In 2019, pop sort of returned to its regular place in the cosmos, even if way too many other things didn’t.
For a few years there, turgid, solipsistic, Drake- and Lana Del Rey-influenced dirges — plenty of which are good — became the signature of the pop chart and lowered the average bpm to the most dour era since the comparatively explosive grunge- and nu-metal-besotted ’90s. Then Billie Eilish took over with the most upbeat tune from a Lana acolyte to date (“Bad Guy”, duh), Lil Nas X took Soundcloud rap and Nine Inch Nails country (and made country more hip-hop — and queer — in turn), and the funked-up Lizzo found a near-impossible balance between the old guard and the new (Bruno Mars and Amy Winehouse were nostalgia acts by comparison). All three deservedly hit No. 1, and all three made pop seem something like fun again.
That sets the stage for an optimistic 2020 as Justin Bieber follows up his strongest music ever, which dabbled in trop-house, and the long-suffering Ms. Del Rey finally leads a full-blown consensus towards whatever she decides to do next. Dua Lipa could go anywhere too, between her instant-classic “New Rules” and one of those forced impromptu Grammy collabs with St. Vincent that actually worked. No other interloper in pop is more equipped to unleash a reggae album as Rihanna, and even if she doesn’t make good on that threat, she’s following up Anti, one of the best albums, period, of the last 10 years. Kesha is finally free to do whatever she wants, and we’re loving it, and Grimes is still gloriously batshit.
Here are the 10 upcoming pop albums we’re most excited about in 2020.
Click Ahead to See Our 10 Most Anticipated Pop Albums of 2020…