Photo: Jim Metzger
Exclusive: AJR On Busking, "Sober Up" With Rivers Cuomo & More
The brothers Met discuss developing their unique indie-pop sound, superstar collaborations and ambitions to become the Wes Anderson of music
Brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Met of AJR found their unique sound the hard way, by cutting their teeth busking on the streets of New York City. A decade later, the band has just wrapped a 32-date sold-out North American tour, sharing their special brand of indie-pop infused with radio-hit hooks set against the kind of performance dynamic you can only learn through persistence and experimentation.
AJR have since become pop music juggernauts, flipping the proverbial pop script to explore production and songwriting from a new angle. On their second full-length album, 2017's The Click, the band came clean by tackling topics in an earnest way rarely seen in the genre. This is exemplified, for example, by the fresh approach on the effects of fame — or lack thereof — in "I'm Not Famous."
"That was probably the first song we wrote and released for The Click," says Jack Met. "With that song, we sat down and said, 'OK, we've done production, now let's see if we can really say something that no one has said before,' and that's where 'I'm Not Famous' came from. It's a song about why it's great to not be famous. We put that out and everyone just started really reacting well to it."
"We wanted to say something that hasn't really been said before in music. And that was really the main theme of The Click. It was just strange lyrical concepts." — Jack Met
Despite the benefits of not being famous, AJR still find inspiration — and aspiration — from another member in the entertainment industry who has made a huge name for himself with his innovative and emotional storytelling.
"We want to be the Wes Anderson of music," adds Ryan Met. "When you watch a Wes Anderson movie and you laugh, not because it's funny — it's not a comedy — but you laugh because it's so blatant, and … so, 'Wow, I've never seen that in a movie before. …' It's so wry and so honest, but it's also emotional. So I think we think about that a lot, and that's really come to be AJR's voice."
Collectively, AJR's cinematic aesthetic and musical street smarts have yielded some magical moments. "Sober Up," their latest single from The Click, features a guest appearance from Weezer's GRAMMY-winning frontman Rivers Cuomo, the perfect fit for the infectious left-of-center pop tune.
"I think we wrote the song in probably 30 minutes, just starting with that idea of sober up, and wanting to use it as a metaphor for wanting to be young again," says Jack Met. "Rivers Cuomo is a completely different story."
He goes on to explain that Cuomo followed the guys on Twitter and sent a DM to the band praising their previous single, "Weak." Understandably excited by the endorsement, AJR went for it and asked if Cuomo would want to collaborate on a future track together. To their surprise, Cuomo said yes and wrote the bridge for "Sober Up."
Earlier this month, AJR branched out even further, collaborating with GRAMMY-nominated DJ/Producer Steve Aoki and GRAMMY-nominated rapper Lil Yachty on the song "Pretender," which started as a song that just missed the cut for The Click.
"It didn't fit into the flow of the album, and we ended up sending it to Steve Aoki's manager," says Ryan, who thought it would be the perfect fit for an EDM vibe. "The song is about being insecure and it's about trying to figure out how to fit into a friend group and just emulate other people. … Steve Aoki did a crazy amazing job with it. He literally turned it from a sad song into this really just monstrous banger, and then Lil Yachty came on and his verse is awesome."
"I think it's a very cool juxtaposition of us from the alternative pop world, Steve Aoki from the EDM world and Lil Yachty from the hip-hop world." — Ryan Met
With nothing but momentum behind AJR, the group is experiencing a fan response like nothing they've seen in their musical lives. From the Kanye West-inspired production-heavy approach to their 2015 debut album, Living Room, to their quirky pop breakthrough on The Click, their sights are now set on enhancing their live show.
"For a long time our band was basically only about making records," says Ryan Met. "The last two years or so, our live following has exponentially been increasing. … Our goal was, 'Let's just really surprise people. Let's try and create a spectacle and try and bring the theatrical element of Blue Man Group or a Broadway show to the live concert setting.'"
