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25 Most Anticipated 2014 Summer Albums

Check out Fuse's picks for the best summer albums to beat the heat

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Your Summer 2014 Album Guide

Summer 2014 is just around the corner and you'll be faced with inevitable decisions about how much time to spend grilling, pooling, beaching, sweating and what to listen to during those dog-day activities. Don't fret, Fuse is here to help. Check out our 25 picks for albums to get excited for and blast on those ever-evolving playlists this summer. 

By Mike Ayers, Jeff Benjamin, Hilary Hughes, Thomas Nassiff and Maria Sherman

2 / 26

The Black Keys, 'Turn Blue'

Who: Blues-rock band the Black Keys

What: Their eighth studio album, Turn Blue

When: May 13

Why We're Excited: Fans of the Black Keys have come to rely on a few constants with every passing album: A steady heartbeat of a drum line, guitars yanked from the garage and a new rock anthem to roll the windows down and blast. If "Fever" and the title track are any indication, Turn Blue will deliver on their tried-and-true traits (and more) with a hearty heaping of soul. -HH

3 / 26

Coldplay, 'Ghost Stories'

Who: Massively popular British arena rock band Coldplay

What: The band’s sixth album, Ghost Stories

When: May 20

Why We're Excited: Around the same time the very public divorce of frontman Chris Martin and actress Gwyneth Paltrow went down, Coldplay announced Ghost Stories, their new album that's said to be influenced by, well, that pending divorce. On their new single “A Sky Full of Stars,” the band gets a little help from uber-hot producer Avicii. The sensitive lads of Coldplay are getting experimental! -MS

4 / 26

Austin Mahone, 'The Secret'

Who: American teen heartthrob/pop star Austin Mahone

What: Sophomore EP, The Secret

When: May 27

Why We’re Excited: We got a taste of the upcoming release earlier this year with “MMM Yeah,” the teen’s latest single featuring Pitbull… and love we it! If The Secret is anything like 2013’s Austin Mahone, we’re in for a treat with his first release on YMCMB. -MS

5 / 26

Robyn & Royksopp, 'Do It Again'

Who: Scandinavian dance-pop masters Robyn and Röyksopp

What: A collaborative EP entitled Do It Again 

When: May 26 

Why We're Excited: Robyn's not "Dancing On [Her] Own" anymore—she's teamed up with like-minded electro-pop dance duo Röyksopp. Their first EP, Do It Again, is an adrenaline-spiking escape that banks on Robyn's genre-fusing appeal and Röyksopp's penchant for inventive explorations in sound. We expect to do it again with Do It Again all summer long. -HH

6 / 26

Mariah Carey, 'Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse'

Who: Super diva Mariah Carey

What: Mimi's 13th studio album, Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse 

When: May 27

Why We're Excited: Mimi previously said, "I feel like this is gonna be my favorite album," which is a big statement coming from one of the best-selling artists of all time. The list of collaborators includes new hitmakers (Mike WiLL Made It, Hit-Boy), classic Mariah collaborators (Jermaine Dupri) and exciting guest features like Nas, Wale and even "Dembabies" Monroe & Moroccan. Plus, we can't wait to see what songs titled "Money ($ * / ...)" and "Heavenly (No Ways Tired/Can't Give Up Now)" will sound like. -JB

Read Fuse's Complete Guide to Mariah's new album here.

7 / 26

Cher Lloyd, 'Sorry I'm Late'

Who: British pop star Cher Lloyd

What: Her sophomore album Sorry I'm Late

When: May 27

Why We're Excited: We've been hearing about Lloyd's follow-up to 2011's Sticks & Stones since her duet with T.I. "I Wish" dropped last August. Her new single "Dirty Love" is a stuttery jolt of bubble gum pop that we hope sets the tone for a very fun album. -MA

8 / 26

50 Cent, 'Animal Ambition'

Who: Rap heavyweight 50 Cent

What: His first official indie release, Animal Ambition

When: June 3

Why We're Excited: To say that Fiddy picked the perfect name for his first record in five years would be an understatement, as it took a ton of drive, effort and unadulterated aspiration to make it happen after some unfortunate label beefing. If the single's any indication, we might be seeing the return of that classic 50 we all fell in love with on Animal Ambition. -HH

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Sia, '1000 Forms of Fear'

Who: Australian torch singer-songwriter extraordinaire Sia

What: Her sixth studio album (and first in four years) 1000 Forms of Fear

 When: June 3

Why We're Excited: Somewhat ironically, Sia has become more famous than ever after taking a break from recording and opting to write for other singers (Rihanna's "Diamonds," Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You," Britney Spears' "Perfume"). But it looks like she's kept the best material for herself as evidenced by her explosive new single "Chandelier", which indicates Sia's added some edginess to her torch-song formula. Here are eight more reasons you should be super-pumped for the full album. -JB

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Jennifer Lopez, 'A.K.A.'

