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Fall 2016

2016 Fall Music Preview: The 31 Albums You Need to Hear

From long-awaited comeback records to the season's most-hyped projects, here are the LPs your library needs before the year ends

1 / 31

M.I.A., 'A.I.M.'

Release Date: September 9

Why We're Excited: Whether or not it really is the singer-rapper's last album—she's teased retirement multiple timesA.I.M. looks ready to bring M.I.A. to a new high point and bring together different cultures and sounds like she did on her seminal debut Arular. Lead single "Go Off" brings Maya's politically driven raps with beats from EDM prince Skrillex and Baltimore producer Blaqstarr, while Zayn Malik, Diplo and more on board too. Jeff Benjamin

2 / 31

Of Mice & Men, 'Cold World'

Release Date: September 9

Why We're Excited: Autumn's the perfect time for metalcore and mosh-mania. Of Mice & Men know it, and they'll take the opportunity to hit us with their 13-track follow-up to 2014's Restoring Force. Based on the fact that frontman Austin Carlile recently finished a concert despite his LUNG COLLAPSING, we're guessing their dedication will show in the new record’s sound. Zach Dionne

3 / 31

Against Me!, 'Shape Shift With Me'

Release Date: September 16

Why We're Excited: We can't wait to hear where Laura Jane Grace goes now that she's already delivered her (absolute total godsend) trans coming-out album, Transgender Dysphonia Blues. Lead single "333" has a luxuriant, peaceful feel we've loved from first listen, and who could possibly do anything but impatiently wait to hear a track called "Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be"? Bonus factoid (thanks Wiki, can't even pretend this one wasn't you): Shape Shift With Me iAgainst Me!'s first album in 11 years to feature more than 10 songs. –Zach Dionne

4 / 31

AlunaGeorge, 'I Remember'

Release Date: September 16

Why We’re Excited: It's hard to believe AlunaGeorge are just coming up on their sophomore album, due to their push into a much bigger mainstream space last year thanks to DJ Snake's "You Know You Like It" remix. But the U.K. electronic duo are ready to bring their laid-back cool vibes this fall. If songs like the Popcaan-assisted "I'm In Control" and "Mean What I Mean" featuring Dreezy and Leikeli47 are any indication, we'll be taking a thrilling sonic ride around the world. Bianca Gracie

5 / 31

Mac Miller, 'The Divine Feminine'

Release Date: September 16

Why We're Excited: Two days before the anniversary of his major label debut GO:OD AMMac’ll be back. The Pittsburg-born 24-year-old told Zane Lowe on Beats 1 that The Divine Feminine is "actually a concept that was told to me about just the energy of the world being a female energy, the energy of the planet." With appearances by Kendrick Lamar (on an eight-minute song called "God Is Fair, Sexy, Nasty"), Cee Lo Greenmaybe-new bae Ariana Grande and the ascendant god Anderson .Paak, it's guaranteed fire. –Zach Dionne

6 / 31

Usher, 'Hard II Love'

Release Date: September 16

Why We're Excited: It's been a long road to Usher's upcoming eighth studio album Harder II Love, initially rumored to be titled UR in 2014, and then later said to be titled (by Usher himself) Flawed. The album will sadly not include previously released singles "Good Kisser" or "She Came to Give It To You." We've been waiting for Usher's follow-up to 2012's Looking 4 Myself for four years, and new 2016 single "Crash" instantly got us hooked, while the follow-up, "No Limit" featuring Young Thug, has really grown on listeners. Usher just dropped "Missin U" off the album, and it has more of the R&B sound we love and want from Usher. Mark Sundstrom

7 / 31

Shawn Mendes, 'Illuminate'

Release Date: September 23

Why We're Excited: After scoring an ultra-durable radio hit with “Stitches” last year, the teen singer-songwriter previewed his sophomore LP with the increasingly inescapable “Treat You Better.” Following a debut album that tried out a variety of styles, expect a more focused collection this time around. Jason Lipshutz

8 / 31

Utada Hikaru, 'Fantôme'

