meta-script10 Must-Hear New Albums In August 2022: Demi Lovato, TWICE, Calvin Harris, YoungBoy Never Broke Again & More | GRAMMY.com
Graphic featuring photos clockwise from bottom-left: Muse, Demi Lovato, Calvin Harris, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Pussy Riot
Clockwise from bottom-left: Muse, Demi Lovato, Calvin Harris, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Pussy Riot

Source Photos: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia; David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images; Erika Goldring/Getty Images; Rita Franca/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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10 Must-Hear New Albums In August 2022: Demi Lovato, TWICE, Calvin Harris, YoungBoy Never Broke Again & More

Dive into our extensive guide to the must-hear new albums dropping this month from Muse, Pussy Riot, Pale Waves, and many more.

GRAMMYs/Aug 4, 2022 - 11:44 pm

Just as July 2022 crescendoed with Beyoncé's triumphant Renaissance, August looks to keep the musical magic flowing with tons of highly anticipated, new albums across all genres dropping this month.

Dance music fans rejoice: GRAMMY winner Calvin Harris is back with Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 this week. Political protestors and punk heroes Pussy Riot are back to restart the fire with Matriarchy Now. And for the rest of the month, we're in for enticing prog offerings (Muse's Will Of The People), delightfully devilish rock (Demi Lovato's HOLY FVCK), synth-pop (Pale Waves' Unwanted), electronic-folk (T Bone Burnett's The Invisible Light: Spells), and so much more.

Below, check out an extensive guide to the must-hear new albums dropping in August 2022 and learn why they all should be on your radar — no matter where your stylistic arrow points. — Morgan Enos

Calvin Harris — Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 5

Things that make summer, summer: ice-cold lemonades, beach trips, blurry music festival weekends, and a wildly catchy and relatable Calvin Harris bop on your latest aesthetic playlist. Where the latter is concerned, the Scottish super-producer is offering you many to choose from with his second installment in his Funk Wav Bounces album series. Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 is a concentrated return to vocal-heavy, radio-friendly dance pop following Harris' years-long rave detour via his Love Regenerator alias — though in between stints, he collaborated with The Weeknd in 2020 on "Over Now" and released stand-alone single "By Your Side," featuring Tom Grennan, last year. 

Like its successful 2017 predecessor, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 brings together many of today's hottest artists — Halsey, Latto and Lil Durk among them — on a record you can call upon to chill, hang out, and build a vibe. Lead single "Potion," with Dua Lipa and Young Thug, brings the type of seductive funk you post on TikTok when you're feeling yourself and hoping your crush will see the self-confidence, too. The balmy synths on "New Money," featuring 21 Savage, sparkle like ocean waves. Then you have Normani, Tinashe and Offset turning up the humidity on the syrupy disco number "New To You." Does summer have to end? Not if Calvin Harris has his way. — Krystal Rodriguez

Read More: 6 Ways Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia Tour Proves She's The Pop Star We've Been Waiting For

YoungBoy Never Broke Again — The Last Slimeto

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 5

Fans of Louisiana rap sensation YoungBoy Never Broke Again know to expect a whirlwind of new music at all times — and the hits keep coming. The prolific rapper's next album, The Last Slimeto, is out August 5 via his own Never Broke Again label and Atlantic Records; the album features a 30-song track list that has only been partially revealed.

The Last Slimeto comes hot on the heels of YoungBoy Never Broke Again's last mixtape, the hugely successful Colors, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart following its release in January. Leading The Last Slimeto, the take-no-prisoners single "4KT Baby" boasts an equally bracing video. Like Colors before it, The Last Slimeto is sure to delve deep into YoungBoy Never Broke Again's dark past and conflicted psyche. — Jack Tregoning

Read More: Even At The Top Of The Rap Game, YoungBoy Never Broke Again Still Isn't Satisfied

Pussy Riot — Matriarchy Now

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 5

Pussy Riot's debut mixtape, Matriarchy Now, is a capstone on a remarkable decade for the Russian punk agitators. Its August 5 release comes 10 years after Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were convicted with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for performing a song critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in a church and sentenced to two years in prison. The verdict made international headlines and garnered the collective new fans in far-flung corners around the globe. 

