meta-script12 Post Malone Songs That Showcase His History-Making Vision, From "White Iverson" To "Mourning" | GRAMMY.com
12 Post Malone Songs That Showcase His History-Making Vision, From "White Iverson" To "Mourning"
Post Malone performs at the 2023 BottleRock Festival in Napa, California.

Photo: Jim Bennett/Getty Images

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12 Post Malone Songs That Showcase His History-Making Vision, From "White Iverson" To "Mourning"

Post Malone wants you to know his name. As the rapper — born Austin Post — releases his latest album, 'AUSTIN,' dive into 12 essential Posty tracks.

GRAMMYs/Jul 28, 2023 - 03:15 pm

Post Malone's stage name might have come from a randomized rap name generator, but his ascent to fame has been anything but spontaneous.

The 10-time GRAMMY nominee's very first single, 2015's "White Iverson," landed him a record deal with Republic Records and hinted at a star in the making. While his 2016 debut album, Stoney, spawned two other massive hits, it was 2018's beerbongs & bentleys that solidified Malone's place as one of the biggest rappers of his generation.

Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, beerbongs & bentleys scored Post Malone his first chart-topping album as well as his first No. 1 hit with "rockstar"; the album also earned Malone his first four GRAMMY nominations in 2019, including Album Of The Year. The next year, "rockstar" became Malone's first diamond-certified single in November 2020 — and not even three years later, he's now the artist with the most RIAA diamond singles of all time.

Commercial success aside, Malone's artistry speaks for itself. Taking a closer look at Malone's discography reminds us of his versatility, whether he's leaning into hip hop's flashier side or letting down his guard for confessional introspection. As his creative prowess continues to expand, so does his creativity and vulnerability.

In honor of his new album, AUSTIN, dig into these 12 Post Malone essentials as a reminder of what makes the rapper so special.

"White Iverson," Stoney (2015)

For Malone, his saucin', swaggin', and ballin' all started with "White Iverson." The song introduced Malone's hazy, echoing sound that he's carried through all four of his albums — an inventive style that has made him stand out from the get-go.

It also quickly ushered him into the mainstream, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its casual 2015 SoundCloud release. And though the track is named after basketball star Allen Iverson, Malone's song predicts his own fame-filled future: "When I started ballin,' I was young/ You gon' think about me when I'm gone."

"Feeling Whitney," Stoney (2016)

Starting memorably with the click of a lighter, it might seem like "Feeling Whitney" would be a fitting album opener. But instead, the track gently brings Stoney to an earnest close. After a weighty hour of trap-pop, the guitar-led song offers a serene self-reflection on Malone attempting to find peace.

The falsetto-heavy track sees Malone lean into his country sensibilities wholeheartedly. But besides suiting the singer's gruff yet tender voice well, the genre shift exhibits his versatile ingenuity. Whether he's rapping over a booming 808 bass or sitting down for a smoke with his guitar, Malone knows what works, and "Feeling Whitney" shows off an especially sincere side of his enterprise.

"I Fall Apart," Stoney (2016)

Even though Malone's raw vocal delivery makes "I Fall Apart" a clear standout from his debut album, the track wasn't initially released as a single. But when a video of the song's performance went viral a year after Stoney's release, "I Fall Apart" signed on as the album's sixth and final single.

The song has rightfully become a staple of the rapper's setlists. Malone's impressive live performances of the track spotlight how he captivates best with outright intensity, as he meanders through melancholy before bursting with uncontrolled emotion at the chorus. Only Post Malone could unironically bellow "You was my shorty, I thought" in an opportune heartbreaking tone.

"Stay," beerbongs & bentleys (2018)

While Malone's voice folds into trap and R&B faultlessly, "Stay" gives the rapper more room to breathe. An acoustic, folky ballad might seem out of left field for Malone, but the essential track features some of his most vulnerable songwriting and vocals to date.

In many of his live performances, including at the 61st GRAMMY Awards, Malone sings "Stay" solo while playing guitar, and it's on his setlist for good reason. Whether it's performed live in venues or living in your headphones, the song offers up a moment of sad solace and reflection, and it spotlights Malone's ability to capture bittersweetness perfectly.

"Paranoid," beerbongs & bentleys (2018)

When Malone performed "Paranoid" live at Rolling Loud Miami in 2021, he shared with the crowd that the track was inspired by losing trust in his best friend in the music industry. While many of his songs discuss both challenges with fame or relationship betrayals, "Paranoid" merges the two subjects in an honest search for hard-to-find peace.