The result featured bucket drum breakdowns, remixes and a lot of crazy lights, vaulting AJR from playing to crowds of 300 in clubs to larger venues of 1,500 to 3,000 people. Ryan also reveals the band's plans to play 4,000- to 5,000-person venues, doubling their audience size yet again on tour this fall while also working on new music for their next album. There's no shortage of creative energy buzzing around inside the Met brothers.
"We are also releasing a deluxe version of The Click at some point this summer, and it'll have some new songs and some re-imagined versions of songs," says Adam Met. "We really just want to keep feeding the frenzy of fans that has kind of grown over the last year. We want to keep sharing new music with them."
And while the brothers Met still may not be considered by all to be "famous," AJR have come a long way from busking in Washington Square Park.
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2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Hip-Hop
While hip-hop’s lack of chart success was rife for discussion during the first half of the year, there was plenty of great rap music in 2023. It may not be reaching the top of the charts as frequently, but the genre is as vibrant as ever.
For the first half of 2023, hip-hop’s lack of chart success seemed to be all anyone could talk about.
No hip-hop album went No. 1 until Lil Uzi Vert’s Pink Tape in July, and it wasn’t until September that Doja Cat broke a 13-month dry spell for the genre on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart with "Paint the Town Red" (the single is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs, alongside Miley Cyrus' "Flowers," "Vampire" by Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift's "Antihero" and Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?").
This situation caused a bunch of hand-wringing. As hip-hop celebrated its 50th anniversary, was the genre past its prime — artistic, commercial or both? Was it, as one popular radio personality proclaimed, being eased out by mysterious powers-that-be in favor of Afrobeats or reggaeton?
While it may not be reaching the top of the charts as frequently as in years past, hip-hop is as vibrant as ever. As it turns out, there was plenty of great hip-hop around in 2023, thanks to both new and veteran artists. As hip-hop enters its next 50 years, look back on some of the trends that are keeping the genre one of the most innovative.
SoundCloud Rap Returns
"SoundCloud rap" was an appellation given to a group of artists starting sometime in the mid-2010s. It referred to artists like XXXTentacion, Trippie Redd, Smokepurpp, Lil Pump, Denzel Curry, and many more. Often the artists looked as colorful as the music sounded — face tattoos were the norm — and its approach was structurally experimental, emo-influenced, and raw. (A good summary of the movement is here).
Yeat, who in 2018 back at the tail of SoundCloud rap’s initial run was hailed as "SoundCloud’s latest sensation," has developed into a major star who duets with Drake on the latter's For All The Dogs. He and a crew of artists such as Ken Car$on, Midwxst, and SSGKobe are taking the high-energy vibe of the initial wave of SoundCloud rap artists like Playboi Carti, and updating it for a new generation.
This new slate is, as other coverage has pointed out, overall less chaotic and noisy, and more professional-sounding, than its predecessors, while still having similar youthful energy.
Women Are Leading The Way
For far too long in mainstream hip-hop, women have been relegated to "the one girl in the crew" status, or been pitted against each other by fans, media, and pretty much everyone else with a there-can-only-be-one mentality. Despite that, girls and women have always played a key role in the genre, both in front of the mic and behind the scenes.
Fortunately those retrograde notions are dead in 2023. A diverse array of female rappers are leading the way artistically and commercially. On the commercial side of the ledger, last year’s GRAMMY Best New Artist nominee Latto was the first rapper to score a No. 1 hit in 2023, while GloRilla, Coi Leray and Best New Artist nominee Ice Spice (who is nominated in the category alongside Gracie Abrams, Fred again.., Jelly Roll, Coco Jones, Noah Kahan, Victoria Monét, and the War And Treaty) have all had big chart wins.
Other female artists who are making big noise include Tierra Whack (who this publication pinpointed as someone "leading the next generation"), Rico Nasty, Flo Milli, Kash Doll, BIA, and countless others. For a primer on both how we got here and what the current generation is up to, make sure to watch the Netflix documentary Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop.
Change Is Happening At The Margins
As with most art forms, the real excitement happens at the edges. Whether it's people who are operating outside of the commercial mainstream, or artists who are pushing to expand the idea of what being a rapper even means by incorporating other types of music, the margins are where all the fun is.
