Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album | GRAMMY.com (2024)

Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album | GRAMMY.com (1)

Dua Lipa at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

list

As Dua Lipa continues the dance party she started in 2017, her third studio album sees the pop star more assured — and more starry-eyed — than ever before.

Glenn Rowley

|GRAMMYs/May 3, 2024 - 03:13 pm

As someone who has dedicated her life to being a performer, Dua Lipa's recent admission to Apple Music's Zane Lowe seems almost unfathomable: "I never thought of the idea of being famous."

Stardom may not have been on her mind as a kid, but Lipa is now, indeed, one of the most famous pop stars on the planet as she releases her highly anticipated third album, Radical Optimism.

In the seven years since her acclaimed 2017 self-titled debut, Lipa has achieved several highs — like three GRAMMY wins, including Best New Artist in 2019 — as well as the subsequent lows that can often come with global stardom. And though the singer also admitted to Lowe that it "took me a while to find my voice," Radical Optimism is her most self-assured album yet — one that hinges on the title being not only the project's name, but also its defining approach to Lipa's present-day vision for her life.

"Radical Optimism and the way that I see it is this idea of rolling with the punches, of not letting anything get you down for too long. Of always seeing the positive side of things. Of being able to grow and move forward and change your perspective regardless of what's happening in your life…I think it's a big part of maturing and growing up."

The entire album was crafted in her native London over the course of a year-and-a-half, with Lipa enlisting a small band of collaborators — including her righthand co-writer Caroline Ailin, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Danny L. Harle and Tobias Jesso, Jr. — to create a cohesive, buoyant body of work tinged with disco, funk and bits of psychedelic pop.

Naturally, "radical optimism" is a core thread that runs through all eleven songs as Lipa reflects on falling in and out of love, grapples with her fame and confidently declares that everything that came before Radical Optimism was just a practice run. After all, as she brazenly declares on the LP's second single, "Training season's over."

As you enter Dua's latest musical world, dive into four major takeaways from Radical Optimism below.

Radical Optimism Isn't Just A New Era — It's A Whole New Perspective

When Lipa accepted her GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2021, she declared she was officially done with the "sad music" that had fueled her breakout debut album. And if 2020's Future Nostalgia was, in context, a kind of clubby, '80s-driven turning point for the artist, she fully embraces the Radical Optimism promised by its follow-up's title. Lipa's newfound attitude is both clear-eyed and relentlessly positive across the album's 11 tracks, whether she's gushing over a new love on giddy opener "End of an Era," being kept up all night by thoughts of a seductive crush on "Whatcha Doing" or cutting her losses and ditching out early on the spellbinding "French Exit."

Even "These Walls," on which she watches a doomed relationship fade to black, is approached with a sense of inevitability laced with clarity and astute kindness. "But if these walls could talk/ They'd say enough, they'd say give up/ If these walls could talk/ They'd say/ You know you're f—ed/ It's not supposed to hurt this much/ Oh, if these walls could talk/ They tell us to break up," Lipa sings over gossamer production and a piano line by Andrew Wyatt.

You Can Still Find Her On The Dance Floor

The rollout for Radical Optimism was front-loaded with the release of three singles ahead of the full album in the form of "Houdini," "Training Season" and "Illusion." Between the three subsequent music videos and a thrilling live performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs in February, Lipa signaled that her third LP would be filled with her signature style of scintillating dance floor bangers.

The rest of the album more than delivers on that promise, with an overall BPM that rarely falls below what's needed for a full-blown aerobic workout — perfect for over-the-top choreography, of course. And in case the Service95 founder's commitment to the dance floor isn't already apparent, just look at the history-making hat trick she recently pulled off on the Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart: as of press time, "Houdini," "Illusion" and "Training Season" occupied the top three spots, marking a first for any female artist in modern music history.

She's Redefining Love On Her Own Terms

If the litany of love songs on Radical Optimism are any indication, it's safe to say Lipa is head over heels these days (with boyfriend Callum Turner, perhaps?). Opening track "End of an Era" may mark the beginning of a new musical journey for the singer, but it's just as much about the thrill of a new relationship. Later on the track list, she uses album cut "Falling Forever" to grow an initial spark of infatuation into a red-hot love affair as she yearns, "How long, how long/ Can it just keep getting better?/ Can we keep falling forever" on the lovestruck chorus.

Lipa also makes it clear on the shapeshifting highlight "Anything For Love" that she's "not interested in a love that gives up so easily." As she refuses to accept the modern paradigm of ghosting, non-committal situationships and running away when things get hard, the song morphs from a tender piano ballad into danceable, mid-tempo groove, giving the listener just enough breathing room to wrestle with the questions of what kind of love they'll accept before dancing it out.

She's Putting Her Emotional Growth On Full Display

It's been almost seven years since Lipa spelled out her "New Rules" for a generation of pop lovers, and some of the most affecting cuts on Radical Optimism prove the British-Albanian star has accrued even more hard-won wisdom since her early days of "If you're under him, you ain't gettin' over him."

Penultimate track "Maria" finds Lipa thanking the ghost of her current lover's ex-girlfriend for making him a better man: "Never thought I could feel this way/ Grateful for all the love you gave/ Here's to the lovers that make you change/ Maria, Maria, Maria."

