meta-scriptLindsey Buckingham Holds Forth On His New Self-Titled Album, How He Really Feels About Fleetwood Mac Touring Without Him | GRAMMY.com
Lindsey Buckingham Holds Forth On His New Self-Titled Album, How He Really Feels About Fleetwood Mac Touring Without Him

Lindsey Buckingham

Photo: Lauren Dukoff

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Lindsey Buckingham Holds Forth On His New Self-Titled Album, How He Really Feels About Fleetwood Mac Touring Without Him

Lindsey Buckingham has taken some life situations on the chin lately, from bypass surgery to Fleetwood Mac removing him. But as his new self-titled record attests, almost nobody is better at flipping awkwardness and darkness into joyous melodies

GRAMMYs/Sep 17, 2021 - 12:18 am

Lindsey Buckingham's new album comes prepackaged with obvious talking points. Crane your ear, and you can faintly hear the click-clack of MacBook keys assembling the following lede: Open-heart surgery, almost losing his voice forever, a looming divorce (they've since thrown that into reverse—love never fails!) and a certain über-dramatic rock institution handing him the pink slip.

But that readymade narrative leaves out the most important part, which is how it all comes out the other side of Buckingham's brain. For decades, the two-time GRAMMY winner alchemized pain and awkwardness into effervescent pop music like almost nobody else—and sold millions and millions of records as a result. How does he keep that psychological and spiritual mechanism well-oiled?

Perhaps the answer is best articulated in good ol' music: His new album, Lindsey Buckingham, which arrives September 17, is permeated with this big-picture thinking. And everything he's been through since he recorded tunes like "Scream," "I Don't Mind" and "On the Wrong Side"—honestly, the album is three years old now after a comical number of delays—gives the tunes added heft, import and longevity.

But for now, the singer/songwriter and guitarist can give it the old college try. "It's not like I'm attracted to any of the dark at all. It's just that I think it exists hand-in-hand with the light," he says over FaceTime. "There's nothing you can do about that." That was the attitude he maintained during the Jerry Springer-style lovers' fiascos that fueled Rumours, and it's how he feels today, when predicaments and headaches that "weren't on the radar" blindside him.

GRAMMY.com caught up with Buckingham during rehearsals for his current U.S. tour to discuss the long road to the new album and how he maintains a PMA with the Sword of Damocles over his head. Near the end, he spills the tea about why he's really no longer in Fleetwood Mac. (See Stevie Nicksrecent comments for the counterpoint.)

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This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

How's it feel to be rehearsing with your bandmates?

It's great! The camaraderie can't be beat. There's none of the politics that always were there with Fleetwood Mac. We had several attempts to get this album out over the last three years because it's been ready to go for over three years. Certain things kept getting in the way. So, we're finally here and it's good to be playing. I love it.

Is it weird to be promoting music you made a while ago? I didn't know it was so old.

You know, it's funny: When I did that duet album with Christine [McVie], my original intention—becuase I was working on this simultaneously—was to put it out back-to-back with that. Because of Fleetwood Mac politics, that didn't happen.

And then, after all the stuff we'd done with Fleetwood Mac, I thought "Well, rather than put the album out then, I thought I'd put out the anthology"—the best-of [compilation album] that I did in 2018, which was great fun and it was sort of cathartic to revisit all that.

And then [Wry chuckle] we really were starting to get ready to rehearse and then I had this bypass I had in 2019. That took some recovery. And then, we started to begin to rehearse—and then the COVID hit! So it's been kind of a running gag of trying to get this thing out and having to kick it down the road.

I think, in the process, the material itself—and certainly the subject matter—has taken on a somewhat deeper meaning given all that's happened over the last few years, you know?

You seem like you're in a great mood despite the turmoil.

Well, I mean, you know, stuff happens. Rock 'n' roll bands are rock 'n' roll bands. Health issues are going to come and go. So it's all good! I didn't know how I was going to feel at the beginning of rehearsals—whether doing a set twice a day was something I was even up for—but it all turned out to be great. I'm looking forward to it.

I remember seeing the news about the bypass surgery. I was so worried. Music fans worldwide were so worried. I'm so happy you made it back to 100 percent.

Oh, yeah. There was this moment that lasted for a few months because, in the process of doing that, somebody, I guess, a little overzealously jammed a breathing tube down my throat when they were about to do the thing. It kind of damaged my vocal cords for a while, but they came back. That was the other thing: I didn't know how my voice was going to be, putting it to the test, doing a set twice a day in rehearsal. But it's been pretty good, so I'm happy.

In general, what's your life been like since exiting the band?

Well, there have been a lot of things that weren't on the radar, that just sort of showed up like that. And, of course, the whole COVID experience was something nobody saw coming. That wasn't so difficult for me, in a lot of ways, because I lead a fairly insular life anyway. I'm somewhat of a loner. And when I'm working, I'm working by myself most of the time. Certainly, on solo work, all of the time.

You know, we've gotten through that, and I think that was harder on my kids than it was on me. I think there's been a lesson in there somewhere, although I'm not sure what it is. Now, I mean, my god. Everyone wants to go out and tour, but now we've got this Delta variant, and who knows where that's going? 

In the meantime, you just sort of look at all the things you didn't see coming over the last few years and put them in context with where you are now, and it actually provides a little more meaning, I think, for the tour and putting the album out now as opposed to putting it out three years ago. I think the subject matter and the music itself probably resonates a little more because of all that, too.

You've always had a knack for making effervescent music out of difficult or stressful topics. What about this contrast, or this tension, continues to attract you all these decades later?