In 2023, artists continued to incorporate other genres to the point where questioning whether their music is still hip-hop becomes impossible to answer — see Lil Yachty’s recent psychedelic turn and Kassa Overall’s jazzy explorations. There are also the truly outré, experimental artists like Fatboi Sharif, whose dark and abstract vision is unlike anything else; and psychedelic deep thinker Gabe ‘Nandez.
And there is a vibrant, arty underground scene that has its own revered veterans like billy woods whose profile (both solo and as a member of the duo Armand Hammer with ELUCID) has been rising rapidly over the past few years; as well as a contingent of younger aligned musicians like Fly Anakin and Pink Siifu.
Veterans Are Killing The Stage
While some young artists are canceling or postponing live dates, or having tickets on the secondary market go for surprisingly low prices, there’s one contingent of artists who are having no problem filling seats and satisfying fans: the OGs.
The culture's legends crossed the country on stacked tours — many of which coincided with the much-heralded 50th anniversary of hip-hop.The Rock the Bells F.O.R.C.E. Tour featured LL Cool J, the Roots, and a busload of veteran rappers. 2023 also saw the Nas and Wu-Tang Clan New York State of Mind Tour, and 50 Cent’s Final Lap Tour.
Hip-hop’s longtime stars are tearing down stages all over the world, and filling up arenas while doing it. Despite a popular culture always focused on the new and next, these OGs are showing their staying power where it counts — onstage, in front of the people.
Hip-Hop Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary
Hip-hop officially celebrated 50 years of groundbreaking culture in August, but 2023 became a year-long celebration of the genre’s past. Figures going all the way back to Kool Herc and DJ Hollywood had huge moments and a renewed focus on their achievements.
The celebration wasn’t limited to one single Yankee Stadium concert or one media outlet. It was instead a long and well-needed look back that spanned live events, museum exhibits, documentaries, books, and more. The retrospective really kicked off in February, with a killer showcase of hip-hop history at the 2023 GRAMMYs. And it continues all the way through to December with the Recording Academy’s "A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop" special.
Photo: Amy Lee
New Music Friday: Listen To New Songs From Andre 3000, Drake, Ozuna & More
From long-awaited debut albums to surprising singles, listen to these six new releases from Nov. 17.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, this New Music Friday offers us a feast of new sounds from some of the music industry’s biggest artists.
Country star Maren Morris teamed up with Teddy Swims for a passionate duet version of his song "Some Things I'll Never Know," while Steve Aoki & ERNEST paired up for an energetic dance/country crossver, "Us," from Aoki’s HiROQUEST 2: Double Helix.
American band Bleachers unleash their wild side with "Alma Matter," from their upcoming self-titled album dropping March 8, 2024. Meanwhile, alternative rock band Bad Suns released their catchy, six-track EP Infinite Joy. Across the pond, long-time British rockers Madness released their 13th album, Theatre Of the Absurd Presents C’Est La Vie.
With sultry sounds from R&B songstress Ari Lennox to mellow, indie rhythms from Dermot Kennedy to upbeat, radiant vibes from the duo Surfaces, this Friday brings a kaleidoscope of sounds from across every genre.
Along with the slew of releases mentioned above, press play on releases from the likes of André 3000, Drake, Ozuna, Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, Danny Brown, and Bibi and Becky G — and be sure to add some new sounds to your rotation.
André 3000 - New Blue Sun
If you’ve seen Andre 3000’s impromptu flute performances in the past few years, then the GRAMMY winner's new sound won’t come as a shock. On his eight-track debut solo album New Blue Sun, the Outkast member experiments with wind instruments and percussion, creating serene and melodic compositions.
Across eight elaborately titled tracks — "I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A "Rap" Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time" and "That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Registered Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control… Shyt Was Wild," — Andre details his artistic journey and the possibility of returning to rap music. Because, as Andre has told numerous outlets, New Blue Sun is not a rap album.
In the future, fans might see 3000 return to the rap universe but in the meantime, let’s enjoy the ambience of the blue sun.
