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Summer is right around the corner — what are you doing if not prepping your playlists? Below, we've rounded up 11 new or forthcoming albums sure to spice up your Spotify shuffle just in time for BBQ season:
Killer Mike: 'Michael' (June 16)
If Run the Jewels is the X-Men, "Michael," Killer Mike's first solo project in 12 years, is his "Logan," the rapper said. Coming in hot at 14 tracks, this new LP is effectively the rapper's "origin story" and his "most autobiographical and independent" project to date (into which he poured $500,000 of his own money). On the single "Motherless," he tackles the loss of his mother, whom he describes as a "bad ass Black girl from Atlanta"; and "on "Don't Let the Devil," he gets high and urges listeners to avoid temptation. The album is out now.
Big Freedia: 'Central City' (June 23)
Odds are you've already heard Big Freedia's voice in a song or two (Beyoncé sampled her track "Explode" in "Break My Soul," for instance). But on June 23, you'll have a chance to check out "Central City," the New Orleans bounce artist's newest solo project and her first full-length work since 2014's "Just Be Free," per Variety. "Bounce has been through many iterations — from Triggerman to Sissy to Cash Money Bounce — but my new album is something I call Bigga Bounce," Freedia said of the album. "Welcome to Central City, y'all, where I pay homage to my city, my roots, hip-hop, and to the art of creating a new sound."
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Coi Leray: 'Coi' (June 23)
There's no denying it — rapper Coi Leray is having a big, big moment. Her songs "Players" and "TWINNEM" are dominating TikTok; she's penning features for pop stars left and right; and her sophomore album, the self-titled "Coi" is out June 23. On "Trendsetter," Leray's debut, "you'll notice there's a lot of pain," she told Interview Magazine in June. "It was a big Coi hate train at one point," but "[now] it's giving, 'f--k everything.'" This new album is "all about me and my happiness and my story because I've been recording and it's been great times, great vibes."
Singles "Bops" and "My Body" are out now.
Kim Petras: 'Feed the Beast' (June 23)
Looking to dance this summer? Kim Petras' "Feed the Beast," out June 23, will surely scratch that itch. The German popstar's long-awaited debut will feature previously-released singles "Alone," "Brrr," and the Grammy Award-winning "Unholy," on which Petras collaborated with friend and peer, Sam Smith.
Believe it or not, this highly-anticipated drop has been in the works for quite some time. In fact, the star's planned debut, rumored to have been titled "Problématique," was unfortunately "scrapped last summer after enduring a series of leaks," Rolling Stone reported, though Petras seems to believe it was for the best. "That original album got me through the pandemic," she told Billboard last year. "But I also realized in that process that I was just doing what I always do; I was writing escapist pop songs about wanting to get away from everything. It was, once again, 'The world is ending, let's party.' I love that, but I'm at a different place now."
"Alone (feat. Nicki Minaj)" is out now.
Kelly Clarkson: 'chemistry' (June 23)
Get ready Kelly fans — America's idol will return June 23 with her first album of entirely original music since 2017. In a September 2022 interview, Clarkson told Variety that "chemistry" was inspired by her brutal divorce and legal battle with her now ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock. "I literally wrote most of these [songs] almost two years ago," she said. "... [T]here's everything on the album. It's almost like the arc of a relationship, because the beginning is so beautiful and so sweet, and then it evolves. And sometimes it doesn't evolve how you want."
Lead singles "me" and "mine," which were released simultaneously because "I didn't want to release just one song to represent an entire album, or relationship," the singer wrote on Instagram, are out now.
The Japanese House: 'In the End It Always Does' (June 30)
Fall wistfully into July with "In the End It Always Does," the forthcoming album from indie-alt songstress Amber Bain, known by her stage name, The Japanese House. If the rest of the album is anything like its lead single "Boyhood," or the yearning follow-up, "Sad to Breathe," expect a crop of delightfully soft and sweet acoustic love songs, vocally layered in Bain's trademark style. Detail-oriented listeners might even find a few surprise collaborators among the shoegaze-y melodies.
Lucinda Williams: 'Stories From a Rock n Roll Heart' (June 30)
It would be an affront to both country and rock music to neglect the forthcoming "Stories From a Rock n Roll Heart," the 15th studio album from trailblazing singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, back on the music scene after suffering a stroke in 2020. Listeners can prepare for a little who's who of Americana — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Patti Scialfa join Williams on tracks "New York Comeback" and "Rock n Roll Heart," while Angel Olsen, Margo Price and other genre heavyweights feature elsewhere on the album, per Pitchfork.
Lead single "New York Comeback" is out now.
Taylor Swift: 'Speak Now (Taylor's Version)' (July 7)
John Mayer, you've been warned. Pop superstar Taylor Swift will release "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)," the latest installment in her quest to re-record (and thus gain ownership of) six of her previous albums, on July 7, just in time for Kansas City Swifties to belt "Dear John" during their stop on the Eras Tour. "I first made 'Speak Now,' completely self-written, between the ages of 18 and 20," Swift said in her announcement on Instagram. "The songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness. I love this album because it tells a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing … and living to speak about it."
Six so-called "vault" tracks will accompany the album's original tracklist and two original bonus tracks. "Taylor's Version" really can't arrive soon enough.
Various Artists: 'Barbie the Album' (July 21)
Just when we thought the hype around Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie couldn't get any bigger, the team over at Warner Bros. decided to drop the tracklist for the film's original soundtrack, a pop-filled romp featuring the likes of Lizzo, Dua Lipa, Karol G, and it girl Ice Spice. Catch us blasting the entire compilation, out July 21, in the car, at the beach and in the office all summer long. Dua Lipa's contribution, "Dance The Night," is out now.
Post Malone: 'Austin' (July 28)
Post Malone isn't letting a few on-tour tumbles get him down. Just over a year after dropping "Twelve Carat Toothache," the rapper will release his self-titled fifth studio album, "Austin," on July 28. "It's been some of the funnest music, some of the most challenging and rewarding music for me, at least — trying to really push myself and really do some cool stuff," Malone, whose real first name is Austin, said of the project on Instagram. "I played guitar on every song on the record, and it was a really, really fun experience, and I'm super, super excited to share it with you."
Joni Mitchell: 'Joni Mitchell at Newport' (July 28)
Ease your way into August with the soothing sounds of Joni Mitchell and her surprise festival set from July 2022, the audio of which was captured on the forthcoming live album, "Joni Mitchell at Newport." The project, out July 28, also features linear notes written by director Cameron Crowe. "This performance would be an intimate gathering of friends, not unlike the Joni Jams she'd been hosting in her own living room over the last few years of recovery," Crowe wrote of the legendary moment. "Smiling broadly, Mitchell made her surprise appearance, taking her on-stage seat alongside [Brandi] Carlile. Within minutes, the news had rocketed around the globe."