(MEDIA GENERAL) — It’s been an exciting – and somewhat exhausting – few weeks in the world of pop music.
On April 21, the world was shocked by the untimely death of one of music’s biggest stars, Prince.
Right on the heels of such terrible news, Beyoncé surprised us with her explosive new visual album, “Lemonade,” on April 23.
While Beyoncé isn’t the first musician of the digital age to release a surprise album, nor is it her first clandestine project – she released her self-titled album in a similar fashion in 2014 – it seems to have created a domino effect in the industry.
In the following weeks, a number of popular artists like Drake, Radiohead and Justin Timberlake, have dropped new music to the pleasant surprise of fans and the music industry.
Here are some of the surprising new releases you should check out:
Radiohead, “A Moon Shaped Pool”
Considered one of the forefathers of unorthodox, surprise releases, Radiohead created a stir with their latest release, “A Moon Shaped Pool.”
On May 2, they went radio-silent on all forms of social media, deleting all their posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
They ended the silence the following day, releasing a new single and creepy Claymation video, “Burn the Witch.”
While he released a few singles in April and the demo album, “What a Time to be Alive” in late 2015, plans for a new Drake album were expected but not definite.
He dropped “Views” exclusively on Apple Music on April 29, and it was available for purchase everywhere May 6.
Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart – as expected, thanks to the 245.1 million streams of his smash hit “Hotline Bling” in 2015, which is included on this album – “Views” is expected to be one of the biggest releases of 2016.
Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Teasing the track on Instagram less than two days before its release, Justin Timberlake dropped his first song in three years, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” on May 6.
As far as we know, the single doesn’t point to a new JT album. It’s only a promo song for the upcoming DreamWorks animated film, “Trolls,” in which Timberlake also lends his voice as the protagonist.
However, fans love the happy, new song, as well as the star-studded video featuring many of Timberlake’s co-stars , including Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick and James Corden.
James Blake, “The Colour in Anything”
No doubt riding on the coat tails of his appearance on one of Beyoncé’s new tracks, British electronic music producer and singer-songwriter James Blake dropped “The Colour in Anything” on May 5, promoting it for the first time and releasing it in the same day.
Want to know more, here’s a timeline of the release.
Just a coincidence or a new trend in music?
In the digital age, where an unprecedented amount of music is released every day, is surprising the world with new music the only way to get noticed? Will this become the new normal in popular music?
There still are plenty of big-name artists that fans and critics are expecting – and hoping for new releases this year, including Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Frank Ocean.
Will Jay-Z respond to his wife’s explosive cheating claims with a new, equally headline-inducing release?
Only time will tell.