Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles and More: Where's the New Music?

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The music gods have been kind to us in 2019.

The year already saw the return of legends like Missy Elliott, who dropped her first collection of new songs in a staggering 14 years this August, and legends-in-the-making like Chance the Rapper, who finally dropped his debut studio album, The Big Day, in July after already carving out a name for himself with three mixtapes, including the Grammy-winning Coloring Book in 2016. We’ve gotten a new Taylor Swift album, a new Miley Cyrus EP (with the promise of two more on the way), breakthrough albums from Lizzo and Billie Eilish, and a game-changing single from Lil Nas X that literally made music history. 

And yet, we still want more. What can we say? We’re greedy like that. 

While there’s still plenty of good (and fully confirmed) stuff to look forward to in this second half of the year, like Charli XCX‘s long-delayed third studio album Charli and a killer collab between Miley, Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey from the forthcoming Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, both out Friday, Sept. 13, we can’t help but wonder where the long-promised follow-ups from some of our favorite artists are.

From Rihanna to Dua Lipa, Harry Styles to The Weeknd, here are all the artists who we’re hoping end the drought of new material sooner rather than later!

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Dua Lipa

It’s been over two years since Dua Lipa released her self-titled debut album and well over a year since she announced that she’d begun working on material for her follow-up, but outside of a pair of high-profile collabs (“One Kiss” with Calvin Harris and the Grammy-winning “Electricity” with Silk City) and a severely overlooked contribution to the Alita: Battle Angel soundtrack (“Swan Song”), we haven’t heard much from the Kosovian singer, but that could be about to change. And soon. While she didn’t correct an interviewer from Australian Vogue in early September when they said it was “a matter of weeks before [releasing her] second album,” the face of YSL Beauty’s new fragrance, Libre, told E! New’s Zanna Roberts Rassi during an interview at New York Fashion Week, “Next album is coming next year. New music is coming this year.” As for when this year, she added, “All I know is we’re finalizing stuff up this month…We’re coming, we’re coming. I promise. I’m so eager to get it out, I’m dying to get it out. If I could, I’d do it today.”

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Rihanna

No one likes to keep us waiting like Rihanna. After a four-year period in which she released an album a year, the Barbadian beauty made us wait four solid years before she dropped Anti in 2016. And while it seemed as though the wait for her ninth studio album wouldn’t be as long, with the singer revealing she’d begun work on it just months after releasing Anti, here we are, over three and a half years later. In December of last year, she confirmed the album, rumored to be a dancehall-inspired project, would be released in 2019, and in August, E! News confirmed that she’d registered a song called “Private Loving” with music publishing organization BMI. In September, it was reported by multiple French journalists who attended Universal Music France’s Open Session event, where a lineup for the rest of the new music slated to come out this fall was revealed, that Rihanna’s name was on the list. “The new album of @Rihanna will be released in December!” RTL France journalist Steven Bellery tweeted in a French-to-English translated tweet. Fingers crossed he’s right.

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Harry Styles

It’s been over two years since Harry Styles released his excellent self-titled debut album, leaving One Direction behind for good. And though a world tour did keep him busy until July of last year, we’re more than ready to hear how the hunk plans to follow up his first solo outing. The good news? It sounds like Harry is nearly ready to let us hear it! While there’s still no release date, he did open up to Rolling Stone about his sophomore effort in August, telling the magazine he’s putting the finishing touches on an album that’s full of “the toughest, most soulful songs” he’s ever written. “It’s all about having sex and feeling sad,” he explained. We can’t wait.

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Justin Bieber

Can you believe it’s been nearly four years since Justin Bieber released his fourth studio album, 2015’s Purpose? Since then, he’s popped up with via features on hit songs like “Despacito,” “I’m the One,” “I Don’t Care” and the recent remix of Billie Eilish‘s “Bad Guy,” but there’s been little forward momentum on his fifth album. In March of this year, he announced on Instagram that he’d be taking an even more prolonged break from music to repair some of the “deep rooted issues” he was working through, though a month later, during Ariana Grande‘s headlining set at Coachella, he told the crowd, “Album coming soon.” He followed that up with a tweet in July that promised,” Some good music coming.” When, however, remains to be seen.

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Janet Jackson

When Janet Jackson released her 11th studio album Unbreakable in 2015, it had been seven years since her last LP. So, long breaks from the legendary pop star are nothing new. Though, she hasn’t exactly been resting on her laurels since that release. She welcomed her son, Eissa Al Mana, in January 2017, resumed a world tour, released a collaboration with Daddy Yankee (“Made for Now”), was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and kicked off a four-month Las Vegas residency. The last we’ve heard about new music, however, was an August 2018 interview between producer Harmony Samuels and Billboard that confirmed an EP was in the works. “It’s young and fresh but it’s not young trying to be young,” he said. “It’s open for everyone to receive.” Exactly when, however, remains to be seen.