Meanwhile, on album closer "Happy for You," the singer turns her attention not to a lover's ex-girlfriend, but to an ex who's moved on from her and found himself happier than ever. It's a complex, but decidedly mature feeling to realize you're genuinely happy for someone you used to love, but Lipa encapsulates the emotion perfectly.

"Oh, I must've loved you more than I ever knew/ Didn't know I could ever feel/ 'Cause I'm happy for you," she sings on the chorus. "Now I know everything was real/ I'm not mad, I'm not hurt/ You got everything you deserve/ Oh, I must've loved you more than I ever knew/ I'm happy for you."

The grown-up sentiment finishes the album on a bittersweet emotional high — proving that no matter what life throws at her, Lipa will remain radically and unapologetically optimistic to the end.

GRAMMY Rewind: Dua Lipa Champions Happiness As She Accepts Her GRAMMY For Best Pop Vocal Album In 2021

Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album | GRAMMY.com (2)

Dua Lipa performs at the 2024 TIME100 Gala in New York City.

Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

feature

Four years after 'Future Nostalgia,' Dua Lipa's third album is finally upon us. Look back on her journey to 'Radical Optimism,' and how it's the result of the pop megastar's evolving quest for new ways to celebrate each moment.

Lior Phillips

|GRAMMYs/May 2, 2024 - 01:52 pm

Long before Dua Lipa reached pop megastardom, she declared the mantra that would soon become the core of her art: "It has to be fun."

Whether in club-hopping evenings or tear-streaked mornings, Lipa has continuously found a way to bring catharsis and movement into every moment — and, subsequently, every song she's released. So when she announced that her new album would be called Radical Optimism, the second word seemed obvious. But what would radical mean for Dua Lipa, and how did she get there?

Considering her time as a model prior to her music career taking off, many found it easy to write off the London-born singer as by-the-books pop, all-image artist. But even before taking a listen to her self-titled debut, Lipa's upbringing reveals far more complex feelings and inspirations.

The daughter of Kosovo Albanian parents living in London, Lipa took notes from her musician father, digging deep on the likes of the Police, David Bowie and Radiohead, while dancing to Ciara and Missy Elliott with her classmates. After a four-year stint in Kosovo when her family relocated, the then 15-year-old Dua moved back to London to stay with a family friend and build towards an inevitable music-oriented life, which began with clubbing incessantly and posting covers of Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera on YouTube.

Lipa was still working in restaurants when she first made contact with the music industry, burning the candle at both ends — as well as a third end unseen to mortals. "I'd finish work, then go out to whatever nightclub was happening until, like, 3 in the morning," she recently recalled to Elle. "Then I would wake up and go to the studio until I had my shift again at, like, 8 pm."

Warner Bros. Records caught wind of those sessions and signed her in 2014, leading to even more time in the studio (and, likely, less waitressing). Her debut single, 2015's "New Love," showcases everything that would lead to her eventual pop takeover: the resonant, sultry vocals, a propulsive beat, and a video full of effortless cool.

There would be seven more singles to follow from 2017's Dua Lipa, with the budding pop star co-writing a majority of the albums' tracks, alt R&B icon Miguel collaborating on a song, and Coldplay's Chris Martin providing additional vocals on the closer. While there are plenty of hits to take away ("Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" is a particular favorite in its grand and stompy disco sass), the true star here is "New Rules." Detailing the "rules" to avoid a problematic ex, the song could be cloying and twee, but Lipa's chill swagger sells the dance floor intensity and female empowerment in equal doses.

Listeners around the world agreed, as the song marked Lipa's first No. 1 in the UK and several other countries, as well as her first top 10 hit in the U.S. It also earned Lipa spots at festivals, a performance on Later… With Jools Holland, and five nominations at the 2018 Brit Awards — the most of any artist that year. She laid out a pretty clear manifesto after winning British Female Solo Artist: "Here's to more women on these stages, more women winning awards, and more women taking over the world."

As that year went on, Lipa solidified her own role in that mission. She became a hot collaboration commodity, first linking with Calvin Harris for the UK chart-topping "One Kiss"; then teaming with Mark Ronson and Diplo's Silk City for another club hit, "Electricity"; and even being recruited for Andrea Bocelli for "If Only," a track on his 2018 album, . Her breakthrough was cemented in GRAMMY gold at the 2019 ceremony, too, as she won two golden gramophones: Best Dance Recording for "Electricity," and the coveted Best New Artist.

Early word of the Dua Lipa followup, Future Nostalgia, was that Lipa was amping the disco energy. "[The album] feels like a dancercise class," she hinted in July 2019 to the BBC, who also reported that the now full-fledged pop star was working with Pharrell, Nile Rodgers, Tove Lo, and Diplo.

Lead single "Don't Start Now" was co-written with the team behind "New Rules," and the hyper-elastic bass, MIDI strings, and honest-to-goodness cowbell more than lived up to her promise of disco domination. The track went platinum in five countries, a feat that would go on to be topped by multiple tracks on the album, including the smoldering "Physical" and the INXS-interpolating "Break My Heart."

