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The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2015

on September 09, 2015, 12:00am
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Dozens of albums get released every week. Some we’re ready for and some we never see coming. Anticipation is a big part of the game. We sit around checking and re-checking the internet for any hint of the next Drake or Kanye album, while also counting down the days until Janet Jackson’s latest hits shelves. For the purposes of this list, we’ve included the albums that have been slated for release during the fall, as well as ones that in all likelihood will be released in that span. But who knows, there may be some surprise releases that come through, and some may get pushed back. Such is the reality of the music world in 2015 — and we couldn’t be more excited by the prospect.

–Adam Kivel
Managing Editor

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janet jackson unbreakable album25. Janet Jackson – Unbreakable

Release date: October 2nd via Rhythm Nation

Janet Jackson didn’t deserve the shit she went through. Many reference Nipplegate, few remember the aftermath. The stunt-gone-haywire got Jackson blacklisted by various organizations. She already welcomed the millenium with All for You, an unmitigated success, and was going to continue her reign with Damita Jo. Jackson was still at work, but the spotlight was stripped from her — as if her triumph The Velvet Rope didn’t just drop a few years before. In a cruel act of irony, Justin Timberlake would go on to be crowned the Prince of Pop.

There was a silver lining for those who refused to allow a film of dust to cover Jackson’s career; they knew she was coming back. This is that year, and the unfocused sounds of her late ’00s output have been more refined. She linked up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (the producers behind her lauded ControlThe Velvet Rope run) to storm back with “No Sleeep”, the sonic equivalent to a 10,000 thread-count sheet. And there’s a Missy Elliott feature and references to her late brother Michael to look forward to. But these tidbits are minnows in the wider context. Tinashe and Beyoncé are setting up to be engraved on whatever publication of record there is as Jackson’s successors. Unbreakable ought to be a reminder how big of an aspiration that is. –Brian Josephs

Listen:  “No Sleeep”
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Alex G Beach Music24. Alex G – Beach Music

Release date: October 9th via Domino

The prolific Alexander Giannascoli, better known as Alex G, offers up an album or more yearly, but his latest, Beach Music, is his first for Domino and comes with the biggest expectations of the 22-year-old’s career. Alex G represents more than just a Philly native gaining attention, but rather the most visible artist in a wave of lo-fi newcomers who have formed a critically lauded but commercially ignored community. Is Alex G’s music ready for a larger audience? A listen to the record’s first proper song, “Bug”, and the answer would not only be yes, but that his success could pave the way for a wave of likeminded artists to get better record deals and more ears on their songs. –Philip Cosores

Listen:  “Bug”
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Julia-Holter-have-you-in-my-wilderness23. Julia Holter – Have You in My Wilderness

Release date: September 25th via Domino

Considering the kind of music she typically makes — ambient/modern classical that’s complex and erudite thanks in part to a music education at CalArts — Julia Holter hasn’t been away long. Joanna Newsom-esque gaps between her albums would be justified. Instead, Holter is already returning with Have You in My Wilderness, which follows 2013’s quiet, slow-burning Loud City Song by just 25 months. Given the breezy immediacy of its first two singles — the whirling album opener, “Feel You”, and the harpsichord bounce “Sea Calls Me Home” — there will be truth to Domino’s promise that it’s an album of balladry more extroverted than Holter’s previous works. –Michael Madden

Listen:  “Feel You”
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 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 201522. Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom

Release date: September 25th via Fat Possum

I get why people love it, but 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse remains forever impenetrable to me — I’m more interested in Youth Lagoon’s relationship with childhood and anxiety than half-baked metaphysics. Thankfully, Savage Hills Ballroom refocuses the spotlight back on Trevor Powers, albeit at an angle that celebrates his attempts at extroversion. “I think I’ve had a lot of barriers in my life in general that I don’t let people past, and I’ve gotten really sick of all that,” he’s said of his third album. First single “The Knower” reflects this change, ringing clear with funk guitar, unfiltered vocals that recall Björk at her giddiest, and — wait for it — a full horn section. Maybe Powers has shut the door to his bedroom forever. –Dan Caffrey

Listen: “Rotten Human”
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fetty wap The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 201521. Fetty Wap – Fetty Wap

Release date: September 25th via RGF Productions/300 Entertainment

No one in music, let alone hip-hop, has had the year that Fetty Wap has had. “Trap Queen” spent the first six months bubbling up from an underground sensation to hovering near the top of the Billboard charts for the majority of the year. Rather than stay a one-hit wonder, Fetty followed it up with the massively popular singles “679”, “Again”, and “My Way”, the latter of which outperformed the vampiric Drake remix. Determined not to fade away like Makonnen or replicate the anemic sales numbers of Migos, Fetty and his label 300 are attempting to capitalize on the success with a timely release of his album. While there’s always the risk that the best songs have already been released, Fetty’s track record of such few misses indicates the album will have a few more hits on it. –David Sackllah

Listen:  “Trap Queen”

majical cloudz are you alone The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 201520. Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?

