Fall’s here! Soundtrack the season with these must-hear albums from Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and more.
It’s always hard to kiss summer goodbye. But you know what? We couldn’t be more pumped for fall this year! And no, it’s not just because fall means pumpkin spice lattes and trading in our worn-out sundresses for comfy chunky sweaters and ankle boots. We’re also psyched because this upcoming season will usher in a slew of truly awesome albums by some AMAZING ladies.
Here’s just a taste of what’s in store starting this month: new albums from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and twerk queen Miley Cyrus, hot debut albums from HAIM and Ariana Grande, album No. 5 from Avril Lavigne, a long-awaited reunion album from ’90s pop/R&B staple TLC, and MANY others. Are we cooling down yet? I mean heating up? I mean… never mind. Here are 15 must-hear fall albums from our favorite musical females!
Read more about our favorite must-hear fall albums after the jump.
1.) Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You: As Neko’s album title indicates, she’s a profound wordsmith. Add in her powerhouse singing and signature cadence, and it won’t take long to realize that she’s one of the most distinctive voices in music. Check out the devastatingly beautiful “Night Still Comes” and the rocking gender takedown “Man” featuring M. Ward. Additional guests include members from Neko’s other band The New Pornographers, her hilarious live show foil and bandmate Kelly Hogan, and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, among others.
2.) Miley Cyrus, BANGERZ: If there was a “Turnt Up” award to bestow this year, Miley Cyrus would be the clear winner. To wit: There’s Miley’s unforgettable VMA performance, her ridonk “We Can’t Stop” video AND “Wrecking Ball” video, and twerkgasmic skills… And that’s before she’s even released Bangerz (out Oct. 8). And here’s some more to look forward to: Album guests will include Britney Spears, Ludacris, Big Sean, Pharrell Williams, Wiz Khalifa and Future.
+ Watch Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video.
3.) Ellie Goulding, Halcyon Days: Electro-blissout artist Ellie’s latest album comprises a reissue of 2012’s excellent dance-to-catharsis breakup album, Halcyon, plus 10 new tracks. Along with revisiting breakout smashes “Anything Could Happen” and “I Need Your Love” featuring Calvin Harris, check out the euphoric “Burn” and a cover of Midnight Star’s “Midas Touch,” which was produced by BURNS. Also listen to Ellie’s seductive take on Alt-J’s “Tessellate.”
4.) Ariana Grande, Yours Truly: The world may have first come to know 20-year-old Ariana Grande through her role as “Cat” on Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” and its spin-off “Sam & Cat,” but, as her retro R&B-leaning debut album attests, she’s a singer at heart. Watch Ariana’s video for the Mac Miller-assisted “The Way,” her VMA performance of “The Way/Baby I,” and her throwback-styled “Baby I” video.
+ Watch Ariana Grande’s “Baby I” video.
5.) HAIM, Days Are Gone: The HAIM sisters (Este, Danielle, and Alana) encompass everything we love about music: excellent songwriting showcasing classic rock, power pop and R&B sensibilities, quirky cool arrangements and rhythms, and riveting three-part harmonies. And don’t even get us started on watching them live: HAIM regularly slay the stage like the gutsy rock goddesses they are (see the below 2013 mtvU Woodies live performance). Also, they have magazine feature-worthy hair. In other words, they rule so hard it hurts (so good). Check out “The Wire,” “Don’t Save Me,” and “Falling.”
6.) Icona Pop, This Is… Icona Pop: Electro-pop duo Icona Pop met over heartbreak and bonded through music. The Swedish-bred pair’s “I Love It,” penned by Charli XCX (which is included on This Is…Icona Pop), is the ultimate kiss-off anthem, and their knack for catchy electropop continues on songs such as the club banger “Ready For The Weekend” and “Girlfriend.”
+ Watch Icona Pop’s “I Love It” video.
7.) The Julie Ruin, Run Fast: Adjectives to describe Kathleen Hanna are lengthy and impressive: Bikini Kill and Le Tigre frontwoman, riot grrrl, icon, feminist, punk rocker, role model… the list goes on. For her second album as The Julie Ruin (her 1998 debut was mostly a bedroom-honed affair), Hanna’s assembled a full band. Check out the punked-up pop hooks and girl-group harmonies of “Oh Come On.”