Watch: Bun B and Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova Talk Intersections Of Music And Activism During GRAMMY Career Day

A decade on, with the world now reeling from Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Pussy Riot's brand of protest art is more urgent than ever. The group tapped Swedish hitmaker Tove Lo as executive producer on Matriarchy Now, which also features an assortment of up-for-it guests including Big Freedia, Phoebe Ryan, mazie, and Slayyyter. Lead single "PLASTIC" is a twisted pop earworm featuring Atlanta-via-Los Angeles rapper ILOVEMAKONNEN, who slides right into the collective's off-kilter aesthetic. 

In June, Pussy Riot joined the national fight for reproductive rights by unfurling a 45-foot banner at the Texas State Capitol that read "Matriarchy Now." Expect the mixtape to be just as direct. — J.T.

Read More: 5 Women Essential To Punk: Exene Cervenka, Poly Styrene, Alice Bag, Kathleen Hanna & The Linda Lindas

The Interrupters — In The Wild

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 5

With it raucous energy, hummable hooks, and classic ska-punk fusion, In The Wild, the fourth album by Los Angeles quartet the Interrupters, feels like a welcome breath of fresh air. The 14-track album finds lead singer/songwriter Aimee Interrupter, her romantic partner and guitarist Kevin Bivona, and his younger twin brothers Jesse and Justin, in an exuberant mood. The rollicking "In The Mirror" sounds tailor-made for the concert stage — the band is touring the U.S. with Celtic punk darlings Flogging Molly throughout the summer — while the gorgeous "As We Live" evokes the multicultural magic of late-'70s British two-tone at its elegant best.

Lyrically, the album pulsates with unrelenting honesty. During the pandemic, the Interrupters built a brand-new home studio in L.A., allowing Aimee a safe space where she could process and confront her wounds from a difficult childhood. The band has never sounded so self-assured — both musically and emotionally. — Ernesto Lechner

Read More: Reggae Band The Frightnrs' 'Always' Delivers On A Promise To Their Late Singer, Dan Klein

T Bone Burnett — The Invisible Light: Spells

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 5

Three years ago, T Bone Burnett released the critically acclaimed and darkly experimental The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space, a collaboration with percussionist Jay Bellerose and musician/producer Keefus Ciancia. Inspired by a disturbing nightmare that plagued Burnett decades ago, the album touches on humanity's excessive reliance on technology, often resulting in a deluded interpretation of reality. The visionary trio returns with The Invisible Light: Spells, the second installment of a planned trilogy.

For Burnett, Spells marks a bold, new chapter in a career that includes mainstream fame as a guitarist with Bob Dylan in the '70s and, most recently, creating — together with Ciancia — the haunting music for "True Detective." Opening with the tribal, spoken-word march "Realities.com" and continuing with the stark "I'm Starting A New Life Today," a glorious slice of industrial rock that shimmers with vague echoes of '80s Peter GabrielSpells picks up where its predecessor left off: a gloomy meditation on the dangers of today, framed by gorgeous soundscapes. Years from now, it will be remembered as one of the most challenging albums of 2022. — E.L.

Read More: 20 Years Ago, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Crashed The Country Music Party

Kokoroko — Could We Be More

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 5

Kokoroko, the eight-piece U.K. jazz/Afrobeat fusion collective, take their name from the Nigerian Urhobo language; the moniker translates to "be strong." The phrase could represent the band's resolve to share Afrobeats and highlife music with the world, from their parents' generation to their own and, hopefully, the next one, too. If so, their plan is working. After starting out performing covers, the group elevated to the next level after their track, "Abusey Junction," was featured on the 2018 compilation We Out Here, released on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings.

