EW's staff sizes up the biggest new music of the week

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Every Friday, EW’s music staff takes a hard listen to the biggest new tracks and offers up our unfiltered opinions. Read on for reviews of new tracks by Beyoncé, Blink-182, The Hotelier, and more.

Zedd & Kesha, “True Colors”

If you put it on Wikipedia, it just might come true. Around this time a year ago, Kesha was rumored to be the featured guest on the title track of Zedd’s True Colors album, but such a collaboration never materialized – until now. The EDM wunderkind offered his studio services to help the embattled pop star release new music as she struggles to get out of her contract with producer Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of sexual assault. (He’s denied the accusations on multiple occasions.) The song itself, apparently released with Luke’s permission, is surprisingly unflashy for Zedd, who’s better known for bangers like Ariana Grande’s “Break Free,” but it’s Kesha’s vocals—certainly an improvement over Tim James’ on the album version —- that make the track glow, with her legal drama adding a sense of urgency to lines like “All my life, one page at a time…won’t apologize for the fire in my eyes.” B+ —Nolan Feeney

Blink-182, “Bored to Death”

If fans thought guitarist Tom DeLonge’s departure from Blink-182would change the band’s sound completely, they’re in for a treat with “Bored to Death,” the first single off their forthcoming album, their first since DeLonge left the band last year. (Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba replaced him.) With angsty lyrics like “Life is too short to last long,” Travis Barker’s explosive drums, and plucky guitars engineered for moshing, the tune is reminiscent of some of their most beloved tracks. A- –Jessica Goodman

Beyonce, “Freedom” ft. Kendrick Lamar

Lemonade’s strongest message of female strength and resilience is best seen in “Freedom,” in which Bey rails against everything that’s holding women – specifically black women – back in America – and searches for release from such paralyzing anger. The only solution she finds? “I had my ups and downs, but I always fine the inner strength to pull myself up,” says Hattie White, Jay-Z’s grandmother on a tape recorded at her 90th birthday party. “I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” A —Madison Vain

Bruce Springsteen, “Purple Rain”

Bruce dedicated his Brooklyn concert Saturday to the late Prince and performed His Purpleness’ iconic song “Purple Rain.” (They later made their version available as a free download.) Nils Lofgren, Springsteen’s venerable lead guitarist, took over the track when stepping up for the legendary solo — and more than holds his own with his dexterous playing. What Springsteen’s current state of vocal cords lack in trying to replicate the Prince’s are made up by his overwhelming spirit and emotion. B+ –Will Robinson

The Hotelier, “Soft Animal”

The second single off The Hotelier’s upcoming Goodness starts off pleasantly calm before frontman Christian Holden explodes mid-song, wailing, “Make me feel alive, make me believe that I don’t have to die.” His desperate yells combined with faded group vocals and angst-ridden lyrics make for a cathartic track straight out of every emo lover’s dreams.A- –Ariana Bacle

D∆WN, “Honest”

Whether she’s filming 360-degree YouTube concerts or boldly fusing R&B and electronic music, the under-appreciated Danity Kane alum has staked her solo career on innovation. With its twitchy percussion and cold-blooded synths, this collaboration with producer Kingdom–the first taste of a bigger project on the way–only highlights her star power. A- —Nolan Feeney

“Hold Up,” Beyoncé

The most instantly iconic visual part of Beyonce’s Lemonade is accompanied by one of its best pieces of music. Assembled from shattered fragments of indie rock (Yeah Yeah Yeahs lyrics remixed via an old Ezra Koenig tweet, plus a Father John Misty contribution), “Hold Up” glides along at a jaunty pace, but its lyrics hit as hard as a baseball bat on a muscle car. A – Christian Holub

Frankie Ballard, “El Camino”

For the second taste of his upcoming El Rio album, the singer-guitarist is dishing out swaggering guitars, stomping drum lines, and a handclap rhythm to craft one hell of an exit strategy. “Get me a dog and an El Camino,” he sings, in his august Midwestern growl, on the tune penned by Chris Stapleton and Grammy-winning songwriter Lee Thomas Miller. “Take this heartache somewhere you’ve never been before.” Um, Frankie? Mind if we join? B—Madison Vain