Release Date: September 28

Why We're Excited: It's ironic that Japanese megastar singer/songwriter Utada Hikaru's upcoming album is titled Fantôme, French for "ghost," because that's what Utada's felt like over her self-imposed music hiatus. In the time since her last full-length album eight years ago, Utada has gotten married, had a child, and sadly experienced the loss of her mother when she commit suicide in 2013. It's safe to say Utada has a lot of material to pull from. We've already heard three songs off the album. "Sakura Nagashi" was the theme for a 2012 Japanese film in the popular Evangelion anime franchise. Plus, this past year Utada released the singles "Hanataba Wo Kimini" (a theme for a Japanese drama series) and "Manatsu no Tooriame" (a theme for a Japanese evening news program).The growth in both Utada's vocals and lyrics is evident, and the new music is sure to bring all the feels. —Mark Sundstrom

9 / 31

Banks, 'The Altar'

Release Date: September 30

Why We’re Excited: Banks first made her voice heard with her 2014 debut album Goddess, but now she's ready to prove why she deserves to be a part of the rising pop star conversation with this year's follow-up. With chilling songs like "F-ck With Myself," "Gemini Feed" and "Mind Games," the singer is serving trippy minimalism that is even more exciting than her previous alt-R&B vibes. —Bianca Gracie

10 / 31

Bon Iver, '22, A Million'

Release Date: September 30

Why We're Excited: The long-dormant, absolutely essential group surprise-debuted their techy, touching third album, 22, A Millionlive at frontman Justin Vernon's Wisconsin festival Eaux Claires a couple weeks ago. (And dropped extended studio versions of the first two songs for all to hear, too.) Having spent maybe a little too much time with the concert bootleg, we can confidently say this thing's exactly what patient fans have needed since 2011's Bon Iver, Bon Iver. “715 - CR∑∑KS" feels like a sequel to the Kanye West–sampled AutoTune workout "Woods"; closer "00000 Million” is the little sister to the last album's immortal finale, "Beth/Rest.” Fans can prepare for 22, A Million’s evolved-but-still-true-to-the-course sound with digitally aided performances like “Heavenly Father," the James Blake collab “Fall Creek Boys Choir,” the GAYNGS cover of Sade’s “By Your Side” and the live reinterpretation of “Perth” with The Roots–Zach Dionne

11 / 31

Craig David, 'Following My Intuition'

Release Date: September 30

Why We're Excited: The "Fill Me In" crooner is set to deliver his first album in over six years—16 years after the release of his chart-topping debut Born to Do It. The album's lead single, "When the Bassline Drops," showcases the 35-year-old's signature blend of smooth R&B and sexy club beats. But it's clear that David has also been experimenting with his sound. After collaborating with Major Lazer earlier this year, he again joins forces with the popular trio on "16," a track co-written by Justin Bieber that just might raise a few eyebrows. Tina Xu

12 / 31

Yellowcard, 'Yellowcard'

Release Date: September 30

Why We're Excited: “Excited” isn’t the correct word to use here, because this represents Yellowcard’s final album ever before breaking up. Yet songs like “The Hurt Is Gone” hint at a melodic last hurrah before the Warped Tour vets call it a day. —Jason Lipshutz

13 / 31

Green Day, 'Revolution Radio'

Release Date: October 7

Why We're Excited: Green Day’s three-album rollout in 2012 was a critical and commercial letdown…but the last time Billie Joe Armstrong and co. constructed a comeback, they dropped American Idiot. If lead single “Bang Bang” is any indication, the upcoming Revolution Radio will be just as politically caustic and palette-cleansing. —Jason Lipshutz

14 / 31

Meshuggah, 'The Violent Sleep of Reason'

Release Date: October 7

Why We're Excited: One of the world's only 100 percent unique bands, Sweden’s Meshuggah takes their time, every time. The follow-up to 2012's Koloss—their highest U.S. chart debut ever at No. 17—is fantastically exciting, marking the first time the band has recorded a whole album live in the studio in "20-25 years," says drummer/lyricist Tomas Haake. "Obzen and Koloss are great albums, but, to me, they are a little too perfect," he told Metal Hammer. "It was about going back to those albums that inspired us when we were growing up, that were important to us in our formative years, and all of those bands had that energy. The albums in the '80s and early '90s had the rawness." We're confidently betting on LP7 being the best Meshuggah set since Catch Thirtythree dropped way back in ’05. –Zach Dionne

15 / 31

Pitbull, 'Climate Change'