Read More: Love Burna Boy & Wizkid? Listen To These 5 African Genres

Four years, a self-titled EP, and a handful of singles later, Kokoroko are releasing their debut album, Could We Be More. The 15-track LP blends Afrobeat, highlife, soul, and funk in a heartwarming homage to the West African and Caribbean sounds from their childhood. "It's that feeling when you're younger and you hear something and you feel some ownership over it," the band's percussionist Onome Edgeworth said in a statement. "Recreating a piece of music that fills you with pride, 'this is a piece of me and this is what I came from.'" Album singles "Age of Ascent," "We Give Thanks" and "Something's Going On" surge with an energy that's nostalgic, spirited, and life-giving. Play this at sunrise or sunset and groove away. — K.R.

Read More: Meet Nubya Garcia: The Rising Star Taking The London Jazz Scene By Storm Talks Debut Album Source

Pale Waves — Unwanted

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 12

Manchester group Pale Waves released their last album, Who Am I?, early in 2021, with the pandemic raging and lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie battling heartbreak and burnout. This year, the band came back strong, starting in May with "Lies," a fierce pop-punk rebuke to a deceitful lover. In July, Pale Waves released "The Hard Way," which draws on Baron-Gracie's high school memories of a girl who was bullied and took her own life. 

The contrasting-yet-connected emotions on "Lies" and "The Hard Way" set the stage for the new Pale Waves album, Unwanted, out August 12 on Dirty Hit, home to the likes of the 1975 and Wolf Alice. The album sees the band exploring deeper themes of love, loss and gender identity. "Unwanted had to be honest, provocative and loud," Baron-Gracie said in a statement. "Not only thematically, but in the music as well."

Coming hot from supporting 5 Seconds of Summer around North America, Pale Waves are shootings for indie-pop glory on Unwanted. — J.T.

Read More: Pale Waves Share How Their EP Influenced My Mind Makes Noises Album

Demi Lovato — HOLY FVCK

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 19

Global pop star Demi Lovato will soon excite fans once again with their new album HOLY FVCK, a 16-track project, out Aug. 19, exploring the singer's ups and downs. And already, the sonic direction of the album promises an edgy vibe, tapping into Lovato's beloved rock and pop-punk sound. Lead single "Skin of My Teeth" dropped June 10 alongside a darkly tinged music video. The song, which showcases the singer's intense vocal ability atop an infectious rock sound, delves into Lovato's hardships and need for freedom, ultimately giving an unfiltered look into their emotions.

Lovato released their last album, Dancing with the Devil... the Art of Starting Over, in April last year; it received critical acclaim and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Full of honest, relatable stories, HOLY FVCK now shows the star's growth, a step forward in their career. When speaking on the project, Lovato shouts out their "Lovatics," the fan base that has stood with them through the years as they evolved as an artist and person. Describing the album-making process as fulfilling, Lovato has clearly found their footing and creative confidence on HOLY FVCK. — Ashlee Mitchell

Read More: Everything We Know About Demi Lovato's New 2022 Album Holy Fvck

TWICE — Between 1&2

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 26

Armed with chart-dominating and addictively catchy songs like "Fancy" and "What is Love," TWICE have remained a heavyweight force in the global K-pop scene, converting millions of listeners into ONCE, their fan base, along the way. Now, the K-pop world is in for a treat: TWICE will soon release their highly anticipated, seven-track album Between 1&2, which finally drops on Aug. 26.

Read More: Why Is BTS So Popular? 9 Questions About The K-Pop Phenoms Answered

The mini-album's track list, which TWICE recently shared on social media, includes songs like "Talk That Talk," "Queen of Hearts," "Basics," "Trouble," "Brave," "Gone," and "When We Were Kids." Members Chaeyoung, Jihyo and Dahyun also have solo writing credits on the album.

After seven awesome years making a name for themselves in this industry, TWICE are now giving K-pop fans around the world a taste of what's in store with Between 1&2. — A.M.

