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Fall Music Preview 2015: 30 Must-Hear Albums

... Rollingstone:

With the 2015 VMAs in the rearview, the music world turns its attention to the fall-album onslaught. No matter what your tastes, there's plenty to look forward to in the coming season: rootsy comebacks from tried-and-true veterans (David Gilmour, Don Henley), rabidly anticipated efforts from left-field pop royalty (Kanye West, Lana Del Rey) and sure-fire smashes from tween-friendly giants (One Direction, Justin Bieber).

Our complete rundown features select insights from the artists themselves. "This is me passing along, to anyone who will listen, a few nuggets of wisdom acquired from my dippings into life's chocolate box down the years," says Rod Stewart of Another Country. YG puts it more bluntly, when he quips of the forthcoming Still Krazy, "Classic shit, that's what I'm fucking with."

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
C Brandon/Redferns/Getty

Title: TBD

Date: TBD

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' follow-up to their million-selling 2012 debut, The Heist, ran into an unexpected delay: At the height of their success, Macklemore — who has been in recovery for drug and alcohol addiction since 2008 — backslid with weed and pills. "I went in and out of sobriety," says the Seattle rapper. "That usually ends up in creative stagnation." It wasn't until October that he was able to give his full attention to making music with producer Lewis. "When I got back into my 12-step meetings, it was like, 'This is no joke,'" Macklemore says. "'Do you want to make another album, or let go of everything you worked for?'"

You can hear their ambition on songs like "Downtown," an improbably epic ode to the moped Macklemore brought along on their last world tour. "It started as a clowning-around thing, but we kept making it bigger," he says of the song, which ranges through old-school hip-hop (complete with vocals from Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee), Broadway show tunes and Seventies arena rock. "That one took forever to figure out," says Lewis. Expect some sensitive moments, too, like an emotional ballad with soul singer Leon Bridges and the already-released Ed Sheeran collaboration "Growing Up," which Macklemore wrote for his now-two-month-old daughter. "Ryan really pushed me to get more vulnerable and come to grips with how scared I was to be a dad," he says. "I'm still trying to figure out who I am."

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey
Title: Honeymoon

Date: September 18th

2014's Ultraviolence, produced mostly by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, won strong reviews with its rock-tinged sound, but it failed to generate major hits. This time around, there are signs that Del Rey has her eyes back on the charts: Rick Nowels — who produced several songs on 2010's radio-friendly Born to Die — is producing and co-writing most of Honeymoon, and the album's first single, "High by the Beach," is a woozy party anthem whose spare, hook-y sound plays to her early strengths. The LP's title track backs up Del Rey's recent promise to deliver "majestic choruses [and] beautiful orchestrations," while second single "Terrence Loves You" opts for eerie, piano-and-sax-driven atmospherics. Del Rey might have more surprising sounds in store, too: "I'm ready to go into more of a 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds' surrealist place," she recently said.

Adele

Adele
Kevin Winter/Getty

Title: TBD

Date: TBD

Adele's follow-up to 2011's 11 million-selling blockbuster, 21, is one of the music industry's most closely guarded secrets. Here's what we know so far: She's put in studio time with veteran pop songwriter Diane Warren, but she has not returned to work with Rick Rubin, who parted ways with her after producing roughly half of the songs on 21. She has, however, reportedly recorded new tracks with past collaborators Paul Epworth ("Rolling in the Deep") and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder ("Rumour Has It"). The album may also reportedly include first-time contributions from producers and songwriters including Pharrell Williams, Danger Mouse and Blur's Damon Albarn.

Kanye West

Kanye West
Prince Williams/WireImage/Getty

Title: Swish

Date: TBD

After a flurry of activity early this year, West has stepped back from the summer release that was rumored for his seventh studio LP. So what's up with the year's most anticipated rap album? He's said he's working "slowly, to make it an art project." The tracks he made with Paul McCartney (including early singles "Only One" and "All Day") and the Sia collaboration "Wolves" might not make the cut. West has also reportedly been working with Bruno Mars.

Don Henley

Don Henley
Paul Morigi/Stringer/Getty

Title: Cass County

Date: September 25th

Henley recorded his first solo LP in 15 years in Nashville and Dallas with country greats like Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton and Miranda Lambert — but don't call it a country album. "It's pretty eclectic," Henley says. "It's not all that consistent in terms of labels and genres. Some of it's neotraditional country. There's a couple of blues songs on there. There's some things that might be called Americana." The constants are Henley's voice and songwriting. "The record company prefers to call it a Don Henley record and refuses to put it in any particular category," he adds. "I think that's wise. People can decide for themselves."

