9 Must-Have Albums for the Fall Semester

Let’s be real, 2016 hasn’t been the world’s best year--but the wealth of new music released allows for a bright spot. Artists all across genres have been quick to make their mark on 2016, often taking inspiration from the year’s chaotic events and turning it into incredible music. But, unfortunately, we can’t listen to every new album at once. Out of all the new releases, tracks from these nine albums will no doubt be echoing across Winthrop’s campus this semester, so why not familiarize yourself with them now?

Before you begin, a word to the wise: listen with headphones, as some of these songs contain a bit of language.

Rihanna, “ANTI” – released January 2016

Rihanna’s eighth album was one of her most highly anticipated albums to date, and she certainly delivered. The LP features an incredible diversity of music styles, from the slinky “Needed Me” to the Amy Winehouse-inspired (and new single) “Love on the Brain.”  Though it was released this summer and not on “ANTI,” the track Rihanna released for Star Trek Beyond is definitely worth a listen as well. Check out “Sledgehammer” below!


The 1975, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” – released February 2016

If this is your first time listening to The 1975, the pretentiously long title of their sophomore album gives you a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. Their indie rock has a quirky way about it, each song full of witty (and often self-deprecating) one-liners. Earworm singles “UGH!” and “Love Me” are reminiscent of bands like Duran Duran, and “Somebody Else” would fit perfectly in the essential ‘80s movie school dance scene (just don’t watch the video, watch “UGH!” instead).  


Beyoncé, “Lemonade” – released April 2016

It’s Queen Bey. Need I say more?


Britney Spears, “Glory” – released August 2016

The pop icon’s ninth release is everything you could expect from Britney Spears: fun, sexy songs that play off of right-now music trends, and that famously autotuned voice. Aside from a few fillers, the album does contain some hidden gems, like lead single “Make Me…” which features rapper G-Eazy. The fiery “Liar” is another highlight, as is the funky throwback “What You Need.”


Frank Ocean, “Blonde” – released August 2016

After four years of silence and an enigmatic livestream, Frank Ocean took to Apple Music to release his sophomore effort, “Blonde.” The sparse instrumentals may lend themselves a bit more to background music, but Frank’s voice pulls you back in. You’ll be crooning “Nikes” on your walks around campus before you even know it--and if you don’t have Apple Music, the album is rumored to be appearing on Spotify soon!


Bastille, “Wild World” – released September 2016

For the past three years, frontman Dan Smith has been promising that the follow-up to 2013’s “Bad Blood” will come “soon.” Soon is finally now, and the British four-piece shows just how a follow-up album should be done: experimentally, with a nod to the successful style of their debut. Singles include deceptively upbeat “Good Grief,” the brassy, kick-in-the-teeth “Send Them Off!” and “Fake It,” a booming, all-encompassing ballad. 


The Head and the Heart, “Signs of Light” – released September 2016

If indie folk is more your cup of tea, give these Seattle-natives a listen. Album opener “All We Ever Knew” pulls you in immediately, and singer Josiah Johnson’s voice is a throwback to ‘60s rock in the best way possible. The band’s major label debut is a bit poppier than their previous releases, but still stays true to its indie roots.


Shawn Mendes, “Illuminate” – expected September 23, 2016

If the wait for new Shawn Mendes music has had you in absolute stitches (get it? No?Okay, moving on), your wait is almost over. The teen heartthrob’s sophomore album is led by single “Treat You Better,” the music video for which had the interwebs going crazy. Check it out below, and keep your eyes out for “Illuminate!”


OneRepublic, “Oh My My” – expected October 7, 2016

Ever since the pop-rock band released “Apologize,” they seem to be able to do no wrong, creating music fit for contemporary radio while staying true to their original sound. The singles from OneRepublic’s upcoming fourth album are no different, whether they incorporate an irresistible vocal hook (“Kids”) or radio-friendly EDM influences (“Wherever I Go”).  “Oh My My,” of course, also incorporates frontman Ryan Tedder’s soaring vocals and Grammy-winning lyrics. 


What are your favorite releases of this year?  Happy listening, collegiettes!