Labor Day is essentially a closing ceremony for the greatest season of the year, leaving us with little to look forward to including, dwindling daylight hours, plummeting temperatures and school looming closer. So what better time to look ahead to see what our favorite artists have in store for the rest of the year?
All week, we’ll be looking at the most exciting things to look forward to this year, from A-Z, 26 in all. From Ariana Grande and Beyonce to Lady Gaga, One Direction, Rick Ross and Zendaya, we’ve got everything you need to know on the music you’ll need to own.
Today’s list kicks off with the second album from 2 vChainz and includes the debut from Grande and everything we know about Austin Mahone’s upcoming album.
2 Chainz: B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time
Release date: September 10
The word: “You don’t want to have the whole album about one thing, but I definitely show growth on there. I talk about gaining friends, losing friends; reality rap man. I talk about current events,” 2 Chainz told MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway. “I definitely discuss it being my time. I feel like it’s a changing of the guards. I feel like people need to recognize that it’s about to be a new era.”
Hear this: The Caribbean-tinged “Feds Watching” opened up a new lane for 2 Chainz, who has already mastered Atlanta’s trap sound. Look for the Mannie Fresh-produced “Used 2″ and Diplo-produced “Netflix” with Fergie to take Chainz into new territory.
Key players: Mike Will Made It, Pharrell Williams, Mannie Fresh, Drumma Boy and DJ Toomp all provide production, while Lil Wayne, Drake, Fergie and new comer Rich Homie Quan are set to lend vocals.
Facts: Chainz has never met a feature he didn’t like, but in May he tweeted that he put his features on halt until his new album was done. (Rob Markman)
Arcade Fire: Title TBD
Release date: October 29
The word: “I’m not sure if it’s a concept record like the last one. … We don’t talk about where the songs come from unless somebody says ’What I’m going for is more this.’ That’s all I got into. I’m not trying to conduct an opera, or a rock opera — a ’ropera’ in this case,” producer and former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy told Billboard.
Hear this: We have yet to hear anything from the as-yet-unnamed record, but an Instagram account tied to Arcade Fire and the release called Reflektor released a cryptic video featuring some very Arcade Fire-esque droning.
Key players: James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame produces.
Facts: The band tweeted the release date to a random fan, along with a photo featuring the Montreal Biosphere in flames — a tourist site that caught fire in 1976.
— Arcade Fire (@arcadefire) July 12, 2013
Rumors: Much about this release is wrapped in rumors at present. For a few weeks now, a kind of honeycomb graffiti featuring the word “Reflektor” has been popping up around the world, linked to an Instagram account and website by the same name. Rumor has it that the Arcade Fire record will go by that name. The band finally came clean about their involvement with the “Reflektor” tag last week, tweeting a photo of a banner with that word on it. (Brenna Ehrlich)
REFLEKTOR! Arcade Fire have finally shown their hand. Reflektor, 9pm on 9/9. Corner of Grand & Lafayette St, NYC. pic.twitter.com/AXfctwPLyt
— Arcade Fire tube (@ArcadeFiretube) August 26, 2013
Ariana Grande: Yours Truly
Release Date: September 3
The Word: “I feel like some of the most important years of my life have been captured in this album and some of my most important experiences like relationship-wise,” she told MTV News after playing the VMA pre-show.
Hear This: Ariana gave us a stellar preview of what’s to come at the Video Music Awards pre-show, performing “The Way” and “Baby I”
Key Players: Mac Miller, Big Sean, The Wanted’s Nathan Sykes and Mika, along with producers Babyface and “Victorious” co-star Leon Thomas.
Fact: Grande spent more than three years making the record, which she describes as about romance, boys and love.
Rumors: After exchanging a kiss in the video for her hit single, “The Way,” rumors started swirling that Grande and Miller were more than friends. In April, Mac confirmed to MTV News that his relationship with the pop star was strictly platonic . (Christina Garibaldi)
Release date: September 17
The word: “I didn’t want [previous hit] ’Levels’ to identify me. In a sense, it’s just a song, and I’ve always produced a lot of music, so I wanted to do something really different,” he told MTV News. “I really wanted to make sure to do something different [with ’Wake Me Up’] than what anyone else is doing.”
Hear this: Strummy countronica single “Wake Me Up,” featuring vocals from Aloe Blacc and guitar from Incubus’ Mike Einziger, has hit #1 in 47 countries and given the Swedish producer one of his biggest hits to date.
Key players: Daft Punk collaborator and guitarist Nile Rodgers and vocals from country icon Mac Davis, Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds and Adam Lambert.
Facts: Avicii has said he’s trying to shake things up in the EDM world by bringing in some bluegrass and country influences on the album.
Rumors: After some fans and peers complained about the new sound at the March Ultra Music Festival, Avicii posted a note on Facebook denying the claims. “I will always produce music that I love and listen to,” he wrote. “But my album is certainly not ’country,’ and people have gotten hung up on an instrument we used for the live cover of a song. Every song on the album is a fusion with house and electronic music. (Gil Kaufman)
Austin Mahone: Title TBD
Release date: TBD Fall 2013
The word: “Most of the songs on the album are going to sound like ’What About Love,’ kind of like that EDM, like I said, old school/new school,” he told MTV News on during “Live From MTV.” “It’s a different sound, different from ’Say Something’ or ’Say You’re Just a Friend,’ and I really feel like people are going to enjoy it.”
Hear this: Austin hit the Video Music Awards red carpet to perform “What About Love,” earlier last week.
Key players: “What About Love” saw producing work from RedOne, and Birdman just revealed that Austin is joining the Cash Money family, leaving lots of potential for some big name collabos.
Facts: Austin’s Mahomies helped him bring home the Moonman for “Artist to Watch” at last week’s VMAs.
Rumors: A VMA night instagram started rumors that Austin was dating Bieber’s ex Selena Gomez, but another instagram from that same night didn’t spark any Chanel West Coast rumors. We’ll label that one ’extremely unlikely’. (Daniel Montalto)