The beerbongs & bentleys track feels more down-to-earth than grumbling, even as Malone hides behind tinted glass. But "Paranoid" cracks open a window into Malone's world, and the sympathy-inspiring candor in his hunt for relief hits a sweet spot that makes this track an easy standout.

"rockstar" featuring 21 Savage, beerbongs & bentleys (2018)

Malone's "rockstar" chronicles the extravagance of a celebrity lifestyle as if the rapper already knew this track would be his first No. 1. The glossy song makes the most of predictable rap motifs ("I've been f— h— and poppin' pillies," Malone riffs at the chorus) and greets 21 Savage's characteristically hypnotic monotony with open arms.

Mastering the art of flexing, the track's leisurely pace helps round out the kaleidoscopic trends of beerbongs & bentleys. But "rockstar" also stands its ground alone, solidifying itself as a Posty essential not just with its chart position, but with its entrancing trap allure that lends itself well to 21's feature.

"Sunflower" featuring Swae Lee, Hollywood's Bleeding (2018)

Crowned as the ultimate summer jam back in 2018, "Sunflower" highlights Malone's effortless ability to glide across genres — and here, his pop prowess takes centerstage. The unexpected gem from Marvel's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse earned two GRAMMY nominations in 2020 for its balmy, casual radiance.

With Malone's candid verse complementing Swae Lee's brisk delivery, this inviting collaboration feels carefree in all the best ways. And their musical partnership clearly resonated: "Sunflower" is certified 18-times platinum, making it the all-time highest certified song by the RIAA.

"Take What You Want," featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott, Hollywood's Bleeding (2019)

Hollywood's Bleeding** **boasts 10 features across its 17 tracks. But one of the album's most seamless comes  halfway through the record, as Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott join Malone on the haunting "Take What You Want."

The track stands out in Malone's discography for the way it easily bends to each artist's distinct style (and for its last-minute electric guitar solo). It smoothly shifts between hip-hop, metal, and pop, lending itself to all three musicians in a cohesive manner. And, as it exemplifies Malone's big-picture adaptability, "Take What You Want" never loses its full-hearted intensity.

"Hollywood's Bleeding," Hollywood's Bleeding (2019)

"Everyone's gone, but no one's leavin'," Malone laments in his 2019's trap-pop title track of Hollywood's Bleeding. Spinning an ominous narrative with vampiric motifs, the album's opener reflects not just on Malone's personal tumultuous experience with fame, but others' broadly as well.

Capturing the feeling of being tethered to something inescapable, "Hollywood's Bleeding" lays the groundwork for the rest of Malone's album, presenting as one of his clearest thesis statements yet. The two-and-a-half minute song almost feels like the condensed narrative of a short horror film, and Malone's evocative storytelling and compelling delivery have us seated in theaters.

"Circles," Hollywood's Bleeding (2019)

"Circles" is somewhat of an outlier in Malone's discography — but, perhaps ironically, it's also one of his biggest songs. Set to an uncharacteristically soft melody, the beloved track features a gentler, more soulful Malone reflecting on letting go. The musician is still as frank as ever, but "Circles" stands out with its palatable universality — Malone is especially sharp with regret and downhearted nostalgia.

The sunny song was nominated for two GRAMMYs in 2021 (Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year), showing that Malone's lean into soft pop's accessibility with full emotional force suits him well.

"Reputation," Twelve Carat Toothache (2022)

Melodrama bleeds from Twelve Carat Toothache's regret-filled opener, "Reputation." Over slow, meandering piano, Malone moodily contemplates the price of fame, dissecting how his celebrity status has severely impacted his perception of himself.

The track is uncharacteristically minimal in terms of production, yet "Reputation" holds listeners' full attention thanks to Malone's stirring vocal and emotional performance. Its moments of pause incur self-reflection, and the song's stream-of-consciousness style makes it one of Malone's strongest shows of vulnerability. The singer doesn't hold back, even as he chokes on cigarettes: "I was born, what a shame."

"Mourning," AUSTIN (2023)

Malone is no stranger to discussing struggles with sobriety in his music, and his openness is what makes so much of his music compelling. Following Twelve Carat Toothache's "Love/Hate Letter to Alcohol," the second single off his upcoming album, AUSTIN, continues writing this deeply honest letter.