Who: The "Same Girl" we've known and loved since the '90s, J to the L-O!

What: Her 10th (!) studio album A.K.A.

When: June 17

Why We're Excited: Jennifer recently previewed a slew of wide-ranging material for the record: There's a seductive, Diplo-produced club joint "Big Booty," the synthy slow-jam "Never Satisfied," plus collaborations with French MontanaIggy AzaleaNasPitbull and Rick Ross. We've already got the irresistible "I Luh Ya Papi" and the pop banger "First Love." So far, very good. -JB

Check out Fuse's complete guide to A.K.A. here.

11 / 26

Jack White, 'Lazaretto'

Who: Guitar god Jack White

What: His second studio album, Lazaretto

When: June 10

Why We're Excited: It's been two years since we've seen new music from Jack White, and the ex-White Stripe is going dark and gritty on Lazaretto. In April, White dropped the first track, "High Ball Stepper," and it immediately racked up over a million hits. He recently announced an insane vinyl edition that features hidden tracks, double grooves and a hologram. This is the album to entertain your summer party guests with. - HH

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Lucy Hale, 'Road Between'

Who: Pretty Little Liars actor Lucy Hale

What: Her country-pop debut Road Between

When: June 3

Why We're Excited: Sometimes it's a bad idea for actors to attempt a singing career, but Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale has the country-pop thing down. We plan on spending many summer BBQ's blasting Road Between. -MA

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Tigers Jaw, 'Charmer'

Who: Subtle indie rockers Tigers Jaw

What: Their fourth LP, Charmer

When: June 3

Why We're Excited: Tigers Jaw have become a relatively elusive band over the past few years, recording Charmer with their original members but then kind of breaking-up, but not really. Whatever the situation was, the Scranton band's fourth LP is about to drop after being shelved for a while, and there's a lot of excitement about it: Their label, Run For Cover, is pressing 10,000 copies of the LP on vinyl. Find out what all the fuss is about with the fuzzy "Hum" (above) or the grungy "Nervous Kids." -TN

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This Wild Life, 'Clouded'

Who: Long Beach, CA acoustic duo This Wild Life

What: Their debut full-length, Clouded

When: May 27

Why We're Excited: Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso have found a way to stand out in the pop-punk/hardcore cluster by going fully acoustic with This Wild Life. That might sound strange at first, but Jordan's vocal melodies bring back memories of Drive-Thru Records' golden era of pop-punk and songs like "History" explore a soft core sound with instantly memorable lyrics. They recorded Clouded with acclaimed Copeland frontman Aaron Marsh, resulting in a fleshed-out aesthetic that include strings, pianos and gang vocals that aren't completely overpowering. Our only question is whether the duo will be able to hear themselves on stage over the cacophony of teenagers singing along. -TN

15 / 26

First Aid Kit, 'Stay Gold'

Who: Dreamy Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit

What: Their third full-length and major label debut, Stay Gold

When: June 10

Why We're Excited: The female folk duo won us over with their totally sweet sophomore LP, The Lion’s Roar, produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk fame. Their first single, "My Silver Lining," finds them perfecting their mastery of dreamy folk-pop. We can’t wait for the Swedish real-life sisters to take over! -MS

16 / 26

5 Seconds of Summer, '5 Seconds of Summer'

Who: The Australian band of teen dreams, 5 Seconds of Summer

What: Self-Titled debut full-length

When: July 22

Why We're Excited: Move over, One Direction, there’s a new batch of boys ready to take over the world! Ok, maybe not—but the band of teenagers have found a ridiculous amount of success in a short period of time. They’ll hit the road with 1D this summer following the release of their first US EP She Looks So Perfect, which debuted at No. 2. Oh and did we say they're young? What were you doing when you were 17? -MS

17 / 26

Sam Smith, 'In the Lonely Hour'

