Sad, but true: There won’t be any big tours coming to an arena near you this fall. Nor will there be any theater concerts or club shows to keep live music pumping. But there’s one thing the pandemic can’t touch, and that’s the pop parade of new albums marching through this season.
Although there are sure to be some major surprises — thanks, Beyoncé — here are five LPs that we can’t wait to put on repeat.
“What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?,” Sept. 25
With the Black Lives Matter movement in effect, the Strong Island posse has come back in full force with their anti-Trump tirade “State of the Union (STFU)” and “Fight the Power: Remix 2020,” which PE powerfully performed at the BET Awards in June. Both tracks are included on “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?” — another lengthy album title a la “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.” The LP, which marks a return to the group’s legendary label Def Jam, features a slew of guests — from Nas and Rapsody to Run-DMC and Cypress Hill — paying much-earned respect to Public Enemy.
“The Rarities,” Oct. 2
While you’re still sipping the tea from Mimi’s memoir, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” which will be released Sept. 29, you’ll be able to surround yourself with some fresh sounds from the pop diva. “The Rarities” is a career-spanning compilation of previously unreleased tracks that Carey has recorded since making her 1990 debut. She’s already teased us with “Save the Day,” a joint with Ms. Lauryn Hill that gives shades of the Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” The album will also include a concert disc, “Live at the Tokyo Dome,” from her first Japan show in 1996. And with the lack of live music right now, that might be the sweetest gift of all.
“Letter to You,” Oct. 23
The Boss has been busy during quarantine, recording his latest LP at his home studio in New Jersey. “Letter to You” reunites Springsteen with the E Street Band after he went without his trusted troop on last year’s “Western Stars.” The album — which was recorded in just five days, with the whole gang playing completely live — includes nine newly written tunes along with three previously unreleased songs from the ’70s: “Janey Needs a Shooter,” “If I Was the Priest” and “Song for Orphans.” On Thursday, Springsteen dropped the title track as the LP’s first single, and it’s a romantic rocker that proves a letter is still better than a text.
“Disco,” Nov. 6
After the Aussie pop queen went country with 2018’s “Golden,” she unambiguously returns to her dance-floor domain with an album titled “Disco.” And really, don’t we all want Kylie to be Kylie, not Dolly? The first single, “Say Something,” is the kind of sunny, synth-infused bop that will have her fans twirling all of their troubles away.
“Certified Lover Boy,” TBD
The ever-busy Drizzy just won’t quit. He started the year rocking with Future on “Life Is Good,” released his “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” mixtape (featuring the No. 1 single “Toosie Slide”) in May, and dropped a couple joints with DJ Khaled (“Popstar” and “Greece”) in July. Then, in August, came yet another hit, “Laugh Now Cry Later,” featuring Lil Durk, which Drake announced was the first single off his next studio LP, “Certified Lover Boy.” It could drop anytime Drake feels like it, but for now, just enjoy the certified swag of that album title.