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10 Artists Who Left Us Hanging In 2015

Join us as we mourn ANTI, SWISH and more albums that never saw the light of day this year.

Every year, music lovers dive into a barrage of year-end lists recapping the songs we couldn’t stop singing, the artists who demanded our attention and the albums that merited heavy rotation. 2015 surely gave us so much to be excited about, but (sorry to be a Debbie Downer), it also left us in a funk over what could’ve been.

Because for every Dr. Dre and Justin Bieber who graced us with long-awaited new releases, there was a Rihanna and Frank Ocean who left us hanging. Assuming none of these 10 artists pull a Beyoncé and go for a buzzer-beater album drop before the calendar flips this week, consider them the year’s biggest teasers and heartbreakers.

Hopefully it’ll all be worth the wait in 2016. And if not, well, at least Adele came through with an album for us to sob along to.

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    Remember on Jan. 24, when Rihanna released “FourFiveSeconds,” the twang-tinged supposed “first single” for her next album? LOLOLOLOL, what fools we were to think she’d be so predictable with LP No. 8. She followed up with a pair of new tracks (“Bitch Better Have My Money” in March and “American Oxygen” in April), an album title and cover art announcement, AND a lineup of world tour dates — basically, everything except the actual album.

    So while the wait for ANTI ticks on, we’re left trying in vein to decipher clues from that hella mysterious Samsung campaign. But at least we can do so in some dope socks and Pumas.

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    The-album-that-may-or-may-not-be-called-Swish is Kanye’s seventh full-length LP and the one that’s most ruffling fans’ feathers. Yo ‘Ye, how ya gonna tease us with the rowdy “All Day,” the Paul McCartney-assisted lullaby “Only One,” and that Sia and Vic Mensa collab “Wolves,” and then leave us empty-handed at the end of 2015?! DO IT FOR THE KIDS, BRO.

    On the one hand, Kanye’s had a busy year, between his new dad duties, presidential announcements and fashion empire-building. On the other hand, we’re just selfish and we want this album more than sneakerheads want custom Yeezy Boosts. Luckily, Kanye seems to be in full-on creative mode now — he took to Twitter earlier this month to effectively tell the world to leave him alone until the album’s finished. Thank Yeezus for that. ?

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    Jan. 1, 2015: The date was ripe with declarations of self-improvement and promises for the year ahead. So on that New Years Day, Ben Haggerty, a.k.a. Macklemore, optimistically tweeted a response to a fan who asked when he can hear the follow-up to 2012’s The Heist. “You will this year. Believe that,” the MC wrote, delivering six little words and one big lie.

    OK, OK, so it’s not like Haggerty and partner-in-rhyme Ryan Lewis have been twiddling their thumbs all year. In August, they debuted “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song),” a sunny, Ed Sheeran-assisted tune dedicated to Macklemore’s baby daughter. Then the duo livened up the VMAS later that month with their performance of “Downtown,” the most soulful foot-stomper since “Uptown Funk.” Clearly, 2016’s shaping up to be a huge year for hip-hop, and Macklemore will hopefully contribute their own LP to the lot.

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    Radiohead’s really been dragging their canvas-sneakered feet on their ninth album, the follow-up to 2011’s The King of Limbs. Producer Nigel Goodrich stirred up hopefulness in December 2014 when he tweeted a pic of singer Thom Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood in the studio. And a new Radiohead LP appeared on many of the “most anticipated albums of 2015” lists at the top of the year. But we have yet to hear a projected release date, though Greenwood said in October that “lots has been recorded.”

    Even though we’re now stuck in the longest-ever stretch of time between Radiohead records, the band did gift fans a surprise stocking stuffer earlier this week by releasing “Spectre,” their unused theme song for the latest James Bond film. And 007’s reject is a Radiohead fan’s ear candy.

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    Way back in October 2014, Gwen Stefani said during a Twitter Q&A that her third studio album would be arriving in December. But that December came and went. And now this December’s basically come and gone. So what gives?

    Turns out, the delay may actually prove to be a great thing. In August, Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, her husband of 13 years, announced their divorce. And as painful as breakups are, they can also do amazing things for an artist’s creativity. Indeed, Stefani told Entertainment Weekly in October that she’d scrapped an entire album’s worth of material and was instead using her shattered relationship as inspiration for her new music. She released a new track, “Used To Love You,” shortly after, giving us a good idea of what may be in store for her first solo album in a decade, which will likely (hopefully) release next year.

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    Do you ever just wake up in a cold sweat and wonder if Frank Ocean was ever real or just a figment of your imagination? Same.

    In 2012, he came to us in a hazy dream, dropped channel ORANGE, and then practically disappeared until one fateful day in April 2015, when he announced he’d release a new album in July. A rep for Ocean confirmed to Billboard that a joint album/magazine project were due for July, and the wait was on… and it still is. His last-minute cancellation at FYF Fest in Los Angeles over the summer didn’t ease fans’ frustration, and we’ve gotten exactly zero updates since then. I mean… he said July, but he didn’t say what year…

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    There's an unsettling shroud of mystery surrounding the English producer and singer-songwriter’s next album — which is only fitting for a project reportedly titled Radio Silence. After revealing in June 2014 that his next album was halfway done, Blake’s next progress report came that November, when he said it would arrive in “about five months.” Which would mean April 2015. Which was eight whole months ago.

    Still, the follow-up to 2013’s Overgrown is rumored to feature collaborations from Kanye West and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, so it’s bound to be worth the wait. (Repeat that as many times as necessary.)

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    Young Thug’s one of the most exciting new MCs today, but DAMN, it’s been a long wait for HiTunes (stylized as Hy!£UN35). Originally slated for release on Aug. 28, Thugger’s debut LP was pushed back to Sept. 24, then pushed back AGAIN after he postponed several dates on his headlining tour.

    Nevertheless, Thug managed to have an impressive year by releasing not one, not two, but three mixtapes: Barter 6, Slime Season and Slime Season 2, all of which are only heightening the hype for HiTunes.

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    There aren’t enough Este bassface GIFs in the world to cheer up HAIM fans who were hoping for a new album this year. In June 2014, the sister trio told BBC 6 Music that their Days Are Gone follow-up is “coming very soon.”

    Eighteen months later, though, we haven’t heard so much as a new single, though HAIM told Zane Lowe in October that they’re working on the LP “every day.” Plus, they scored their own Beats 1 show this year, so technically you can hear them on the radio. Grasp those straws. Grasp them tight.

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    To say that Drake left us hanging in 2015 is both justifiable and laughable at the same time. Between his stellar mixtapes, his brutal, Grammy-nominated beatdown of Meek Mill and his ability to single-handedly make a turtleneck look cool again, the dude essentially had this year in a chokehold.

    AND YET, Views From the 6 — the album he’s been teasing for more than a year — is nowhere in sight. Rumors about a Sept. 24 release date proved fallacious, but the current theory is that it’ll drop in January (that’s taken from a casual hint in his “30 for 30” freestyle: “But just know it will be January in no time”).

    Whatever the case may be, his February mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late arrived without warning or promotion and managed to shatter records, so it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities behind a proper album release. The 6 God is watching, and we’re watching too.