Who: British soul singer Sam Smith, the hook singer on Disclosure's "Latch" and Naughty Boys' "La La La"

What: His debut full-length album In the Lonely Hour

When: June 17

Why We're Excited: It's not often that we get to watch the makings of the next great soul singer. But the British and American public have been getting to know Sam Smith since he proved his penchant for silky, falsetto hooks on "Latch" and "La La La." For his full-length debut, he's hooked up with soul-pop experts like Fraser T Smith (Cee Lo Green), Two Inch Punch (Lianne La Havas) and Eg White (Adele). -JB

18 / 26

Lana Del Rey, 'Ultraviolence'

Who: Lana Del Rey

What: Her Dan Auerbach produced new album Ultraviolence

When: June 17

Why We're Excited: If her first single "West Coast" is any indication, Lana has replaced the sweeping, dramatic orchestrations of her first album with a bluesy rock sound. She also has a song called "F-cked My Way to the Top." Lana haters go home: The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach confirms she's "a true eccentric." -MA

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Big Freedia, 'Just Be Free'

Who: Bounce Queen Big Freedia

What: Her new studio album, Just Be Free

When: June 17

Why We're Excited: It's an album of all new Big Freedia jams to coincide with the second season of Fuse's Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. Enough said. 

20 / 26

Ed Sheeran, 'x'

Who: English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, who’s written hits for just about everyone in the game

What: His long-awaited sophomore album, x (not to be mistaken for the Chris Brown record of the same name)

When: June 23

Why We're Excited: Sheeran hasn’t released an album in three years, and we’re tired of waiting! x also finds the young musician working alongside Rick Rubin… and if you haven’t heard the powerful lead single “Sing,” you must be living under a rock. -MS

21 / 26

BIGBANG, TBD

Who: South Korean boy band wonders BIGBANG

What: The quintet's third full-length album

When: July/August

Why We're Excited: BIGBANG has the Billboard 200 record for the highest-charting album by a K-pop boy band with 2012's Alive. Needless to say, anticipation is high to see if the stylish quintet can break it. The act's leader G-Dragon has been writing and producing for the album since March, and if his past creations are any indication, we're expecting more forward-thinking EDM and R&B tracks. -JB

22 / 26

Steve Aoki, 'Neon Future'

Who: EDM mastermind Steve Aoki

What: The first of a two-album series called Neon Future

When: August 12 

Why We're Excited: Aoki's nabbed a slew of special guests for his latest EDM masterwork, including Waka Flocka Flame, Fall Out Boy, Empire of the Sun, will.i.am and Machine Gun Kelly. He's celebrating his new release by bringing the beats to Madison Square Garden on August 16. -MA 

23 / 26

Real Friends, 'Maybe This Place Is the Same and We're Just Changing'

Who: Chicago pop-punk quintet Real Friends

What: Their debut LP, Maybe This Place Is the Same and We're Just Changing

When: July 22

Why We're Excited: The time is ripe for Real Friends to take over the pop-punk genre's collective attention on Warped Tour this summer. And if first single "Loose Ends" (watch the video above) is any indication, that's exactly what Maybe This Place... will do.

24 / 26

Banks, 'Goddess'

Who: Rising R&B artist Banks

What: Her debut album Goddess

When: September 2

Why We're Excited: Banks recently released the title track of her debut album and it's a lo-fi, sultry ballad that sounds delightfully airy and warped—the perfect comedown after a long, hot, sweaty summer. We're hoping the rest is just as cool. -MA

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Keyshia Cole, 'Point of No Return'

Who: R&B diva Keyshia Cole

What: Her sixth studio album, rumored to be titled Point of No Return

When: Summer 

Why We're Excited: When we last spoke with Keysh, she described the record as "one of my best albums to date" and boasting "more sexy songs than I've ever done." So far, we've heard the aggressive "Rick James" and the knocking ballad "Next Time (Won't Give My Heart Away)," hyping us up for a truly multifaceted R&B LP. -JB

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Ariana Grande, TBD

Who: Nickelodeon wunderkind Ariana Grande, who managed to steal Mariah Carey’s vocal cords

What: Second studio album, title TBD

When: August/September 

Why We're Excited: Have you heard her latest single with Iggy Azalea, “Problem”? This album will have bangers! Grande’s first album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and at the ripe age of 20, she's just the 15th female solo artist to ever do so. Impressive! -MS

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