Release Date: October 7

Why We're Excited: Pitbull is known for bringing together loads of different artists for chart-topping bangers, and Climate Change looks to be his most ambitious effort yet. From classic names like Joe Perry and R. Kelly, plus newcomers like Becky G and Austin Mahone, not to mention Stephen Marley, Leona Lewis, Travis Barker and Enrique Iglesias, there's loads to look forward to with this Climate Change—Jeff Benjamin

More on Climate Change from Pitbull himself:

16 / 31

Sum 41, '13 Voices'

Release Date: October 7

Why We're Excited: The pop punkers' comeback album (their first in five years) was completely crowdfunded, so its upcoming release means a lot more to both the fans and the band itself. Frontman Deryck Whibley has been very candid about his road to recovery from alcoholism, and the creation of '13 Voices' helped him battle the deteriorating abuse. The album features vulnerable tracks like "War," which Whibley said "literally saved my life." You can't get more musically honest than that. —Bianca Gracie

More on 13 Voices and how music helped his alcoholism from Whibley himself:

17 / 31

French Montana, 'MC4'

Release Date: October 14

Why We’re Excited: French Montana didn't let a release date setback get him down (it was originally meant to arrive in August), as MC4 is shaping up to be the Bronx rapper's best work to date. His sophomore album, the follow-up to 2013's Excuse My French, is the fourth installment to his banger-filled Mac & Cheese series. It leads with the Drake-assisted "No Shopping" single, which has already become a radio favorite. —Bianca Gracie

18 / 31

JoJo, 'Mad Love'

Release Date: October 14

Why We're Excited: This is a comeback if there ever was one. The insanely talented JoJo was locked down by label troubles, trudging through years of lawsuits. When she surfaced in 2014, she took her time crafting new music, and with "Fuck Apologies," she’s building momentum and letting her voice—the best of our generation—rise once again. Emilee Lindner

More on Mad Love from JoJo herself:

19 / 31

Kings of Leon, 'Walls'

Release Date: October 14

Why We're Excited: It's been three years since KoL released their GRAMMY-winning Mechanical Bull album and after a slew of festival appearances this year, the band will return with Walls. For the record, the group say they required a "major shake-up" and wound up working with famed rock producer/songwriter Markus Dravs (known for his work with Arcade FireFlorence + the Machine), so expect another major album from the band. —Jeff Benjamin

20 / 31

Korn, 'The Serenity of Suffering'

Release Date: October 21

Why We're Excited: The nu-metal founding fathers and torchbearers got their peer Corey Taylor—the vocalist of Slipknot—for their first-ever collaboration, on an album produced by the venerable Nick Raskulinecz (Foo FightersDeftonesMastodon). It's Korn's second record since co-founding guitarist Brian "Head" Welch ended his decade-long separation with the band. –Zach Dionne

21 / 31

Lady Gaga, 'Joanne'

Release Date: Oct. 21

Why We're Excited: Three years removed from the misfire of ArtpopLady Gaga has most definitely gotten her groove back, thanks to a well-timed Tony Bennett duets album, a Golden Globe for American Horror Story and some show-stopping TV performances. A single called “Perfect Illusion” is coming in September and was co-produced by Mark Ronson, who apparently helmed a lot of the new album; it’s once again fun to root for Gaga. —Jason Lipshutz

22 / 31

The Pretty Reckless, 'Who You Selling For'

Release Date: October 21

Why We’re Excited: The Pretty Reckless have grown up since their 2010 Light Me Up debut. While these hard rockers maintained their dark gothic charm, it's more mature and polished this time around. Their upcoming third album's catchy lead single, "Take Me Down," finds the grumbling Taylor Momsen sounding more confident than ever before. —Bianca Gracie

23 / 31

Tove Lo, 'Lady Wood'

Release Date: October 28

Why We're Excited: Tove Lo's debut album Queen of the Clouds was a bold, forward-thinking mix of sex, drugs and sweet Swedish pop. Lady Wood should continue that exploration, with lead cut "Cool Girl" already marking a strong, more personal start to the album. While the star told us to expect "dark techno" on the LP earlier this year, and we're also hoping to learn a little more about Tove Lo the person on this LP. —Jeff Benjamin

More on Lady Wood from Tove Lo herself:

