcoming album” of her. She has also dropped many hints on Twitter that an album is ready for release. Well, she has 11 more months, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that new tracks will be dropped in 2021.