The Most Anticipated Albums of 2021

Ed Sheeran Adele Drake

We all enter 2021 facing many challenges, and in the scheme of things this one is pretty minor: Advance notice of album release dates is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The “surprise drop” that Beyonce pioneered in 2013 in a flurry of non-disclosure agreements is fast becoming the norm, especially since the absence of live concerts has dramatically shifted the focus to recorded music. The point we’re leading up to here is that a lot of the anticipated albums of 2021 do not have official release dates.

All of that notwithstanding, there’s a potential bounty of great music in store in the coming months, including these 20 prospective releases we feel are as close to certainties as a nebulous release slate allows. This doesn’t even include some perennial any-minute-now releases like would-be albums from Cardi B and Frank Ocean, for whom you can find three-year-old articles with headlines reading “all we know about” a new album that still hasn’t arrived. (Cardi’s may be a safer bet just because she reportedly didn’t push “WAP,” her smash collab with Megan Thee Stallion, for the Grammys because she wanted to push that single and a forthcoming album in the same year… which maybe makes a full record likely by this September’s next Grammy deadline.)

Could we get another Beyonce album? If we’re going to, of course, you’re not going to read about it here first. Nor do we feel completely confident in speculating that Taylor Swift will definitely start releasing her re-recordings of her Big Machine catalog product this year, although it’ll sure make 2021 more interesting if she does. For now, anyway, we can focus on these 20 nearly solid reasons to live through the next 12 months.