2021 Music Preview: 25 Things We Want to Happen | Billboard

The pandemic has caused all of us to recalibrate and find new ways to do the things we used to love doing in public. Take P!nk, who has spent the better part of the past decade flying high above our heads on a wire, performing amazing circus stunts that tap into her pre-fame skills as a competitive gymnast. Unable to hit the road, now would be the perfect time for the singer to reboot the beloved Circus of the Stars franchise and be the ringleader for a limited, socially distanced series where she taps into the hidden skills of her fellow artists. We imagine Lil Wayne busting out crazy kick-flips on a huge ramp on his skateboard, J-Lo applying her Hustler acrobatics training to try her hand at the trapeze, Cody Johnson bringing his rodeo skills to the big top, or newly buff rapper Busta Rhymes indulging in feats of strength. As a bonus, with arenas shuttered and so many crewmembers out of work, the show could give a bunch of beloved road dogs a nice paycheck. — GIL KAUFMAN

Back before Evermore emerged, and Taylor Swift fans were riding high on Folklore, one Twitter user suggested making a movie based on that album’s “The Last Great American Dynasty” — starring Blake Lively as Rebekah Harkness, her real-life husband Ryan Reynolds as Bill, the doomed heir to the Standard Oil name, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the neighbor whose unfortunate encounter with the song’s main character ends in a key-lime green-dyed dog. Ferguson responded he was game, while Reynolds chimed in “but Bill’s heart?” (Spoiler alert: Bill dies.) Swift herself chimed in to say she loved the idea — and so do we. Imagine the alluringly beautiful Lively filling swimming pools with champagne and playing cards with Salvador Dali? (We suggest Robert Pattinson reprise his portrayal here.) Couple the intriguing subject matter — who doesn’t want to see Lively blowing through the money on the boys and the ballet? — with a Baz-Luhrmann-Gatsby-inspired design, and that’s a film we haven’t seen before, but we’re sure we’d like the ending. — DENISE WARNER

Can you name the last time the three Kings of the 2010s all released a project the same year? Try ten years ago — when Take CareSection.80 and Sideline Story all ruled the rap stratosphere. Since their early campaigns, Drake, K. Dot, and Cole have become perennial rap juggernauts and are at the joint apex of their careers. A triple-threat match for this year’s best rap honors is a blockbuster event that even Vince McMahon wouldn’t pass up. — CARL LAMARRE

During the holiday break, Bad Bunny hopped on Instagram Live to share his 10 personal favorite songs from El Ultimo Tour del Mundo. “La Noche de Anoche,” in collaboration with rising star Rosalía, was his No. 5 — but he assured it could easily be his top track. “A lot of people were waiting for this collaboration for a long time, myself included. Thank you to Rosalía for doing this work of art with me,” he expressed. A true fan-favorite, it’s only a matter of time we see both artists bring their in-studio chemistry to the screen in 2021. In true Bad Bunny and Rosalía fashion, we imagine the music video to be colossal, conceptual, nostalgic, and even dreamlike — epic in its totality! — JESSICA ROIZ

For any introverted artist suffering from press and/or stage fright, the ongoing pandemic has offered unexpected respite — and perhaps even an opportunity to release music without being required (or able) to do much else. Now seems as good a time as any (and trust, we could use it) for a new project from Frank Ocean after a long spell of relative quiet, and should he choose to release it within a livestream — as he has done before, with 2016’s visual album Endless — well, then all the better. Considering that his 2017 Panorama audiovisual headlining set leaned heavily on the visual side (Spike Jonze was directing, after all), it might not be a far cry from trying something similar but on a virtual stage — and, perhaps best of all for the somewhat reclusive Ocean, in isolation. — L.H.

If Karol G’s Rihanna tattoo on her arm is any indication, she’s a major fan. “I feel like she’s like me,” Karol previously told Billboard. “She presents herself as a real woman, she doesn’t care about the negative comments. I love her lyrics because she sings about love, heartbreak, woman empowerment… I feel that we have similar personalities.” RiRi, who has already collaborated on a bilingual track with Shakira, would fit perfectly on the beat of a “Bichota” remix, or even on a brand new single. — J.R.

