Releases from veteran rock bands and artists can bring a strange mix of emotions.
While we’re always anxious to hear from one of our all-time favorite bands again — an excitement often intensified as the gap between new releases typically widens over time — history also tells us that veteran acts that are several records, or even several decades, into their careers usually have their best music behind them.
That doesn’t mean that Pearl Jam will undoubtedly fizzle out again like they did on Lightning Bolt or that Robert Smith doesn’t have another Disintegration left in him (should anyone really have two?). It just means that we might have to listen a little closer for that spark that made us love a band in the first place. Some might even argue that’s part of the fun.
On this list, you’ll find reunions, possible farewells, reconfigurations, studio stalwarts, road warriors, bands you forgot all about, chart-toppers of both the present and long ago, and the songwriters and shredders behind some of the greatest rock music in history. Are the odds of another game-changing album from one of these artists long? Maybe. But something deep inside also tells us never to bet against anyone on this list. Especially Huey Lewis and the power of love.
Happy rocking in 2020. Don’t bust a hip.
Click ahead to see our 10 Most Anticipated Legacy Rock Albums of 2020.
Green Day – The Father of All Motherfuckers
Release Date: February 7th
Why We’re Excited: Nobody here is wagering on Green Day turning heads in 2020 — not after the snooze fest that was Revolution Radio (2016) or the unholy trio of 2012 albums whose names we dare not speak. Then again, the last time Green Day stock was selling this low, the band returned in black attire, skinny ties, and guyliner with American Idiot, an album the reshaped popular music and won over a new legion of fans who were pre-schoolers when Dookie originally dropped. The title and album art alone of the band’s 13th studio release is enough to make us cringe, but we’re still going to be lined up on release day to hear if Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool have a third life left in them. Two singles out and they sound more like Foxboro Hot Tubs than their recent revolutionary selves, already a marked improvement. –Matt Melis
Huey Lewis & the News – Weather
Release Date: February 14th
Why We’re Excited: Baby boomers have been catching a lot of well-earned shit lately, but they’re still the generation that gave us the artificial heart, the World Wide Web, and (most importantly) Huey Lewis & the News. The man single-handedly responsible for making me remember 2000 karaoke dramady Duets returns with his band’s first record in 10 years, one that promises a return to the bluesy barroom harmonies that made records like Sports and Fore! ’80s radio staples. –Tyler Clark
Pearl Jam – Gigaton
Release Date: March 27th
Why We’re Excited: A lot has been learned in a short while. Yesterday, Pearl Jam dropped official word of a 2020 North American tour and, more pertinently, their 11th studio album, Gigaton. Slated for a March 27th release — to be prefaced by a mid-January single — guitarist Mike McCready has likened recording the album to a long journey that was “emotionally dark and confusing at times, but also an exciting and experimental road map to musical redemption.” While the beloved American rock band have nothing left to prove as they hit the road yet again to pummel fans with marathon shows and bring along a sense of true community, all of us are hoping that the good vibes and collaborative environment that McCready has mentioned have led to an album with a bit more juice than Lightning Bolt. Something that doesn’t mind its manners quite so well. –Matt Melis
Alanis Morissette – Such Pretty Forks in the Road
Release Date: May 1st
Why We’re Excited: Riding the wave of her atomic smash Jagged Little Pill’s 25th anniversary, the Broadway show based on it, and one of the year’s hottest package tours (with Liz Phair and Garbage), an Alanis comeback is as nigh as it will ever be. But she’s been more than a one-album artist, and 1998’s worldlier Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie and bangers like “Eight Easy Steps” are as rad as anything else she’s done. Throw another on us. –Dan Weiss
Weezer – Van Weezer
Release Date: May 15th
Why We’re Excited: How does the old song go? Whatever Rivers wants Rivers gets … And the rest of us are left to debate the merits over holiday dinner with Matt Damon. If 2019 proved anything, it’s that Weezer are content to do what Weezer want, and theirs are the only opinions that really matter. That’s how you see a goofy covers album actually outperform a regular installment in the band’s bulging discography last year. It’s also how you get a new album title inspired by Van Halen with the promise from Cuomo that Van Weezer will be a “riffier Blue Album” that returns to the guitars and shredding. Does the title (not to mention that Blink-ish album cover) give us reticence? Maybe so, but the man knows what he wants. Here’s to blisters on their fingers and aches in our necks in 2020! –Matt Melis
Click ahead for more of our most anticipated legacy rock albums of 2020.
Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
Release Date: February 21st
Why We’re Excited: Ordinary Man is shaping up to be Ozzy Osbourne’s most ambitious album in years. Boasting guest performances from Elton John, Post Malone, Slash, and Tom Morello, as well as a backing band featuring Duff McKagan and Chad Smith, the LP has plenty of star power. Despite a rough 2019 filled with illness and injury, early singles from the LP prove that Ozzy’s voice is as haunting as ever. Arguably metal’s most visible mainstream personality, Ozzy continues to invite new styles into his sound and endear himself to a whole new generation of fans. Some purists might scoff at the singer’s crossover appeal, but above all, Ozzy is a showman and remains metal’s most humble and charming ambassador. –Jon Hadusek
The Cure – TBA
Release Date: TBA
Why We’re Excited: The Cure are hitting the ground running in 2020. After taking the past decade off from new releases, frontman Robert Smith recently announced that they now have three new albums in development — with one due for imminent release. The best part? Fans likely won’t have to go through another 12 year waiting period for its followup, as Smith also disclosed that the second of the three albums is nearly set to go as well. Good things truly do come to those who wait. –Lindsay Teske
Dixie Chicks – Gaslighter
Release Date: TBA
Why We’re Excited: A lot of women musicians have been done dirty by the country music machine, but perhaps none so bad as the brilliant, passionate, mind-blowingly talented Dixie Chicks. They reinvigorated country music in the early 2000s before being pilloried for speaking out against then-President George Bush and subsequently releasing their seemingly final record, 2006’s Taking the Long Way, which features the incredible stick-to-your-guns anthem “Not Ready to Make Nice”. Now they’re back, and quite simply, we are not worthy. –Kayleigh Hughes
Nine Inch Nails – TBA
Release Date: TBA
Why We’re Excited: Though Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has been busy creating buzzy soundtracks and scores as of late, it’s been a long seven years since the release of the band’s disappointing last album, Hesitation Marks. To be honest, we’re still rage dancing to tunes from that gritty LP (“Copy of A” could easily be played at Berghain because pulsating, dark techno-inspired beats ftw). Will the forthcoming album be as corrosively raw as their 1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine? Who knows? Who cares? Whatever the case may be, we’re completely here for what the legendary band has in store for us. –Gabrielle Pharms
Red Hot Chili Peppers – TBA
Release Date: TBA
Why We’re Excited: One proper name, damn difficult to spell, and not the easiest to pronounce either: Frusciante. Sure, we’re always going to be game to get on top of what Red Hot Chili Peppers have been working on, but the recent announcement that the on-again, off-again guitarist responsible for the band’s most indelible songs has returned for the latest patch of Pepper tunes only heats anticipation up on the old Scoville Scale. Think about this: The other two records John Frusciante has made when joining or reuniting with the Peppers are Mother’s Milk and Californication. We might need a big glass of milk pretty soon. –Matt Melis