[Long chuckle.] Wow. I don't know! It's not something I wish on myself. Whether it's a band or a family or a long-term marriage, there are going to be challenges that come up that require not only that you adapt, but accept things that you can't change. You have to come to the realization there's only so much you can control—to try to concentrate on what is positive and try to keep your wits about you in a situation that can lead you off in not-very-constructive directions.

That's something on a more general level that goes back to Rumours, even—where we had this huge test and were maybe poised to fall prey to all the external expectations that there were out there. To make a Rumours II and to become a piece of product that had been formulized. Obviously, I made the choice to go another route. So much of it is about the choices you make with the challenges that come along and how you choose to process them.

Read More: Fleetwood Mac Rumours Producer On Making An Iconic Album

I don't know. It's not like I'm attracted to any of the dark at all. It's just that I think it exists hand-in-hand with the light, and there's nothing you can do about that.

To qualify my question, it's not like you're wishing pain on yourself as grist for the mill for songs. Everyone deals with the awkwardness and darkness of life to one degree or another. But it's rare that someone like yourself can flip it, or alchemize it, into something joyous.

Right. Well, I think you've got to try to keep the overview. And, again, in the same way, to go back to Fleetwood Mac and the Rumours album and how we were going through all this stuff as couples and breaking up and not being able to get closure. I was dealing with a lot of pain at Stevie having moved away from me and yet I was producing the band and was the bandleader—you've got to make choices for the bigger picture, so you've got to rise above all of that.

I think that's something you learn how to do. You try to transform that into something more transcendent.

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Back in that bacchanalian era of Rumours, how did you guys survive compounding, compounding, compounding crises where one of them would have ruined any other band? As you say, were you guys just seeing the big picture through all of it?

Well, I don't know! I'll take some of the credit for that, but I think you're talking about people who, on paper, don't even belong in the same band together. But the synergy we created because of what was greater than the sum of the parts, and I think underneath all that darkness, there was a lot of love for each other. There was certainly a huge amount of chemistry.

I think it's just what you try to do. You can choose to react darkly to a dark situation or you can choose to react in a way that is somewhat cathartic or transformative and gets you away from that—without denying it, but just sort of contextualizing it.

With all the highs and lows, do you remember that as a particularly happy time, or in some other way?

Both. But even so, obviously, you can concentrate on the musical soap opera that was so much the subtext of our success back then, but I think you just move on.

In your solo work, what do you feel you can say that you can't with Fleetwood Mac? You touched on the politics and how it's easy-breezy in this format, but from a songwriting perspective, do you write in one box or the other?

I think my lyrics have gotten better—I would like to think—over the years because they've become less and less literal. Some of that has been arrived at because the process I use to record solo albums is far more—I've said this many times—but like painting. Because I'm playing everything and engineering it, it's basically you and your work. It's you and your canvas, so to speak. A musical canvas.

I think the solo work has just allowed me to continue to improve, because that process has allowed for risk and pushing the envelope and discovery in a way that the political process of Fleetwood Mac sometimes disallowed. It allowed it during the Tusk album, but then there was kind of a backlash politically when Tusk didn't sell 16 million albums. Mick [Fleetwood] comes to me and says, "Well, we're not going to do that again."

Lindsey Buckingham. Photo: Lauren Dukoff

That's when I started making solo albums, because I realized if I was going to aspire to be an artist in the long term and continue to take those risks—and, to some degree, continue to thwart people's expectations of what they thought we were or I was—then I was going to have to do it with solo work. That's always where I've continued to grow as an artist, I think.

So, the songwriting has gotten, I think, more interesting and has more depth. It's also become somewhat indistinguishable from the production process, whereas with a band, you've got to bring in a complete song and bring it from point A to point B and it requires a lot more verbalization and politics. It's probably more like moviemaking.

The painting process is really something you can build and build and build off of. It's been an interesting sense of forward motion over the years.

It's fascinating that you've had this whole arc parallel to your journey in a major rock institution. This is your first solo album in a decade. What was your vision for it as opposed to the others, in any regard?

I think much of it was, again, subject-matter-wise: My kids are all basically grown up. I still have a 17-year-old daughter, but they're basically not children anymore. My wife and I have been together for 24 years. You start to have to—again, as I said—accept things and adapt to a thing you, perhaps, at one time, earlier on, you thought you'd never have to adapt to.

And yet I think you need to look at that with an acceptance and almost a celebration that that's just part of what it takes to keep learning and growing as a couple. To have your relationship continue to build on itself. Much of the album, lyric-wise, the content is addressing that: Lamenting it, but also celebrating it.

On a musical level, what I wanted to say, really, is something very simple and fundamental. I thought it'd be very cool to make more of a pop album than I've made before—maybe ever. But certainly since [1992's] Out of the Cradle. There was a sense of referring back to pop sensibilities that existed in Fleetwood Mac and in solo work, but probably in Fleetwood Mac to the point where you could probably connect the dots to a song like "On the Wrong Side" and "Go Your Own Way." 

There was a conscious desire to circle back on something and revisit it. I wanted to make a pop album, and of course, there are a few tracks on there that represent the leftest edges of that. "Power Down" is one song that comes to mind. But generally speaking, the album has pop accessibility that I wanted to achieve, and I think, for the most part, I got there.

I definitely think of you as a melodist first and foremost. As opposed to favorite writers or musicians, per se, who are your favorite melodists out in the ether?

Well, obviously, Paul McCartneyBrian WilsonBurt Bacharach. Geez, I don't know. Henry Mancini. How's that?