Drake - For All The Dogs Scary Hours Edition
It’s not Scorpio season without a release from the scorpion king himself, Drake. In the latest installment of his Scary Hours series, Drake brought in a heavy-hitter lineup of producers including Lil Yatchy and Alchemist.
With songs surrounding themes of betrayal and broken trust (an the less-than-subtle chant "F— My Ex" more than 10 times in one song), For All The Dogs Scary Hours Edition shows how deep the Certified Lover Boy is in his feelings.
Drake brings out his Swiftie side in the track, "Red Button," shouting out Taylor Swift with lyrics "Taylor Swift the only n—- that I ever rated/ Only one could make me drop the album just a little later/ Rest of y’all, I treat you like you never made it." Seems that the big-ups and grudges heard on October's For All The Dogs translate to Scary Hours, too.
Ozuna - Cosmo
After receiving a nod for Best Reggaeton Performance and performing with David Guetta at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, Puerto Rican Singer Ozuna dropped his sixth album, Cosmo. Filled with soon-to-be dance floor staples, Cosmo highlights Ozuna's versatility.
Songs like "El Pin" and "La Chulita" are full of infectious dance and Afrobeats influences, yet stay true to his reggaeton roots. The 15-track record also includes collaborations with Jhayco, Chenco Corleone, Anuel and David Guetta.
"When you think of a colorful image, you think of youth. When people listen to this album, I want them to take it seriously," Ozuna said in an interview with the Fader. "People want to hear what’s real, what’s clear-cut, in black and white.”
The goal, he continued, is to allow "people to know who the real Ozuna is."
2 Chainz, Lil Wayne - Welcome 2 Collegrove
Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz have joined forces once again to release their second joint album, Welcome 2 Collegrove. The album’s title is a melding of 2 Chainz's hometown of College Park, Georgia, with Lil Wayne’s Hollygrove, Louisiana.
Welcome 2 Collegrove includes features from a cross-section of hip-hop and R&B greats, including Usher, 21 Savage, Rick Ross, Benny The Butcher and Fabolous. Tracks like "Presha" and "Long Story Short" bring back the duo’s classic rap sound from their 2016 project COLLEGROVE, and show their ability to create hip-hop anthems. The special guest artists add even more depth to their songs.
Danny Brown - Quaranta
After a four year break, Detroit rapper Danny Brown is back with his seventh album, Quaranta. A departure from his earlier, more club-centric music, the 11-track album offers a new perspective in Brown’s life.
Quaranta is a turning point in Brown's musical journey, where he reflects on themes of regret, self-destructive behavior, and growth. While songs like "Ain’t My Concern" and "Celibate" still include his signature flair of fast, high-pitched verses, this album takes on a more mature and introspective route.
Bibi feat. Becky G - "Amigos"
On "Amigos," South Korean singer Bibi teamed up with Latin star Becky G for a multicultural but ever-relatable track that focuses on being hung up on past lovers despite having someone new in their life. "I know we had a good time and that you always want more / But if my boyfriend calls, we’re just friends, nothing more," they sing in Spanish.
"Amigos" is rife with hip-hop influences — a genre Bibi loves.
"Expressing oneself through lyrics is so real and genuine," BIBI told AllKPop. "As I’m someone who wasn’t necessarily gifted with natural musical talent — I didn’t even know the difference between boom bap or trap beats until way later. I think the other factors of music organically followed as I grew as an artist."
Photos: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images; Pilar Castro Evensen; TAO Group; Mike Marsland/WireImages; Gotham WireImage; Ivan Apfel/Getty Images; Douglas Mason/Getty Images; AJR; Kristy Sparow/Getty Images
15 Must-Hear Albums This November: Dolly Parton, Jung Kook, Marshmello & More
Fill up on a bevy of releases from Chris Brown, Mon Laferte, and the late Jimmy Buffett — whose name reflects the collective musical appetite this month.
November arrives with a cornucopia of new albums to fill your playlist and platters — from Latin American hip-hop, to DIY alt-pop, to classic rock 'n' roll.