Read More: K-Pop Superstars TWICE Talk New Album Eyes wide open, Growing Together And Staying Close With Their Fans

Muse — Will Of The People

Release Date: Friday, Aug. 26

British rock trio Muse are no strangers to grand statements, and one of their grandest yet is coming this month. According to a statement from frontman Matt Bellamy, the band's ninth album, Will Of The People, out Aug. 26, grapples with all the ills of the world as we know it today — from Russia's invasion of Ukraine to the pandemic to natural disasters fueled by climate change. "This album is a personal navigation through those fears and preparation for what comes next," Bellamy said. 

Read More: Songbook: A Guide To Jack White's Musical Outlets, From The White Stripes To The Dead Weather & Beyond

The weightiness of those themes will be matched, of course, by Muse's operatic, hard-rock riffs. The band has already delivered four singles, including the recent "Kill or Be Killed," which Bellamy described as "Muse at their heaviest." The trio hits select North American cities in October to road-test the new songs from Will Of The People, which include an album closer called "We Are Fucking F—". Don't say they didn't warn us. — J.T.

The Psychology Of "Sad Girl" Pop: Why Music By Billie Eilish, Gracie Abrams, Olivia Rodrigo & More Is Resonating So Widely

Women's History Month 2024 Playlist Hero
(Clockwise, from top left): Jennie, Janelle Monáe, Anitta, Taylor Swift, Victoria Monét, Ariana Grande, Lainey Wilson

Photos (clockwise, from top left): Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella, Paras Griffin/Getty Images, Lufre, MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY, Paras Griffin/Getty Images, JOHN SHEARER/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Listen: GRAMMY.com's Women's History Month 2024 Playlist: Female Empowerment Anthems From Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Jennie & More

This March, the Recording Academy celebrates Women's History Month with pride and joy. Press play on this official playlist that highlights uplifting songs from Taylor Swift, Victoria Monét, Anitta and more.

GRAMMYs/Mar 8, 2024 - 04:44 pm

From commanding stages to blasting through stereos, countless women have globally graced the music industry with their creativity. And though they've long been underrepresented, tides are changing: in just the last few years, female musicians have been smashing records left and right, conquering top song and album charts and selling sold-out massive tours.

This year, Women's History Month follows a particularly historic 66th GRAMMY Awards, which reflected the upward swing of female musicians dominating music across the board. Along with spearheading the majority of the ceremony's performances, women scored bigtime in the General Field awards — with wins including Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Album Of The Year.

Female empowerment anthems, in particular, took home major GRAMMY gold. Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" took home two awards, while Victoria Monét was crowned Best New Artist thanks to the success of her album Jaguar II and its hit single "On My Mama." As those two songs alone indicate, female empowerment takes many different shapes in music — whether it's moving on from a relationship by celebrating self-love or rediscovering identity through motherhood.

The recent successes of women in music is a testament to the trailblazing artists who have made space for themselves in a male-dominated industry — from the liberating female jazz revolution of the '20s to the riot grrl movement of the '90s. Across genres and decades, the classic female empowerment anthem has strikingly metamorphosed into diverse forms of defiance, confidence and resilience.

No matter how Women's History Month is celebrated, it's about women expressing themselves, wholeheartedly and artistically, and having the arena to do so. And in the month of March and beyond, women in the music industry deserve to be recognized not only for their talent, but ambition and perseverance — whether they're working behind the stage or front-and-center behind the mic.

From Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT" to Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)," there's no shortage of female empowerment anthems to celebrate women's accomplishments in the music industry. Listen to GRAMMY.com's 2024 Women's History Month playlist on streaming services below.

TWICE
TWICE

Photo: JYP Entertainment

interview

TWICE Reflect On Milestone Moments & Latest 'With YOU-th' EP

The nine members of K-pop girl group TWICE spoke to GRAMMY.com about their new EP 'With YOU-th,' released today, and their ability to navigate the choppy waters of life and stardom over their nearly decade-long journey together.

GRAMMYs/Feb 23, 2024 - 03:14 pm

In the music video for "I Got You," K-pop girl group TWICE are stranded at a tempestuous sea. Their ship waders and wobbles, thunder roars outside, but the nine members are safe and sound in the cabin — lying on cozy pillows and having a good time, they know all storms are temporary.