Back to your recovery from the heart surgery. Was it scary to think that you might not get to sing again? I mean, that's your whole livelihood.

Well, you know, it was interesting, because there was only so much I could control about it and I was also, in a larger sense, just dealing with recovering from the bypass, which took a few months.

I was probably more concerned with the specifics of what I had to do just to recover from such an invasive procedure, but yes—there was a point where we first saw someone in Los Angeles, a doctor. She turned me on to a voice therapist who would come to the house and have me do exercises. None of that seemed to do anything.

Eventually, she referred me to someone in Boston, who I guess is the guy who deals with singers who have voice problems. My wife and I flew to Boston a couple of times and he looked me over and said, "Look, this is going to take care of itself. I can't guarantee you that your voice is going to come back 100 percent."

And it probably hasn't, really, quite honestly. It's probably come back 95 percent. In rehearsals, we decided to lower the keys of a couple of songs a half step because I was having trouble hitting the notes I used to hit. But some of that just comes along with getting older. That's something we've done continuously over the years anyway, so that's all there is to say about that.

But at the point where this doctor says to me, "I can't guarantee you it's going to come back to 100 percent, but there's nothing you can do. You've just got to wait and it'll do what it's going to do," I just stopped worrying about it because I realized it was just a waiting game I had to play. Again, over a period of months, my voice returned and it seems to be working quite well now, so we're good.

Did you have to carry around a notepad and the whole bit?

No, no, no. I could talk, but it was [Affects rasp] kind of like that for a while. It just was not clear for a month and a half or two months, and then I started to get better.

Now that you're back in fighting shape, have you been writing any?

Well, when COVID hit, we had just moved from the house the kids were raised in to a slightly smaller house that we built. Right after that move, COVID hit, and the studio was still in the process of being finished up. It's downstairs in sort of a guest house in the backyard, and it's in the basement of that. 

It was funny: I didn't have any great motivation to go down and work when COVID hit. I'm not sure why. But after a few months, I said to myself "I've got to force myself to go down there."  So I did, and I got into a routine for a few months down there where I ended up starting and finishing maybe three new songs. There is something to pick up from whenever it's time to make another album, but I haven't done a huge amount of writing, no.

Well, it's not a very inspiring time.

It's pretty strange, yeah.

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I must ask: What went through your head when you heard that Peter Green had died?

Well, when I heard about Peter Green, the first thing I said was, "I've got to call Mick," which I did. Mick and I had probably talked once before that since all the Fleetwood Mac stuff went down. He texted and emailed with me and stuff, but we hadn't had a lot of conversations. He and I were obviously on completely good terms at that point and I think he felt bad about that whole thing.

He didn't really want that to happen, but that's another conversation. But he and I commiserated about Peter. He was actually way more [undeterred] about it than I would have expected because I think the term he used was "He died a king's death," which means you go to sleep at night and you don't wake up. That's what happened to Peter, but it was sad. It was quite sad, obviously.

Read More: Remembering Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder Peter Green

He wasn't really on the scene for very long, but he left quite a mark. Mick and I were able to share our sadness about that, for sure.

Do you remember the last time you saw Peter or spoke to him?

I think the last time would have been in 2015—the last time we toured in the U.K. with Fleetwood Mac after Christine came back. He was a funny guy when it came to interacting with me. Obviously, he wasn't maybe in the best mental shape anyway; I don't really know the finer points of that. He was always a bit standoffish with me; I'm not sure why. 

Maybe he felt, as John McVie once said to Mick, that what we were doing was a long way from the blues. It could have been that, or maybe it was the other way: Maybe he was slightly threatened by it. I don't really know. But he was never overly warm to me for some reason. 

But it was in 2015, probably. He used to come to our shows.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in 1979. Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns via Getty Images

Feel free to not broach this at all, but is there anything you can share about where you stand with the rest of Fleetwood Mac at this time?

Look, that whole thing was really something that Stevie wanted to do. It was her doing. It wasn't Mick's doing or Christine's doing or John's. 

Whatever she used as a pretense for my behavior in terms of saying she never wanted to work with me again was so minimal by comparison with what we'd been through over the previous 43 years that it didn't ring true at all to me. But on some level, I think she was a bit unhappy in her own life and was trying to remake the band slightly more in own image. 

Again, this is all me theorizing—I don't know why—but I think over the last number of tours, even going back to the Say You Will tour back in 2003, but certainly 2008 and '09, 2013, 2014 and '15, after Christine came back, my moments on stage were quite peak. I had many peak moments. 

I had "The Chain"; I had "Tusk"; I had "Never Going Back Again"; I had "Big Love"; I had "So Afraid." I think my evolvement as a stage presence over time had sort of enlarged, and I think her—if you want to call it devolvement—as a stage presence over time had diminished a little bit. I think that was hard for her. 

Obviously, she will be and was always the figurehead singer out there, but in terms of those peak moments, I don't think she enjoyed as many. And maybe she just didn't want to be around that anymore! I don't know. I don't blame her for anything, but I haven't really spoken with her about it.

As far as the others go, you know—Mick and Christine—I was a little disappointed with their lack of strength in terms of not standing up for me at the time, but I think they all had reasons they felt they couldn't stand up to Stevie, because she basically gave them an ultimatum: "Either Lindsey goes or I go." 

It's a ridiculous ultimatum. It would be like Mick Jagger saying "Well, either Keith goes or I go." I mean, come on! It's not going to happen! But if you've got to choose one, I guess you've got to choose the singer! [Edgy laugh.]  I got a text or an email from Christine not long after that apologizing: "I'm sorry I didn't stand up for you. I just bought a house." So, that pretty much says it all, you know?

