Warmer weather is just around the corner: Give your playlists a spring cleaning with these new tracks from Gwen, Zayn, and some of EW’s other current favorites. And if you want to take these songs on the go, follow EW’s Spotify playlist.
Freshly emancipated from One Direction, Zayn Malik has signed his heart over to dreamily nocturnal R&B jams like this on — and a girl so intoxicating he can’t see straight. (His pretty falsetto is still working just fine, though.)
Gwen Stefani, “Where Would I Be?”
Stefani’s bouncy ode to what we can only assume are Blake Shelton’s considerable charms — check the Solo-cup reference — is a sweet slice of pop sunshine, with a jaunty Jamaican back step that recalls some of midperiod No Doubt’s best material.
Oyinda, “Never Enough”
“You can never get enough of a good thing,” the Nigerian singer purrs. And she may as well be talking about her own material: “Never Enough” is a sultry avant-garde R&B ballad as seductive as anything on Rihanna’s Anti.
Cardiknox, “Into the Night”
Copping the fierce power of ’80s sirens Pat Benatar and Bonnie Tyler, singer Lonnie Angle (with partner Thomas Dutton) delivers an irresistible synth-pop anthem for the Text Neck Generation. Inspirational lyric: “I turn my phone to silent/I catch a train and ride it/Into the night…I go!”
will.i.am, “Boys & Girls”
Sure, the Black Eyed Peas have their haters, but you gotta give Will props for his endless search of new sonic ideas. On his latest, pop’s Wizard of Oz returns with another future-disco banger you’re bound to hear over and over and over this summer. Bonus points for lyrics that celebrate pansexuality.
Sturgill Simpson, “In Bloom”
Kurt Cobain was one of rock’s best songwriters — but who knew his tunes could work as country ballads, too? The budding alt-country star finds a delicate beauty — and plenty of pedal steel — in the raging Nevermind classic.
White Denim, “Had 2 Know (Personal)”
The fiery Austin band kick off their new album, Stiff, with this scuzzy cut that continues their hot streak of deep-fried Southern rock. Somewhere, Duane Allman is smiling.
Young Thug, “Digits”
You would think that after five releases in less than a year, the rapper would start to lose steam. But like his idol Lil Wayne in his late-aughts prime, quantity doesn’t come at the expense of quality, especially on this woozy highlight from Thug’s latest, Slime Season 3.
The War on Drugs, “Touch of Grey”
A standout cut from an upcoming 59-song Grateful Dead tribute album, the Philly rockers apply a bright sheen to the jam band’s biggest commercial hit.
Kenny Chesney, “Noise”
The country king returns with his most inspired song in years—and right in time for the election. “Noise” is the year’s best antidote to the inanity of the Court of Twitter and cable-news punditry.
Kygo and Labrinth, “Fragile”
Vacay’s over, y’all! The pioneer of the tropical-house sound flexes new production muscle on this lovely stripped-down ballad, featuring vocals from British singer Labrinth.
Michael Kiwanuka, “Black Man in a White World”
Handclaps, cinematic strings, and a slinky guitar underscore the 28-year-old Brit’s poignant meditation on racial disunion.
Ariana Grande, “Be Alright”
The ponytailed pop princess dials back the vocal acrobatics on this groovy cut from her forthcoming album, Dangerous Woman.
The Lumineers, “Cleopatra”
The title track for the folk act’s second album is grittier than their breakout “Ho Hey,” with singer Wesley Schultz channeling
Marcus Mumford over a sparse, Bo Diddley-style riff.
Whitney, “Golden Days”
A strummy indie-rock ramble that lands somewhere between Pavement and the Traveling Wilburys, this bittersweet riff on bygones isn’t too cool to invest in a horn breakdown and an unabashedly dreamy series of “na-na-na”s.