Selena Gomez and Niall Horan finally collab

In June 2020, Niall Horan tweeted that he’s “ready when Sel is” to collaborate, and Twitter immediately exploded in excitement (“I’M SCREAMING I’M SCREAMING I’M SCREAMING” was a typical response from the collective fandoms). Gomez and the One Direction alum have been friends for ages, and it’s not totally out of the question for the two to hop on Zoom for a quarantined session or two. Just imagine them unveiling a perfectly emotional acoustic ballad in the vein of “If the World Was Ending” — and sure, why not let Finneas produce? Make it happen, universe! — G.G.

Beyoncé and Adele team up

The anonymous gossip Instagram account DeuxMoi made waves during 2020 unveiling its trove of user-submitted rumors, sightings, and stories of encounters with celebrities. DeuxMoi even correctly predicted the Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber collaboration “Monster” before its announcement. Another collab rumor from Deux? None other than pop superheroes Beyonce and Adele. Sure, it might be a long shot — though back in 2019, Ryan Tedder said that a song featuring the two and Chris Martin was in the works, and had to back away from his comments. In any event, the powerhouse singers love each other, and duet between them is a salve we all could use. — D.W.

Reggaetón and Latin trap get their own genre category at the Grammys 

Why, why, why hasn’t this happened yet? Reggaetón and Latin trap have single-handedly expanded the reach, visibility and popularity of Latin music at a global and domestic scale. And yet, when the Grammy Awards decided to divvy up the very problematic Latin rock, urban or alternative album category, they left “urban” lumped together with pop and gave the stand alone category to Latin rock or alternative, the least commercially viable subgenre of the three. Media, artists and the industry in general complained. Loudly. We hope the Academy has listened, and that next time changes and rules are announced, a stand-alone urban category will make the list to accommodate the explosion of releases from the likes of Anuel AA, Ozuna, J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee. — L.C.

Discopalooza 2021

The disco revival of 2020 was a bright spot in an otherwise dark year, thanks to new releases from the likes of Dua LipaKylie MinogueJessie Ware and Róisín Murphy. And the divas themselves seem to be delighted by the company they’re in: Lipa invited Minogue to her Studio 2054 concert special, then returned the favor by hopping on a remix of Minogue’s “Real Groove.” Meanwhile, Minogue has sworn to hit the studio with Ware, who has a mutual admiration society going on with Murphy over Twitter. So, let’s take these friendships to their natural conclusion in 2021: a one-off Discopalooza festival or mini-residency featuring (at least!) all four club-music queens. They can embark on individual tours right after — following months of being cooped up inside, it’s going to take more than one night of dancing to get our disco ya-yas out. — N.F.

Vinyl business continues to grow year over year, yet demand outstrips factories’ ability to deliver product — and last year’s fire at a lacquer manufacturer didn’t help things. It’s time for companies to start seriously investing in the comeback of the best format for experiencing music (that doesn’t involve the artist standing right in front of you). — J. Lynch

An unprecedented number of Latin artists — such as Ricky Martin, Luis Fonsi and Shakira — rallied behind Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the hopes of sending the Democratic ticket to the White House. After Prince Royce performed at the Democratic National Convention in August, Biden even kicked off a full-fledged targeted music campaign to rally the Latino vote — with geo-targeted bilingual spots soundtracked by Marc Anthony, Bad Bunny, Alejandro Fernández and Gaby Moreno, among others. Given Latin artists’ significant role in Biden’s efforts to court the Latin community, it would make sense to see some a Latin artist perform at Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20. (Jennifer Lopez was just announced as a performer, though it’s not clear yet if she’ll be pulling from her recent Spanish-language singles or her earlier English-language pop smashes with her performance.). In any event, getting to see Ricky Martin perform his prideful and jubilant “Cántalo” would be particularly perfect. — G.F.