In the ensuing years, I certainly have had good conversations with Christine and everything is great, but mostly with Mick. He and I were and will always be soulmates and he's said "I'd love to get the five of us back together." Of course, he knows I would come back like a shot if that was something that were politically feasible. It remains to be seen whether that is or not.

But one thing I will say is that when all of that went down, I didn't necessarily feel left out because I didn't get to do that tour. The only thing that really got to me is—as I mentioned a second ago—we spent 43 years rising above so many difficulties in order to fulfill our destiny, you know. That has always been the legacy of Fleetwood Mac beyond the music: We always got to do that. For 43 years.

I did not see the show they did with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, but I did see the setlist. It had Peter Green and Bob Welch songs and it had Crowded House [breaks into a giggle] and Tom Petty songs! I thought, "Well, it's awfully generic at this point. Some might even call it a cover band to some degree." It's probably not a fair term to use, but even so, I don't think it did anything but dishonor that legacy that we had built for those 43 years. That was the only thing that bothered me.

So, to be able to come back and reestablish that legacy would be quite meaningful, I think. Whether or not that's possible remains to be seen, you know? I don't blame anybody or hold a grudge against any of them, including Stevie. I know what she did, she did it out of unhappiness or perhaps out of weakness. It's all part of being in a rock 'n' roll band, I guess.

I don't know who really knows who in this circle of musicians, but I hope there wasn't any awkwardness regarding Mike and Neil joining the band.

Well, it wasn't with me because I never really interacted with them. I think there probably was in terms of coming to the band. I know Stevie was not happy with Mike Campbell later on because it was a "He's not playing that part right!" kind of thing. I've always been a fan of Neil Finn anyway, but, you know, it's a strange situation to come in like that.

When you made that point about Mike, my first thought was "Hmm... I think there's a guy who knows how to play those parts just right!"

[Mischevious laugh.]

You're very much an artist in the now and you have a whole creative future ahead of you. But when you look back on the arc of your career—all of it so far—is there anything you'd do differently or tell yourself as a younger man?

Oh, boy. I don't think so! Whatever my part was in making Stevie feel the way she did in order to have to give the band an ultimatum, I would obviously not do that. 

I think one of the things that maybe has been a good thing for me over the last three or four years since that happened—and not directly because of that—but because of that and the bypass and perhaps COVID and whatever else, I've gotten a little less self-involved, maybe, and looked around me a little more. Maybe that's something I could have done better from time to time.

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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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.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

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."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

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.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

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." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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15 Must-Hear Albums This July: Taylor Swift, Dominic Fike, Post Malone, NCT Dream & More
(L-R, clockwise): Stevie Nicks, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet, Post Malone, Pitbull, NCT Dream

Photo: Erika Goldring/WireImage, Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Luisaviaroma, Scott Legato/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management, Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images, Don Arnold/WireImage, Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Atlantis Paradise Island, Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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15 Must-Hear Albums This July: Taylor Swift, Dominic Fike, Post Malone, NCT Dream & More

From the highly anticipated 'Barbie' soundtrack to a celebration of Joni Mitchell's iconic Newport Folk Festival return, check out 15 albums dropping this July.

GRAMMYs/Jul 3, 2023 - 04:05 pm

The first half of 2023 is already behind us, but July gives us much to look forward to. The warm sun, tours and festivals abound, and a heap of exciting releases — from Colter Wall's country music to NCT DREAM's K-pop — will surely make this season even more special.

We start it off with Taylor Swift and her third re-recorded album, Speak Now (Taylor's Version) on July 7, the same day Pitbull returns with his twelfth studio album, Trackhouse. Post Malone will deliver his fourth LP, AUSTIN, and Blur returns with their first album in eight years. And for the classic music lovers, folk legend Joni Mitchell will release At Newport — a recording of her first live performance since 2015 — and rock maven Stevie Nicks will drop her Complete Studio Albums & Rarities box set.

To welcome the latter half of a year filled with great music so far, GRAMMY.com offers a guide to the 15 must-hear albums dropping July 2023.

Taylor Swift, Speak Now (Taylor's Version)

Release date: July 7

Taylor Swift fans are used to gathering clues and solving puzzles about the singer's intricate, ever-expanding discography. Therefore, in her hometown of Nashville concert last May, when she announced that Speak Now (Taylor's Version) would come out on July 7, it was not much of a surprise to the audience, but rather a gratifying confirmation that they had followed the right steps.

"It's my love language with you. I plot. I scheme. I plan. And then I get to tell you about it," Swift told them after breaking the news. "I think, rather than me speaking about it ... I'd rather just show you," she added, before performing an acoustic version of Speak Now's single, "Sparks Fly." 

Shortly after, she took it to Instagram to share that "the songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness. I love this album because it tells a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing … and living to speak about it."

Speak Now (Taylor's Version) is Swift's third re-recorded album, following 2021's Red (Taylor's Version). It will feature 22 tracks, including six unreleased "From the Vault" songs and features with Paramore's Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy. "Since Speak Now was all about my songwriting, I decided to go to the artists who I feel influenced me most powerfully as a lyricist at that time and ask them to sing on the album," she shared on Twitter. Swift is currently touring the U.S. with her acclaimed The Eras Tour, which will hit Latin America, Asia, Australia, UK, and Europe through August 2024.

ANOHNI and the Johnsons, My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross

Release date: July 7

"I want the record to be useful," said ANOHNI about her upcoming sixth studio album, My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross. The English singer says she learned with her previous LP, 2016's HOPELESSNESS, that she "can provide a soundtrack that might fortify people in their work, in their activism, in their dreaming and decision-making," therefore aiming to make use of her talents to further help and inspire people.