Malone's radio-ready "Mourning" showcases the singer's ability to break down more serious topics over sunnier tunes, making this song an unmistakable Posty essential. And, while the track plays on morning/mourning as facing the regret of a wild night out, the singer still presents an almost comedic self-awareness: "Got a lot of shit to say, couldn't fit it in the chorus" or "The way I gotta flex you'd think I did pilates." Even when Malone is tackling darker content, he always finds a way to tap into lightheartedness.

5 Takeaways From Post Malone's New Album, 'Twelve Carat Toothache'

Post Malone Goes Country for “America The Beautiful” at Super Bowl LVIII
Post Malone Performs at Super Bowl LVIII.

Photo:  Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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Post Malone Goes Country for “America The Beautiful” at Super Bowl LVIII

Post Malone kicked off Super Bowl LVIII with the annual performance of "America The Beautiful." Watch below.

GRAMMYs/Feb 12, 2024 - 12:21 am

Post Malone opened Super Bowl Sunday LVIII in Las Vegas with a tender performance of “America The Beautiful.”

Clad in a bolo tie and brown suede, the 10-time GRAMMY nominee self-accompanied on acoustic guitar for the patriotic number, crooning, “O beautiful for spacious skies / For amber waves of grain / For purple mountain majesty / Above the fruited plain / America, America / God shed his grace on thee / And crown thy good with brotherhood / From sea to shinin’ sea.” 

Days before his big moment at Allegiant Stadium, the rapper admitted he found the opportunity more than a little “nerve-wracking.” 

“I’m very nervous, but excited. I’m excited,” he said during Apple Music’s official pre-game press conference. “It’s just fun and super epic to be able to go out there and sing a song so many beautiful artists [sang] before on this stage, and I’m just gonna do my best. Just do my best and give it what I’ve got.”

“America The Beautiful” has been included in the Super Bowl pre-show dating back to 1974, when it was first performed by country singer Charley Pride. Other artists who’ve belted out the American standard by Katharine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward in years past include Babyface, Jhené Aiko, Chloe x Halle, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, and Ray Charles among others.

Posty’s patriotic number comes less than a week after Taylor Swift revealed the rapper would be featured on opening track “Fortnight” off her upcoming eleventh studio album The Tortured Poets Department, which she announced during her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2024 GRAMMYs. Swift, of course, was also in the stands to cheer on her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, after flying back to the U.S. from four sold-out shows in Tokyo, Japan.

Prior to Malone’s performance, Andra Day belted out “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as "The Black National Anthem," penned by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson, before the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs rushed the field at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.

Noah Kahan's Big Year: How The "Stick Season" Singer Became A Folk-Pop Hero
Noah Kahan

Photo: Aysia Marotta

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Noah Kahan's Big Year: How The "Stick Season" Singer Became A Folk-Pop Hero

On the heels of announcing an arena and stadium tour for 2024, Noah Kahan revisits some of the biggest moments that have led to it, from going viral with "Stick Season" to collaborating with Post Malone.

GRAMMYs/Oct 9, 2023 - 05:30 pm

In July 2019, Noah Kahan made a promise to his fans via Twitter: "I prolly won't sell out Madison square garden, or even all the shows on my tour but I'll keep writing songs for you all for as long as you'll have me."

Four years later, he's made good on his word about continuing to write songs. But he's also proved himself wrong; not only has the Vermont-born star sold out his entire 2023 tour, but 2024 will see him play a sold-out Madison Square Garden — twice.

While Kahan himself asserts that he's always had a "very dedicated" fan base — whether from his days of posting to SoundCloud and YouTube or since he signed with Republic Records in 2017 – he admits he still finds it hard to process the level to which it's grown. "It's f—ing unbelievable," he says. "It feels so fake that it's almost like, the more time I spend thinking about it, the more abstract it becomes."

His humility is a large part of his appeal (as well as his sense of humor, both on Twitter and on stage), which carries into his folk-pop music. It's matched with extreme vulnerability, as Kahan has been open about his struggles with mental health. Even one of his biggest hits has revealing lyrics: "So I thought that if I piled something good on all my bad/ That I could cancel out the darkness I inherited from Dad," he sings the second verse of "Stick Season."