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Frank Ocean

Boy, does Frank Ocean like to make us wait. It was an interminable four years between the release of his debut album Channel Orange and his second and third, Endless and Blonde, both released within days of each other. It’s been three years since those drops, and despite a few songs here and there, as well as a mysterious (and since-deleted) tweet in 2017 that insinuated his next album was already finished, he’s stayed predictably mum on future plans. It’s best not to hold one’s breath for new Frank music. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready. Until then, we wait.

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Cardi B

It’s only been a year and a half since Cardi B dropped her Grammy-winning debut studio album, Invasion of Privacy, so it may seem a little demanding of us to want a new collection from her already. After all, she’s been busy becoming a mom, making her movie debut in Hustlers and filming the upcoming Netflix reality series Rhythm + Flow, but she was the one who promised us a second album would be out in 2019, “hopefully…around the same time that Invasion of Privacy came out,” as she said during an Instagram live stream on New Year’s Day. That deadline has come and gone, with only the single “Press” to show for it. Here’s hoping we get her sophomore effort before year’s end.

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Sky Ferreira

It’s been a dreadful six years since Sky Ferreira dropped her excellent debut studio album Night Time, My Time, itself a victim of two years of delays. And despite it being named one of 2013’s best album by several critics while achieving modest commercial success, she’s faced a staggering amount of delays on her second album, which she confirmed via Twitter she’d begun working on in July 2014. After passing the time with a handful of acting gigs, including a guest appearance in 2017’s Twin Peaks revival and a role in Baby Driver, she released the first single off Masochism, “Downhill Lullaby” in March, telling Pitchfork that the lengthy delay wasn’t exactly her choice and swearing “almost positively,” the outlet noted, that the album would be released in 2019. 

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Selena Gomez

Since dropping Revival in 2015, Selena Gomez has suffered highs (executive-producing Netflix’s hit series 13 Reasons Why, lucrative partnerships with Coach and Puma) and lows (a health scare stemming from her lupus diagnosis that necessitated a kidney transplant in 2017), all of which have added to the wait for a new album from the former Wizards of Waverly Place star. However, during a June appearance on The Tonight Show, she told Jimmy Fallon that she was “actually done” with the album after the four years it took to ‘even feel at a good place with this album.” A release date, however, is still TBD.

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Childish Gambino

It’s been nearly three years since Donald Glover, recording under his Childish Gambino alias, released his third album, “Awaken, My Love!” And despite a handful of tracks released in the summer of 2018, including the Grammy-winning “This Is America,” the wait for his forthcoming fourth studio album has persisted. In June 2017, he told the crowd at the Governors Ball Music Festival it would be “the last Gambino album,” but whether it’ll ever come or not remains to be seen. In December 2018, during an uncredited feature on 21 Savage‘s “Monster,” he hinted at wanting to quit music, while during a headlining performance at the 2019 Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in August, he told the crowd it was “the second to last show that we’ll be doing” before retiring the Childish Gambino pseudonym. 

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Niall Horan

Much like his former 1D compatriot Mr. Styles, it’s been nearly two years since Niall Horan found solo success of his own with the release of his debut album Flicker. And just like Harry, it appears the wait for new music from Niall is also nearly over. In early September, he tweeted that he was “listening to songs from my new record and I’m so excited to get going.” After treating fans to a listening party in London days later, it was revealed the forthcoming album’s lead single, “Nice To Meet Ya” would be released sometime this month.

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Lady Gaga

Look, no one can say Lady Gaga hasn’t been busy since releasing her fifth studio album Joanne in 2016. Not only did she headline the Super Bowl LI halftime show in 2017, but she headlined Coachella, earned an Oscar nomination for her acting in the 2018 remake of A Star is Born (which also earned her an Oscar for Best Original Song thanks to her work on the killer soundtrack), launched a two-year residency at the MGM Park Theater in Las Vegas, and unveiled her first makeup line, Haus Laboratories, sold exclusively on Amazon. But a sixth studio album appears to be imminent. In March, she tweeted, “Rumors I’m pregnant? Yeah, I’m pregnant with #LG6.” In August, she shared a new photo of herself in the recording studio, hinting at the fact that the gestation may not be quite done yet.

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The Weeknd

It’s been nearly three years since The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) released his third studio album, Starboy. Since then, he’s collaborated with the likes of Kendrick Lamar (“Pray for Me”), Gesaffelstein (“Lost in the Fire”) and SZA and Travis Scott (“Power Is Power,” off For the Throne, an album of music inspired by Game of Thrones), while also releasing a six-track EP, My Dear Melancholy, in March 2018. In August, just after news broke that he’d split with girlfriend Bella Hadid for a second time, he tweeted a selfie with the caption “album mode full effect.” And in September, he hit the red carpet at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival for the first time since his split, looking almost unrecognizable. A new look for a new album era? We’ll see.

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