Through 10 tracks that blend American soul, British folk, and experimental music, ANOHNI weaves her storytelling on inequality, alienation, privilege, and several other themes. According to a statement, the creative process was "painstaking, yet also inspired, joyful, and intimate, a renewal and a renaming of her response to the world as she sees it."

My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross "demonstrates music's unique capacity to bring harmony to competing, sometimes contradictory, elements" — qualities that can be observed in the album's contemplative pre-releases "It Must Change" and "Sliver Of Ice."

Pitbull, Trackhouse

Release date: July 7

GRAMMY-winning singer/rapper Pitbull has recently broadened his reach into an unexpected field: stock cars. Together with Trackhouse Entertainment Group founder Justin Marks, he formed Trackhouse Racing in 2021, an organization and team that participates in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Now, to unite both passions, the Miami-born singer is releasing Trackhouse, his twelfth studio album and first release since 2019's Libertad 548. "In no way, shape, or form is this some kind of publicity stunt," said Mr. Worldwide of the upcoming album during a teleconference in April. "This is real. This is all about our stories coming together, and that's why the fans love it. […] This right here is about making history, it's generational, it's about creating a legacy."

Preceded by singles "Me Pone Mal" with Omar Courtz and "Jumpin" with Lil Jon, it seems that Trackhouse, despite its innovative inception, will continue to further Pitbull's famed Latin pop brand. This fall, he will also join Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin on The Trilogy Tour across the U.S. and Canada.

Dominic Fike,  Sunburn

Release date: July 7

Multitalented singer, songwriter and actor Dominic Fike also joins the roll of summer comebacks. His second studio album, Sunburn, comes out July 7, and follows 2020's acclaimed What Could Possibly Go Wrong.

In recent years, the Florida star found great exposure after landing a role in the HBO hit series "Euphoria" as well as the upcoming A24 drama Earth Mama, which is slated to release on the same day as Sunburn. The past three years were also marked by collaborations with a handful of artists, from Justin Bieber ("Die For You") to Paul McCartney ("The Kiss of Venus") to his Euphoria co-star Zendaya on "Elliot's Song" from the show's soundtrack.

Sunburn marks Fike's joyful return to music, aiming to portray "the aching and vulnerable revelations of a young artist still growing and putting their best foot forward," according to a press release. Through 15 tracks, including singles "Dancing in the Courthouse," "Ant Pile," and "Mama's Boy," Fike will explore themes of "heartbreak and regret, addiction, sex, and jealousy." 

One week after Sunburn's arrival, Fike will embark on a tour across North America and Canada, starting July 13 in Indianapolis.

Lauren Spencer Smith, Mirror

Release date: July 14

Lauren Spencer Smith said on TikTok that she's been working on her debut album, Mirror, for years. "It has been with me through so much in my life, the highs and the lows, and it means more to me than I can put into words. It tells a story of reflection, healing and growth," she added.

The 19-year-old, British-born Canadian singer is unafraid to dive deep into heartbreak and sorrow — as she displayed on her breakthrough hit "Fingers Crossed" —  but offers a way out by focusing on her growth. "I went through a hard breakup, and the album tells the story of that all, the journey of that and now being in a more happy relationship. The title comes from the one thing in my life that's seen me in every emotion through that journey — my bedroom and bathroom mirror."

Like a true Gen Zer, Smith has been teasing the 15-track collection and its upcoming world tour all over social media. On July 14, the day of the album release, she kicks off the North American leg of the tour in Chicago, before heading to the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Colter Wall, Little Songs

Release date: July 14

"You might not see a soul for days on them high and lonesome plains/ You got to fill the big empty with little songs," sings Colter Wall on the titular track off his fourth studio album, Little Songs. The Canadian country star says in a press release that he wrote these songs over the last three years, and that "I penned most of them from home and I think the songs reflect that."

Born and raised in the prairies of Battle Creek, Saskatchewan, Wall found inspiration in the stillness of his surroundings. With this album, he bridges "the contemporary world to the values, hardships, and celebrations of rural life" while also opening "emotional turns as mature and heartening as the resonant baritone voice writing them," according to a press release.

Little Songs is composed of 10 tracks — eight originals and two covers (Hoyt Axton's "Evangelina," and Ian Tyson's "The Coyote & The Cowboy.") He'll celebrate the album's release with a performance at Montana's Under The Big Sky festival on the weekend of the LP's arrival.

Mahalia, IRL

Release date: July 14

British singer Mahalia celebrated her 25th birthday on May 1 by announcing IRL, her sophomore album. Out July 14, the R&B star claims the album to be "a real reflection of the journeys I've had, what actually happened, and a celebration of everyone who got me there."

The 13-track collection will feature names like Stormzy and JoJo, the latter of whom appears on the single "Cheat." Before the release, Mahalia also shared "Terms and Conditions," a self-possessed track that pairs her silky voice with delightful early-aughts R&B.

"I'm so proud of this album, and so proud of how much I challenged myself to just let those stories out," she said in a statement. "We're all fixated on how we can make ourselves better but I want people to also reminisce on lovely or painful situations they've lived through and how they've helped shape the people they are now."

IRL is Mahalia's follows 2019's highly-acclaimed Love and Compromise. In support of the release, she has announced UK and Europe tour dates from October through November.

