Musicians having to make tough decisions due to COVID 19 pandemic

Albums postponed, some artists defy industry to release new music

Andrew Stez, Features Editor

A portrait of Dua Lipa
Photo courtesy of Warner Records. By Luc Coiffait
Dua Lipa released her new album “Future Nostalgia” several days early.

With COVID-19 keeping students hunkered down in their homes for the foreseeable future, the only thing many students now look forward to is the release of new entertainment, such as music.

But artists throughout the music industry have had to make the tough choice to either release their music now to provide entertainment for those clambering for something new, or to postpone their albums to a time when they can better promote the album. 

Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated sixth studio album “Chromatica” has been postponed. It was originally supposed to be released April 10, but now ominously looms until later in 2020. Many fans were expecting an album after the release of “Stupid Love” earlier this year, but now it is unclear if it will be released anytime soon. 

Lady Gaga explained her decision to postpone the album in a post on Twitter.

“While I believe art is one of the strongest things we have to provide joy and healing to each other during times like this, it just doesn’t feel right to me to release this album with all that is going on during this global pandemic,” Gaga wrote. “Instead I prefer that we spend this time focusing on finding solutions.”

Another major album postponement was that of Alicia Keys’ seventh album “Alicia” which was supposed to be released in March. Her last studio album was released in 2016, so for many fans this has been a long sought after work from an artist they have not heard from in awhile. 

Keys also emphasized on Twitter that she wanted people to focus on their health and safety.

“Everyone’s health and safety is the #1 priority. Thank u for ur deep love,” Keys wrote. 

A portrait of Alicia Keys
Photo courtesy of RCA records. By Milan Zrnic
Alicia Keys delayed the release of her new album due to COVID-19.

HAIM also postponed their new album “Women in Music Pt. III,” which was supposed to be released April 24 but is now postponed to August 21. This was supposed to be their third album. Luckily for their fans, four singles have been released.

Another major cancelled release was Sam Smith’s third album “To Die For,” which not only has been postponed but will also go through a name change. Smith thought it would be in bad taste to name an album “To Die For” when people are dying due to the pandemic. But they continue to release singles like “I’m Ready” featuring Demi Lovato, which was released April 16. 

Another band that has had tremendous momentum the last few years is The 1975, which was supposed to release their new album “Notes on a Conditional Form.” The album has been postponed twice, now set to be released May 22. The 1975 did release the track list for the album as well as the new single “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” featuring Phoebe Bridgers to satiate fans for the time being. 

Despite all these postponements, there have been some artists who defied the odds and released music during this troubled time to try to bring fans some joy.  

Dua Lipa released her new album “Future Nostalgia” March 27, a few days before the original release date. 

As her second album, this album was really important to her future success as a new artist and posed a risk to her career if it failed. Luckily, her song “Don’t Start Now” has remained on the Billboard Hot 100 and, as of the week of April 25 , is number four. Her song “Break My Heart” also reached the charts at 39. 

Another interesting trend is that some artists have already started to come out with music that seems to be influenced by COVID-19 experiences. 

One of these titles is “Level of Concern” by Twenty One Pilots. The song features lyrics like “Panic on the brain” and “Would you be, my little quarantine” directly relate to the pandemic and will serve as a permanent reminder of the outbreak. It also relates to the desire of most during this time to be uplifted by others through lyrics like “Tell me we’re alright.” 

The song has also seen success debuting as number two on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs Chart, which, according to Billboard, puts it at a tie with their 2016 song “Heathens.” 

Drake released a song titled “Tootsie Slide,” which, as of the week of April 25, is number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It has also become a sensation on social media apps such as on Tik Tok where users are dancing to the song similarly to how Drake did in the music video for the “Tootsie Slide.”

One of the most successful albums during this time is The Weeknd’s “After Hours.” The album has hit number one and the songs “Blinding Lights,” “Heartless,” “In Your Eyes” and “After Hours” are all on the Billboard Top 100. 

This album has seen tremendous success in a time when many artists have delayed their albums in fear of a troubled release. It seems to prove that if artists have the fans and the music, they can still top the charts. 

Whether artists have decided to postpone albums or take the risk of releasing music during the pandemic, it is clear that COVID-19 has had an impact on the music industry. 

The pandemic has also made music as important as ever. The Weeknd emphasized this purpose in a simple tweet on March 15:

“Let music heal us.”