Jung Kook, BTS’s youngest member, kicks off the month with his solo album debut, Golden while the posthumous Equal Strain on All Parts celebrates the life of Jimmy Buffett. Jason Aldean brings forth Highway Desperado for all country lovers, while British band the Struts maintain their stylish rock origins in Pretty Vicious.
Below, we compiled a handy guide to all the must-hear albums dropping November 2023 — from fresh names like Zoe Wees to resident hitmakers like Steve Aoki.
Espectro Caudillo - La Liturgia del Tigre Blanco
Release date: Nov. 2
Espectro Caudillo — the experimental electronic project of Reuben Torres — based their upcoming studio album, La Liturgia del Tigre Blanco, on Daniel Salinas Bavase’s book of the same name.
With Tigre Blanco, the Tijuana-raised producer and former member of Los Macuanos explores the life of the city’s former president and controversial figure, Jorge Hank Rhon, as well as the legacy of his father, politician Carlos Hank González.
The album also celebrates Tijuana’s vivid electronic scene. Hyperlocal genres such as Nortec (norteño techno) and ruidosón are heard on singles "04’20″88" (which refers to the murder of journalist Hector "El Gato" Félix Miranda by two of Rhon’s guards) and "El Temible Grupo Jaguar."
Marshmello - Sugar Papi
Release date: Nov. 3
GRAMMY-nominated DJ and producer Marshmello is gearing up to release his first Latin album. After breaking into the mainstream with electronic hits such as "Wolves" with Selena Gomez and "Happier" with Bastille, the Philadelphia-born artist unveils Sugar Papi.
"I’ve had the pleasure of being able to perform all across the world and it’s hard to match the love and energy I’ve felt from the Latin community," he shared on Instagram. "Because of that I knew it was important for me to find a way to bring my audience into this world as much as I could."
Completed in less than two weeks, the album was crafted through a lot of "on the spot creation" in the studio, Marshmello told Billboard. Each of its 10 tracks features one Latin artist, including pre-release singles "El Merengue" with Manuel Turizo, "Tempo" featuring Young Miko, and "Como Yo :(" featuring Tiago PZK.
Zoe Wees - Therapy
Release date: Nov. 3
German newcomer Zoe Wees is ready to give fans a full treat with her debut studio album, Therapy. The much anticipated, 20-track effort has been "a long time in the making, and I have found writing it to be such a healing experience. I hope you feel the same comfort when you hear it," Wees shared on Instagram.
Since her 2020 hit "Control," the singer has proven an exceptional sensibility and a knack for supporting people — much like a therapist. Her soulful voice and resilient lyrics explore themes like self-discovery, self-esteem and healing. "When I’ve pushed through it all, I’ve found motivation that’s made me even stronger. Don’t ever doubt how powerful you can be," she shared in a statement about recent single "Lightning."
Jimmy Buffett - Equal Strain on All Parts
Release date: Nov. 3
Despite battling skin cancer for years, Jimmy Buffett continued to sing and perform until died on Sept. 1 of this year. His diligence made it possible for Equal Strain on All Parts, the 32nd album in his impressive discography, to be completed and set to release next month.
According to Rolling Stone, the title refers to how Buffett’s grandfather would describe a good nap. With 14 tracks, the album features Paul McCartney, Angélique Kidjo, Emmylou Harris, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and two covers — "Mozambique" by Bob Dylan and "Like My Dog" by Billy Currigan.
Equal Strain is spearheaded by lead single "Bubbles Up," which McCartney described as "the best I’ve heard him sing ever."
Jason Aldean - Highway Desperado
Release date: Nov. 3
"I think when I look back on it, I built my career early on my live show, and have been on the road touring since I was 18 years old," said country star Jason Aldean in a recent statement about his forthcoming album, Highway Desperado.
These on-the-road experiences served as the main inspiration behind the record — his 11th studio LP. It’s the Nashville singer’s first effort since 2021 and 2022’s double album, Macon, Georgia, and features 14 tracks.