Release date: October 16th via Matador

Majical Cloudz make music for intimate moments, invoking a quiet relationship with the listener. Devon Welsh’s conversational baritone serves as a sounding board, sitting you down and asking if you’re OK. In the time between 2013’s outstanding Impersonator and Are You Alone?, Majical Cloudz spent a year bringing that to massive crowds of people, from spots at major festivals across the world to a tour opening for Lorde. When Impersonator came out, it took the music scene by surprise with its vulnerability and ethos, but now that Majical Cloudz have built up a larger fanbase, the expectation increases as well. Based on early single “Silver Car Crash”, it seems like the duo has been able to push their sound further while still retaining the hopeful melancholy that’s defined them thus far, offering a reassuring sign for the rest of the album. –David Sackllah

Listen:  “Silver Car Crash”
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Wavves-V-new-album19. Wavves – V 

Release date: October 2nd via Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros.

The road to Wavves’ upcoming fifth album, appropriately titled V, has been lined with a collaborative album with Cloud Nothings and, unfortunately, sparring matches between the band and Warner Bros. “It’s so obnoxious to work tirelessly on something and then have a bunch of ppl who just see me as a money sign go and fuck it all up,” frontman Nathan Williams tweeted earlier this year. It looks like things have since been sorted out, however, and V will be out the door in early October. Because Williams is always more exploratory and meticulous than his relaxed demeanor lets on, expect V to have moments of obscure experimentalism to go along with the already released singles “Way Too Much”, “Flamezesz”, and “Heavy Metal Detox”, each an angular, riff-driven jolt. –Michael Madden

Listen:  “Heavy Metal Detox”
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Baroness-Purple18. Baroness – Purple

Release date: December 18th via Abraxan Hymns

In August of 2012, just one month after releasing their double album Yellow & Green at the highest point of their career, the four members of Baroness were in a terrible tour bus accident that nearly claimed their careers and lives. Six weeks later, singer-guitarist John Baizley wrote a long letter to fans updating them on his and Baroness’ status, which included a reassurance that, “There is no better moment than now, broken and in physical stasis, to devote ourselves more fully towards our art than ever.” The first taste of that promised output, the forthcoming Purple, arrived last month in the form of the shape-shifting, six-minute lead single, “Chlorine & Wine”, and it’s every bit as direct and gratitude-imbued as you’d expect. Listed at a lean 10 tracks, Purple looks to be no less direct and a bright finishing touch on a flooring comeback story. –Steven Arroyo

Listen:  “Chlorine & Wine”
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06-Young-Thug-Cosores17. Young Thug – Hy!£UN35

Release date: TBD via 300 Entertainment

Young Thug, who remains a fixture in the “future of rap” conversation despite only having two Hot 100 hits as a solo artist, is idiosyncratic in virtually everything he does, whether that’s lodging flows in your head, even if you only know a tenth of the words, releasing an album that doubles as a jab at his biggest idol, or getting you interested in an album whose title you may not know how to pronounce. The album you should be calling “high tunes” was supposed to be Thugger’s quick-turnaround follow-up to April’s half-sublime, half-forgettable Barter 6. Apparently, 300 Entertainment CEO Lyor Cohen is giving him some grief over this particular project, which is why Hy!£UN35 didn’t hit its initial August 28th release date. An update on the pending release came in a recent interview, in which Thug revealed that parts of Hy!£UN35 were inspired by Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole and that he hopes the record will be out by year’s end. Thug’s Slime Season mixtape with London on Da Track may well arrive before Hy!£UN35, depending on when that ATL producer hits 100,000 Twitter followers. –Michael Madden

Listen:  “Halftime”
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oneohtrix point never garden of delete album16. Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden of Delete

Release date: November 13th via Warp

Oneohtrix Point Never Talks to an Alien and Announces a New Album.” That was the headline for our news post about Daniel Lopatin’s next album, and everything points to the resulting project as being similarly head-scratching, mysterious, and wonderful. The announcement came via a strange wormhole of a PDF, an interview with an alien, and references religion.

