For when you want a down-ass beat
M.I.A,, "A.I.M.," Sept. 9
“I’m a parrot,” the provocateur declares in the opening of her recent single, “Bird Song.” No matter what you think of her controversial sound bites, murky authenticity and confusing politics, M.I.A. consistently turns out a listenable, highly catchy beat. Her next album, “A.I.M.” should have more of the same.
Case in point, the Skrillex work of wonder, “Go Off.”
For when you’re sick of heteronormativity
Mykki Blanco, "Mykki," Sept. 16
Mykki is the name to drop when you’re looking to summon up an innate sense of cool you may not naturally have and impress your friends with your obscure music taste. Mykki, a performance artist turned MC, is at the epicenter of all that is forward-thinking and progressive. He’s also a member of the fashion and art worlds’ coolest kids (Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver, Count of Milan’s Marcelo Burlon and artist Rashaad Newsome, to name a few.) Not to mention Mykki is the godfather of queer rap. His new eponymous album promises to provoke your mind while you tear up the dance floor.
When you’re feeling oddly confrontational
Die Antwoord, "Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid," Sept. 16
Before they became the South African music act who beefed with Lady Gaga, tried to pick a fight with Drake and accused Suicide Squad of plagiarism, they were the underground countercultural hit. They’re describing their new album as "dark and ratty," which sounds about right.
When you’re feeling belt-y
Idina Menzel, "Idina," Sept. 23
Kristin Chenoweth, "The Art Of Elegance," Sept. 23
Musical lovers, listen up: Broadway majors (and the original “Wicked” co-stars) Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth are releasing albums in the same week. I repeat, the same week! The only thing that could possibly be more exciting is if they were releasing a joint album, covering the “Hamilton” soundtrack. … Buy some honey and a box of chamomile tea, because you’re going to be doing a lot of belting in the shower this fall.
When you’re feeling broody in a come-hither way
Banks, "Altar," Sept. 30
Banks makes R&B that has a tendency to make you feel like you should be driving a car slowly through a dimly lit street on your way to a booty call — or away from a terrible breakup, depending on which song you’re listening to. If you’re curious about what to expect from her new album, "Altar," her new singles “F—k With Myself” and "Gemini Feed” are good places to start: faint whiffs of '90s R&B and early aughts indie.
When you’re feeling warm and fuzzy
Norah Jones, "Daybreaks," Oct. 7
The nine-time-Grammy-winning woman behind everyone’s favorite Starbucks album is back. "Carry On," the first single from her new album, "Daybreaks," sounds like a nice slow pour of a coconut-milk chai latte: sweet, comforting and wholesome, yet entirely of the moment.