Jung Kook - GOLDEN
Release date: Nov. 3
After a lengthy wait and a slew of singles and collaborations — including a performance of "Dreamers" at the opening ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year — BTS’ Jung Kook will finally release his first solo album, Golden.
The title comes from both the K-pop expression "golden maknae" (or "golden youngest" in Korean), for which he became known since his early days, and from Jung Kook’s own golden moments as a soloist, according to a press release.
Featuring 11 tracks, including the hit "3D" featuring Jack Harlow, Golden will come out on Nov. 3, alongside lead single "Standing Next to You."
The Struts - Pretty Vicious
Release date: Nov. 3
Following 2020’s Strange Days, British rock band the Struts will release their fourth studio LP, Pretty Vicious via Big Machine. It was produced by the quartet alongside Julian Raymond (Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick).
"This record showcases each individual member’s strengths," vocalist Luke Spiller shared in a statement. "It’s some of my favorite music, hands down, we’ve ever conjured up. It’s the record everyone’s been waiting for."
For a preview of what the 11 tracks in Pretty Vicious will sound like, the band shared the single and opening song "Too Good At Raising Hell." On Nov. 6, the Struts will begin their Remember the Name tour across the U.S.
Chris Stapleton - Highеr
Release date: Nov. 10
Following his 2020 GRAMMY-winning LP, Starting Over, Chris Stapleton will release his fifth studio album, Higher. Produced by Stapleton, longtime collaborator Dave Cobb, and his wife, Morgane, Higher will feature 14 tracks that cross beyond his country leanings and dare to explore further genres.
Such experimentations can be seen in lead single "White Horse," which mixes soaring rock riffs with Stapleton’s thundering vocals, and in the funky bassline of "Think I’m in Love with You," raising expectations for the Nashville star’s latest reinvention.
AJR - The Maybe Man
Release date: Nov. 10
When life hit sibling trio AJR with the death of their father this year, they turned to what they do best: music. From their grief first came their upcoming fifth studio album, The Maybe Man.
According to a press release, the titular character is "a big sad superhero who is always questioning who he is," and whose "emotion hangs over his head, so it doesn’t have to hang over yours." Over Instagram, the New York alt-pop band said "We put absolutely everything we had into this album, visuals, and tour. Down to every little detail. Get ready to immerse yourself in this world."
Mon Laferte - Autopoiética
Release date: Nov. 10
"Our cells create themselves. In other words, life creates life. Everything in the end is cyclical," Mon Laferte said in an interview for Tótem magazine (via Rock&Pop Chile). She was explaining the title of her forthcoming ninth studio album, Autopoiética. "So, I loved that idea and I took it to a poetic sense: we are all autopoietic beings, I am autopoietic, I have the ability to recreate myself all the time, to create this universe, my personal mythology."
Following 2021’s GRAMMY-nominated 1940 Carmen, Laferte explained to Rock&Pop Chile that this album is "much deeper in the lyrics, much more reflexive as well. The sound is more electronic, I used a lot of samples. The idea was to make a record with the machine in my house."
Autopoiética is preceded by several singles that carry Laferte’s known eclecticism, such as "Te juro que volveré," "Tenochtitlán," "40 y MM," and "NO+SAD." In a statement, she shared that "I loved this new creative work, I wanted to try new things from previous albums. I'm really excited, I feel that this is my best album yet."
Chris Brown - 11:11
Release date: Nov. 11
For his upcoming 11th album, Chris Brown doubled down on a lucky number. Titled 11:11, his latest album will come out on Nov. 11, and features sides A and B, each containing 11 songs that will be released at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., respectively.
Superstitions aside, the record was also supposed to be more concise than his previous works. On Instagram, the singer shared "I see some of my die hard fans wanting me to add more songs for the new project and I love y’all for that. But, I just feel I need you all to really miss me and take my art seriously." However, with 22 songs, 11:11 sits close to 2022’s Breezy and its 23 tracks now.
Brown has shared two tracks off the project: the chill lead single "Summer Too Hot" and the sultry "Sensational," featuring Nigerian singers Lojay and Davido.
