To say it’s complicated, understatement of the year.

To say it’s complicated, understatement of the year.

Fergie’s forthcoming album Double Dutchess leaked this weekend – way, way ahead of schedule. This is by far the biggest crushing blow to a pop star’s career since Madonna’s Rebel Heart LP surfaced in full in 2014 weeks before its official release date. Fergie’s predicament is worse. No release date for the record was ever confirmed. The album title, cover and tracklist also hit the net before Fergie had a chance to share it. Now that the record is entirely available to stream in the dark corners of the web (no, I can’t link you), where does Fergie go from here?

The singer’s team is aware of the leak. How could they not? Her legal reps immediately began doling out copyright infringement notices Saturday night to anyone daring to share it. That makes total sense, but here we are several days later and there’s no sign the album is getting a rush-release.

How did this happen? Word on the street is that the songs were accidently uploaded to a BMG database. There’s a screen shot of the alleged track list floating around – it features refreshed cover art from what you see above (though the photo is not a new one).

There is a rumor DD was slated to drop in September, and that she and her team have decided to wait until then anyway despite the leak. This is extremely problematic for one of several reasons: First, Fergie has threatened multiple release dates in interviews over the last several years, and they never panned out for one reason or another. Also, if there’s any truth to the September premiere, pretending this leak never happened and asking fans to sit tight for two months is not only foolish, it’s a death sentence. If a track or two trickled onto the net somehow, I’d say, ‘yeah, turn a blind eye,’ but we’re talking about the entire damn double thing.

How can this be saved? That’s a tough one. The Internet is an extremely unforgiving space. No matter how threatening the message is to remove said audio, it’s out there. Forever. If Fergie wants to take recourse, she should aggressively pursue dropping the record as soon as possible. A singer’s work of art, especially one funded with their own **** money, is special and intimate. She must feel devastated – her carefully calculated rollout, surprise artist features (Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross made the final cut) and visuals for a bunch of the tracks was the original plan. But that plan was decimated to oblivion. It’s time to re-think things and rush-release as-is and figure out the rest afterward.

I fear if we wait until September, the Dutchess’ safely guarded work will sink passed the point of no return, and that’s a shame. These songs deserve to be heard by the masses. Then again, this is Fergie we’re talking about. It wouldn’t be the first time she has defied the odds.

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