"Stick Season" became Kahan's breakout song in 2022, first making waves on social media — catching the attention of stars like Zach Bryan and Maisie Peters — and earning him his first radio hit. Its namesake album earned Kahan top 5 spots on Billboard's Top Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums and Top Rock & Alternative Albums charts in October 2022, but it was the 2023 deluxe edition that really showed his trajectory: all 18 tracks debuted on Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Charts, making him one of only five artists to ever land 18 songs on the chart in one week. 

Kahan's disbelief in his success is only going to continue into the new year, as his 2024 tour will also include L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl and two nights at Boston's Fenway Park. At this rate, he's seemingly on his way to Taylor Swift-level stardom — though, as he jokes, three-hour shows will never be in the cards: "From a physical health standpoint, this is as big as it can get."

In the midst of his Stick Season Tour, Kahan reminisced on the wild ride he's been on for the past 18 months. Below, he details seven of his most career-defining moments to date. 

Watching "Stick Season" Blow Up

I wrote the song in 2020 and I posted the first verse and the chorus [on social media] the next morning. It was kind of an awkward time, because I had another album coming out right after that video was posted [2021's I Was / I Am] , and I had to promote that, and people were like, "What about that other song?" I'd be at shows and people would be like, "Play 'Stick Season'!"

I started to play it live, which is really what stoked the fire in terms of us realizing that it could be a big song. I played it in Syracuse, New York — and we hadn't posted any snippets besides what I would do on my Instagram Lives, or I'd perform it here and there on social media. Everyone in the room knew every single word to it. That was the song that got the biggest reaction all night, and it was a song that wasn't even out yet. That definitely opened my eyes to the desire for that song to be out in the world. 

A lot of my set at the time was more pop-leaning, and this song is definitely more folk-leaning. I could really see the desire for sing-along folk anthems after that performance. [I remember] talking to my team and being like, "I think this song is gonna be around for a long time."

It gave confidence to something that I had been trying to do for a long time, even subconsciously. I think I was always making folk music, and I would always gravitate toward those songs, but a part of me would be like, This isn't who you are, you make pop. So I would stay away from it. 

It took this one song — and playing it the way that I wanted to, and having people really respond — it opened my eyes to the audience that I didn't realize was there. It also opened my eyes to that confidence in myself that really comes through in this kind of songwriting. It let me look at folk music and storytelling as a bigger focus in my life instead of something that I did for fun or in the privacy of my home.

Seeing The Success Of Stick Season

When I was a kid, I would write my name on a blank CD, and I'd put it next to my Green Day CD, and I would pretend that we were the same. For a second it feels real, but it's really not.

Seeing my name on the charts and in conversations with all of these incredible famous artists, it kind of gave me the same feeling where I felt like, This just can't be real — I must be back in my childhood bedroom writing my band name on blank CDs. Because this doesn't happen to people making folk music, really. I was just kind of stunned into disbelief to the point where it took people reminding me that it was happening to actually process it.

I was in love with everything about the process of making this album, and honestly, that was enough for me. I felt so fulfilled. The organic nature of how it all came together felt so real to me, and it felt so important to me. And doing it in Vermont, and having the record be about Vermont and New England — it really felt like the album I've been waiting to make my whole life. 

I think my fans could see how much it meant to me, and it meant the same to them. We kind of shared this real emotional attachment to this album together. 

It just felt like a huge change in the way my life was gonna be. It meant that I could make music that fulfilled me that would fulfill others. I guess you could say it reinvigorated my faith in music in a lot of ways.

The chart success, and the radio play, and the co-signs from other really great artists and songwriters was incredible and overwhelming. I still haven't really processed it all. 

It definitely changed my life and put me into a place where I'm selling out shows, and there's lots of people that want me to work with them. It feels so nice, because it all came from following my heart — in the least cliché way.

Playing Boston Calling

It started to feel monumental when I got there. It's, like, three minutes away from my house, which is crazy. So I took a van from my house and I started walking around the festival, and it felt like I was Justin Bieber — people were chasing me around the festival and screaming.

It was one of the first times I've played in Boston since the deluxe [version of Stick Season] came out, and it was the second festival of the tour, so we were not expecting this crazy reaction. We get on stage and the crowd is just a sea of people. It looked like the crowd for a headliner, and it was only, like, 6 p.m.