NCT DREAM, ISTJ

Release date: July 17

The Myers-Briggs Personality Test (also known as MBTI) is a current craze in South Korea, therefore, it was only a matter of time until a K-pop group applied its insights on their music. Although none of NCT DREAM's seven members has the ISTJ personality type, that's what they decided to call their upcoming third studio album, out on July 17.

The 10-track collection comes in two physical versions: Introvert and Extrovert, the first letters and main differentiators in any MBTI personality. Spearheaded by the soaring "Broken Melodies," where they display an impressive set of vocals, their comeback announcement on Twitter promises "The impact NCT DREAM will bring to the music industry."

Since September, the NCT sub-group embarked on The Dream Show 2: In A Dream World Tour, which crossed Asia, Europe, North America. The group will wrap up July with four concerts in Latin America.

Blur, The Ballad of Darren

Release date: July 21

"The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention," said Blur's guitarist Graham Coxon in a statement about The Ballad of Darren, the band's ninth studio album set to arrive on July 21.

Maybe that explains why The Ballad is their first release in eight years, and represents "an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now," according to frontman Damon Albarn. During a press conference in May, bassist Alex James reinforced the positive moment that they find themselves in, stating that "there were moments of utter joy" while recording together.

Produced by James Ford, the album contains 10 tracks, including the wistful indie rock of lead single "The Narcissist." On July 8 and 9, Blur is set to play two reunion gigs at London's Wembley Stadium, followed by a slew of festivals across Europe, Japan and South America.

Barbie: The Album

Release date: July 21

The most-awaited summer flick of 2023 also comes with a staggering soundtrack. Scored by producers Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, Barbie: The Album features songs by hot stars like Dua Lipa, Lizzo, and Ice Spice, as well as some surprising additions, such as psychedelic star Tame Impala and K-pop rookie sensation Fifty Fifty.

As undecipherable and alluring as the actual movie plot, the album tracklist only increases expectations for Greta Gerwig's upcoming oeuvre. Is it all a satire? Is it a serious take on "life in plastic" and consumerism? Is it about nothing at all? You can try to find some clues through pre-release singles "Dance the Night" by Dua Lipa, "Watati" by Karol G, and "Angel" by PinkPantheress.

Greta Van Fleet, Starcatcher

Release date: July 21

Fans who attended the three final shows of Greta Van Fleet's Dreams in Gold Tour this March already got a sneak peek of the band's upcoming third studio album, Starcatcher. Among their most popular hits, the quartet played five new songs — or half of Starcatcher — including singles "Meeting the Master," "Sacred the Thread," and "Farewell for Now."

In a statement about the album, drummer Danny Wagner said that they "wanted to tell these stories to build a universe," and that they wanted to "introduce characters and motifs and these ideas that would come about here and there throughout our careers." Bassist Sam Kiszka adds: "When I imagine the world of Starcatcher, I think of the cosmos. It makes me ask a lot of questions, like 'Where did we come from?' or 'What are we doing here?' But it's also questions like, 'What is this consciousness that we have, and where did it come from?'"

Just a few days after release, Greta Van Fleet will embark on a world tour. Starting in Nashville, Tennessee on July 24, they will cross the U.S. and then head over to Europe and the UK in November.

Post Malone, AUSTIN

Release date: July 28

In a shirtless, casual Instagram Reel last May, hitmaker Post Malone announced his upcoming fourth studio album, AUSTIN, to be released on July 28. Titled after his birth name, the singer shared that "It's been some of the funnest music, some of the most challenging and rewarding music for me, at least" — a very different vibe from the more mellow, lofi sounds of 2022's Twelve Carat Toothache — and that the experience of playing the guitar on every song was "really fun."

Featuring 17 tracks (19 on the deluxe version), AUSTIN is preceded by the dreamy "Chemical" and the angsty "Mourning," and sees Malone pushing his boundaries in order to innovate on his well-established sound. The album will also be supported by a North American 24-date trek, the If Y'all Weren't Here, I'd Be Crying Tour, starting July 8 in Noblesville, Indiana and wrapping up on August 19 in San Bernardino, California.

Stevie Nicks: Complete Studio Albums & Rarities box set

Release date: July 28

To measure Stevie Nicks' contribution to music is an insurmountable task. The Fleetwood Mac singer and songwriter has composed dozens of the most influential, well-known rock classics of the past century ("Dreams," anyone?), also blooming on her own as a soloist since 1981, when she debuted with Bella Donna.

In the four decades since, seven more solo albums followed, along with a trove of rarities that rightfully deserve a moment in the spotlight. Enter: her upcoming vinyl box set, Stevie Nicks: Complete Studio Albums & Rarities. The 16xLP collection compiles all of her work so far, plus a new record with the aforementioned rarities, and is limited to 3,000 copies. It's also the first time that Trouble in Shangri-La, In Your Dreams, and Street Angel are released on vinyl. For those who can't secure the limited set, a version of Complete Studio Albums & Rarities with 10xCDs will be available digitally.

Joni Mitchell, At Newport

Release date: July 28

Last year's Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island was one to remember. During one evening of the fest, a surprise guest graced the "Brandi Carlile and Friends" stage: it was none less than legendary folk star, Joni Mitchell. And what's more? It was her first live appearance since 2015, when she suffered a debilitating aneurysm.

During that time, the 79-year-old singer quietly held "Joni Jams" at her home in Los Angeles — inviting musicians that ranged from Elton John to Harry Styles to participate — with organizational support offered by Carlile. With Mitchell's special appearance at Newport, the coveted experience of a Joni Jam was available for thousands of fans.