The album's March 2020 release was a thing of anxious beauty. It could've been pure tragedy to release an album designed for sweaty, crowded clubs in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. And when the album leaked a full two weeks prior to its release, even Lipa wasn't sure if her timing was right. "I'm not sure if I'm even doing the right thing, but I think the thing we need the most at the moment is music, and we need joy and we need to be trying to see the light," she said in an Instagram Live days before the album's release.

True to that spirit, Lipa's openhearted enthusiasm and unadulterated fun made the album a staple of lockdown dance parties and wistful dancefloor daydreams. In a bit of chicken-and-egg magic, the album's runaway hit is the inescapable "Levitating." The song's buoyant synth pulse, clap-along disco groove, drippy strings and punchy hook add to something far greater than the sum of its parts. And DaBaby's in-the-cut remix verse helps fulfill Lipa's rap-meets-pop dreams. But it definitely didn't hurt to have the track basically overrun TikTok — and a video produced in partnership with the platform — at a time when we were all stuck at home, looking at our phones as a way to connect with the world.

That was only the beginning of the pop star's effort to make the most of the pandemic era; Lipa continued to find innovative ways to bring fans into her disco-fueled sonic universe for some joy and connection. For one, she evolved Future Nostalgia into a remix album: Club Future Nostalgia, featuring electronic minds like Moodymann and Yaeji, as well as high-profile guests like BLACKPINK, Madonna, and Missy Elliott. And while fans who had grown connected to the album were hungry for an event to attend, she developed Studio 2054. The technicolor, gleeful live-streamed event saw millions of viewers virtually join Lipa in an immaculately choreographed, star-studded dance party — one that further displayed her magnetic personality and in-the-moment attitude.

Through the entire Future Nostalgia era, Lipa's purpose further proved to be more than the music. Yet again, it was about the amount of fun and energy it was able to provide to fans, something that proved to resonate in an even bigger way than her first project.

"[Future Nostalgia] took on its own life. And that in itself showed me that everything is in its own way for its own specific purpose, for its own reason," she told Variety earlier this year. "As long as I'm being of service and the music is there and it's a soundtrack for a moment in time, or in someone's life, then I've done what I was supposed to do."

Before getting to work on her third LP, Lipa kept the dance party going with new and old collaborators. First, she scored another UK No. 1 and U.S. top 10 hit alongside Elton John with "Cold Heart (Pnau remix)"; later, she was enlisted for feel-good singles from Megan Thee Stallion and Calvin Harris' 2022 albums. Then, a reunion with Mark Ronson led to a summer 2023 detour in Barbie land, resulting in another disco-tinged smash, "Dance the Night," for the blockbuster film's soundtrack (as well as her acting debut!).

With the good vibes clearly not fading, Lipa was primed for her next musical venture. In November, she unveiled the lead single to her next project, "Houdini," a swirling track that features a trio of new collaborators — and a brilliant, if seemingly dissimilar, set of co-writers at that: former PC Music electronic experimentalist Danny Harle, Tame Impala frontman (and retro psychedelia mastermind) Kevin Parker, and breezy Canadian singer/songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. But with her trusty songwriter pal Caroline Ailin also in tow, Lipa retained the same trademark dance pop pulse amid crunchy bass and stomping percussion — putting the Radical into the Optimism.

She kept the same team (and energy) for the album's subsequent singles, "Training Season" and "Illusion." The former thumps and jitters underneath Lipa opting for a willowy falsetto in the chorus, a song that can unite Tame Impala psych addicts and more traditional poptimists at the club. And where earlier Lipa tracks might have been more eager to get to a bright punch, "Illusion" smolders patiently, trusting that the vocalist's charisma can buoy even the subtler moments.

While the album's first three singles carry echoes of the propulsive, dance floor energy of Future Nostalgia, Lipa took more notes from a more modern pop era than the disco days on Radical Optimism. "I think the Britpop element that really came to me was the influences of Oasis and Massive Attack and Portishead and Primal Scream, and the freedom and the energy those records had," she told Variety. "I love the experimentation behind it."

But, she insists, that's not to say that she's produced the next "Wonderwall." This isn't Dua Lipa's Britpop turn, but rather her latest experiment in finding freedom and embracing the moment.

"When I hear 'Teardrop' by Massive Attack and I'm like, 'how did this song even come to be? It feels like it just happened in a moment of real freedom and writing and emotion," she continued in the Variety interview. "And I think that was just the feeling I was trying to convey more than anything."

And in her mind, that freedom needs to remain at the core of everything — whether working through a global pandemic or working on a new project. "I think it's important that we just learn to walk through the fire and not hide away from it, or shy away from it," she added. "That's just optimism. It's probably the most daring thing we can do."

Chappell Roan's Big Year: The 'Midwest Princess' Examines How She Became A Pop "Feminomenon"

Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album | GRAMMY.com (3)

(Clockwise from bottom left): Kamasi Washington, Mdou Moctar, Billie Wilish, Arooj Aftab, Zayn, Twenty-One Pilots, Dua Lipa.

Photos: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella; Ebru Yildiz; Kelia Anne MacClusky; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images; Ashley-Osborn; Kevin Winter/Getty Images For The Recording Academy

list

A fresh crop of spring releases is on the way in May from much-loved pop, rock, and alternative artists. From Dua Lipa's 'Radical Optimism,' to Sia's return on 'Reasonable Woman,' read on for 15 thrilling May releases.

