12 spring albums we can't wait to hear: Harry Styles, Miranda Lambert, Arcade Fire and more

In a few weeks, Harry Styles opens “Harry’s House” for eager fans, Miranda Lambert acts as a tour guide on “Palomino” and Def Leppard kicks down any notion that their rock edge has dulled on “Diamond Star Halos.”

The spring album slate is dotted with indie rock (Foals, Arcade Fire), artsy pop (Florence + The Machine) and European electro-pop (Sigrid). And while most of these albums are tied to complementary tours – and there will be plenty of opportunities to hear these new tunes in a communal setting – we first encourage you to just listen.

Here are a dozen of our most anticipated releases. 

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Miranda Lambert releases her 15-track "Palomino" on April 29, a few months before she'll launch a residency in Las Vegas.

Miranda Lambert, 'Palomino' (April 29)

Always a bit of a country maverick, Lambert, along with Nashville, Tennessee, songwriters Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby, camped out on her Nashville farm to craft 15 songs that lead the listener around the country. “We go to 36 places on the record,” Lambert told USA TODAY. “When you listen to the album, think of it as a map.” Spearheading her progressive sound is leadoff track “Actin’ Up,” which follows the bass line of David Essex’s “Rock On” and includes the lyric, “Even Tiger Woods couldn’t swing it this good.” Most impressively, on the slithering “Music City Queen,” Lambert figured out how to incorporate slide guitar and The B-52s in the same song, complete with a Fred Schneider interlude. But Lambert cranks up the twang on a hand-clapping, boot-stomping cover of Mick Jagger’s “Wandering Spirit.” – Melissa Ruggieri

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The Head and the Heart unveil their fifth studio album, "Every Shade of Blue," on April 29, which includes the songs “Tiebreaker,” "Virginia (Wind in the Night)” and the album’s title track.

The Head and the Heart, 'Every Shade of Blue' (April 29)

You don’t always realize you’re hearing the music of the indie folk-rock quintet born in Seattle more than a decade ago when their tunes pop up in the media landscape. But over the years, songs such as “Down in the Valley” and “Rivers and Roads” have featured prominently in TV (“How I Met Your Mother,” “New Girl”) and movies (“Gleason”), providing a gentle backdrop with a poetic message. On their fifth album, the band rolls from “Virginia (Wind in the Night),” a tantalizing sway of a song residing on the alternative airplay chart, to the string-coated title track, which taps into our pandemic-lockdown realization of the fleeting nature of time (“It’s been a long year, the wrong year, to be left alone”). – Ruggieri

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Kehlani takes it back to the '90s on her third album "Blue Water Road."

Kehlani, 'Blue Water Road' (April 29) 

The R&B star throws it back to the ’90s on “Up at Night,” her sultry new collaboration with Justin Bieber that finds the two trading playful verses about being head over heels and under the covers. The upbeat single is the latest taste of her emotional third album after showcasing her honeyed vocals and confessional storytelling on the warm "Little Story" and intoxicating "Altar." – Patrick Ryan

British singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé releases "Let's Say for Instance" on May 6.

Emeli Sandé, 'Let’s Say for Instance' (May 6) 

Though her only U.S. hit is 2012’s soulful piano bop “Next to Me,” Sandé has remained a steady presence on the U.K. charts with songs including “Hurts,” “Clown” and “What I Did for Love” (with electronic dance music maestro David Guetta). For her fourth studio album this decade, Sandé has teased fans with the singles “There Isn’t Much,” which shimmers with ’80s-style production and a sumptuous chorus, as well as the gospel-tinged uplift of “Brighter Days.” Perhaps this release will spur her well-deserved American breakthrough. – Ruggieri

Sigrid's "How to Let Go" is out May 6.

Sigrid, 'How to Let Go' (May 6) 

Sigrid’s electrifying debut “Sucker Punch” was handily our most-played album of 2019, with bombastic hooks and anthemic choruses that could cure even the most cataclysmic heartbreak. The Norwegian up-and-comer is even more polished and razor-sharp on her sophomore round, delivering self-empowerment (“Mirror”) and breakup confidence (“Burning Bridges”), and doing Kylie Minogue proud on the soon-to-be gay anthem “A Driver Saved My Life.” – Ryan

Arcade Fire returns this spring with the album "WE."