Grimes

Grimes
Roger Kisby/Getty

Title: TBD

Date: October TBD

2012's breakthrough Visions made fans out of Katy Perry, Lorde and Rihanna. Now Claire Boucher — the idiosyncratic, pink-haired Canadian artist who records as Grimes — is ready to be a pop star in her own right. Boucher, who produced her latest album herself at her new L.A. home studio, says the songs on the LP are split into three groups: "aggressive bangers" with a rock edge (see "Flesh Without Blood," about a false friend); "weirder, more experimental things"; and "really, really poppy songs, like almost rococo pop." She describes the album's creation as a spiritual process. "I'm not explicitly religious, but overall I think this album is about God," Boucher says. "I mean that abstractly. Being creative can be really elusive, and I feel like the thing that happens when it does come is maybe what God is supposed to be."

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart
Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty

Title: Another Country

Date: October 23rd

Stewart ended his two-decade songwriting drought with 2013's Time. Now he's on a roll, with another collection of all-new tunes that he penned himself. "I was born in London, so I'm a cockney Scotsman," he says. "There's a huge Gaelic feel throughout the album, lots of violins and mandolins." On the album's lead single, "Love Is," he tries to work out the truth about romance after three divorces. "This is me passing along, to anyone who will listen, a few nuggets of wisdom acquired from my dippings into life's chocolate box down the years," he says. "Believe me, though, I still don't understand the chemistry of love and why sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."

Disclosure

Disclosure
Joseph Okpako/WireImage/Getty

Title: Caracal

Date: September 25th

After their triple-platinum 2013 single, "Latch," featuring Sam Smith, English brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence aren't just one of the hottest acts in EDM — they're major-league pop contenders, too. For their second album, they doubled down on sleek beats and killer hooks, booking in-person songwriting sessions with A-list vocal guests like the Weeknd, Miguel and Lorde (whose turn on the ultra-cool, supercatchy "Magnets" is an album highlight). "The songwriting is the most important thing for us," says Howard. "I feel a lot of dance acts lack the cohesiveness that we can get." They explore this theme on "Jaded," a song featuring Howard on lead vocals that takes aim at what they say is a rising plague of ghostwriters and EDM poseurs. "You meet more and more producers and you find out, 'You're not really a producer, are you? You're just a monster A&R who puts his name on the record,'" Guy says. "It's weird."

Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell
Suzi Pratt/FilmMagic/Getty

Title: Higher Truth

Date: September 18th

Six years after releasing Scream, his widely panned collaboration with hip-hop producer Timbaland, Cornell has created a stripped-down album of acoustic songs inspired by Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and Nick Drake's Pink Moon. The Soundgarden frontman recruited producer Brendan O'Brien — who's worked extensively with Pearl Jam and Springsteen, and engineered Soundgarden's 1994 classic Superunknown — to help him make Higher Truth. The two rock veterans played nearly every instrument themselves, and many of the tracks, including "Worried Moon" and "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart," are infused with no small degree of sorrow. "That's not unusual for me," says Cornell. "With an acoustic song, there needs to be something melancholy or introspective about it to get me through the door."

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile
Gaelle Beri/Redferns/Getty

Title: B'lieve I'm Goin Down

Date: September 25th

Shaggy Philadelphia indie rocker Vile says that his sixth solo album started out as "a psychedelic folk affair." It ended up becoming all that and more, with dreamlike guitar and piano arrangements backing Vile's most introspective lyrics yet. He says he hit a songwriting breakthrough on a trip to the California desert, where he penned the lonesome highlight "Wheelhouse" ("Sometimes I talk too much/But I gotta get it out"). On the chiming lead single, "Pretty Pimpin," Vile spins a trippy story about being so tired that he looks in the mirror and sees a stranger rocking a sweet outfit. "That's based on a true story," Vile says with a laugh. "I was just mentally exhausted. I think most people feel like that at times.

David Gilmour

Dave Gilmour
MJ Kim/Getty

Title: Rattle That Lock

Date: September 18th

Fans of the Pink Floyd guitarist's solo work will find much to love in the warm, flowing sounds of his first release in nine years. Lyrically, it's organized around one man's stream of consciousness over the course of a single day. "There are moments of encouraging people to protest against injustices," says Gilmour. "And there are personal moments." One of those is "A Boat Lies Waiting," a tribute to Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, who passed away in 2008. "Dancing Right in Front of Me," meanwhile, was inspired by Gilmour's experiences as a father. "A lot of young people have been through experiences that have traumatized them," he says. "I'm not sure we're moving forward in terms of humanity and kindness very much yet. We live and hope."

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber
Frazer Harrison/Getty

Title: TBD

Date: November 13th

"Where Are Ü Now," Bieber's hit collaboration with Diplo and Skrillex's EDM superduo Jack Ü, has single-handedly restored the pop star's cool after years of embarrassing press. "A lot of people lost faith in Justin Bieber," says Skrillex. "But I always thought he was one of the best singers in the world." Jack Ü returned to produce several songs slated for possible inclusion on Bieber's first full-length album since 2012, which may also feature reported contributions from Kanye West and Rick Rubin. (Lead single "What Do You Mean?" dropped on August 28th, and a cinematic video emerged following Bieber's cathartic performance at the VMAs.) "If anybody gets to see Justin in the studio, they're going to be blown away," Skrillex adds. "He gets on any instrument, and he'll school you in it — then he'll go skateboard and school you in that."