Tássia Assis

|GRAMMYs/May 1, 2024 - 02:18 pm

As a month that welcomes rising temperatures and blooming flowers, May will also bring a flurry of new albums. In its first week, Dua Lipa will put forth her third LP and inject the world with a good dose of Radical Optimism. She will be joined by Sia and her tenth album, Reasonable Woman, and by R&B newcomer 4Batz, who will debut with the mixtape U Made Me St4r.

On May 17, it's Billie Eilish's turn to drop the much-awaited Hit Me Hard and Soft, as well as the return of Cage the Elephant with Neon Pill, and former One Direction member Zayn experimenting with new sounds on Room Under the Stairs.

Later on, Twenty One Pilots drop their final concept album, Clancy, and Sam Tompkins and Tems will both make their studio album debuts with hi my name is insecure and Born in the Wild, respectively. The month will close off with Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab's Night Reign, but before that, there's plenty of other releases to explore.

GRAMMY.com compiled a list with 15 must-listen albums dropping in May 2024 so that you can take a stroll at this month's burgeoning, diverse garden.

Dua Lipa - Radical Optimism

Release date: May 3

"A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to the term 'radical optimism'," said Dua Lipa in a press statement about her upcoming third album, out May 3. "It struck me — the idea of going through chaos gracefully and feeling like you can weather any storm."

This perspective on life inspired the British-Albanian singer both personally and musically. Radical Optimism comes brimming with the "pure joy and happiness of having clarity in situations that once seemed impossible to face." With 11 tracks and production by Danny L Harle and Kevin Parker, the record spins psychedelia and Britpop into a "tribute to UK rave culture," as Lipa described it in an interview for Rolling Stone.

Read more:

A preview of the sounds she will approach in the successor of 2020's Future Nostalgia can be seen through singles "Houdini," "Training Session," and "Illusion." Starting June, Lipa will perform a string of concerts in Europe and headline Glastonbury Festival in the U.K.

Kamasi Washington - Fearless Movement

Release date: May 3

It's been six years since jazz virtuoso Kamasi Washington released his latest album, 2016's Heaven and Earth. Hence, his return is highly anticipated: Fearless Movement will come out on May 3, and is described in a press release as Washington's first "dance album."

"It's not literal," he explained. "Dance is movement and expression, and in a way it's the same thing as music — expressing your spirit through your body. That's what this album is pushing."

Fearless Movement was also inspired by the here-and-now, and the changes that Washington went through since the birth of his first child. "Being a father means the horizon of your life all of a sudden shows up," he shared. "My mortality became more apparent to me, but also my immortality — realizing that my daughter is going to live on and see things that I'm never going to see. I had to become comfortable with this, and that affected the music that I was making."

Washington's daughter also earned songwriting credits in "Asha The First," after coming up with a melody while playing on the piano. In addition to her, the LP also features appearances from André 3000 on the flute, Terrace Martin, Thundercat, Patrice Quinn, George Clinton, BJ The Chicago Kid, and more.

Soon after the release, Washington will kick off a North American tour throughout June, and then head over to Europe and the U.K. in October and November.

Charlotte Day Wilson - Cyan Blue

Release date: May 3

Following her acclaimed 2021 debut LP, Alpha, Canadian multihyphenate Charlotte Day Wilson dives into Cyan Blue for her sophom*ore release. "You passed through me like a light, but part of you would always remain," she shared about the record on Instagram. "Imprinted, stacked, a palimpsest of love and pain that left me with a world of blue. These are the stories and the palette I was given to paint them with."

Read more: Press Play At Home: Watch Charlotte Day Wilson Perform A Lithe Version Of "I Can Only Whisper"

Day Wilson has a gift for turning intimate reflections into timeless artwork, and this album sees her experimenting with a more carefree approach. "Before, I was extremely intentional about creating music with a strong foundation, a bed of artistic integrity…" she shared in a press release. "But that was a bit stifling, like, ‘Let me just make a great piece of art that will stand the test of time, no pressure.' Now, I think I'm getting out of this frozen state of needing everything to be perfect. I'm more interested in capturing feelings in the moment as they happen and leaving them in that moment."

Cyan Blue will feature 13 tracks, including singles "I Don't Love You" and "Canopy." For those lucky to experience Day Wilson's inimitable voice live, she will be touring North America from May through July.

Mdou Moctar - Funeral for Justice

Release date: May 3

"This album is really different for me," shares Mdou Moctar, the band's namesake, singer, and guitarist, in a press release about their upcoming release, Funeral for Justice. "Now the problems of terrorist violence are more serious in Africa. When the U.S. and Europe came here, they said they're going to help us, but what we see is really different. They never help us to find a solution."

Funeral For Justice doesn't hold back on examining the struggles of Niger and of the Tuareg people (of which Moctar, guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane and drummer Souleymane Ibrahim belong.) Recorded during the two years that the band spent touring after the release of 2021's acclaimed Afrique Victime, it is described as "louder, faster, and more wild," with fiery guitar solos and "passionately political" lyrics that permeate nine meteoric tracks.