Matt and Kim, “Let’s Run Away”

Just over a year after New Glow’s 2015 release, Matt and Kim treated fans to a surprise EP, titled We Were the Weirdos, amid their April 24 Coachella set. Save for the spastic “Please No More,” much of the project sees the duo curb the caffeinated blasts they’ve made their trademark. Its second track standout, “Let’s Run Away,” lends the record an even keel, lacing erratic instrumentals with a sexy, “Oo”-heavy hook. It’s fun without being in your face, ramping up New Glow’s polished production without losing the group’s signature silliness; who could forget that weird-but-welcomed Kevin Bacon shout out? B –Dana Getz

Calvin Harris & Rihanna, “This Is What You Came For”

It’s fitting that the cover art for Calvin Harris’ new single features a thunderstorm, because the song is the equivalent of trying to capture lightning in bottle for the second time: After finding love in a hopeless place, the Scottish DJ-producer is reuniting with his “We Found Love” collaborator Rihanna to hopefully find another hit on the Hot 100. The throbbing house track isn’t as euphoric as their previous chart-topper, but few forces in this world are as powerful as Rihanna’s vowel sounds – it was nearly a decade ago that held the world hostage with her ella-ella-ehs – so it’s wise of Harris to build the song around an addicting you-ooh-ooh loop of her voice. That’s really what we came for. B+ —Nolan Feeney

Billie Marten, “Milk & Honey”

Billie Marten has already raked in high praise for her small but burgeoning discography. On her latest, “Milk & Honey,” the British wunderkind proves why. Her gentle lilt coasts effortlessly across its spare but gorgeous expanse, swelling from sparse acoustics to a lush, brass-accented ballad. “Savor the taste of sugar, but all you want is milk / More than you can drink / All you want is honey, you can’t take the sting,” she croons on the sweet and sour ode. Not bad for a 16-year-old. A- –Dana Getz

Band of Horses, “Casual Party”

The first glimpse of the Charleston rockers’ fifth album, Why Are You Okay, appears with retro flare. But don’t let the ’90s Korean karaoke aesthetic of the lyric video mask the fact that Band of Horses’ return —- with new faces Jason Lytle and Rick Rubin helping out on production duty —- is nothing short of familiar. Ben Bridwell bemoans the occasion he’s at, but perhaps the strong family focus will perpetuate the cheeriness in the music itself. B –Will Robinson

Fetty Wap, “Wake Up”

1738ers unite because the king of mumble rap is back and he’s got his sight set on being the new Vitamin C with his latest release. Fetty is dedicating this song to the class of 2016, which could make for some interesting graduation ceremonies if they sing along to “Get like Wiz Khalifa high and throw your caps in the air.” A- -–Derek Lawrence

Flume, “Say It” ft. Tove Lo

Aussie EDM producer Flume stays true to his slinky, sun-drenched brand with “Say It,” a sexy, hazy collaboration with Tove Lo that puts his beats on the back burner and turns her vocals all the way up. “Let me f**k you right back / Oh oh oh,” she sings as his synths set her up for success. B+ – Jessica Goodman

Brian Eno, “Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free”

The legendary experimental musician and producer ends his new ambient album with a cover of the Velvet Underground’s 1969 serene ballad “I’m Set Free.” Whether listening in the context of The Ship or on its own, the track’s swirling strings (and Eno’s underrated voice) make it some of the most gorgeous music Eno has ever recorded — and that’s saying something. A-—Eric Renner Brown

Chloe x Halle, “Lazy Love”

The teenage sister duo -— one of the first acts signed to Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment label -— showed off the talent that caught Queen Bey’s attention with their minimalist, Janelle Monáe-meets-Lorde debut single “Drop.” Their new Sugar Symphony EP, out today, tests out a range of different styles from dreamy R&B (“Red Lights”) to house (“Thunder”), but it’s the funky synth groove of “Lazy Love” that provides the biggest sugar rush. With ready-for-the-weekend lyrics like “Maybe we can stay in our house, we can layout, order take out,” what’s not to love? A- —Nolan Feeney

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