5 Albums Rumored to Come Out in 2019 That Could Win Album of the Year

Will music from Kanye, Rihanna and Adele come out by 2020?

2019 has been another stellar year for music. A teenage Lil Nas X released the longest-running No. 1 song in Billboard history with “Old Town Road.” Taylor Swift, the highest-paid entertainer, unleashed the year‘s top-selling album with Lover. Legends like rock gods Tool have cemented their place in history with standout albums late in their careers, and new artists are emerging as the sound of the coming decade.

But don’t start making those best albums of the year or decade lists just yet because there are five artists on the verge of potentially dropping albums that will shake things up. ONE37pm combed through years of interviews, tweets and anonymous sources to bring you the five best albums we need in our hands and ears before 2020.

1. Kanye West

2019 albums kanye west in article
Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Coachella

If people say Kanye West has lost his way, and in the process found God, and they would only be half right. After spending 2018 calling slavery “a choice,” labeling bipolar disorder a “superpower” and releasing some of the worst-reviewed music of his career, West appeared out of touch. But then MAGA West turned into Pastor West in early January when he began putting on massive Sunday Service praise and worship events that blended traditional gospel music with modern sounds. Sunday Services grew from a few social media posts to a Coachella performance, and the events have attracted the likes of A$AP Rocky, Kendall Jenner, Chance the Rapper, Dave Chapelle, Sia and Brad Pitt, among other famous faces. 

Kim Kardashian West’s tweet was the first news of a new Kanye West album, possibly titled Jesus Is King, supposedly inspired by his Sunday Services. West confirmed the September 27 release date for his album in Wyoming. His ventures into religion have been groundbreaking at best and sacrilege at worst. Only time will tell what West’s probable last album of the decade will be.

2. Adele

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Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The truth of being a fan of an artist who turns pain into poetry is you selfishly yearn for that artist to return to that pain. In 2010, the morning after a breakup and with tears suffocating her eyes, Adele recorded “Rolling in the Deep,” an anthemic classic that became her first No. 1 single on the Billboard charts. That song was part of her album, 21, that has sold a mindblowing 31 million records worldwide, garnered her six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and catapulted the then-23-year-old into the rarefied air of legends. Adele found out that same ex-boyfriend was engaged in the middle of making that album. The world hasn’t had a new Adele album since 25 in 2015, but that’s going to change

After living separately from one another for years, Adele officially filed for divorce from her husband Simon Konecki in September, after three years of marriage. A source close to the 31-year-old singer told People that “she talks about last year as a very difficult year, and she’s said in the past that creating new music is almost like therapy.” Adele has never taken more than four years in between albums and has a penchant for titling her albums after pivotal ages in her life. With Adele entering a divorced stage in her life, it would seem appropriate for the first album of her 30s to bookend the decade that changed her life forever.

3. Rihanna

2019 albums rihanna in article
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Savage x Fenty Show

Since Rihanna took her rightful place on the pop and R&B thrones with her eighth album, Anti, in 2016, she’s been building an empire befitting her queendom (there are many reasons we dubbed her the “The Most Entrepreneurial Musician of 2018”). Rihanna co-starred in movies with Golden Globes winners and launched a luxury cosmetics company that brought in $570 million in revenue in 2018. She’s done it all in the past three years—except put out a new album.

In her May 2018 Vogue profile, the Barbadian trailblazer hinted at making a reggae album inspired by Bob Marley. A few months later, a producer working on the album told Rolling Stone that Rihanna has "500 records for this project [from] different producers and writers." As recently as this May, Rihanna has talked about the album, codenamed by her Rihanna Navy fan base as R9, coming to fruition. Now that her Savage x Fenty fashion show and Diamond Ball gala are complete maybe, just maybe, new music is on the horizon.

4. Kendrick Lamar

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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Kendrick Lamar has a task ahead of him that no non-classical or jazz artist has ever has ever had: topping a Pulitzer Prize-winning album. The erudite lyricist’s DAMN album from 2017 was a force of creative will that every ear that listened bent to happily. He’s never taken two and a half years to put out an album, and we’re nearing that threshold in the next few weeks.

In a Los Angeles Times article in December 2018, the virtuosic MC claimed not to be working on an album but rather a “long-form” project. Yet six months later, he was announced as a headliner of Day N Vegas festival slated for November 2019, even though the only new music has been guest appearances on Beyonce’s The Lion King soundtrack and a select few other albums. After Tyler the Creator’s surprise release of IGOR this year, his first album release in two years that was weeks before his Governors Ball Music Festival performance, a surprise Kendrick Lamar album in October, as it’s rumored to be released, is not far-fetched. 

5. Tame Impala

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Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

You could argue Tame Impala was the most influential psychedelic rock band of this decade. Their music has been used on Rihanna’s latest album for the song “Same Ol’ Mistakes” as well as Kanye West’s most polarizing album, Ye. Their live shows have become a thing of legend, and they can headline a festival of more than 30,000 people without dropping a new album in four years. Luckily, that last part might be a streak that’s soon ending. 

In November 2018, frontman Kevin Parker played the New York Times 10 unfinished songs they likened to the sound of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. Five months later, one of those songs became “Borderline,” one of only two new Tame Impala songs released this year, along with “Patience.” A Rolling Stone profile on Parker, conducted in April around the same time “Borderline” was released, estimated Parker was halfway through with the new Tame Impala album with an expected summer release. Summer has come and go, but there’s still time for it to get to us by the end of 2020, but we’re losing patience for it. 

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