"Mdou Moctar has been a strong anti-colonial band ever since I've been a part of it," adds bassist and producer Mikey Coltun. "France came in, f****d up the country, then said ‘you're free.' And they're not." So far, the band shared lead single "Funeral for Justice" and the mesmerizing "Imouhar" — an elegy to their Tamasheq language, which is at risk of dying out. "People here are just using French," said Moctar. "They're starting to forget their own language. We feel like in a hundred years no one will speak good Tamasheq, and that's so scary for us."

After performing at Coachella in April, the band is set to tour the U.S. in June and Europe and the U.K. in August. The run includes several festival appearances, like Bonnaroo, Green River, and Glastonbury.

4Batz - U Made Me A St4r

Release date: May 3

Viral R&B and hip hop singer 4Batz initially announced his debut mixtape, U Made Me A St4r, for April, but the release was postponed for a month. "Been making some of the best s**t of my life the last couple weeks," he shared on Instagram. "So ima push the mixtape to 5.3.24 so it can be perfect for yall."

The contrast between 4Batz's tough appearance and high-pitched love songs propelled him to the stars. He garnered the attention of artists like Kanye West, Robin Thicke, and Drake — who ultimately signed him to his record label OVO in order to release this mixtape. Drake also featured on a remix of 4Batz's 2023 hit, "act ii: date @ 8."

Although there's not much info on the tracklist or any upcoming activities, the Dallas-born singer is excited by the mystery: "I'm really in love with this EP," he told Billboard in a recent interview. This EP's gon' break the f**kin' internet, world, all this s**t."

Sia - Reasonable Woman

Release date: May 3

Since the release of lead single "Gimme Love" in September 2023, fans have been eagerly awaiting for Australian superstar Sia's new album. Titled Reasonable Woman and set to drop on May 3, this is her 10th studio release overall, and her first proper pop solo LP since 2016's This Is Acting.

Anticipation only grew as Sia shared a number of lofty singles in past months, including the Kylie Minogue collaboration "Dance Alone," "Incredible" featuring Labrinth, and the recent "Fame Won't Love You," with Paris Hilton. Through the LP's 15 tracks, the singer collaborated further with Chaka Khan, Tierra Whack, Missy Elliott, Kaliii and Jimmy Jolliff.

Behind the scenes, Reasonable Woman also held a star-studded list of producers, engineers, and writers, such as Greg Kurstin, Jesse Shatkin, Benny Blanco, Bülow, Cashmere Cat, Mark "Spike" Stent, Rosalía and more.

Billie Eilish - Hit Me Hard and Soft

Release date: May 17

In April, when a series of billboards and posters with lyric snippets and Billie Eilish's signature "blosh" logo appeared in major global cities, fans knew that her anticipated third LP would be announced soon. A few days later, the GRAMMY and Oscar-winning artist shared a video teaser for Hit Me Hard and Soft, set to release on May 17.

Eilish took it to Instagram to disclose her excitement, and that she is "not doing singles i wanna give it to you all at once." As usual, the record was written by herself and brother, producer, and musical collaborator Finneas O'Connell. According to a press release, Hit Me Hard and Soft includes ten tracks, and "does exactly as the title suggests; hits you hard and soft both lyrically and sonically, while bending genres and defying trends along the way." The album launch also focuses on sustainability by using "the most sustainable practices available" with a page on her website dedicated to ecological production details.

In an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, the musician teased title track "Hit Me Hard and Soft" and b-side "Chihiro," which references the main character in Studio Ghibli's 2001 animation, Spirited Away. "I feel like every time you put anything out, it feels like your nudes leaked a little bit, and I think this [album], specifically, is like that," Eilish added. "Something that Finneas and I said to a couple of people when we were starting to play it for people was that we kind of made the album that if somebody had said, you know, ‘I want you to make an album, and no one is gonna hear it'... We pretty much, with exceptions, made that album. We made an album without really any — or much — thought of other people."

Of Montreal - Lady on the Cusp

Release date: May 17

Lady on the Cusp is the 19th album from of Montreal, the band project of multi-instrumentalist and singer Kevin Barnes. Inspired by a relocation from Athens, GA — where Barnes lived for nearly three decades — to Vermont together with his partner, songwriter Christina Schneider (aka Locate S,1), Lady is shaped by his reflections on that experience.

According to a press statement, the album is a "reintroduction" to of Montreal, comprising 10 "funny and sad, sexy and brooding, playful and serious" tracks. This carefree approach can be seen on lead single "Yung Hearts Bleed Free," which was influenced by Leos Carax's 1984 film Boy Meets Girl and by Bootsy's Rubber Band, as well as on the laid back "Rude Girl on Rotation."

Two weeks after dropping the album, of Montreal will embark on a major tour across the U.S., starting in Athens, GA, and wrapping it up on July 2 in Asheville, NC.

Cage the Elephant - Neon Pill

Release date: May 17

After winning Best Rock Album at the 2020 GRAMMYs for Social Cues, Cage the Elephant went through a rough patch. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, lead vocalist Matt Shultz weathered a mental health crisis, and the band lost several close family members and friends, including Matt and Brad Shultz's father.