We had a really good performance — objectively, we kind of crushed it — and all the fans were losing their minds, and then later, I went on stage with the Lumineers, which was so insane. It just felt like this moment of this hometown crowd really coming out in full force, showing their support and showing the world that I had this kind of fan base. I felt like I was kind of stepping out into a new world in a lot of ways when I got on stage. 

Singing "Homesick" was pretty incredible. It has a line about the Boston [Marathon] bombers, and we were literally right next to Watertown where the Boston bombers were caught. And hearing like 40,000 New Englanders sing "I'm mean because I grew up in New England" was incredible — it made me tear up watching videos the next day. Seeing all those people connect over this common understanding of who we are, and that region, all at once was really, really special. It was just such a Boston moment.

Ever since then, it was kind of just crazy show after crazy show. And every hometown show has been so unbelievable. It was kind of the start of the madness.

Headlining Red Rocks

A show that felt particularly special was Red Rocks. Having gone from being an opener there to a headliner in a little less than a year was really special for me. The growth was so evident.

The crowds at Red Rocks are in this trance of community and love — it felt like the crowd was connecting with each other, and watching that happen was really incredible. Every single person there had a smile on their face. I think that everybody there had an amazing time, and that made me so happy. 

Another thing that I've loved about all the shows, but Red Rocks in particular, is that some of these songs are filled with painful feelings and thoughts, and things that, for me, required a lot of vulnerability. And when the crowd is singing every single word, it just means that a whole crowd of — in Red Rocks' case, 9,900 people — are just being vulnerable, and yelling it out loud. 

That's the greatest gift a musician can ever get — watching people express themselves and free themselves from any kind of shame at a show. That's what I try to do with my music, and I feel like I saw thousands of people shedding their guilt, their fear and their shame, and singing the lyrics. 

We were playing the song "Maine," and there's a line that's like, "If there were cameras in the traffic lights, they'd make me a star," and I remember looking up at the crowd — that line is really about knowing that you have something special, but not knowing if anyone can ever see it. 

I remember singing that song and that line, and I looked up to the crowd — 9,,000 people, that's four times bigger than everyone in my hometown — screaming that line back to me, and I cried. I couldn't believe where I was in my life. 

And I still can't, but there are moments that I get numb to all of it and there are moments when the absurdity of it all slaps me in the face. That was definitely a moment where I felt just shocked by where I had gotten to, and how things have grown.

Launching The Busyhead Project

The Busyhead Project is an endeavor to raise a million dollars for mental health awareness, and these organizations that are doing so much for fighting the stigma and supporting people who suffer around North America. We wanted to start this organization because I have spent a lot of my career thinking and about my own journey with mental health, but I always felt like I was not doing enough, or just kind of providing lip service. 

I never wanted to feel like I was accessorizing it or commodifying it. So I wanted to do something that felt boots-on-the-ground, tangible, [and] would make a real difference. We set out with a goal to raise a million dollars [for these organizations], and we're getting really close. [Editor's note: As of press time, The Busyhead Project has raised $977,055.]

I think it just comes down to putting your money where your mouth is. Like, I'm playing bigger venues and I sell merch — I'm starting to make money, and part of my philosophy on wealth and making money is that you're supposed to use it to help other people. 

I don't need a lot for myself. I live on a diet of sunflower seeds and bananas — I'm literally eating both of them right now — so I wanted to give back as much as I can. It's really that simple; trying to raise money for people that really need it, and organizations that are doing miraculous work. We're definitely not going to stop at a million — I hope not, because that would be kind of lame. [Laughs.] If we can raise more money, we should raise it. 

When I was a kid, I would look up "Artists with depression" or "Artists on medication." I didn't find a lot of 'em, but when I did find somebody, it would feel like I was, like, saved by God or something. That became like religion to me, to see that someone who was in the music industry was also struggling with what I was really struggling with as a kid. I want to provide that for some kid making music out there.

Breaking Onto The Hot 100 (And Collaborating With Post Malone) With "Dial Drunk"

The chart is kind of, like, the one thing from movies about the music industry that signify when the band is doing well — like The Rocker, or Rockstar, where it's like, "Oh my god, the music's on the charts!" And they're doing a montage where the chart spins, and they're on a magazine cover, you know what I mean? And what's always followed by that is a horrible downward spiral, so I think when I saw the song charting well, I was like, Oh God, this is where my career starts to go bad. 

But I was really excited, and it was super cool — and, again, one of those things that's hard to actually understand from a human level. 