Coldplay

Coldplay
George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty

Title: A Head Full of Dreams

Date: TBD

After last year's introspective Ghost Stories, which reflected frontman Chris Martin's separation from wife Gwyneth Paltrow, Martin has said Coldplay are seeking "something colorful and uplifting" for their seventh LP. "It's hard to perfect a happy song," he confessed recently. "Pharrell managed it. Stevie Wonder managed it. Bill Withers managed it. I haven't managed it yet." The band has been holed up in London with Norwegian production duo Stargate, who've produced hits for Rihanna, Beyoncé and Katy Perry (and Coldplay's 2014 one-off "Miracles"). Adding to the mystery, Martin has said A Head Full of Dreams could be their finale. "It's like the last Harry Potter book or something," he said recently. "Not to say that there might not be another thing one day, but this is the completion of something."

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding
Christopher Polk/Getty

Title: TBD

Date: November TBD

Smash singles like 2011's "Lights" and 2012's "Anything Can Happen" have positioned Goulding as a left-field pop force. This year, she's building on that breakthrough with an album of tunes aimed directly at the charts, featuring production from Top 40 heavyweights including Max Martin. "I want to hear my records on the radio," Goulding says. The common thread through it all are her bright, airy vocals. "My voice is the one thing that no one else is going to have," she says.

YG

YG
Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty

Title: Still Krazy

Date: TBD

YG's first album, My Krazy Life, was one of the strongest rap LPs of 2014, and one of the best straight-up West Coast gangsta rap releases in years. Stakes for his follow-up got even higher when an unknown assailant shot the Compton rapper three times outside a Los Angeles studio where he was recording in June. Luckily, the injuries to his hip weren't life-threatening — and within days, he was back in the vocal booth, recording a song about the incident, which remains unsolved. "When I'm outside the studio, there's some paranoia," YG says. "But when I'm in the studio, it just adds to my creativity. I'm going to capitalize off all that shit!" He estimates he's about halfway done with Still Krazy, whose bass-heavy G-funk sound — from producers including Kendrick Lamar collaborator Terrace Martin — often makes it feel like an alternate-universe sequel to The Chronic. "I just want to make something that's going to stick around for 10 or 15 years," YG says. "Classic shit, that's what I'm fucking with."

Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap
Zachary Mazur/WireImage/Getty

Title: Fetty Wap

Date: September 25th

The New Jersey MC behind radio juggernaut "Trap Queen" has continued his hot streak with a trio of ubiquitous follow-up singles: "679," "My Way" and "Again." Can the man born Willie Maxwell keep up the momentum on his self-titled debut? All the aforementioned songs are slated for the record, though there's been no word on what else Fetty has in store. Still, this one could be huge.

Keith Richards

Keith Richards
Ian Gavan/Getty

Title: Crosseyed Heart

Date: September 18th

The iconic Stones guitarist returns with his first solo LP since 1992, a record that explores styles ranging from tender ballads and Memphis soul to his signature rough-and-tumble rock & roll. "Some of that you can't always express with the Stones, you know what I mean?" says Richards of Crosseyed Heart. "It's another outlet. I mean, I hadn't realized it's been 20-odd years since I've done this. Time flies!"

One Direction
Scott Legato/Getty

Title: TBD

Date: TBD

If the rumors are true, this could be the last the album released by the supreme modern boy band. On their fifth LP in five years, One Direction already have a lot to prove following the departure of Zayn Malik, whose burgeoning solo career — and drama surrounding it — has stolen the spotlight from the quartet. The group has teased the record with powerful electro-pop rocker "Drag Me Down," and they're promising fans their best full-length yet.

Darlene Love

Darlene Love
Bobby Bank/Getty

Title: Introducing Darlene Love

Date: September 18th 

The pop belter's new album, produced by Steve Van Zandt, features two songs by Bruce Springsteen ("Night Closing In" and "Just Another Lonely Mile") — plus contributions from Elvis Costello and more.

Duran Duran

Duran Duran
Xavi Torrent/Getty

Title: Paper Gods

Date: September 18th 

"The schizophrenia's getting worse," keyboardist Nick Rhodes says. Old pals Mark Ronson and Nile Rodgers produced the pop survivors' 14th full-length LP; Janelle Monae, Lindsay Lohan and reclusive ex-Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante all guest. "It is quite risqué, isn't it?" says singer Simon Le Bon. "But it seems so normal to us.

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez
Christopher Polk/Getty

Title: Revival

Date: October 9th

Gomez has said that writing songs for her latest LP pushed her "out of my comfort zone." It's working: Her uncharacteristically moody single "Good for You" made the Top 10

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson
Christopher Polk/BET/Getty

Title: Unbreakable

Date: Oct 2

"No Sleeep," a quiet-storm jam featuring rapper J. Cole that Jackson released in June, is a sign of where she's heading on her first album since 2008's Discipline


 
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