This month, the release of At Newport eternalizes the headlining-making moment, bringing her talents to an even bigger audience. Among the classics in the tracklist are "Carey," "A Case of You," and "The Circle Game," proving that Mitchell is still as magical as when she stepped on the Newport Folk Festival stage for the first time, in 1969.

Jennifer Lopez, This Is Me… Now

Release date: TBD

In 2002, J.Lo was everywhere. Her relationship with actor Ben Affleck ensued heavy attention from the media, and her This Is Me… Then album — which featured hits like "Jenny from the Block" — was a commercial success, with over 300,000 first-week sales in the U.S.

How funny is it that, 20 years later, the singer and actress finds herself in a similar situation. After rekindling with Affleck in 2021, she announced the sequel to her 2002 release, This Is Me… Now, and stated in an interview with Vogue that the album represents a "culmination" of who she is.

A press release also describes This Is Me… Now as an "emotional, spiritual and psychological journey" across all that Lopez has been through in the past decades. Fans can also expect more details on the new-and-improved Bennifer, as many of the titles among its 13 tracks suggest, especially "Dear Ben Pt. II."

Although an official release date has not yet been revealed, on June 29, Lopez posted a cryptic image on social media with the caption "album delivery day" — suggesting that the highly anticipated This Is Me update may not be far away.

Everything We Know About Olivia Rodrigo's New Album 'Guts': Release Date, New Songs & More

10 Albums On Divorce & Heartache, From Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' To Kelly Clarkson's 'Chemistry'
Kacey Musgraves performs at the 2021 VMAs.

Photo: John Shearer/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

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10 Albums On Divorce & Heartache, From Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' To Kelly Clarkson's 'Chemistry'

Divorce albums have been a staple of the music industry for decades. Take a look at some of the most notable musings on a breaking heart, from Kacey Musgraves, Kanye West and more.

GRAMMYs/Jun 30, 2023 - 05:46 pm

Divorce can be complicated, messy, and heartbreaking. But those feelings are prime fodder for songwriting — and it's something that artists of all genres have harnessed for decades.

Writing through the pain can serve many benefits for an artist. Marvin Gaye used Here, My Dear as a way to find closure in the aftermath of his divorce. Adele told Vogue that her recording process gave her somewhere to feel safe while recording 30, a raw account of the aftermath of her marriage ending. And Kelly Clarkson's new album, chemistry, finds her reclaiming herself, while fully taking stock of everything that happened in her marriage, good and bad. 

As fans dive into chemistry, GRAMMY.com has compiled a list of 10 divorce albums from all walks of music. Whether you need to cry, vent, or maybe even laugh, there's a divorce album that has what you need.

Tammy Wynette, D-I-V-O-R-C-E (1968)

During her life, Tammy Wynette was a prolific country songwriter and singer, releasing numerous albums exploring all aspects of love. She was also deeply familiar with divorce, with five marriages throughout her adulthood.

The most intimate album on the topic is her bluntly titled 1968 project D-I-V-O-R-C-E, which explores how sensitive the topic was to speak about. The title track is a mournful tune about hiding a separation from her children, but also conveys the general difficulty of discussing the topic with anyone. Elsewhere on the album, "Kiss Away" is a longing ballad about wishing for a more tender resolution when words have failed.

Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (1977)

After recording 10 albums together, Fleetwood Mac were in disarray. During the recording of their eleventh record, the members of the band were going through affairs, divorces, and breakups, even some with each other. Against all odds, they created Rumours — and it became the band's most successful and iconic album.

The spectrum of emotions and sounds on the album is wide. "The Chain" is all fire and bombast, while the laidback acceptance of "Dreams" seeks to find peace in the storm. Fleetwood Mac sorted out their issues and are still going strong to this day, but their heartbreak created something special in Rumours.

Beck, Sea Change (2002)

Beck has had a prolific career, with 14 studio albums to his name. One of his most affecting is 2002's Sea Change, written in the aftermath of his engagement and nine-year relationship ending.

It's a deeply insular album, even by Beck's standards. Tracks like "Already Dead" are slow and mournful, while standout "It's All In Your Mind" finds him burrowing deep into his own thoughts to parse out how exactly he's feeling with his new life.

Open Mike Eagle, Anime, Trauma, and Divorce (2020)

Divorce isn't a topic that immediately brings laughter, but rapper Open Mike Eagle seemed to find humor in his personal story with his album Anime, Trauma, and Divorce. The album title gives a pretty good rundown of what inspired the project, and Mike's laidback rapping sells how silly the aftermath of pain can be.

"Sweatpants Spiderman" finds him trying to become a functional adult again, and discovering the various ailments of his aging body and thinner wallet that are getting in the way. The fed-up delivery on standout track "Wtf is Self Care" is a hilarious lesson on how learning to be kind to yourself post-breakup is harder than it sounds.

Carly Pearce, 29: Written In Stone (2021)

Heartbreak is a common topic in all genres, but country has some of the most profound narratives of sorrow. Carly Pearce added to that legacy with 29: Written in Stone, her 2021 album centered around her 29th year — a year that included both a marriage and a subsequent divorce.

The emotional whiplash of such a quick change can be felt all over the project, from an upbeat diss track like "Next Girl" to more poignant pieces like the title track, which finds Pearce reflecting on her tumultuous year. Her vulnerability resonated, as single "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" won Pearce her first GRAMMY, and her latest single, "What He Didn't Do," scored the singer her fourth No. 1 at country radio. 

Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak (2008)

Kanye West's fourth album 808s & Heartbreak came from a deep well of pain. Besides the end of his relationship, West was also in turmoil from the death of his mother, Donda. The result is one of the bleakest sounding records on this list — but also one of West's most impactful.