"I Got You" precedes TWICE’s thirteenth EP, With YOU-th, out Feb. 23, and the video mirrors their journey together so far. 

TWICE members Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Jihyo, Momo, Sana, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung and Tzuyu made their debut in Oct. 2015, after being selected through JYP Entertainment’s survival show "Sixteen." Almost a decade later, the group is now one of K-pop’s most influential, beloved names. They've even made history by becoming the first K-pop group to win a Breakthrough Award at the 2023 Billboard Women in Music Awards, and the first girl group and Asian female act to sell out Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium last year.

Achieving their level of success didn’t come easy. In songs like "Feel Special" and "One In a Million," they've openly shared the dedication and resilience it took to make it this far. They highlight the importance of unity and their special connection, both with each other and their fan base known as ONCE.

With YOU-th celebrates all that. It’s a journey navigating toward the calm after the storm, and a statement on the importance of friendship, love, and just having someone who can say "No matter what, you got me/ I got you/ And I wouldn’t want it any other way."

Ahead of the release, the nine members of TWICE (and a special appearance by Momo’s Norwich Terrier, Boo) chatted with GRAMMY.com over Zoom about their new album, the most significant moments in their career so far, and how they see themselves today.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Explore The Sounds Of K-Pop

Reflecting On The Present While Creating With YOU-Th

Nayeon: With YOU-th is meaningful in a way that it tells our story and reflects who we are at this moment.

Sana: Our [lead single], "One Spark," was supposed to be in one of our previous albums, but it didn't make it. [When] we chose it to be the single for this album, and we wanted to make it even better than it already was. We changed arrangements and the parts that we sang, and we also re-recorded the song to make it as perfect as possible.

Dahyun: The song that I wrote the lyrics for, "You Get Me," is a sequel to our pre-release single, "I Got You." The story continues in that there's a connection between the two songs. I also wrote lyrics for another song, but it didn't make it in this album and I'm hoping that it'll make it in the next album.

Experiencing An Unbelievable Debut — And Global Success

Jeongyeon: The first moment that really stuck with me was during the [2015 survival show] "Sixteen," where TWICE members were decided. Another moment was when we released our first single, "Like OOH-AHH." I cried a lot on that day.

Another moment [that I remember well] was the first time we topped the Korean music charts with [2016’s] "Cheer Up." It happened on May 5. I remember it very clearly.

Tzuyu: During the years that I was a trainee, some of the members were already chosen to debut [with TWICE], and I was not one of them. Whenever I watched them during monthly evaluations, I would always think about how perfect they are and how good they are. I never thought that I would be one of the members. The fact that I made it into TWICE and that it lasted so far is still really unbelievable for me.

Dahyun: When we first visited a broadcast station to perform on stage as TWICE, that was really memorable. I remember being so nervous in front of the fans. And I remember our first concert where I cried a lot.

Blinking Twice, Nearly 10 Years Have Flown By 

Jihyo: I sometimes look up our old concert videos on the internet, and when I watch them, I am impressed by how much improvement we made, and also how young we were and how hard we worked.

Sana: When we debuted, I thought our eighth anniversary would never come, but it happened so quickly. Our eighth anniversary fan meeting was so beautiful and we cherished it with our fans and all nine of us. That was such a precious moment. I'm just so grateful that we made it this far and all of us are healthy and happy. I think that's what matters the most.

Mina: Right before we signed the contracts again as a group [in 2022], we had a concert at Tokyo Dome. At this point, none of us knew what would happen, so we cried a lot and we were very anxious as well. That performance really stuck with me.

Twice Have Had To Overcome Hardships As A Team

Jihyo: Because everybody else talked about happy moments, I'm going to talk about the difficult times rather than the good times. I think the hardships made us solid as a team, and it really made me feel that I'm not alone in this. Whatever we go through, I'm not alone.

