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BRUNO, JT, DRAKE, THE WEEKND & MORE: HERE COME THE BIG GUNS OF Q4

You know autumn’s near when the kids are back in school, football games are on TV five days a week and shiny baubles from music’s biggest names start to appear. The only difference between this point in 2016 and in previous years is a dramatic ramping up of the element of surprise surrounding these early Christmas presents.

What (we think) we know: There will be a visual album of Drake's Views hitting as an Apple Music exclusive at some point between this Friday and Monday. The first taste of Bruno Mars’ likely blockbuster third album is likely to appear during that same time frame. A new track from The Weeknd reportedly involving production and arrangement input from Daft Punk—the artist offered a strong hint in an 8/17 photo posted on Facebook, at right—is being prepped by XO/Republic. And next Friday (9/23), RCA will release the Trolls soundtrack, containing seven Justin Timberlake tracks, including two versions of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” though all but the hit feature other artists, including duets with Gwen Stefani and Anna Kendrick. Lady Gaga will drop her next Interscope set, Joanne, on 10/21.

Still bathed in mystery—as this item is posted—is the exact nature of a collaborative album or mixtape from Drake, thought to be headed to Apple Music. Initial speculation had Kanye West as Drizzy’s partner on the project, but fresh rumors reference Rihanna. Given the chronic unwillingness of all of the above to declare a project complete and deliverable, when this undertaking sees the light of day is anybody’s guess, but it was “in the pipeline” prior to Sir Lucian’s 8/24 ban on future UMG exclusives.

Even more tantalizingly, a long-rumored conjugal collab pairing Beyoncé and Jay Z may also hit during Q4. Columbia would be the most likely label, and given Rob Stringer’s apparent distaste for windowing, a Tidal streaming exclusive would be vehemently resisted, even if it’s just what the doctor ordered for Jay’s flat-lining service—assuming he’s still the owner when this purported project arrives.

Additionally, new albums from Kings of Leon (RCA), Miranda Lambert (RCA Nashville), Metallica (Blackened Recordings/ADA), Kenny Chesney (Blue Chair/BNA), Sting (A&M/Interscope), Green Day (WBR), Norah Jones (Blue Note) and Michael Bublé (WBR) are on the Q4 schedule.     

If most or all of these recordings drop before year’s end, the biz will have ample reason to celebrate.        

I.B. BAD: TRUE
OR FALSE?
Who you gonna trust on these matters? (9/22a)
POST STREAMS AHEAD
OF TAYLOR, SAM
Nothin' but net—dude can't miss right now. (9/22a)
ALL SLOW HANDS 
ON DECK
No, not Clapton. We're talking Horan. (9/22a)
THIS HITS LIST IS SEASONABLY COOL
This is the autumn equinox, after all. (9/22a)
TRIPPING & WORSHIPING
A compelling argument for physical product. (9/22a)
HITS' 31ST ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Big. Papery. Stupid.
PIZZA NOT DELIVERED
Someone's in trouble.
SAM SMITH'S STATEMENT
How he captures our moment.
THE BIGGEST RELEASE OF Q4
It's not what you think.
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