Need more than holiday songs to keep you afloat this December? We've got you covered. Although most of the music industry is taking off this month, there are a few notable albums being released between now and the end of 2023. Most of them seem to cover the pop, dance & electronic, and hip-hop/trap genres.
There's a healthy mix of newcomers and legends sharing projects in December. And we promise you: they won't leave you feeling frosty. Before you start anticipating all of the awesome new albums set to drop in 2024, take a look at these last batch of ten albums you need to listen to before the year ends.
1. Alchemical: Volume 1 - Dove Cameron
After the mega success of "Boyfriend" – a popular TikTok sound and lesbian anthem of 2022 and 2023 – Dove Cameron has finally dropped her debut studio album. The Disney star turned pop provocateur put the record out on December 1, and has included 8 songs in the project's tracklist.
Besides "Boyfriend," the tunes "Lethal Woman," "Breakfast," "Sand," and "White Glove" have also proved to be standouts on Alchemical: Volume 1. This album is the follow-up to Cameron's double single and extended-play Bloodshot / Waste, released back in late September 2019. Campy and dramatic, this new record gives us a clear taste of Cameron's musical abilities. We're excited to go back for seconds once Volume 2 drops!
2. This Mixtape Is Fire TOO - Dillon Francis
This LP, also released on December 1, is the sequel to Dillon Francis' This Mixtape Is Fire (2015). This latest bundle of blazing bangers includes collaborations with ILLENIUM, Little Big, and Eptic, among others. There's also 14 tracks on the record, so it'll keep you dancing for a while.
Reviewers have said This Mixtape Is Fire Too sees Francis go back to his 2010s EDM roots. It also sneaks in a multitude of different sounds, including trap, techno, moombahton, house, pop, melodic dubstep, and more. Standout singles on this project include "Goodies," "Don't Let Me Go," "Pretty People," "buttons!" and "Free."
3. I/O - Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel really did tease us ALL YEAR with this album! After months of releasing singles on full moons, I/O (short for "input/output") was finally released on December 1. The boundary-pushing English pop artist has 12 tracks on his newest work, each with two different mixes labeled the "Bright-Side Mix" and "Dark-Side Mix." I/O is Gabriel's longest studio album, with both mixes each clocking in at over 68 minutes and the total project lasting over two hours.
And the sound of this album? Fresh, rich, and simple-yet-smooth. I/O is Gabriel's first record of new original material in over 21 years since Up (2002), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in his solo career. This project has essentially taken three decades to create. It's remarkable this thing even exists. Don't skip over Gabriel's hard work. Do yourself a favor and listen to this LP...BOTH mixes of it!
4. I Love You, Please Don't Hate Me - Sam Fischer
Sam Fischer is a now pop prince we're keeping our eyes on. At the beginning of this month, he shared his debut album I Love You, Please Don't Hate Me. If you're looking for an artist who can balance uncomplicated lyrics with mature sounds, go check out Fischer's work.
Despite Fischer being a newcomer, the Australian pop rock singer-songwriter clearly has support from veterans in the industry. Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, and Amy Shark all offer collaborations in I Love You, Please Don't Hate Me. That's not to say Fischer's solo tracks are worth skipping: "This City" is worth slow dancing to, and "Hopeless Romantic" perfectly encapsulates the freedom – and the overwhelming anxiety – of searching for true love.
5. Decisions - Wiz Khalifa
Decisions is Wiz Khalifa's third mixtape of 2023. We're impressed with how much work the rapper has been able to put out this year in-between his gig modeling for CELINE HOMME. Decisions is the shortest of his mixtapes this year – only 13 songs. But we love how it's just Wiz Khalifa, solo, spitting clean, thoughtful bars.
Decisions opens with “Looking for Nipsey”: a tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle. On the song, Khalifa wraps up carrying the torch for others in the industry, a nod to how Hussle may have carried the torch for him. Other notable tracks include “Freeze Turkeys,” “A New Way to Shine,” and “Heavy Hitters.” We can describe the sound on this one as being both laidback and hard-hitting.
6. Innocence - Kenny G
This one's for all the new parents out there. Jazz legend Kenny G drops his next project, Innocence, on December 8. It's actually his first collection of lullabies, and includes timeless tracks like "Rock-a-Bye Baby," "Edelweiss," and "Over the Rainbow." We're excited to hear Kenny's smooth spin on the classics.
But don't worry: if you're not a baby, this album will still be worth a listen. In the mix are 7 original songs from the saxophonist and composer. “The melodies are very simple and they resolve themselves,” he's told AP News. “There’s always a way of it coming back to something. It’s not a melody that just goes.” We all need a little comfort this holiday season, and we're sure Innocence will fill everyone with blissful rest and relaxation.
7. Before and After - Neil Young
Neil Young has basically already dropped the full album on his YouTube channel, but the official release of Before and After will happen on December 8. It's the 45th studio album by the legendary Canadian-American singer-songwriter, and includes 13 tracks. Some of those tracks are solo acoustic re-recordings of Young's past songs.
Previews of three songs – "I'm the Ocean," "Homefires," and "Burned" – were released as an EP upon announcement of the album on October 20. Young spoke of the release as a unique experience where a "feeling is captured" and has to be listened to "as a whole piece." The project also comprises one uninterrupted 48-minute piece, referred to by Young as "a music montage with no beginnings or endings."
8. Pink Friday 2 - Nicki Minaj
The current queen of hip-hop is back with Pink Friday 2! The singles released for this project are already considered pure Nicki Minaj classics; the raunchy, playful, and Billboard Hot 100-topping Super Freaky Girl and braggadocious "Red Ruby Da Sleeze" signal a new and exciting era for the talented artist.
Pink Friday 2 finally drops December 8, after having been moved a few times. It will be Minaj's fifth studio album to date. It's also her first studio effort since 2018's Queen. Back in 2019, Minaj told Elle the sound of Pink Friday 2 will be "fierce, fun and unapologetic" and has a "way bigger sound" than her previous works. We know the Barbz are going to eat up this one!
9. THINK LATER - Tate McRae
Pulling through amongst the horde of newcomer pop princesses is Tate McRae. At the age of thirteen, she gained prominence as the first Canadian finalist on the American reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance. McRae caught the attention of RCA Records in 2019 after many of her songs had gained traction online. After two great EPs and a solid debut album, she's keeping up the momentum with her sophomore effort, THINK LATER.
This project will be shared on December 8 and features the popular singles "greedy," "exes," and "grave." A press release has said the album is about "the all-too-relatable feelings of falling in love and embracing the raw emotions that you experience as a result of leading with your intuition and heart."
10. Almighty So 2 - Chief Keef
Perhaps the last notable record of the year will be shared on December 15. That album is Almighty So 2, by Chicago trap artist Chief Keef. It's his highly-anticipated fifth studio album and the official sequel to Keef's 2013 project Almighty So.
This record has been delayed a few times this year, so we're hoping the release date finally stays put. The most exciting thing about this sequel is that it may feature a collaboration with Drake. As reported by XXL Mag, Chief Keef appeared to let the cat out of the bag in one of Drizzy's Instagram posts. The post featured a carousel of photos of Aubrey, and in the comment section, Sosa wrote, "Don't forget them vocals crody," which seems to imply Keef was waiting on Drake to return a feature verse for AS2.
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