Five years later, the alt-rock sextet is ready to reemerge with their sixth studio album, Neon Pill, out May 17. "To me, Neon Pill is the first record where we were consistently uninfluenced, and I mean that in a positive way," said Matt in a statement. "Everything is undoubtedly expressed through having settled into finding our own voice. We've always drawn inspiration from artists we love, and at times we've even emulated some of them to a certain degree. With this album, having gone through so much, life had almost forced us into becoming more and more comfortable with ourselves… We just found a uniqueness in simply existing."

Produced by John Hill, the record spans 12 tracks that "alchemized a season of tragedy and turbulence" into a whirlwind of riffs and emotions. A preview of Neon Pill can be seen through the title track and singles "Out Loud" and "Good Time." To celebrate their return, the band will tour North America throughout the summer, including performances at Bonnaroo, Hangout Music Festival, and Oceans Calling.

Zayn - Room Under the Stairs

Release date: May 17

For his fourth full-length album, Room Under the Stairs, British singer and One Direction alum Zayn enlisted an unforeseen co-producer: Dave Cobb. Known for his work with Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Bruce Springsteen, and Lady Gaga, Cobb is responsible for aiding Zayn to step into a new musical direction.

Swiping his signature moody R&B, Zayn dives into country and adult contemporary for the upcoming release, as can be seen in debuted singles "What I Am" and "Alienated." In an interview for the Call Her Daddy podcast last year, the singer shared, "I'm doing a record I don't think people are really gonna expect. It's a different sound for me. And it's got some more narrative going on, like real-life experiences and stuff. My daughter's mentioned in there a couple of times".

"I think the intention behind this album fully is for the listener to get more insight on me personally as a human being," Zayn explained in a teaser video. The 15-track collection follows up 2021's Nobody Is Listening, and was written over the course of several years at Zayn's home in rural Pennsylvania. "That's why it's raw," he added. "It's just me writing this. I didn't want anybody else to be in between me and the music and the music and the people listening to it."

Twenty One Pilots - Clancy

Release date: May 17

On May 17, 2015, Twenty One Pilots released their breakthrough LP, Blurryface. The record also marked the beginning of an intricate concept album series — which is due to come to a conclusion almost a decade later, on May 17 of this year.

Titled Clancy, the final piece of the puzzle states that "a new chapter begins," while making several references to the GRAMMY-winning duo's past works. On lead single "Overcompensate," for example, they mirror the outro of "Levitate" and rehash lyrics from "Bandito," both tracks off their 2018 LP, Trench. Clancy was produced by frontman Tyler Joseph and Paul Meany, and contains 13 tracks.

Most recently, TOP shared the single "Next Semester," alongside dates for an extensive world tour that will cross North America, Australia, New Zealand, The U.K., and Europe.

Sam Tompkins - hi, my name is insecure

Release date: May 24

"I really like being in the company of my friends," shared rising British singer Sam Tompkins in a press statement. "But if you take me out of my comfort zone, and have me hang out at a party or an event or whatever, I just go inside myself and I find any excuse to get out of it."

That statement helps explain why Tompkins titled his anticipated debut album hi, my name is insecure, set to drop on May 24. Despite a genuine talent to produce stirring songs, the Brighton native still struggles with social anxiety and depression — themes that appear often in his lyrics, and contribute to his global resonance.

Tompkins is "championing authenticity without taking himself too seriously," and that might be why his work is so relevant. A tracklist for the LP has yet to be revealed, but Tompkins's sensitive writing can be seen in a slew of singles, including "phones in heaven," "someone else," and "see me."

Tems - Born in the Wild

Release date: TBA

Nigerian singer Tems earned the eyes and the ears of international media with her Afrobeats-infused R&B. First raising attention with her feature in Wizkid's 2020 single "Essence," she later built up a devoted fandom through two EPs: 2020's For Broken Ears and 2021's If Orange Was a Place. In 2022, she was credited as a featured artist in Future's "Wait For U," which led her to win a GRAMMY for Best Melodic Rap Performance.

This month, Tems will finally release her long-awaited debut album, Born in the Wild. The official announcement came with a teaser video for the title track, disclosed one day after her Coachella set in April. "It's all over the news, all over the news, I know this/ Under the sun, struggling to find my focus/ When I was young, younger then/ I was always running away," she sings, reflecting on her childhood in Lagos. "I grew up in the wilderness/ Didn't know much about openness."

Born in the Wild follows Tems' 2023 singles, "Me & U" and "Not an Angel." The singer has yet to reveal further info about the record, as well as a definite release date.

Kameron Marlowe - Keepin' the Lights On

Release date: May 31

Powerhouse country singer Kameron Marlowe is gearing up to release his sophom*ore effort, Keepin' the Lights On, at the end of May. "The namesake of the album came from a conversation with my dad over the holidays about how he's always thanking the man upstairs for keeping it all together, especially when times get tough," he shared in a statement.

"For me, this record is a reminder of hard work, dedication and keeping the promises that we make," he continued. Featuring 16 tracks, including previously released singles "Quit You," "Strangers" with Ella Langley, and "Tennessee Don't Mind," Marlowe stated that the LP "explores everything from loss to love, depression to joy, and overcoming the voices in your head telling you you're not good enough."

