Is Aretha Franklin Following In Beyoncé’s Footsteps?

After Beyoncé dropped her self-titled fourth album late last year without a single bleep of press, something changed in the music world. Less than a year later, the “surprise album” concept has already spread to several other iconic acts. U2 followed a similar pattern last week, although their obnoxious method of automatically adding the album to your iPhone probably lost them more fans than gained them. But now, one of Beyoncé’s own icons is taking a page from Bey’s book: Aretha Franklin.

Details of Franklin’s album have been incredibly scarce, and although we’ve gotten wind of Aretha’s new release two weeks in advance — it’s a marked difference compared to how a mainstay like Franklin usually lets the world know she has a new album coming out.

From the information released about the album so far, it seems like Aretha wouldn’t be upset with the Beyoncé comparison at all. In fact, the new set will include covers of other contemporary artists like Adele and Alicia Keys. Clive Davis, who oversaw the production of Franklin’s newest project, spilled the first details about the album to Billboard on Thursday, hyping the album as Aretha in “peak form.”

“I had this concept of having the Queen of Soul inimitably interpret Diva classics by Dinah Washington, Etta James, Gladys Knight, Gloria Gaynor, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Adele among others. And has she done that. Aretha’s new album is purely and simply sensational. She’s on fire and vocally in absolutely peak form. What a thrill to see this peerless artist still showing the way, still sending shivers up your spine, still demonstrating that all contemporary music needs right now is the voice. What a voice.”

Franklin has been out of the studio for almost two years now, slowing down her output a bit to make this new album her 39th in 58 years of recording music. Her last two releases saw a break for Clive and Aretha, who have collaborated for the majority of Franklin’s career.

“Aretha has always held a very special place in my heart. She’s universally recognized to be the greatest singer of all time. Although we took a recording break, our strong friendship always continued. And it was a particular thrill when we announced two years ago that we would be making another album together.”

Aretha Franklin’s album is set to be released on Sept. 30. In the meantime, listen to “Rolling in the Deep” and imagine what it’s going to sound like with Aretha’s classic voice slathered all over it.

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