It was also really nice because I always feel like the last thing I did is the best thing I did, so after "Stick Season" was a big success, I was like, I have to have another song! And I was touring so much, and I was on Zoloft, so I was feeling emotionally kind of numbed-down. Writing this song was kind of a wake-me-up from what was going on. 

It was kind of a personal victory in a lot of ways — I challenged myself to make something new, and I did, and then it had this massive success. It felt like I can get through anything and do this again if I have to. It reminded me that what was happening in my career wasn't lightning in a bottle, but a real reflection of an audience being hungry for my music.

So then when Post Malone started recording his verse in the song, I felt like I was in a fever dream. I felt like it was gonna elevate my career to a new place, and I think it did.

He's always been an inspiration to me in the way he approaches music. I literally just reached out to him on DMs randomly one day, I was like, "Bro, I think you might like this song, we should do it together." He responded two months later, like, "Yeah, I f—ing love it!" It felt really natural.

We sat cross-legged and drank beers at the show in Massachusetts that I went out with him [to perform "Dial Drunk"]. It was so Post Malone — we talked about adult diapers and The Dewey Cox Story. He was just so funny and fun to be around. 

Announcing An Arena & Stadium Tour For 2024

They had been talked about for a while when we were starting the tour in the spring, but they never felt real — I always kind of think, That'll happen later. At the point that I'm doing those shows, I'll feel like I belong in those rooms.

Having these shows scheduled is truly surreal. I just don't know how we're gonna sell that many tickets. [Laughs.] I think I'll believe it when I'm in the room — like, Madison Square Garden, to me, has always felt like just where Paul McCartney goes, and I can't believe that I get to be having my name on the marquee.

I told my managers on the phone when they booked Fenway, "I'm actually going to retire after this." [Laughs.] There's really no way to describe what that means to someone from New England. 

As someone who grew up loving the Red Sox, going to Fenway Park all the time with my friends — getting drunk and stealing somebody's seats, and screaming at the opposing players over the dugout — that place has meant so much to me and so many people in my life. And the fact that I'm going to be one of not many people that have headlined that venue is just the craziest f—ing thing in the entire world. It feels like there's no other higher peak than playing songs about New England in the mecca of New England.

There was, like, a limit to my dreams when I was a kid — what I could do for a living and how big it could be. I'm trying to have my 8-year-old self be proud of me. I don't think he could even imagine where I'd be now. 

I'm so proud of the people I work with, I'm so proud of myself, because I have really worked hard for this, and I've sacrificed a lot of things in my life to make music happen. To get to this place, it just feels like all those hard decisions were worth it. 

I'm grateful for all the people that have supported me, and the people that have taken time out of their day to believe in my music when I couldn't believe in it. I'm just happy to feel like I belong here.

Lizzy McAlpine’s Big Year: The Viral Singer Details The Biggest Moments Behind Her Fast-Rising Career

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.

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11 Electric Coachella Surprise Guest Moments From Weekend 1: Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Rauw Alejandro & More
Rauw Alejandro comes out as surprise guest at Coachella 2023 during fiancé Rosalía's set.

Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

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11 Electric Coachella Surprise Guest Moments From Weekend 1: Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Rauw Alejandro & More

Weekend 1 of Coachella 2023 has come and gone, but not without countless surprises and viral moments. Take a look at some of the most exhilarating surprise guests — from Billie Eilish and Rauw Alejandro — from one of the year's biggest music festivals.

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2023 - 08:05 pm

As delightfully dizzying as its famous ferris wheel, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival fills Indio's Colorado Desert with never-ending fun.

This year, Coachella booked history-making headliners Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, and Frank Ocean, along with more than 150 other artists to perform across six stages. But one of the festival's most exciting parts, however, is its surprise performers.

The first weekend of Coachella is traditionally known for its big surprises and busy crowds — and this year didn't disappoint, offering surprise performances from global superstars to underground darlings.

From Tyler, The Creator to The Weeknd, here are some of the standout surprise guests from Coachella Weekend 1.

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Metro Boomin Astonished With Not One, But 7 Star Guests

In perhaps the most star-studded performance of the weekend, Metro Boomin welcomed a slew of collaborators to color his already spectacular set at the Sahara Tent. Throughout the night, The Weeknd, Future, 21 Savage, Don Toliver, Diddy, John Legend, and Mike Dean all joined the producer on stage to perform highlights from Heroes & Villains, Savage Mode, and more. Metro Boomin ended the evening with a live debut of "Creepin" alongside 21 Savage and Diddy.