"It's still crazy to me that people are listening to a small town boy from Kannapolis, North Carolina, but here I am releasing my second album. I can't wait for y'all to hear it," he added. Marlowe is currently on his Strangers 2024 North American tour, where he plays some of his new tracks.

Arooj Aftab - Night Reign

Release date: May 31

Just like the night, Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab's voice is deep and mysterious. Unsurprisingly, the night is also her "biggest source of inspiration," as she shared in a recent press release about her upcoming record, Night Reign, out May 31.

Following 2021's Vulture Prince (from which single "Mohabbat" won Best Global Music Performance at the 2022 GRAMMYs), the album is a nine-song compilation about how "some nights are for falling in love, some are for solitude and introspection, some are to be annoyed at a forced social gathering — and so go the stories of Night Reign." The list of collaborators include the soulful Cautious Clay, musical ensemble Chocolate Genius, jazz artist James Francies, and more.

Aftab shared the single "Raat Ki Rani" as a preview of the album, and announced a North America, U.K., and Europe tour throughout the rest of the year. She will also support Khruangbin for a run of fall shows in Washington, DC, St. Louis, MO, and New Orleans, LA.

Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album | GRAMMY.com (4)

VASSY

Photo: Eric Ross

video

Australian dance pop singer VASSY offers an acoustic take on her EDM-influenced single, “Off Switch.”

D. Mariah

|GRAMMYs/Apr 25, 2024 - 03:21 pm

In her latest track "Off Switch," Australian dance-pop artist VASSY captures the exhilarating intensity of a budding romance. She loves the rush but, at the same time, wishes she could fight the feeling, even if only for a few seconds.

"There's something electric between you and I/ The way we connected I can't describe/ We're right on the edge of blurring the lines/ Don't know why I'm scared of this rush inside," she sings in the intro. "I wish my heart, it had an off switch/ 'Cause, boy, I don't know how to stop this."

In this episode of Global Spin, watch VASSY deliver an acoustic performance of her track, playing guitar and using a pair of castanets for added rhythm.

VASSY released "Off Switch" on Jan. 5 with an electrifying music video swirling with vibrant neon lights.

Recently she wrapped a string of appearances supporting Aqua's United States leg of their world tour and earlier this month, performed a headlining show in San Diego. On May 18, she will take the stage at the BASSINTHEGRASS music festival in Darwin, Australia.

Press play on the video above to watch VASSY's lively performance of "Off Switch," and remember to check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Global Spin.

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

Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album | GRAMMY.com (5)

(L-R) Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and Selena Gomez during the 2008 Teen Choice Awards.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/TCA 2008/WireImage/Getty Images

feature

As Disney Music Group celebrates its defining era of superstars and franchises, relive the magic of the 2000s with a playlist of hits from Hilary Duff, Jesse McCartney and more.

Glenn Rowley

|GRAMMYs/Apr 23, 2024 - 06:41 pm

"...and you're watching Disney Channel!" For anyone who grew up in the 2000s, those five words likely trigger some pretty vivid imagery: a glowing neon wand, an outline of Mickey Mouse's ears, and every Disney star from Hilary Duff to the Jonas Brothers.

Nearly 20 years later, many of those child stars remain instantly recognizable — and often mononymous — to the millions of fans who grew up with them: Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Nick, Kevin and Joe.

Each of those names has equally memorable music attached to it — tunes that often wrap any given millennial in a blanket of nostalgia for a time that was, for better or for worse, "So Yesterday." And all of those hits, and the careers that go with them, have the same starting point in Hollywood Records, Disney Music Group's pop-oriented record label.

This time in Disney's history — the core of which can be traced from roughly 2003 to 2010 — was impactful on multiple fronts. With its music-oriented programming and multi-platform marketing strategies, the network launched a procession of teen idols whose music would come to define the soundtrack to millennials' lives, simultaneously breaking records with its Disney Channel Original Movies, TV shows and soundtracks.

Now, two decades later, Disney Music Group launched the Disney 2000s campaign, honoring the pivotal, star-making era that gave fans a generation of unforgettable pop music. The campaign will last through August and lead directly into D23 2024: The Ultimate Fan Event with special vinyl releases of landmark LPs and nostalgic social media activations occurring all summer long. April's campaign activation was Disney 2000s Weekend at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, which featured special screenings of 2008's Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert and 2009's Hannah Montana: The Movie and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.

But before Miley and the JoBros, Hollywood Records' formula for creating relatable (and bankable) teen pop stars began with just one name: Hilary Duff. At the time, the bubbly blonde girl next door was essentially the face of the network thanks to her starring role in "Lizzie McGuire," and she'd just made the leap to the big screen in the summer of 2003 with The Lizzie McGuire Movie. In her years with Disney, Duff had dabbled in recording songs for Radio Disney, and even released a Christmas album under Buena Vista Records. However, her first album with Hollywood Records had the potential to catapult her from charming tween ingénue to bonafide teen pop star — and that's exactly what it did.

Released on August 26, 2003, Duff's Metamorphosis sold more than 200,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The following week, the bubblegum studio set performed the rare feat of rising from No. 2 to No. 1, making the then-16-year-old Duff the first solo artist under 18 to earn a No. 1 album since Britney Spears.