808s & Heartbreak is minimalistic, dark, and brooding, with a focus on somber strings and 808 drum loops (hence the album's title). West delivers most of his lyrics in a monotone drone through a thick layer of autotune, a stylistic choice that heightens the sense of loss. Besides being a testament to West's pain, the electronic sound pioneered on 808s & Heartbreak would serve as a foundational inspiration for the next several years of hip-hop.

Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage, & Divorce (2014)

Toni Braxton and Babyface are two stalwarts of R&B in their own rights, and in 2014, the pair connected over their shared experiences going through divorce. Their bond sparked Love, Marriage, & Divorce, a GRAMMY-winning album that intended to capture the more universal feelings the life of a relationship conjures up.

Each artist has solo tracks on the record — Babyface wishing the best for his ex on "I Hope That You're Okay" and Braxton sharing her justified anger on "I Wish" and "I'd Rather Be Broke" — but where they shine is on their collaborations. The agonizing "Where Did We Go Wrong?" is heartbreaking, and the album ends with painful what-ifs in the soulful "The D Word."

Adele, 30 (2021)

Divorce is hard no matter the circumstances, but it gets even more complicated when children are involved. That was the reality for Adele, and it served as major inspiration for her fourth album, 30.

Like every album on this list, there's plenty of sorrow on the record, but what really sets it apart is just how honestly Adele grapples with the guilt of putting her son Angelo through turmoil as well. The album's GRAMMY-winning lead single "Easy On Me" addresses it in relation to her son, and standout track "I Drink Wine" is a full examination of the messy feelings she went through during her divorce.

Kacey Musgraves, star-crossed (2021)

As many of these albums prove, divorce triggers a hoard of emotions, from anger to sadness to eventual happiness. On star-crossed, Kacey Musgraves goes through it all.

There's the anthemic "breadwinner" about being better on her own, "camera roll" looking back on happier times with sorrow, and "hookup scene" about the confusion of adjusting back to single life. Star-crossed sees Musgraves continue to evolve sonically — incorporating more electronic sounds into her country roots — but ultimately, she comes out the other side at a place of renewed acceptance and growth.

Kelly Clarkson, chemistry (2023)

Kelly Clarkson's tenth album chemistry was born out of her 2020 divorce. In true Kelly fashion, she addresses the subject with thoughtful songwriting and a pop-rock vibe fans have adored for 20 years on. 

Chemistry focuses not just on the pain of divorce, but on the tender feelings that many couples still have for each other even after the end. Tracks like "favorite kind of high" mirror the euphoria of love, juxtaposed with ballads like "me," in which Clarkson finds comfort in herself and her inner strength — an inspiring sentiment for anyone who has had their heart broken.

Kacey Musgraves' Road To 'Star-Crossed': How The Breakup Album Fits Right Into Her Glowing Catalog

Watch The 2023 GRAMMYs Star-Studded Tribute To Lost Legends Loretta Lynn, Christine McVie & Takeoff | 2023 GRAMMYs
Kacey Musgraves paying tribute to Loretta Lynn during the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Watch The 2023 GRAMMYs Star-Studded Tribute To Lost Legends Loretta Lynn, Christine McVie & Takeoff | 2023 GRAMMYs

The moving GRAMMY Awards segment featured friends, family and bandmates honoring their departed loved ones in song — including tributes from Kacey Musgraves, Quavo, and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 03:38 am

A moving 2023 GRAMMYs segment featured friends, family and bandmates honoring their departed loved ones in song — including tributes from Kacey Musgraves, Quavo, and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt.

The GRAMMY Awards' annual tribute to music industry icons who passed in the preceding year is always a bittersweet highlight of the ceremony — and this year's moving edition was certainly no exception.

In addition to honoring the many artists, producers, executives, and more who we lost, three legendary musicians received individual recognition from their close friends, collaborators, and loved ones.

A longtime admirer of Loretta Lynn, Kacey Musgraves became friends with the late country legend after opening for Lynn's 2012 tour — and thus was the perfect person to honor the four-time GRAMMY-winner.

Surrounded by a spray of red flowers and wearing a red dress that would've suited the Songwriter Hall of Fame honoree, Musgraves delivered a sterling rendition of Lynn's autobiographical "Coal Miner's Daughter."

With each strum of her guitar — with Lynn’s name inlaid on the neck in enamel — Musgraves brought more of her hero's trademark warmth and country legacy into fuller bloom, the names and images of other lost legends materializing behind her.

The rap world was stunned when it lost Migos member Takeoff in a tragic shooting in November, and his uncle and bandmate Quavo paid tribute with the elegiac "Without You." The rapper's soulful delivery was rounded out by the rich harmonies of gospel group Maverick City Music, the pain evident in his face as he sat next to an empty stool, his nephew’s chain hanging from a tragically unused mic stand.

As the song concluded, Quavo rose, holding that chain up to the heavens, his hope to see Takeoff again ringing out.

While clips of heroes like Jeff Beck and David Crosby surely brought tears to many an eye, the heartfelt tributes were rounded out by the trio of Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, and Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood. Together, they honored Christine McVie with a poignant rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird."

While Fleetwood stood with a resonant hand drum, Crow took to the piano with Raitt seated at her side. "And the songbirds are singing/ Like they know the score," they sang: "And I love you, I love you, I love you/ Like never before."

The crystalline performance immaculately suited the songwriter's immense spirit and unparalleled writing, with Fleetwood’s somber hand drum lending a beautiful final note.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Head to live.GRAMMY.com all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2023 GRAMMYs.