MUNA Brought Out boygenius For "Silk Chiffon"

Life's so fun, life's so fun. While many festival goers anticipated Phoebe Bridgers to join MUNA for their bubbly collaboration "Silk Chiffon," the band shocked their audience by bringing out not just Bridgers, but Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus as well — all members of the supergroup boygenius, who performed their own lively set at Coachella the next day.

Bad Bunny Tapped Post Malone, Jhayco & More Stars

Now a headliner four years after making his Coachella debut, Bad Bunny made sure to pull out all the stops for his highly-anticipated performance. The Puerto Rican superstar brought out Post Malone for guitar-driven renditions of “La Canción” and “Yonaguni"; Jhayco (and a jet ski) for “Dákiti”; and Ñengo Flow and Jowell & Randy for “Safaera.”

Among Many Guests, Gorillaz Brought Out De La Soul To Dedicate "Feel Good Inc." To Late David Jolicoeur

On the festival's main stage, Gorillaz brightened their already glowing set with many surprise stars. Thundercat appeared first for "Cracker Island," shortly followed by individual performers Peven Everett, Jamie Principle, Bootie Brown, and Slowthai.

De La Soul appeared for their collaboration "Feel Good Inc.," dedicating the song to their late member, David ‘Trugoy The Dove’ Jolicoeur. For the closer "Clint Eastwood," Del The Funky Homosapien returned to the stage, after assisting with "Rock The House" earlier in the set.

Becky G Enlisted Marca MP, Jesús Ortiz Paz, Peso Pluma & Natti Natasha

Becky G made her Coachella debut this year, and she made sure to fill her 45-minute set with several guest stars. Marca MP joined her for “Ya Acabó," and Jesús Ortiz Paz of Fuerza Regida sang “Te Quiero Besar" and "Bebe Dame" alongside the star. Fans went wild when Peso Pluma showed up to perform his collaboration “Chanel," and after an outfit change, Becky G welcomed Natti Natasha for their joint track “Sin Pijama.”

Kali Uchis Amazed With Tyler, The Creator, Omar Apollo & Don Toliver

Kali Uchis' performances are always magical, and her surprise guests helped enchant audiences during her Coachella set. Tyler, The Creator joined Uchis to perform their Flower Boy collaboration “See You Again,” and later, Omar Apollo and Don Toliver took the stage to perform "Worth the Wait" and “Fantasy" respectively, both duets from her hypnotic latest album Red Moon In Venus.

Charli XCX And Troye Sivan Took It Back To "1999"

For one of the last few explosive shows of her CRASH era, Charli XCX brought the lightning by inviting Troye Sivan on stage to perform their poppy joint song "1999." Donning shades and silver accessories, the close friends and collaborators wore all-black attire but still shined during their shared performance.

DOMi & JD Beck Welcomed Mac DeMarco & Thundercat

During their bouncy set on Friday, innovative jazz duo DOMi & JD Beck surprised with two high-profile guests: Mac DeMarco and Thundercat. At the Mojave Tent, the four celebrated DOMi & JD Beck's bright debut album NOT TIGHT.

Rosalía Shared Stage With Fiancé Rauw Alejandro

Partway through an already invigorating, dance-filled set, Rosalía took her show to a new level: her fiancé, Rauw Alejandro, joined her to perform "Beso" and "Vampiros" from their joint EP RR. The music video for the former song announced the global superstar couple's engagement last month, showing off Rosalía’s stunning diamond ring.

Ellie Goulding Was The "Miracle" Calvin Harris' Set Needed

With his set starting around midnight, Calvin Harris was just getting Coachella's party started on Saturday. After playing several high-profile collaboration mixes, Harris finally introduced his one guest of the evening — and a major one at that. Frequent collaborator Ellie Goulding appeared to perform "Miracle," the duo's single that dropped last month.

Labrinth Surprised Everyone With Billie Eilish

Loneliness didn't last long at Labrinth's Saturday set. The singer's massive crowd was pleased to see former Coachella headliner Billie Eilish stop by to perform the pair's latest collaboration, "Never Felt So Alone." The track originally premiered on HBO's Euphoria, and Labrinth and Eilish made its live debut at Eilish's headline show at California's Kia Forum back in December.

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