That feeling struck me hard when I released my solo album, [Zone]. I got so many cheers from the members and they helped me by doing all these challenges for Instagram. I really felt like difficult things are easier to overcome when we're together.

Every time when we're so busy and all of us are sensitive, it's much easier to get over yourself and think that you're not alone in this. All of the members are going through the same thing. That kind of thought really helps.

Remembering The "Glamor" Of Touring  

Momo: During our [last] tour, we would all get together in the hotel room and eat. For example, when we are in Japan, our favorite meal to eat together is udon noodles. And there was this one particular day that each of us got into the shower right after the concert, and the hot water didn't come out, so all of us in our respective bathrooms screamed at the same time. That was really funny.

Chaeyoung: Last year, during the promotions for "Set Me Free," we visited the United States for two weeks. Every day we had three or four [performance] schedules, and it made me feel like I was back to the newly-debuted times of our group. It was physically challenging, but we got over it, and it’s now a good memory. The most striking part was when we went to the Empire State, and they lit up the whole [Empire State] building with TWICE’s official colors.

Dahyun: There was also a concert in Japan where we performed on a big, round stage. I remember all of us members holding hands and circling around, and that somehow stuck with me. I also remember vividly the first time we got an award overseas, in America.

TWICE Want To Face The Future Together

Nayeon: In the last scene of the music video for "I Got You," we are sailing on a ship in the middle of the ocean. I thought that it was a reflection of where we are, career-wise and in our lives. Of course we had difficult times, but I think that going through all of it together solidified us as a group. I'm not going to say that we have a clear destination point now, but what matters is that we are together, and that is something very clear and solid.

11 Rookie K-Pop Acts To Know In 2024: NCT Wish, RIIZE, Kiss Of Life & More

Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue attends the 66th GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

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2024 GRAMMYs: Kylie Minogue Wins First-Ever GRAMMY For Best Pop Dance Recording For "Padam Padam"

Kylie Minogue beat out David Guetta, Anne-Marie, and Coi Leray; Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding; Bebe Rexha and David Guetta, and Troye Sivan. This is the first-ever win in this brand-new category.

GRAMMYs/Feb 4, 2024 - 09:02 pm

Kylie Minogue has taken home the golden gramophone for Best Pop Dance Recording — an all-new category — at the 2024 GRAMMYs, for "Padam Padam."

Minogue came ahead of of David Guetta, Anne-Marie and Coi Leray ("Baby Don’t Hurt Me"); Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding ("Miracle"); Bebe Rexha and David Guetta ("One in a Million"); and Troye Sivan ("Rush").

The win marks Minogue’s second GRAMMY win after six career nominations. She had previously won Best Dance Recording for "Come Into My World."

The Australian pop star — along with producer Peter "Lostboy" Rycroft and mixing engineer Guy Massey — are the first-ever winners of the Best Pop/Dance Performance category. It was one of three new categories introduced at the 66th GRAMMYs; the other two are Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and Best African Music Performance. 

Lostboy took the stage to accept the award on behalf of himself, Minogue, and Massey. 

"Padam Padam" charted at No. 7 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic chart; it was a much bigger hit in the UK, where it was a No. 1 hit. The song was embraced by the LGBTQ+ community on both sides of the Atlantic. 

"It's hugely important to me and so touching," said Minogue of her popularity with LGBTQ+ fans in an interview with GRAMMY.com earlier this year. "I hope that for that community and beyond, I just want to say I am open-minded and I want people to be happy in themselves. That community needed support and still needs support. I'm here. And they padamed for me."

Keep checking this space for more updates from Music’s Biggest Night!

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

Dom Dolla, David Guetta, Charli XCX, Charlotte de Witte, Eliza Rose in collage
(From left) Dom Dolla, David Guetta, Charli XCX, Charlotte de Witte, Eliza Rose

Photos: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage, Karwai Tang/WireImage, Matthew Baker/Getty Images, Pablo Gallardo/Redferns, Kate Green/Getty Images

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2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Dance Music

From nostalgia-tinged bangers and genre-blurring releases made by women, to massive tours and high-tech performances, dance music was expansive as ever in 2023.

