Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks (Sept. 3)
Trent Reznor emerges from NIN retirement with an Oscar (for scoring 2010’s The Social Network) and a newly energized — but still gratifyingly grown-up goth — album and tour.
The 1975, The 1975 (Sept. 3)
The boys’ grunge-chic look makes you think they should be called the 1991, but it’s the songs that distill three decades of angular radio anthems into one immensely hooky debut.
Avicii, True (Sept. 3)
The Swedish club king goes loco with guests like Nile Rodgers and country singer Mac Davis. So far, so huge: The strummy ”Wake Me Up” is an international smash.
Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady (Sept. 10)
Friends like Prince, Miguel, and Erykah Badu help the eccentric songstress scale up on her second album.
2 Chainz, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (Sept. 10)
The latest from Atlanta’s best-accessorized rapper/Instagram food-porn enthusiast will include a recipe for each track, so come hungry.
Keith Urban, Fuse (Sept. 10)
The Idol judge citifies his sound, enlisting producers like Butch Walker (Pink) and Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift), and even adding some electronic touches.
The Weeknd, Kiss Land (Sept. 10)
Drake pal Abel Tesfaye gets spooky, working scary-movie sounds into his acclaimed R&B atmospherics.
Drake, Nothing Was the Same (Sept. 17)
Not even NAFTA can compel the Toronto native to share the details of his third studio album. Drizzy has been as tight-lipped as ever about his work, though he did reveal that Whitney Houston and Curtis Mayfield are both sampled on the record, and has confessed, ”It’s my story…I’m trying to get back to that kid in the basement.” Started from the bottom, indeed.
Kings of Leon, Mechanical Bull (Sept. 24)
It’s not as long as it used to be, but the Tennessee band of brothers (and cousins) let their hair down again on their sixth effort.
Icona Pop, This Is... (Sept. 24)
Are there more car-crash-worthy anthems like ”I Love It” on their full-length debut? Only these ’90s bitches know for sure.
Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe (Sept. 24)
The Scottish trio have already won over indie blogs — if not the vowel police — with their airy synth-pop hit ”Recover.”
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2 (Sept. 30)
Forget the night, dude’s taking back the year: The musical offensive that JT launched back in the spring will continue when he drops the second half of the 20/20 package. Other than the retro, Michael Jackson-sweatin’ lead single, Part 2 promises outtakes from the first installment, new stuff from more recent sessions, and a ”special surprise.” Here’s hoping it’s an *NSYNC reunion track!
Haim, Days Are Gone (Sept. 30)
Three L.A. siblings blend breezy Laurel Canyon rock with radio-pop production and a Roc Nation bankroll. Pencil them in to headline Coachella 2015.
Miley Cyrus, Bangerz (Oct. 8)
”We Can’t Stop” is a smash, so we can’t stop thinking there’s more where that came from, especially with Pharrell’s production help.
Pearl Jam, Lightning Bolt (Oct. 15)
The flannel gods deliver punk-surf agitation on their 10th studio album. It’s not all raging against the machine, though; look for some epic ballads that recall their Vs.-era heyday.
The Avett Brothers, Magpie and the Dandelion (Oct. 15)
Homier than Mumford, less suspendered than the Lumineers, these North Carolina boys bring more pretty, twangy folk on their eighth studio release.
Katy Perry, Prism (Oct. 22)
The California Gurl reteams with high-gloss hitmakers Max Martin and Dr. Luke, and also brings the edgier Diplo into the fold. New Katy? No problem!
Arcade Fire, Reflektor (Oct. 29)
The Canadian art-rockers’ last record won them the Album of the Year Grammy. Now they’re back, with LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy handling partial production duties.
Eminem, MMLP2 (Nov. 5)
Slim Shady returns for his eighth album, featuring Dr. Dre, Kanye West mentor No I.D., and a whole lot more of his trademark underdog bluster.
M.I.A., Matangi (Nov. 5)
You don’t have to agree with her politics to love multiculti block-rockers like ”Bad Girls” — she might even like it better that way.
Lady Gaga, ARTPOP (Nov. 11)
It’s easy to forget that the multi-platform media queen’s main gig is, you know, music. But she promises that her fourth effort is ”a true glam electronic album.” In other words, it won’t be boring.
Future, Honest (Nov. 26)
This Atlanta rapper’s ultra-mellow flow has saturated the charts via hits by the likes of Lil Wayne, but his latest proves that he’s earned a spot at center stage.