Dolly Parton - Rockstar
Release date: Nov. 17
Last year, the legendary Dolly Parton was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, due to her country background, her first response was to politely decline. "I don’t feel that I have earned that right," she shared in a statement over social media. "This has, however, inspired me to put out a hopefully great rock n’ roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do!"
The world didn’t have to wait long, as Parton’s first foray into the genre, Rockstar, is due Nov. 17. The album features rock’s biggest stars — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Steven Tyler, Joan Jett, and more — through a whopping 30 tracks that vary from well-known covers to exclusive compositions, offering a panoply of styles and infusing them with Parton’s unique charm.
"I am very honored and privileged to have worked with some of the greatest iconic singers and musicians of all time, and to be able to sing all the iconic songs throughout the album was a joy beyond measure," the 10-time GRAMMY winner shared in a statement.
A couple of days before the release, Dolly Parton Rockstar: The Global First Listen Event will hit select movie theaters around the globe, offering fans a sneak peek of the album, behind-the-scenes footage, and exclusive performances. Parton has already released six singles off the project: "World on Fire," "Magic Man" featuring Ann Wilson, "Bygones" featuring Rob Halford, Nikki Sixx, and John5, "We Are the Champions"/"We Will Rock You," "Let It Be" featuring McCartney and Starr, and "What’s Up?" featuring Linda Perry.
Steve Aoki - HiROQUEST: Double Helix
Release date: Nov. 17
In 2022’s HiROQUEST: Genesis, DJ and producer Steve Aoki crafted an entire sonic world for the adventures of a puzzling character named HiRO. Next month, Aoki and HiRO return for a brand new journey on HiROQUEST: Double Helix.
"Part I was largely driven by my alt-music roots in hardcore punk bands," Aoki shared in a statement. "Now, the story continues on Double Helix, which embraces dance culture while intertwining the pulse of contemporary Latin music." He also added that the album "harmonizes nostalgia and contemporary sounds, placing collaboration at its core."
Double Helix features Galantis and Hayley Kiyoko, as well as singles "Invítame A Un Café" with Ángela Aguilar, "Diferente" with CNCO, "The Show" with JJ Lin, "Muñecas" with TINI and La Joaqui, "Lighter" featuring Paris Hilton, and a remake of Akon’s 2003 hit, "Locked Up," with duo TRINIX.
Plain White T's - Plain White T's
Release date: Nov. 17
Five years have passed since the Plain White T’s latest record, Parallel Universe, but they are finally ready for a new era to begin. On their upcoming self-titled album, the Illinois rockers are "trying to hark back to sounds we’ve used in the past with a freshness," frontman Tom Higgenson said in a press release.
"This one came from a really authentic place of understanding who we are and what we do," he added. "I’m more excited than I’ve been in a long time. As musicians, we’re always trying to outdo ourselves or go somewhere we haven’t gone before. Somehow, we figured out how to go to a fresh spot and still sound like Plain White T’s."
A preview of the band’s newfound freshness can be seen through six unveiled singles: "Would You Even," "Happy," "Spaghetti Tattoo," "Red Flags," "You Plus Me," and "Fired Up." The album features 13 tracks in total.
Ana Tijoux - VIDA
Release date: TBD
[Editor’s note: Since publication, Ana Tijoux has delayed this release until the new year.]
To announce her first album in nine years, VIDA, Ana Tijoux released the single "Niñx." The hip-hop and reggaeton fusion track is "born as a manifesto to the child we all have inside of us," Tijoux explained in a press release. "That living being that is capable of dreaming and building infinite castles of humanity and love."
More recently, she also unveiled second single "Tania," which pays homage to her late sister. Both songs were produced by longtime collaborator Andrés Celis, and foreshadow how the Chilean veteran has grown and why she continues to be one of Latin American hip hop’s most important voices.
Recently, Tijoux also published the memoir Sacar La Voz, and was invited by Alicia Keys to perform her hit "1977" during the latter’s Chile arena tour in May.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.