Arcade Fire, 'WE' (May 6) 

The indie titans divided critics with 2017’s “Everything Now,” a sorely underrated collection of vibey dance rock that’s equally indebted to ABBA and Talking Heads. Five years later, the “Suburbs” Grammy winners are back with what the band has described as a “concise 40-minute epic,” consisting of just seven songs. The album's bedrocks of loneliness and connection are apparent in the slow-building lead single "The Lightning I, II," whose heart-racing second half begs to be experienced live.  – Ryan

Florence + The Machine's fifth album "Dance Fever" arrives on May 13.

Florence + The Machine, 'Dance Fever' (May 13) 

If you loved her hypnotic bangers with Calvin Harris and Jamie xx, then Florence Welch made just the album for you. On her long-awaited fifth outing, the ethereal-voiced British singer returns with all the high drama and vivid imagery that you've come to expect, pulling lyrical inspiration from gothic fiction and folk-horror films like "Midsommar." But she also infuses the new songs with throbbing basslines ("King") and swirling, club-ready beats ("My Love"), as she teams up with co-producers Jack Antonoff and Dave Bayley of Glass Animals. – Ryan

Hanson's "Red Green Blue," out May 20, marks 30 years the siblings have performed together.

Hanson, 'Red Green Blue' (May 20)

The brothers Hanson are, somewhat unbelievably, celebrating 30 years as a band. To showcase their individual creativity, each of the guys wrote and produced a third of their new album (Taylor’s five-song section is red, Isaac’s green and Zac’s blue). The inaugural singles released from the album indicate their varied musical directions: Isaac’s “Write You a Song” is speckled with organ and tambourine, Taylor’s “Child at Heart” soars with layered guitars and harmonies, and Zac’s arena rocker “Don’t Let Me Down” sounds tailored for fist-pumping. But even when crafting their songs separately, the gift of melody runs deep in the Hanson DNA. – Ruggieri

Harry Styles' third album, "Harry's House," will arrive on May 20.

Harry Styles, 'Harry’s House' (May 20) 

If his wistful chart-topper “As It Was” is any indication, Styles will be time-traveling from the sunny ’70s rock of 2019’s “Fine Line” to infectious ’80s synth-pop on his highly anticipated third album. Little else is known about the former One Directioner’s next effort, although Joni Mitchell has already expressed her approval of its title, which nods to her track “Harry’s House / Centerpiece” from 1975’s “The Hissing of Summer Lawns.” – Ryan

Def Leppard's 12th studio album, featuring the hit rock single "Kick," arrives May 27.

Def Leppard, 'Diamond Star Halos' (May 27)

On their first new album since 2015, the enduring rockers recruited bluegrass maven Alison Krauss for a couple of songs, unearthed a tune guitarist Phil Collen wrote 17 years ago (“This Guitar”) and paid tribute to T. Rex’s 1971 glam-slammer “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” with the album’s title. They’ve also returned to the Billboard rock chart for the first time in 15 years with the anthemic “Kick,” a snazzy stomper packed with the band’s trademark harmonies and a chorus customized for the stadium singalongs they’ll encourage this summer while on tour with Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. – Ruggieri

Angel Olsen's sixth album "Big Time" arrives June 3.

Angel Olsen, 'Big Time' (June 3)

Olsen works through huge emotions without losing any of her trademark intimacy on stirring new single "All the Good Times," her twangy nod to country legends Emmylou Harris and Tammy Wynette. The track is taken from her forthcoming sixth album, which was inspired by the loss of her parents, as well as Olsen's experience of coming out as queer to them shortly before their deaths. "Some experiences just make you feel as though you’re five years old, no matter how wise or adult you think you are," she said in a statement. "Finally, at the ripe age of 34, I was free to be me." – Ryan

English alt-rockers Foals release their seventh album, "Life Is Yours," on June 17.

Foals, 'Life Is Yours' (June 17)

The muscular techno alt-rock that powered most of the British band’s albums since the late 2000s has detoured down a poppier side street for their seventh album. It’s their first as a trio, following the departures of keyboardist Edwin Congreave in 2021 and bassist Walter Gervers in 2018, leaving guitarist/keyboardist Jimmy Smith, drummer Jack Bevan and singer Yannis Philippakis. "Looking High" is as much sugar as sinew, while “2 a.m.” and “Wake Me Up” both alternately bounce from the power of Bevan’s unrelenting snare drum and soar on a plane of squiggly synthesizers. – Ruggieri