From Dua Lipa, who fed our starved quarantined souls with a much-needed dose of sparkly dance-pop sustenance, to Lady Gaga—an essential worker, but I digress—it depends on who you ask. As COVID-19 continues to turn our lives upside down, many music icons have responded to the seriousness of the crisis by pressing the pause button on their much-anticipated new albums.
For queer pop-culture respite, we can still look to recent releases from Fiona Apple and Charli XCX, who might actually save us all (she’s recording an album, How I’m Feeling Now, as you’re reading this, in coronavirus quarantine).
But the Dixie Chicks? And Sam Smith? And Gaga? For them, the show must and will go on… just at a later date.
Lady Gaga — Chromatica
What Happened: Before Gaga announced that “it just doesn’t feel right to me to release this album with all that is going on during this global pandemic,” we were so close to finally being able to engage in #GayTwitter wars over our thoughts on Lady Gaga’s sixth studio album.
The Latest: Put your opinion on hold, Monsters; there’s no new date. But since Target apparently didn’t get the memo about Chromatica’s postponement, we have the complete leaked, Gaga-confirmed tracklist, which will offer healing in the form of collaborations with Ariana Grande, Elton John, and K-Pop girl group Blackpink.
Dixie Chicks – Gaslighter
What Happened: Just a week before they were set to make their comeback on May 1, we were smacked with more bad album news: The Dixie Chicks, already a long time gone (14 years since their last album!), would be gone even longer.
The Latest: We still have lead single “Gaslighter” to help us channel our Trump rage, just not the album. At least not until… well, who knows when. The country trio’s latest has been shelved indefinitely. Judging by a video the Chicks tweeted featuring swearing, sobbing kids, and even a tantrum-throwing Trump head superimposed on the body of a toddler, they’re as unhappy about this as we are.
Sam Smith – TBA
What Happened: Add Sam Smith to the long list of artists who are saying it “doesn’t feel right” to release new music right now.
The Latest: Not only is a new title in the works (good call on not naming it To Die For), but Smith said they plan to retool the album, making some “important changes and additions.” Originally scheduled for May 1, a new date hasn’t been set yet. On their IG, Smith offered reassurance, at least: “Don’t worry, though, there will be an album this year, I promise!”
The 1975 – Notes on a Conditional Form
What Happened: A hold up in pressing the vinyl caused The 1975’s fourth studio album to be moved once already, from February 21 to April 24. Then, presumably due to COVID, it was moved again.
The Latest: Though the alt-rock band announced the second postponement in a tweet, they kept their reasons for the latest delay vague. Though it doesn’t arrive until May 22, several songs are available to stream right now—including “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America,” a recent single featuring bisexual indie rock darling Phoebe Bridgers.
Haim – Women in Music Pt. III
What Happened: In a note posted to their social media, Haim explained they were putting a hold on their forthcoming third album “due to everything that is going on with COVID-19 and the changing nature of travel policies and quarantines across the world.”
The Latest: Originally due April 24, the album will now be released in late summer, according to the trio.
Alanis Morissette – Such Pretty Forks in the Road
What Happened: In mid-April, Morissette announced on Facebook that the May 1 release date for her first album in eight long years would be pushed back “just a bit” to a time “that feels right.”
The Latest: On April 24, Morissette released a third single from the album, “Diagnosis.” As for the rest of the album—well, according to a Facebook message she posted, it seems she’s using her pandemic downtime to go back and fine tune Pretty Forks. Once a release date is set again, Morissette assured “we’ll let you know as soon as we know.”
Rufus Wainwright – Unfollow the Rules
What Happened: Wainwright wrestled with this one. Unfollow the Rules was originally due on April 24, but the showman debated whether he should provide some COVID comfort or wait it out.
The Latest: Ultimately, due to logistical reasons, Wainwright set a new date for the album: July 10. But in the interim, on the album’s original release date, he released a new single from Unfollow the Rules called “Alone Time,” because who doesn’t have a lot of that right now?
Kehlani – It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
What Happened: Kehlani’s second LP was to follow the release of her December single “All Me.” “To be transparent I HAD a release date,” the singer wrote on Twitter. “We’re unable to complete any of our plans or move forward with the album at the moment due to the pandemic.”
The Latest: Though the openly queer artist put music on the backburner for a while as she focused her energy on being “a good citizen to society,” Kehlani recently announced the album would see the light of day on May 8.
Alicia Keys – Alicia
What Happened: In March, Keys announced on Twitter she was pushing back her eponymous seventh album by a couple of months.
The Latest: In an announcement, the self-proclaimed Superwoman invited fans to ring her at 917-970-2001—you know, “so we can chat.” When you call, you get a message from Keys, who lets you know she’s busy vibin’ out to her new album. Soon, on May 15, so can you.