Lopatin discusses ties to “cybernetic rock” and “troubled pictures of pop music.” The alien’s name is Ezra, likely a reference to Ezra the Scribe in the Judeo-Christian tradition, a priest who led exiles back home and whose name is theorized to be an abbreviation of a word that translates to “God-helps.”

The album is called Garden of Delete, blurring the lines of past and present, of the Eden-like potential offered by technology but also its inevitable darkness. But though Lopatin’s albums are full of ideas and ready for in-depth discussion, they’re also viscerally powerful on a first listen, as proven by early preview “I Bite Through It”. Few artists can straddle that line as well as Lopatin, and Garden of Delete seems poised to continue that trend. –Adam Kivel

Listen:  “I Bite Through It”

Deafheaven - New Bermuda album15. Deafheaven – New Bermuda

Release date: October 2nd via ANTI-

Coming off of a two-year victory lap tour behind Sunbather, one of the most polarizing metal albums of this decade, Deafheaven look intent on polarizing again with their follow-up, a five-track LP entitled New Bermuda. Its only released track, the eight-plus-minute album opener, “Brought to the Water”, doesn’t appear to follow in Sunbather’s drenched, humid footsteps at first — that is, until the 4:45 mark, when its claustrophobic, breakneck energy suddenly vacates and the whole thing falls into the ocean. Singer George Clark cites “a new destination in life, a nebulous point of arrival, and an unknown future where things get swallowed up and dragged into darkness” when describing the album, which isn’t such a bad image descriptor of the Deafheaven we’ve come to know, either. –Steven Arroyo

Listen:  “Brought to the Water”
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New-Order-Music-Complete-album14. New Order – Music Complete

Release date: September 25th via Mute

Music Complete will be New Order’s tenth album, but more glaringly, their first without founding bassist and singer Peter Hook, who for the past few years has been full-timing in Peter Hook and the Light. As unnatural as it feels to separate the two names, Music Complete’s teaser trailer doesn’t suggest a sound too dramatically distant from what we know of New Order, and that might have something to do with the contributions of original members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Gillian Gilbert. As for the contributions of guest collaborators Iggy Pop and Brandon Flowers, those results are anyone’s guess. –Steven Arroyo

Listen:  “Restless”
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chvrches every open eye album13. Chvrches – Every Open Eye

Release date: September 25th via Glassnote/Virgin

CHVRCHES’ 2013 debut, The Bones of What You Believe, was less an album crafted from scratch than a collection of some previously released singles filled in with new tracks, and it set the bar high for those expecting the Scottish trio to match it with their sophomore offering, Every Open Eye. But with advance singles “Clearest Blue” and “Leave a Trace”, along with a new method of live performance that finds singer Lauren Mayberry upping her energy level exponentially, we see a group more interested in honing their craft and improving rather than trying to stick with a winning formula. The album will find CHVRCHES able to go in different directions — commercial force, critical darling, or a combination of both. –Philip Cosores

Listen: “Leave a Trace”
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Boots-debut-album12. Boots – Aquaria

Release date: November 13th via Columbia

Since he first appeared from nowhere with a songwriting credit on Beyonce’s self-titled double album, Boots has floated around the pop culture consciousness as an enigma. He didn’t exactly clear anything up with the release of this year’s audiovisual Motorcycle Jesus EP, but he did give us something to look at — a short film starring himself as a post-apocalyptic desert wanderer — and a few new songs to sink our teeth into. Boots’ solo material has a rougher edge than anything on Beyonce, but his songwriting quirk rings loud and clear. Here’s a producer who’s fond of negative space, giving as much weight to the handclapped beats as he does his own vocals. If the title track is any indication, it’ll be an exhilarating ride. –Sasha Geffen

Listen: “Aquaria”

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Disclosure Caracal album new11. Disclosure – Caracal

Release date: November 10th via Columbia

The rapid rise of brotherly electronic duo Disclosure from critical favorites to main stage music festival attractions kicked into gear with their debut album, Settle, in 2013. Not only was the release responsible for making Sam Smith a known commodity, but it portrayed a duo able to seamlessly mix an endless parade of top-tier guest vocalists with production and instrumental hooks that could also stand on its own. For their second album, Caracal, Smith is back along with huge names like The Weeknd, Lorde, and Miguel. If there’s any doubt as to where Disclosure is expected to land after the album’s release, the pair have already booked arena tour dates in support — their biggest headlining shows ever. Probably less of a gamble, and more of a sure thing. –Philip Cosores

Listen: “Omen” feat. Sam Smith

the dead weather dodge and burn album10. The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn

Release date: September 25th via Third Man

The Dead Weather is more than a Jack White side project, and Alison Mosshart is more than its Meg White, if they/she can be called those things at all. On their first two albums, 2009’s Horehound and 2010’s Sea of Cowards, the supergroup (White, Mosshart, Dean Fertita, and Jack Lawrence) reined in sludgy atmospherics to go along with their more direct rock instincts. After that bulldozing back-to-back performance, the group are returning five years, two White solo albums, and one Kills LP later with Dodge and Burn, which is preceded by the stomping howler “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” and the slightly more restrained “Cop and Go”. Predictably, the band members have other things going on later this year, which is why there are no immediate plans to tour once the album is out. –Michael Madden

Listen: “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)”

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Kurt Vile b'lieve i'm going down... album artwork9. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down…

Release date: September 25th via Matador

In the time since Kurt Vile’s last album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, his former band The War on Drugs found themselves on many critics’ short lists for best album of 2014 with Lost in the Dream. There is no rivalry between these acts — Vile and Adam Granduciel remain close friends — but perhaps the stakes feel raised. Listen to “Pretty Pimpin”, the lead single off Vile’s forthcoming b’lieve i’m goin down…, and you’ll hear the sound of a musician who seems to grow stronger with each album he releases. Recorded across locations as varied as Georgia, Brooklyn, and Joshua Tree, Vile’s latest work continues in his tradition of sublime guitar lines and sage lyrics. Recorded mostly at night, the songs of b’lieve i’m goin down… are a night owl’s introspections on a transforming world he can’t seem to pause. It’s stunning work, as has come to be expected of Vile, and well worth counting the days for. –Zack Ruskin

Listen: “Pretty Pimpin”
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deerhunter fading frontier The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 20158. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

Release date: October 16th via 4AD

As Deerhunter’s visuals have gotten weirder, their music has gotten more accessible. Case in point: 2013’s garage fantasia, Monomania, and the video for “Snakeskin” — a gem of rotary funk that gets accompanied not by a disco ball, but Bradford Cox duded up in overalls like Huck Finn. As the groove swirls around him, he talks to a dog, puppeteers a human skull, and gets explosions projected onto his giddy face. It’s unclear if the rest of Fading Frontiers will be rooted in this same perverse take on Americana, but with unapologetic danceability and at least one song co-sang by Cox and occasional frontman Lockett Pundt (the Spiral Stairs to Cox’s Malkmus), Deerhunter is obviously exploring some new territory. –Dan Caffrey

Listen: “Snakeskin”

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views from the 6 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 20157. Drake – Views from the 6

Release date: TBD via Cash Money

That’s almost certainly the title (though likely not the cover art), and a possible release day has been attached: September 24th, the date that mysteriously appeared on the OVO website earlier this year. Otherwise, there aren’t many specific details available about Drake’s upcoming album, but there’s no doubt that whenever it comes out, it will be yet another coronation of the Canadian’s ongoing rap and R&B dominance. He didn’t provide many details in advance of his surprise February mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, either, and even that did rap numbers like it’s pop. Really, Drake’s entire 2015 has been eventful, and he’s made it look as easy as ever. Along with the emergence of OVO Sound Radio, the singles and loosies are nonstop, including his remix of Fetty Wap’s “My Way”, his Meek Mill diss “Back to Back”, and his new R&B hit “Hotline Bling”. It’s hard to picture Drizzy misfiring at this endlessly productive point in his career. –Michael Madden

Listen:
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joanna newsom divers6. Joanna Newsom – Divers

Release date: October 21st via Drag City

It’s been five years since Joanna Newsom’s masterpiece, Have One on Me, but it feels much longer. In her impressive run in the mid-2000s that also included Ys and The Milk-Eyed Mender, no one really sounded quite like her, and while her influence can be felt in many albums that have come out in the past five years, no one else has quite captured what made her so resonant since.