+ Listen to The Julie Ruin’s “Oh Come On.”
8.) Lady Gaga, ARTPOP: While Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP doesn’t drop until Nov. 11, our anticipation’s been building ever since Mother Monster first tattooed the album’s name on her arm more than a year ago. Today, we’ve had excellent live tastes of “Applause” during Gaga’s stunning VMA opening set and “Jewels And Drugs” featuring T.I., Too $hort, and Twista from iTunes Festival, and heard snippets of “Swine” and “MANiCURE.” Lastly, given the fact that ARTPOP is inspired by performance artist Marina Abramovic and Jeff Koons, we obviously expect it to be nothing short of epic.
+ Watch Lady Gaga’s “Applause” video.
9.) Avril Lavigne, Avril Lavigne: For Avril’s fifth album, co-produced by new husband and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, she collaborates with everyone from Marilyn Manson for “Bad Girl” to Kroeger himself on “Let Me Go.” Watch her acoustic Buzzworthy performance of “Here’s To Never Growing Up,” and also check out the graphic novel-styled video for “Rock N Roll,” which features Avril and Danica McKellar, aka Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years,” as badass heroines.
+ Watch Avril Lavigne’s “Rock N Roll” video.
10.) Lorde, Pure Heroine: IDK what you were doing at age 16, but we were
papering our bedroom walls with fave band posters probably hanging at the mall. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Lorde accomplished with one song what most won’t in a lifetime. The teen dropped the minimalistic, rhythmic “Royals” (with melodies that rely primarily on Lorde’s rich, earthy and sultry voice), and proceeded to become the first lead solo female artist to top the Alternative chart since 1996. BOOM! Also hear the equally engaging “Tennis Courts.”
+ Watch Lorde’s “Royals” video.
11.) M.I.A., Matangi: M.I.A. named her fourth album after her real first name, Mathangi. A Hindu goddess who’s invoked for speech, creativity, and knowledge, Matangi is an apt name for both the inventive, outspoken M.I.A. and her album, which will finally see the light of day on Nov. 5. Watch the video for the NSFW, rapid-fire “Bring The Noize” and lyric video “Come Walk With Me” featuring animated Hindu goddesses.
12.) Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady: Janelle Monáe counts Prince (“Give Em What They Love”) among her friends, crafted a female empowerment anthem that’s as thought-provoking as it is funky (“Q.U.E.E.N.” featuring Erykah Badu), and made android sex, er, sexy (“Primetime” with Miguel), and imaginatively created a sonic cyber world on The Electric Lady that sounds both vintage and futuristic. AND she does this while looking CoverGirl perfect; she’s more than just a triple threat — she wins at life.
13.) Katy Perry, PRISM: If Katy Perry’s first single, “Roar,” from Prism is indicative of the album’s direction, then we can probably expect more ferocious pop hooks and anthemic choruses come Prism’s Oct. 22 release date. She recently told MTV News that she wrote the material following a dark period: “The reason why I called this record Prism is because I actually finally let the light in. And then I was able to create all these songs that were inspired by letting the light in and doing some self-reflection.”
+ Watch Katy Perry’s “Roar” video.
14.) Sleigh Bells, Bitter Rivals: Just saying, we want to be Alexis Krauss when we grow up. She’s smart (before she was a star, she was a teacher), stylish (she rocks blood-red lipstick, bangles, bangs, and Keds kicks like nobody’s business), and her punky shout/chant/singing conjures automatic fist-pumping and booty shaking. Watch the band’s kickass “Bitter Rivals.”
15.) TLC: ’90s R&B staple TLC commenced their comeback last July with a medley performance at MTV International Video Awards in Japan and at Mixtape Festival. And here’s what else: They’re also executive producing VH1’s “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (premiering on Oct. 21), and on Oct. 15, surviving members Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas will drop their as-yet-untitled album, featuring hits and fan favorites alongside four new tracks, including the Ne-Yo-penned “Meant To Be” and “Posh Life,” written by Lady Gaga.
Photo credits: Epic, Atlantic, UMG, RCA, Interscope, -Anti, Shervin Lainez, Marc Baptiste, Atlantic