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Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many artists to delay album releases initially scheduled for late spring and early summer 2020, today, May 15, has remained a packed release date. Several mainstream artists and indie luminaries are today releasing hotly anticipated full-lengths – or, in one case, an album announced just days ago. Here are five new albums out today you can listen to now.
Future: High Off Life
One of mainstream radio’s most beloved, Auto-Tune-friendly rappers makes his return today, though the public had no idea this would be the case until three days ago. That’s when Future surprised listeners with news that High Off Life, his follow-up to last year’s Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD, would arrive today. High Off Life’s many guests include, but certainly aren’t limited to, DaBaby, Young Thug, Drake, Meek Mill, Travis Scott, and Lil Uzi Vert.
Charli XCX: How I’m Feeling Now
Charli XCX is best known to mainstream listeners for her hit “Boom Clap” and her co-writing and guest appearances on Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy.” To her fans, many of whose tastes lean toward pop and electronic music too abrasive and bizarre for Top 40 radio, she’s just as well known for churning out new music at a rapid clip. How I’m Feeling Now is the best example yet of Charli’s madcap creative pace: She announced her newest album roughly a month into the pandemic, at which point she had yet to start working on the LP. Its arrival today is emblematic of the rapid-fire work ethic that has previously led to two different Charli XCX mixtapes in the same year.
Perfume Genius: Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
Perfume Genius’s best-known song, “Queen,” marked a drastic change to his sound upon its arrival in 2014. Previously, Mike Hadreas had been known as a tender balladeer, but “Queen” introduced him as an adventurous, glamorous performer whose ambitions know no genre boundaries. His fifth album Set My Heart on Fire Immediately continues his disregard for conventions, with husky, unsettling ballads as frequent as funky pop songs. As ever, his queerness remains central to his art, so if anything, his newest album enshrines him as the LGBTQ+ icon that “Queen” instantly made him.
Moses Sumney: græ
Moses Sumney has described græ as a “conceptual patchwork about grayness.” More simply put, the sophomore album from Sumney – whose friends and collaborators include Solange, Beck, Sufjan Stevens, and James Blake – explores what exists between the two extremes that define many prominent binaries. The album itself is a binary: Its first part arrived in February, and the second and final part is out today. Whereas Sumney spent much of græ: Part 1 trying all manner of new sounds, græ: Part 2 mostly resembles his 2017 breakout album, Aromanticism.
Nick Hakim: WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD
When Nick Hakim released his smoggy, intimate debut Green Twins in 2017, he caught the attention of music critics and prominent TV showrunners alike. WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD, his Green Twins follow-up, brings matters even closer to home. The album is inspired by not just the uncertainty of the future, but the concept of being a neighbor – two unexpectedly relevant concepts given the COVID-19 pandemic.
What other albums out today are you excited about? Sound off in the comments!