GRAMMYs/Dec 29, 2023 - 05:03 pm

As any fan can attest, dance music is a broad church spanning myriad micro-genres, fan communities and city-specific scenes. The genre’s reach was as wide as ever in 2023, stretching from the biggest festival stages to the most intimate clubs, with variations in moods and beats-per-minute to suit all tastes. 

Nostalgia for rave’s ‘90s heyday was everywhere, fueling big-name releases and underground club sets alike. [Surprise supergroups](https://www.grammy.com/news/coachella-2023-weekend-2-recap-skrillex-four-tet-fred-again-gorillaz-bad-bunny-eric-pyrdz-performances-surprises-video) and [long-time collaborators](https://www.grammy.com/news/skrillex-fred-again-friendship-timeline-collaborations-videos) hit big in 2023, while albums from [James Blake](https://www.grammy.com/artists/james-blake/17760), [the Chemical Brothers](https://www.grammy.com/artists/chemical-brothers/7746), Disclosure and Everything But The Girl showed there’s still power in the electronic LP format. 

With festivals and DJ touring schedules back to a pre-COVID pace, dance music also enjoyed a busy year on the road. Across North America, [ILLENIUM](https://www.grammy.com/artists/Illenium/38165), G Jones, ZHU and ODESZA (not to mention Beyoncé’s house music-indebted Renaissance tour) sold out venues across the country. In a genre that can feel impossible to get your arms around, these five trends were undeniable in 2023. 

Everything Old Was New Again

Wherever you looked this year, DJ-producers were reaching back to the racing sounds of trance, rave and Eurodance that dominated dancefloors in the ‘90s and early 2000s. David Guetta and Calvin Harris spent 2023 memorably mining this past — the latter’s "Desire," featuring Sam Smith, could be ripped straight from a decades-old pop-trance compilation. 

Meanwhile, South Korean DJ-producer Peggy Gou released "(It Goes Like) Nanana," a dance-pop earworm with shades of ATB’s late ‘90s hit, "9PM (Till I Come)." Already a hugely popular draw as a DJ, Gou’s time-warping groover became her first Billboard chart entry and ignited buzz for her debut artist album, expected in 2024. 

On the less commercial spectrum, European producers like DJ Heartstring, Narciss and Marlon Hoffstadt continued to contextualize vintage sounds for a new audience. Meanwhile, a cluster of Dutch DJs, most notably Job Jobse, Young Marco and KI/KI, played throwback anthem-fuelled sets on festival stages usually reserved for steely techno, including at Dekmantel and Time Warp. 

For some DJs, looking back to the past meant embracing the fast and furious tempos of hardstyle and hard dance, two subgenres with passionate niche followings but little mainstream crossover. Continuing a trend from 2022, speedier BPMs were very much in vogue, as DJs kept pace with fans demanding a harder, faster workout. 

Women Danced To The Front 

Many of the year’s most invigorating and genre-blurring releases were made by women. Having built a steady career as a producer and singer, Kenya Grace broke out in 2023 with "Strangers," which caught fire on TikTok and converted new fans via a sleek mix of pop, drum & bass and Grace’s hushed vocals. Peggy Gou’s aforementioned "(It Goes Like) Nanana," also captured the TikTok zeitgeist with a widely-viewed video of Gou teasing the single for a dancefloor in Morocco. 

Electronic chameleon [Charli XCX](https://www.grammy.com/artists/charli-xcx/18360) stayed squarely in the limelight, following 2022’s stellar *Crash* with the one-two punch of "In The City" featuring Sam Smith and "Speed Drive"(from *Barbie the Album*, which is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media alongside *AURORA*, *Weird: The Al Yankovic Story*, *Black Panther: Wakanda Forever- Music From And Inspired By*, and *Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3: Awesome Mix*). Meanwhile, two of the year’s standout albums came from women coloring outside the lines of their best-known projects: the xx vocalist Romy’s *Mid Air* embraced her queerness through euphoric dance-pop, while Aluna (of electronic duo AlunaGeorge) blossomed as a solo artist and activist on her second album, *MYCELiUM*

While dance music’s ranks remained largely white and male in 2023, undeniable albums from the likes of Jayda G, PinkPanthress and Róisín Murphy were a welcome counterbalance. 

