While everyone’s brains are firmly fixed on the best albums of the 2010s (NME‘s definitive list is coming in November) it’s worth taking a moment to remember those that we never got to hear.
Whether that’s full albums that were scrapped in favour of the band or artist starting over, records leaked without the artist’s consent and never to be heard in their full and finished form, albums that have been promised for years now but still haven’t been released, or, in one case, a record literally being destroyed, there are some notable omissions from the best-of lists.
We’ve dug into the lost albums of the 2010s, why they were never released, and whether we can hope to hear them at some point in the future.
Kanye West – ‘Yandhi’
Planned release date: September 29, 2018
What happened? Two days before the planned release of ‘Yandhi’, Kanye played music from the album – featuring XXXTentacion, 6ix9ine and more – to The FADER at their headquarters. After a leaked tracklisting came out, the album was delayed until that November. The same month, West tweeted that ‘Yandhi’ wasn’t actually finished and that he’d “announce the release date once it’s done”.
Will we ever hear it? With Kanye reportedly set to release new album ‘Jesus Is King’ before the end of 2019, he’s got other things on his mind. In September 2019, though, it was revealed that Ye is attempting to trademark the term ‘Yandhi’, leading to speculation that the album could indeed be on the way. The saga continues.
The Stone Roses – LP3
Planned release date: 2016/2017
What happened? Outside the Crouch End Studios in London in 2016, Ian Brown confirmed to NME that The Stone Roses were recording new music, calling it “glorious” and saying it would arrive “soon”. It came three years after Mani said the band were “working on a few bits” of new music. Over the next few years, the band continued to play reunion shows with no new music surfacing, and in 2017 the band’s biographer John Robb revealed that plans for the album had broken down, saying: “Between the four of them, there was a great third album in them. If they could have just made a record without caring about the pressure of expectation or commercial expectation. If they could have just jammed for 45 minutes, it would have been a great record.”
Will we ever hear it? With John Squire confirming earlier this year that the band have indeed broken up, it seems very, very unlikely – but never say never.
My Bloody Valentine – LP4
Planned release date: 2018 0r 2019
What happened? After waiting 22 years for ‘m b v’, the massively anticipated ‘Loveless’ follow-up, My Bloody Valentine fans weren’t expecting another new record for a while. However, Kevin Shields told Sound On Sound magazine in April 2018 that the band were working on two EPs, with one released that summer, and a second to follow in spring 2019. He then said in another chat the prospective first EP was being used instead as part of a new album, before scaling up his ambitions again, stating a plan to release two new albums in 2019.
Will we ever hear it? There’s a fair chance that the music that the band have been teasing (and also debuted live), will see the light of day, but specifics around what form it might take, or even a vague release date, are pretty much still up in the air.
Jai Paul – debut album (aka Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones))
Planned release date: Unknown (leaked online in April 2013)
What happened? After becoming the buzziest name around with 2012 single ‘Jasmine’, the elusive Londoner had an album’s worth of demos and in-progress material stolen and illegally uploaded to Bandcamp. Paul stayed silent on the issue himself for six years before discussing the situation and officially uploading ‘Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones)’ online, alongside the release of two new songs. “I’ve grown to appreciate that people have enjoyed that music and lived with it, and I accept that there is no way to put that shit back in the box,” he wrote at the time. “Looking back, it’s sad to think about what could have been, but it is what it is and I had to let go.”
Will we ever hear it? Not in the way that Jai Paul intended us to, at least. The official release and accompanying message have drawn a line under the recordings, and the singer (presumably) continues to work on what will actually become his debut album.
Brockhampton – ‘Team Effort’/‘Puppy’
Planned release date: 2018
What happened? In March 2018, Brockhampton announced that fourth studio album ‘Team Effort’, announced at the end of 2017 with the release of their ‘Saturation III’ LP, was delayed indefinitely, and that they’d instead release another album called ‘Puppy’ in mid-2018. That May, though, troubling allegations were made about member Ameer Vann, who was promptly kicked out of the group, leading to ‘Puppy’ being delayed. After cancelled tour dates and a period of silence, the band made their comeback on the Jimmy Fallon show sans Vann, playing new song ‘I, Tonya’ and announcing a new album called ‘iridescence’, effectively putting the non-era of ‘Team Effort’ and ‘Puppy’ to bed.
Will we ever hear it? Releasing ‘iridescence’ and fifth album ‘Ginger’ since, there’s pretty much zero chance that ‘Team Effort’ and/or ‘Puppy’ will ever surface.
Sky Ferreira – ‘Masochism’
Planned release date: 2015-present
What happened? Less than two years after her standout debut ‘Night Time, My Time’, Ferreira announced that her second album was called ‘Masochism’. The name has remained constant until now, though little else has. Through countless promises of new music have come and gone, along with messages discussing various logistical issues as reasoning for the album’s delay it was only in summer of 2019 that she released ‘Downhill Lullaby’, the first single from ‘Masochism’. The album still has no release date, though, and it looks almost certain that we’ll be waiting into the 2020s to hear it.
Will we ever hear it? Almost certainly, but after seven years and a great deal of confusion, the question of when we might hear it is as open-ended as ever.
Charli XCX – ‘XCX World’
Planned release date: September 2016
What happened? After being delayed from an original autumn 2016 date into the following year, a whole album of Charli demos – dubbed ‘XCX World’ by fans and destined for her third studio album – was leaked in a similar turn of events to those that afflicted Jai Paul. It led her to start again on what would become LP3.
Will we ever hear it? With third album ‘Charli’ released in September 2019, featuring none of the songs supposedly set for ‘XCX World’, the album seems destined to live in demo form forever.
The Weeknd – LP4
Planned release date: 2017-2018
What happened? Speaking to Time about 2018 EP ‘My Dear Melancholy’, Abel Tesfaye revealed that prior to the EP, he had finished an album that he describes as “beautiful” and “upbeat”. “Prior to ‘Melancholy’, I had a whole album written, done, which wasn’t melancholy at all because it was a different time in my life,” he said. He went on to explain that the record was shelved because it didn’t reflect his feelings at the time, saying: “I don’t want to perform something that I don’t feel.”
Will we ever hear it? The verdict is pretty conclusive on this one. Asked whether fans could ever hear the record, The Weeknd simply said: “Never.” Sorry!
Machine Gun Kelly – LP4
Planned release date: 2018
What happened? At the end of 2018, Machine Gun Kelly posted a message to fans, celebrating his music receiving half a billion streams. During the message, he said ”I didn’t give you the 4th album and I can’t stop thinking about that,” revealing that he had a whole new album ready to go before scrapping it and starting from scratch. Saying that he’s now got a firm title in mind for the new record, Kelly concluded: “This one’s from the soul.”
Will we ever hear it? Maybe one day in the future, but definitely not for the time being.
Noel Gallagher x Amorphous Androgynous
Planned release date: 2011
What happened? Noel decided it was shit, basically. Ahead of his 2011 solo debut album, Gallagher had collaborated with production duo Amorphous Androgynous, and they’d written an album together. However, as Noel explained to NME in 2015, “I was in the middle of a tour, that last album had blown up, the mixes weren’t right. And by the time I got back off tour I was just like, ‘I’m not fucking putting out another record, I can’t be arsed’. I was frazzled and had glandular fever. I was fucked.”
Will we ever hear it? ‘The Right Stuff’ and ‘The Mexican’, from Noel’s solo ‘Chasing Yesterday’ LP, were originally songs from the AA collaboration, but hearing any more will be literally impossible – Noel owned the master recording of the album and destroyed it.