The album's immediate success was no fluke: Within a matter of months, Metamorphosis had sold 2.6 million copies. Music videos for its radio-friendly singles "So Yesterday" and "Come Clean" received constant airplay between programming on the Disney Channel. (The latter was eventually licensed as the theme song for MTV's pioneering teen reality series "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," giving it an additional boost as a cultural touchstone of the early '00s.) A 33-date North American tour soon followed, and Hollywood Records officially had a sensation on their hands.

Naturally, the label went to work replicating Duff's recipe for success, and even looked outside the pool of Disney Channel stars to develop new talent. Another early signee was Jesse McCartney. With a soulful croon and blonde mop, the former Dream Street member notched the label another big win with his 2004 breakout hit "Beautiful Soul."

"When 'Beautiful Soul' became the label's first No. 1 hit at radio, I think that's when they really knew they had something," McCartney tells GRAMMY.com. "Miley [Cyrus] and the Jonas Brothers were signed shortly after that success and the rest is history.

"The thing that Disney really excelled at was using the synergy of the channel with promoting songs at pop," he continues. "I did appearances on 'Hannah Montana' and 'The Suite Life of Zack & Cody' and my music videos were pushed to Disney Channel. The marketing was incredibly brilliant and I don't think there has been anything as connected with an entire generation like that since then."

By 2006, Disney had nearly perfected its synergistic formula, continually launching wildly popular tentpole franchises like High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls, and then giving stars like Vanessa Hudgens and Corbin Bleu recording contracts of their own. (Curiously, the pair's HSM co-star Ashley Tisdale was never signed to Hollywood Records, instead releasing her first two solo albums with Warner.)

Aly Michalka showed off her vocal chops as sunny girl next door Keely Teslow on "Phil of the Future," and fans could find her off-screen as one half of sibling duo Aly & AJ. In between their 2005 debut album Into the Rush and its electro-pop-charged follow-up, 2007's Insomniatic, Aly and her equally talented younger sister, AJ, also headlined their own Disney Channel Original Movie, Cow Belles. (Duff also helped trailblaze this strategy with her own early DCOM, the ever-charming Cadet Kelly, in 2002, while she was simultaneously starring in "Lizzie McGuire.")

Even after years of proven success, the next class of stars became Disney's biggest and brightest, with Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers all joining the network — and record label — around the same time. "Hannah Montana" found Cyrus playing a spunky middle schooler by day and world-famous pop star by night, and the network leveraged the sitcom's conceit to give the Tennessee native (and daughter of '90s country heartthrob Billy Ray Cyrus) the best of both worlds.

After establishing Hannah as a persona, the series' sophom*ore soundtrack introduced Miley as a pop star in her own right thanks to a clever double album that was one-half Hannah's music and one-half Miley's. It's literally there in the title: Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus.

From there, Cyrus' stardom took off like a rocket as she scored back-to-back No.1 albums and a parade of Top 10 hits like "See You Again," "7 Things," "The Climb," "Can't Be Tamed," and the ever-so-timeless anthem "Party in the U.S.A."

At the same time, Gomez had top billing on her own Disney Channel series, the magical (but less musical) "Wizards of Waverly Place." That hardly stopped her from launching her own music career, though, first by fronting Selena Gomez & the Scene from 2008 to 2012, then eventually going solo with the release of 2013's Stars Dance after the "Wizards" finale aired.

For her part, Lovato — Gomez's childhood bestie and "Barney & Friends" costar — got her big break playing Mitchie Torres in Camp Rock alongside the Jonas Brothers as fictional boy band Connect 3, led by Joe Jonas as the swaggering and floppy-haired Shane Gray. Much like Duff had five years prior in the wake of The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Lovato released her debut solo album, 2008's Don't Forget, just three months after her DCOM broke records for the Disney Channel.

Building off their chemistry from the movie musical, nearly the entirety of Don't Forget was co-written with the Jonas Brothers, who released two of their own albums on Hollywood Records — 2007's Jonas Brothers and 2008's A Little Bit Longer — before getting their own short-lived, goofily meta Disney series, "Jonas," which wrapped weeks after the inevitable Camp Rock sequel arrived in September 2010.

As the 2000s gave way to the 2010s, the Disney machine began slowing down as its cavalcade of stars graduated to more grown-up acting roles, music and careers. But from Duff's Metamorphosis through Lovato's 2017 LP, Tell Me You Love Me, Hollywood Records caught lightning in a bottle again and again and again, giving millennials an entire generation of talent that has carried them through adulthood and into the 2020s.

To commemorate the Disney 2000s campaign, GRAMMY.com crafted a playlist to look back on Disney's golden age of pop with favorite tracks from Hilary Duff, Vanessa Hudgens, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus and more. Listen and reminisce below.

Read List
Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album | GRAMMY.com (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Moshe Kshlerin

Last Updated:

Views: 5757

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Moshe Kshlerin

Birthday: 1994-01-25

Address: Suite 609 315 Lupita Unions, Ronnieburgh, MI 62697

Phone: +2424755286529

Job: District Education Designer

Hobby: Yoga, Gunsmithing, Singing, 3D printing, Nordic skating, Soapmaking, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Moshe Kshlerin, I am a gleaming, attractive, outstanding, pleasant, delightful, outstanding, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.