UK Bass Got Bombastic

Following the runaway success of Eliza Rose and Interplanetary Criminal’s 2022 UK garage-tinged house anthem "B.O.T.A. (Baddest of Them All)" the previous year, British bass music continued to shine in 2023. 

While still relatively niche in the U.S., the UK garage (UKG) and bassline subgenres that thrived in the Y2K era found a new generation of British converts, thanks to releases like Interplanetary Criminal’s *All Thru The Night* and Conducta’s *In Transit* EP. Elsewhere, acclaimed British singer/songwriter Jorja Smith tapped her UKG roots on the irresistible single "Little Things." 

Welsh duo Overmono weaved garage textures into their accomplished debut album, *Good Lies*, and rounded out the year with a powerful Boiler Room live set from Manchester’s Warehouse Project. The set and album cemented their bona fides as the UK’s next dance festival headliner. 

The many mutations of UK bass music shone bright all year in DJ sets from the likes of Anz, Nia Archives, Jyoty and Joy Anonymous. (The latter’s near-three-hour set with Austrian producer salute and New Jersey-born garage godfather Todd Edwards at Amsterdam Dance Event captured the jubilant mix of house and UKG that was dominant this year.) 

Bringing it full circle, Eliza Rose parlayed the success of "B.O.T.A." into a collaboration with Calvin Harris on this year’s housey "Body Moving," which started with the pair exchanging Instagram DMs. 

Technology Upped The Ante

In a year where artificial intelligence and rapid technological advancement were burning topics, a wave of dance music artists found new ways to embrace the future. 

The possibilities of technology to enhance live performance were on full display in two raved-about Coachella sets. Swedish veteran [Eric Prydz](https://www.grammy.com/artists/eric-prydz/5679) brought his HOLO show to the California festival, deploying cutting-edge tech to create giant holographic images that extend over the crowd. Meanwhile, inside the festival's Sahara Tent, melodic techno duo Tale Of Us completed their transition to EDM crowd-pleasers with a full-scale audiovisual spectacle that explored themes of robot-human connection. (One half of the duo, Matteo Milleri, is also all-in on NFTs.) 

Meanwhile, techno favorite Nicole Moudaber debuted an AV show in which her own movements control a towering digital avatar. The year also saw big-name DJs embracing the metaverse — from Carl Cox playing a set in the Sensorium Galaxy to Swedish House Mafia joining the Roblox platform — in a trend that’s sure to carry into 2024. 

Techno & Techno-House Go Center Stage

Continuing a trend from 2022, big room techno and tech-house muscled onto U.S. festival stages usually reserved for EDM anthems. In particular, tech-house — which in 2023 sounds a world away from the raw UK club records that birthed the subgenre — cemented its place in the mainstream with Fisher and Chris Lake’s back-to-back set at Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre. (Later in the year, the pair shut down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles for an epic street party.) 

Both coming off a star-making 2022, tech-house mischief-makers John Summit and Dom Dolla leveled up with bigger shows and feverish fan followings. Meanwhile, Belgian sensation Charlotte de Witte became the techno artist booked on the Ultra Miami main stage, scheduled incongruously alongside the likes of Zedd and Afrojack, while in Europe, techno specialists Amelie Lens and Nina Kraviz were given the same honor (and challenge) for a sprawling crowd at Tomorrowland. 

Whether mining the past or accelerating into the future, the dance/electronic genre never stood still this year, setting the stage for a thrilling 2024.  

[2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Pop Music](https://www.grammy.com/news/pop-music-trends-2023-year-in-review-taylor-swift-sza)