24 / 31


Release Date: October

Why We're Excited: DNCE have been riding a beachy wave with their debut EP Swaay, and it would’ve been perfect for a summer album. Alas, the band pushed the yet-to-be-titled LP to October, giving them more time to surf on the success of “Cake by the Ocean” and “Toothbrush.” Come fall, we’re expecting a lot more sexy falsetto and funky-as-shit basslines. Thank you. —Emilee Lindner

25 / 31

Tinashe, 'Joyride'

Release Date: October

Why We're Excited: Once the follow-up to Aquarius is out, all Tinashe fans will breathe a sigh of relief. Hell, even Tinashe might be relieved. With a complicated roll-out, an intentional leak and a leak that was not-so-intentional, the people are ready for the smooth pop and smoky club jams that Tinashe busts out so well. "Superlove," although not in the usual darker vein of her previous music, teases a top-down sunny vibe for Joyride. —Emilee Lindner

More on Joyride from Tinashe herself:

26 / 31

Nathan Sykes, 'Unfinished Business'

Release Date: November 4

Why We're Excited: Our former Fuse First artist has been carving out his place in the poposphere for years, exploring a way to bubble up to the surface. Nathan Sykes went solo when The Wanted disbanded, but even before that, he was breaking out on his own, popping on Ariana Grande's debut album in 2013. Unfinished Business has been a long time coming, and from what we’ve heard, Sykes will be doling up more soul-infused, funky tunes on the set.—Emilee Lindner

More on Unfinished Business from Nathan Sykes himself:

27 / 31

Metallica, 'Hardwired…to Self-Destruct'

Release Date: November 18

Why We're Excited: Metallica has given us a taste of their 10th album, and the guys haven’t slowed down one bit. In fact, the first single, “Hardwired,” is faster and thrashier than ever before. Lars Ulrich sets a swift tempo while James Hetfield sings, "We're so fucked." Is there any reason why you wouldn't want to let loose with them here? —Emilee Lindner

28 / 31

Bruno Mars, 'TBD'

Release Date: TBA

Why We're Excited: Despite never really leaving us, thanks to two appearances at the Super Bowl, GRAMMY wins, TV appearances and little hit called "Uptown Funk!," it has been nearly four years since Bruno Mars released an album. But all signs point to a 2016 release as Skrillex recently revealed he's been in the studio with Mars, Missy Elliott said she heard new songs, and Bruno himself even said that the new material is so good, it's all he's listening to lately. —Jeff Benjamin

29 / 31

Little Mix, 'TBD'

Release Date: TBA

Why We're Excited: The British girl group came into their own on last year’s aptly titled Get Weird, and Jade Thirlwall says that she and the girls want to release their next project “before Christmas.” We know the lead single is coming in October, but got little details about the actual album. We won't complain as long as Little Mix stays prolific. —Jason Lipshutz

30 / 31


Release Date: TBA

Why We're Excited: The long-running K-pop favorites have been teasing a new album since this summer and all signs point to an upcoming fall release. While a SHINee release is always cause for celebration, the group's members have had time to grow with impressive solo ventures (in particular, Taemin's Bruno Mars-written "Press Your Number" and Jonghyun's very excellent She Is album). Coming together as five should not only produce the quality listeners have come to expect from the boy band and likely push them towards new, artistic growth. Especially if they tackle an unexpected genre, like they did with deep house on 2015's "View." —Jeff Benjamin

31 / 31

Miranda Lambert, 'TBD'

Release Date: TBA

Why We're Excited: The country superstar put it all out there with her new single "Vice" and a new album to continue the heralded reaction (the track went straight to No. 1 on iTunes) is being mixed and mastered for a fall release, according to sourcesMiranda is known for her real-life storytelling, and this LP will likely detail her divorce with Blake Shelton so expect relatable heartbreak material and her signature getting-back-at-the-ex tracks. —Jeff Benjamin

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Photo of the day

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chance the Rapper and Iman dance at KENZO x H&M Launch Event Directed By Jean-Paul Goude' at Pier

Oct. 20: Fashion Party

Is there anyone busier than Chance The Rapper these days? Attending fancy State Dinners at the White House with Dad, starring in the best Kit-Kat commercial we’ve ever seen, partying with Beyoncé, and now dancing the night away with the one-and-only Iman! At the KENZO X H&M fashion event Chance rubbed elbows with not only Iman, but with Lupita Nyong’o, Rosario Dawson and Halsey as well. Both Chance and Iman are ambassadors for the KENZO x H&M campaign.