Every Friday, artists drop anticipated albums, surprise singles, and hyped collaborations. As part of New Music Friday, EW’s music team chooses some of the essential new tunes. From Kelly Clarkson’s soulful return to Migos’ collaboration with Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, here are some of the week’s most noteworthy releases. Got Spotify? Stream all of EW’s picks by following our playlist (embedded below) for this week.
1. Kelly Clarkson, Meaning of Life
Yes, she’s been waiting a lifetime for a moment like this: Clarkson’s eighth LP is the soul album she’s wanted to make since junior high — and she sounds destined for this kind of material. Sure, the pop-rock anthems are gone, but you’ll hardly miss them once you hear tracks like the funky “Medicine” and the soaring “Heat.” For more, read EW’s B+ review and revisit Clarkson’s recent cover story. —Nolan Feeney
2. Migos feat. Nicki Minaj & Cardi B, “Motor Sport”
Two of hip-hop’s ascendant acts — Migos and Cardi B, who went No. 1 this year with their hits “Bad and Boujee” and “Bodak Yellow,” respectively — team with genre titan Nicki Minaj for a lurching song that’s equal parts posse cut and victory lap. “Rap’s Jackie Chan,” Minaj raps in a characteristic boast, “we ain’t pullin’ no fake stunts.” The track will appear on Migos’ forthcoming album Culture II. —E.R.B.
3. Weezer, Pacific Daydream
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo described their 11th album as “the Clash playing Pet Sounds” and the alt-rocker group’s “biggest departure” yet in an interview with EW. For more, read the full story. —E.R.B.
4. Ty Dolla $ign, Beach House 3
After releasing six star-studded singles from the latest installment of his Beach House series, Ty Dolla $ign dropped the project in its entirety Friday. Beach House 3 offers 14 more fresh Ty tracks, with assists from Pharrell (who doubles as a producer for “Stare”), Wiz Khalifa, and Future, among others. The vibes vary from Skrillex-produced EDM to Mike WiLL Made-It-led trap, but Ty truly excels on his smoother tracks — the acoustic guitar-riddled opener “Famous” is beautiful. Wavy, baby. —Josh Glicksman
5. Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
The 22-year-old Tennessee singer-songwriter’s second LP features another set of sparse, devastating tunes. The lyrically stark material would be nearly unbearable were it not for Baker’s beautiful arrangements, which place her arresting voice front and center. For more about the rising indie-rocker, revisit EW’s 2016 interview. —E.R.B.
6. Selena Gomez & Marshmello, “Wolves”
The former Disney star found her groove in 2016 with the breathy speak-singing that defined her Revival LP. But on the third single off her follow-up, Gomez ups the volume with the help of the mysterious producer Marshmello. (Yep, the one who wears that marshmallow bucket on his head.) With lyrics on fire with sexual desire, the combination works. —Madison Vain
7. Tune-Yards, “Look At Your Hands”
Tune-Yards, the eclectic indie project of Merrill Garbus, will follow their masterful recent albums, 2011’s w h o k i l l and 2014’s Nikki Nack, with I Can Feel You Creep Into My Public Life, due Jan. 19. Like Tune-Yards’ best work, the LP’s spirited first single overflows with vitality, propulsive rhythm, and Garbus’ forceful voice. —E.R.B.
8. MØ, When I Was Young EP
On her first body of work since breaking out with “Lean On” two years ago, the Danish singer — already on a hot streak in 2017 with three stellar singles — lets fans see what she tells EW is her “weird artistic” side. The title track starts off club-ready but features a jazzy drop, while the bluesy “Run Away” highlights MØ’s raspy voice — one of the most expressive in pop today. —Nolan Feeney
9. Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts, MILANO
For 2011’s Rome, Italian composer Daniele Luppi teamed with Danger Mouse, Jack White, and Norah Jones. For MILANO — released on Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records — he’s united with indie-rockers Parquet Courts and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O for a brief collection of tunes about youth culture and Milan’s gentrification. —E.R.B.
10. Mickey Hart feat. Avey Tare, “Wayward Son”
Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart has long fiddled with far-out music, from his second-set percussion sessions with fellow Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann to using his brain’s electrical activity to orchestrate the light shows at his concerts. For his new solo album RAMU, due Nov. 10, Hart teamed with artists including Animal Collective member and famed Deadhead Avey Tare, who features on “Wayward Son.” For more on Hart, revisit EW’s recent interview. —E.R.B.
11. Liz Huett, “H8U”
Petty never looked so good on this impeccable and charmingly human account of everyone’s worst fear: running into your ex at a bar while they’re on a date with someone else. Don’t worry, Liz, next round’s on us. —N.F.
12. Cam, “Diane”
Just call it Jolene: The Sequel—the country star’s new single echoes the Dolly Parton classic, only this time, it’s “the other woman” talking to the wife, with an instrumental that Cam has described as a little bit ABBA, a little bit Fleetwood Mac. —N.F.
13. Curtis Harding, Face Your Fear
For his new LP, Harding — who once sang backup for CeeLo Green — teamed with Danger Mouse for a set of tunes that channels both classic soul and the retro rock of acts like the Black Keys. —E.R.B.
- Sam Smith’s third release, “Burning,” from his forthcoming second album, The Thrill of It All
- Waves, the slick new album from “Fight Song” star Rachel Platten
- Plunge, the first solo LP from the Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, better known as Fever Ray, since 2009
- Southern rapper Big K.R.I.T.’s sweeping double album, 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time, featuring CeeLo, T.I., Jill Scott, and more
- Introduce Yerself, the sixth and final solo album by Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, who died earlier this month at the age of 53
- Hanson’s second Christmas album — and first in two decades — Finally It’s Christmas
- “Always Ascending,” the groovy return single from Glasgow rockers Franz Ferdinand
- Snoop Dogg’s second release of 2017, the 29-minute Make America Crip Again
- First Aid Kid’s rootsy “Postcard,” slated to appear on the Swedish folk duo’s Ruins, due Jan. 19
- Rhye’s sumptuous new single “Taste,” which finds common ground between electro, funk, and chamber-pop
Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.