April Fools’ Day: a dangerous time for music fans.
But we get it: Painstakingly drawn-out album promo cycles (hello, Rihanna) often force hardcore stans into a tizzy, grabbing – or sometimes inventing – any piece of information they can to satiate their yearning for new music.
Following recent rumors that Beyonce’s forthcoming album is set to drop in April, a supposed roster of the album’s songs “leaked” on the Internet, indicating the album would be titled after the singer’s latest single, “Formation,” and feature collaborations with Mariah Carey, Adele, Nicki Minaj, and Kanye West. Social media skeptics quickly denounced the list, but diehard fans are sticking to their guns as the photo circulates (with believers in tow) via Twitter.
Though the thought of Queen Bey dancing alongside Adele on her next tour is exciting, it’s important for fans to keep their thirst in check; real tracklists come to those who wait. Until then, check out a few tips on how to spot the fakes below.
— Savannah Grimm (@savvygrimm) March 31, 2016
Consider the source
While many artists, like Lady Gaga, have found creative ways to announce their album tracklists in the past, many of the “leaked” versions often take the form of a single sheet of printer paper. In other words: anyone can put a few label headers into Microsoft Word, type several lines of text, and print a “press release” for a new album. If such a release, like the Beyonce tracklisting above, shows up on a random person’s Twitter account in the form of a grainy screenshot-of-a-screenshot of a photo someone took of the supposed track list on their computer screen, chances are it’s fake.
— the crying game (@fourfivehours) November 27, 2015
Consider the “leaked” track titles
It’s difficult to imagine Rihanna collaborating with Iggy Azalea, but a “leaked” tracklist for the singer’s long-delayed ANTI album surfaced late last year, complete with braille lettering to accompany the previously confirmed album artwork’s aesthetic. A fan translated the phrases, and the rumored duet’s questionable title rang false for many. Similarly, a “leaked” tracklist for Lady Gaga’s next album appeared on Twitter in 2015, and it included a song called “Dinner (feat. Adele).” If the track titles are offensive, silly, or otherwise tonally and professionally out of sync with what the artist in question has produced in the past, they’re probably fan concoctions.
IGGY AZALEA, CL E LADY GAGA NUM ÁLBUM SÓ É UM TIRO ATRÁS DO OUTRO, QUE ESSA SEJA A VERDADEIRA TRACKLIST, AMÉM pic.twitter.com/Jehp2q83WP
— KISSITBETTER ONVEVO (@overdalizando) December 10, 2015
Consider the grammar
No one’s perfect; even record labels make mistakes here and there. But it’s unlikely that an official tracklisting containing misspellings or other major errors would precede a major album release (unless the artist is like Zayn Malik and feels so inclined to pay homage to AIM-era spelling). The “leaked” tracklisting above for Iggy Azalea’s Digital Distortion, which doesn’t even include the album’s first official single, “TEAM,” is also rife with capitalization mistakes, wonky formatting, and spacing issues.
— Xtina Ecuador (@XtinaEcuador) January 8, 2015
Consider your common sense
This is key when gauging the legitimacy of a “leaked” tracklist. Take supposed listings for albums by Christina Aguilera (above), One Direction, and Kanye West into consideration. Why would a single, tattered sheet of paper with “confidential” track listings exist in the first place? Is “Pharrell Williams, Claude Kelly, DJ Premier, Sia, and more” really the most appropriate way for a label to announce an album’s roster of collaborators? Keep your inner fan in check at all times; if it doesn’t “feel” real – or if the tracklist is clearly typed on Mac TextEdit with the cursor still at the end – it probably isn’t.