While the pandemic kept a majority of today’s leading pop stars away from the stage, it didn’t stop them from hitting the recording studio.
This year is shaping up to be a bumper year with a number of major albums slated or rumoured to be released throughout 2022. Some of these projects have already been announced, while others are thought to be on the way due to tour announcements and comments by the artists on social media and in interviews.
From unreleased music by the late singer Aaliyah to the imminent release of a blockbuster new album by The Weeknd, here are 10 artists, in alphabetical order, who we expect to shake up the charts in 2022.
The album comes as part of the relaunch of the singer's record label Blackground Records 2.0, a move that's made two of Aaliyah's solo albums and a pair of compilations available on streaming services for the first time since her death in 2001.
While fans welcomed the releases, which were previously only available in physical form, anticipation surrounding the posthumous album Unstoppable is high.
Featuring unreleased vocals from Aaliyah, who was one of nine killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas, the album features duets with hip-hop and RnB stars such as The Weeknd, Drake, Future, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Snoop Dogg.
While no release date has been set, the lead single Poison, featuring The Weeknd came out last month.
2. Cardi B
The rapper plans to release the follow up to her 2019 Grammy-winning debut album Invasion of Privacy later in the year.
Cardi B said the new album was in the works as far back as last April, however she pulled the pin on the recording sessions owing to the pandemic.
“I just stopped working on my album out of nowhere because I feel like the whole Covid thing discouraged me to put out my album,” she told hip-hop magazine XXL.
Fortunately, Cardi B went on Instagram last month and told fans that not only will the album be ready for release in 2022, but she is also working on a new film titled Assisted Living.
According to a Deadline report in November, the comedy is in development stage.
3. Jack White
The rocker is set to have a prolific 2022 with two albums set to come out. The first is Fear of the Dawn, arriving on April 8 and already previewed with lead single Taking Me Back.
The follow up, Entering Heaven Alive, will come out on July 22.
According to the official announcement, both albums were recorded over the past four years and feature different themes and musical inspirations.
4. Kendrick Lamar
While the enigmatic rapper has been keeping away from social media, major signs are pointing to a new album to be released this year.
In November, Lamar made a rare statement confirming that the coming fifth album would be the last under his contract with record label TDE.
On Saturday, frequent Lamar collaborator and producer Sounwave went online stating that he is busy working on an album by an unnamed artist.
The hype surrounding the untitled follow-up to the Grammy-winning Damn, is also supported by Lamar joining Dr Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Mary J Blige to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on February 13.
The occasion is regularly used by performers to launch a new album and world tour.
5. Liam Gallagher
The British singer knows he is on a roll and wasted no time in announcing a new solo album and some of his biggest UK shows yet.
C’mon You Know will be released on May 27 followed by a massive open-air concert at Knebworth Park on June 3 and 4, in addition to a June 1 show at Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
The new compilation comes on the back of his 2019 album Why Me? Why Not and 2017's debut solo As You Were, both of which reached the top of the UK charts.
Who can blame Lizzo for keeping her head down when it comes to news of her coming fourth album.
The untitled project will be the follow up to the star making third album Cuz I Love You, which scored eight Grammy Award nominations in 2020 and made a viral sensation of single Truth Hurts.
The RnB singer declared her return with the well-received Cardi B collaboration Rumours in August and declared the song as the beginning of a “new era".
7. Michael Stipe
Some hardcore REM fans are still not over the sudden way the band called it quits weeks after releasing their 2011 album Collapse into Now.
Ever since, we've had to make do with listening to remastered 25th anniversary seminal albums Automatic for the People, Monster and New Adventures in High-Fi.
This year will hopefully stop all that nostalgia with a debut solo album by frontman Michael Stipe.
After releasing 2019 and 2020 tracks Your Capricious Soul and Drive to the Ocean, Stipe told Uncut magazine he is deep into the album creation process with 18 songs already written.
"Some of them are much more complete than others – some have lyrics, others don’t," he said. "I’ve never written music before, which means I’m coming from a completely different vantage point than I ever did with REM.
“I’m writing for things that I’ve never had any experience with whatsoever. But that’s where I get excited.”
Then again, judging by her recent public comments, the singer is reportedly busy working on a new experimental album.
“Whatever you know of Rihanna is not going to be what you hear,” she told the Associated Press in September.
“I’m really experimenting. Music is like fashion. You should be able to play. I should be able to wear whatever I want. I treat music the same way. So I’m having fun and it’s going to be completely different.”
9. Taylor Swift
After last year's success of re-recorded albums Fearless (Taylor's Version) and Red (Taylor's Version), chances are the singer-songwriter will continue in that vein and release two more reworked versions from her catalogue.
In that case, her 2006 self-titled debut album and 2010's Speak Now could be next in line for 2022.
Swift has yet to make a comment on her next project.
10. The Weeknd
We are getting seriously close to the release of the yet-to-be-titled album by the pop star. The news comes after the singer posted a New Year’s Day Instagram post of a text conversation with La Mar Taylor, the co-founder of The Weeknd's music label XO Records.
"Music can heal and that feels more important than another album roll out," he said. "Let’s just drop the whole thing and enjoy it with the people."
Fans already got a taste of the project with hit single Take My Breath in August.
The Canadian singer also shared an update on his Apple Music 1 radio show, Memento Mori, in October to say the album was basically done.
“[The] only thing missing is a couple [of] characters that are key to the narrative,” he said. “Some people that are near and dear to me, some people that inspired my life as a child, and some that inspire me now. More to come in the following months.”