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 Taylor Swift’s long-awaited sixth album reputation to Eminem and Beyoncé’s emotional collaboration, here are some of the week’s most noteworthy releases. Got Spotify? Stream some of EW’s picks by following our playlist (embedded below) for this week.
1. Taylor Swift, reputation
Arriving three years after her seismic 1989, reputation finds the pop icon taking a darker turn. Yet “for all their borrowed swagger,” EW’s Leah Greenblatt writes, “the songs, with their vague allusions to dive bars and lipstick marks, lack the sharp specificity of her best work.” For more about the album, read EW’s full B-grade review and how other critics have greeted the project. —Eric Renner Brown
2. Eminem feat. Beyoncé, “Walk on Water”
Eminem returned Friday with a staggering, beautiful new single — and it features Beyoncé. The moving track will likely appear on Em’s forthcoming ninth album, and he might even bust it out when he performs on Saturday Night Live later this month. —E.R.B.
3. Walk the Moon, What If Nothing
The indie-rockers scored a true crossover hit with their 2014 smash “Shut Up and Dance.” They seem uncertain of their direction on What If Nothing, which has both highs and lows. For more, read EW’s review of the album. —E.R.B.
4. Bleachers, MTV Unplugged
Jack Antonoff has produced for so many stars in 2017 — Taylor Swift, Lorde, Pink — that it’s easy to forget he also put out an LP as Bleachers. Even stripped of their synth-pop stylings, the tracks still connect. For more about Antonoff, revisit EW’s tour of his studio and review of the latest Bleachers album. —E.R.B.
5. Angel Olsen, Phases
Leave it to Olsen, who released one of 2016’s best indie-rock albums, My Woman, to turn a collection of B-sides and rarities into a riveting, cohesive set. For more about Olsen, revisit EW’s interview with the singer-songwriter. —E.R.B.
6. Kamaiyah, Before I Wake
The Oakland MC impressed with her 2016 debut A Good Night in the Ghetto — one of EW’s favorite projects of 2016 — and despite its brevity, her 26-minute follow-up Before I Wake continues her hot streak. —E.R.B.
7. Mickey Hart, RAMU
The revered Grateful Dead drummer kicked off another tour with Dead & Company last night in San Francisco — the group’s second of 2017 — but he hasn’t eased up on his own far-out sonic experiments. His 14th solo LP deploys samples from sources as disparate as a 1948 tobacco auctioneer and late Dead cohort Jerry Garcia and enlists collaborators including Animal Collective’s Avey Tare. For more about Hart, revisit EW’s interview with the percussionist from earlier this year. —E.R.B.
8. Seal, Standards
For his latest, the crooner covers Great American Songbook classics from the Gershwins and Cole Porter. And on cuts popularized by Frank Sinatra, like “Luck Be a Lady,” Seal does Ol’ Blue Eyes proud. —E.R.B.
9. Sigrid, “Strangers”
Norwegian singer Sigrid — one of the promising new pop artists to emerge in 2017 — follows up this year’s excellent Don’t Kill My Vibe EP with this thunderous new single that sets a shuddering, “Dancing On My Own”-esque synth bass to her already-soaring hooks. —Nolan Feeney
10. Tim Heidecker, Too Dumb For Suicide: Tim Heidecker’s Trump Songs
As half of comedy duo Tim & Eric, Heidecker honed an absurdist brand of humor. He applies his worldview to current events on this collection of facetious protest songs for the Trump era. Though darker themes surface periodically, the set generally aims to amuse, from an Elvis Costello-styled homage to Trump’s bowels (“Imperial Bathroom”) to takedowns of prominent right-wingers (“Richard Spencer,” “Wilbur Ross”). —E.R.B.
11. Grateful Dead, R.F.K. Stadium Washington, D.C. 1989
The Grateful Dead graduated to stadiums in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but their reliability as performers faltered. Especially in the wake of Jerry Garcia’s 1986 coma, concerts could be hit or miss; not coincidentally, only two of the 24 volumes of the band’s current Dave’s Picks series of archival live releases contain performances from 1980 or later (’80 and ’81, specifically). But a new set course corrects, featuring two scintillating D.C. gigs from the Dead’s acclaimed summer ’89 tour, which captured Garcia at a late-career peak and contained some of keyboardist Brent Mydland’s final shows before his untimely 1990 death. For more about the RFK concerts, revisit EW’s premiere of the July 12 performance of “Estimated Prophet.” —E.R.B.
12. NE-HI & Jamila Woods, “The Times I’m Not There”
Earlier this year, Chicago garage-rockers NE-HI released their excellent second album, Offers. For their latest single — a reworked version of a tune off their debut — the group enlisted another Chicagoan with a decidedly different aesthetic: Jamila Woods, who has made waves as a Chance the Rapper collaborator and with her unvarnished brand of neo-soul. The cut finds the middle ground between scuzzy rock and silky R&B that you never knew you needed. —E.R.B.
- R.E.M.’s 25th-anniversary edition of their masterful 1992 LP Automatic For the People, including an engrossing live set from that year
- Metallica’s latest reissue, of 1986’s seminal Master of Puppets, which includes demos and multiple concert recordings from the period
- Light Upon the Lake: Demo Recordings, a collection of early versions of tunes off Chicago indie-rock band Whitney‘s stellar 2016 debut Light Upon the Lake
- Gun Outfit’s Out of Range, the fresh release from top-notch Americana label Paradise of Bachelors, which blends Kevin Morby’s Dylanesque indie-rock with Southwestern vibes
- John Legend’s arresting cover of Joni Mitchell’s countercultural anthem “Woodstock”
- Laugh Now, Fly Later, the brief new mixtape from Wiz Khalifa
- Sleigh Bells’ latest installment of amps-to-11 noise-rock, the Kid Kruschev mini-LP
- “Textin’ My Ex,” T-Pain’s ode to not letting an old lover go
- Future, Ty Dolla $ign, and Kiiara’s collaboration “Darkside,” set to appear on the soundtrack for forthcoming Netflix crime drama Bright
Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.