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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Record watch 2024

A selection of records from the coming year to look out for


By CHARLIE MCBRIAN — arts@theaggie.org  


This year anything can happen. 2024 comes in the wake of one of the oddest years for pop in recent memory. Hip-hop’s market share has been declining but there hasn’t been much to replace it. The disco-inflected fun of 2021 has fizzled out, and listener bases are once again trending towards insularity. In this fractured environment, it is not surprising that country — a genre defined by its specific listener base — has thrived. That being said, here are some releases to look forward to in the new year.


Confirmed Releases: 


“Loss of Life” by MGMT (Feb. 23)

MGMT has taken many forms since their 2007 breakout. Most recently, their 2018 album “Little Dark Age” saw MGMT reborn as a gothic synth duo, receiving revived popularity and acclaim. Now in 2024, they are back with “Loss of Life,” a record that signals a return to the slacker-psychedelia of 2010’s “Congratulations.” “Loss of Life” appears to swap the hipster antagonism of “Congratulations” for a weathered sincerity. Whether this new perspective enhances their sound is yet to be seen, but the two new singles show promise.


“Bleachers” by Bleachers (March 8)

Jack Antonoff is huge right now. Entering the public consciousness as a member of Fun, Antonoff has gone on to produce Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Clairo, The 1975 and Taylor Swift. It will be interesting to see how Antonoff’s prolific production work will be reflected in his solo work and vice versa.


“Orquíedas” by Kali Uchis (Jan. 12)

Developed alongside 2023’s “Red Moon in Venus,” “Orquídeas” will be Uchis’s second Spanish-language album after “Sin miedo (del amor y otros demonios) ∞.” On “Orquídeas” — named after the Colombian national flower — Uchis delves further into Latin pop, serving as a tribute to her Colombian roots.


Speculated releases:


“Music” by Playboi Carti

This technically should be confirmed because it has an album name, a date and four singles, but with Playboi Carti you never know. 2020’s “Whole Lotta Red” had a bleeding-edge concoction of numbingly repetitive vocals and stuttering electronic beats, influencing the niche and mainstream alike. “Music” appears to lean into the fog of Playboi Carti’s enigmatic persona.


“AG7” by Ariana Grande

Fans have speculated that Ariana Grande has been teasing her new album through the “Apple emoji search bar.” While this is wishful thinking, it reflects a continued listener base for Grande’s music even after a turbulent 2023.


“Y2K!” [assumed title] by Ice Spice

After making a name for herself in hip-hop, Ice Spice has her sights set on super-stardom. To her credit, she took strides towards this goal. In 2023, Ice Spice released her first EP, notched her highest charting song and collaborated with Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. Her debut album will determine if she can maintain this momentum and establish herself as a chart mainstay.


Frank Ocean

After a disastrous Coachella headlining performance, Ocean’s reputation has hit a low point with even die-hards’ faith waning. Ocean releasing music sometime this year remains a possibility, as he recently shared clips of himself in a recording studio. I wouldn’t hold out hope though.

The unpredictable nature of the music industry is one that may surprise or disappoint us. Artists’ “confirmed” release dates may fall through but despite this 2024 is shaping up to be an interesting year for music. Sonic inflection points like that of Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back,” Lorde’s “Royals” and Migos’ “Bad and Boujee” are by their nature unpredictable. But because the landscape is due for a shake-up, 2024 has the potential to be an exciting year in music.


Written by: Charlie McBrian — arts@theaggie.org 


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