It’s been rumored that she’s been working on the album for years, and she certainly hasn’t been shy about playing new songs live in her scattered performances in the last three years, but still, news of the new album came as a surprise when announced last month. Lead single “Sapokanikan” is emblematic of Newsom’s sound, dense and involving, echoing a memory of a time past that likely never existed. It may have been a long wait for the new album, but there’s no doubt that it will be another seminal work from one of the most innovative and interesting artists of the past 15 years. –David Sackllah

Listen: “Sapokanikan”

kanye west swish The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 20155. Kanye West – SWISH

Release date: TBA via Def Jam

Kanye West’s next album might be called SWISH. I’m not sure exactly why that is, but I’m going to guess it’s of the basketball type, considering West grew up in Chicago during the Bulls’ dominance of the ’90s and that he’s basically the rap world’s Michael Jordan. Whatever the reason, the album has been in the works for a couple years now, rumored to be at various degrees of completion. There are reports of listening parties, of DJ sets testing out up to 20 tracks, of Yeezy himself rapping the whole thing at Seth Rogen in a limo. Everyone from Ty Dolla $ign to Madonna are reported to have worked on the album. It might include tracks like “Wolves” and “All Day”, or it could all get scrapped entirely. It could drop tomorrow, or we might be re-posting this very same write-up for next year’s list. Regardless, this album will be one of our most anticipated until it’s released. –Adam Kivel

Listen:  “Wolves” feat. Sia and Vic Mensa

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adele 25 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 20154. Adele – 25

Release date: November via XL Recordings

Adele’s 21 was an undeniable mile-marker of 21st century pop music. Arriving when speculation over the significance of album sales reached peak free-for-all, its universal singles “Someone Like You”, “Rolling in the Deep”, “Rumour Has It”, and “Set Fire to the Rain” incited such strong reactions that at the end of 2012, it emerged as the best-selling album of the year — despite being released in January of 2011 and claiming that year’s top seller as well. Placing those types of expectations on 25, due in November and featuring contributions from Danger Mouse and Tobias Jesso, Jr., would be uncalled for, but there’s no reason to assume its best songs won’t hit as hard or stretch as far — especially considering the weighty experiences she’s endured in the interim years, childbirth and a major vocal-cord surgery among them. –Steven Arroyo
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radiohead new lp e1441740813978 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 20153. Radiohead – TBA

Release date: TBD via Ticker Tape/XL

How would you like a new Radiohead album by Halloween? Maybe Thanksgiving? Christmas? That could be the case if all goes well in the next month. As drummer Phil Selway recently told UK’s Press Association, “We’ve got quite a busy autumn coming up. We want to finish a record and that’s where we’re at. We’re just launching ourselves into it.” Of course, this is all pennies in a well. Things could stretch out to January or February or beyond, and their blackboard could crack from all their erasing and scribbling. Who knows.

What better way to describe all things related to Radiohead: “Who knows.” They could bring in outside collaborators. They could keep it internal. They could draw from their past and rework a song like “Lift”. They could craft entirely new songs that nobody’s heard because they haven’t been written yet. But they’re currently working on something, which means that anything can happen in the next few months. It’s exciting, it’s bewildering, and it’s fucking awful for our sleep schedules. –Michael Roffman

Listen: “Lift”

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grimes The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 20152. Grimes – TBA

Release date: TBA via 4AD

In the time since Grimes’ last album, 2012’s Visions, various stories and rumors have circulated about what’s going on with the Canadian pop songstress’ new one. For example, Grimes scrapped the album because people didn’t like “Go”. And (more recently) Grimes hates all her singles. After revealing in a since-deleted tweet that her new LP will drop without warning in October, most intel comes from a Fader cover story. In it, Grimes details that she went back to the drawing board for the album because the songs she had previously written while secluding herself in Canada were too dark for her current headspace. She’s since moved to L.A., where she continues to work and is recording all the instruments. If the feature is any indication of what’s to come, the new music may be unlike anything we’ve ever heard from Grimes before: a pastiche of alternative rock, metal, hip-hop, and the dark synthpop sound she’s traditionally associated with. –Killian Young

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frank ocean e1441741163678 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 20151. Frank Ocean – Boys Don’t Cry

Release date: TBA via Def Jam

Frank Ocean fans have had a tough time of late. The complete lack of information coming from the Ocean camp is a source of extreme duress for an internet age fan base. Thus far fans have been “Rick rolled” by his younger brother and stood up at this year’s FYF in Los Angeles. In fact, the only news coming from Ocean himself was a cryptic Tumblr post that hinted at the title, Boys Don’t Cry. Per the post, a July release date was expected, but July came and went without a peep.

What we do know is at least part of the album was recorded at the famous Abby Road studios. French pianist Christophe Chassol was sought out as a collaborator and revealed that Rick Rubin had a hand in those Abby Road sessions as well. In November 2014, Ocean released a snippet of a track called “Memrise” rumored to be on the new album. The track’s dreary phaser shrouded intro gives way to some seriously beautiful textures and lyrics. From “Memrise”, it would seem the nuanced R&B that Ocean rode to popularity is ever intact. If only indefinite waits weren’t so stressful. –Kevin McMahon

Listen: New Song?

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