We are so close to entering a new decade and after the unpredictable soundscape that spanned the 2010s, no one can definitively say what the future will sound like. One thing that is certain is the amount of albums by some of the industry's biggest artists that are set to come out in at the start of the new decade.
Releasing an album at the start of decade poses a big responsibility. If the album captures audiences it holds the potential to establish the soundscape for a new era. At the starting point are artists of all ages, generations, and eras. Although, that's not to assume they're all running the same race. Many of the artists slated for 2020 releases have already achieved this musical milestone in their careers decades before.
The sounds of the 1980s have had an undeniable influence on popular music and in the 2010s, we saw post-punk and goth artists of the 80s inspire a vibrant underground musical movement dedicated to the sounds of darkwave, coldwave, synthpop, and every niche subgenre in between. Which we may even see get soullessly sucked into the mainstream music void (see the recently released "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd and compare to bands like Twin Tribes and Drab Majesty).
The first half of this article's title is directly lifted from Dua Lipa's upcoming album titled Future Nostalgia, which she has said was inspired by artists from Gwen Stefani and OutKast to Madonna and Blondie. When she dropped the titular track, music blogs deemed it "timeless."
The media claimed that 2019 was all about artists going "genreless". Could 2020 be the year of "timelessness" as musical influences get increasingly muddled and even more difficult to break down? In another few decades, will a teenager hear songs like "Blinding Lights" and "The Heiress" and immediately think of the 80s or the 2010s?
And that leads to the question that surreptitiously accompanies every new record released by any respected artist from previous decades. What more can you offer to a sound that you, yourself helped shape? As ironic as it is, the results usually end up feeling contrived, disingenuous.
Lucky for us, many of the artists below have already released promotional singles and they're promising. Only time can answer the questions I posed above, so for now let's enjoy the music we already have and look forward to the music that's yet to come.
Pet Shop Boys - Hotspot (January 24)
The Pet Shop Boys have been consistently releasing great music and collaborating with a wide range of pop artists since they formed in 1981. Their 14th studio album should be nothing short of ambitious. Check out the radio edit of their latest single off the album "Burning the Heather" and their collaboration with Years & Years called "Dreamland."
Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man (expected early 2020)
This is Ozzy's first solo release in 10 years and the lead single has earned the Prince of Darkness much attention and fans are expecting the album to impress. Check out "Under the Graveyard" and his second release "Straight To Hell."
Richard Marx - Limitless (February 7)
"I wasn't really sure what making a new album meant for an artist like...In my past, my only criteria was to write and record songs that pleased me, and hopefully other people would like them, too. So I returned to that ideology and dismissed any concerts of stylistic consistency and the next thing I knew, I had recorded a diverse album I really liked," Richard said in a press release. His two singles are reflective of his statements.
Huey Lewis and the News - Weather (February 14)
This album will be the band's first album of new music in 19 years. As you can hear on the two singles, Lewis' vocals have aged well and The News is provides a solid foundation for his passionate vocals to rest upon.
The Doobie Brothers - [title and release date TBA]
Coinciding with their 50th Anniversary tour with Michael McDonald, the Doobie Brothers have been talking about releasing an EP of new music in 2020. There's not much information about the release yet, but Tom Johnston did tell Billboard "There's one that's kind of a ballad, but the rest of them are rock, with a little modern edge to it."
Scorpions - [title and release date TBA]
There's been no official announcement from the band, but guitarist Matthias Jabs mapped out the Scorpions' plans for new music to The Metal Bar. "...the album should come out in the fall of 2020. And then, of course, we go on the road again." Hopefully, everything is going according to plans and we'll have new music from the band soon.
Megadeth - [title and release date TBA]
Despite Dave Mustaine's cancer diagnosis, it was revealed in Rolling Stone that Megadeath would be finishing up three new songs over the next few months. They'll be on a European Tear from late January to the end of February. He's been working with Megadeth co-founder David Ellefson to write new music and shared that they've written a ballad similar to Kiss's "Beth."
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