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. With fresh offerings from Zayn, Kendrick Lamar, and Iggy Azalea, here are the week’s most noteworthy releases.
ZAYN ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR, “Still Got Time”
Well, that didn’t take long. His debut album hasn’t been out for a full year, but the ex-One Direction star shared the first taste of its follow-up with this tropical rave-up with PARTYNEXTDOOR — a sunny, cheerful departure from the moody R&B of Mind of Mine. —Nolan Feeney
Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part 4”[spotify id="spotify%3Atrack%3A41eiwHEX8iegmqmS2cf7oX" /]
In 2016, the Compton rapper headlined festivals, released a collection of fresh material, and appeared on tracks by artists from Beyoncé to DJ Khaled — but, after teasing new music in an Instagram post, Lamar delivered late Thursday with “The Heart Part 4.” The single is nominally the fourth in a long-running series (the last installment arriving in 2012, before Lamar’s sophomore album good kid, m.A.A.d. city), but it’s exceptionally timely, making references to President Trump and Lamar’s current place atop the hip-hop world. —Eric Renner Brown
Iggy Azalea, “Mo Bounce”
“I like being polarizing,” Azalea told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe after premiering her new song “Mo Bounce.” The latest single from her upcoming Digital Distortion LP is unlikely to change that reputation, but it sure is fun if you give yourself over to the grimy, four-to-the-floor beat co-produced by Far East Movement. —N.F.
Gorillaz ft. Vince Staples, “Ascension”
Damon Albarn’s beloved virtual alt-rock group returned Thursday in a big way, announcing their first new album in six years, Humanz, and dropping multiple songs from the new project. While it was the Popcaan-featuring “Saturnz Barz” that received the full-blown music video treatment, Humanz opener and Vince Staples collaboration “Ascension” stood out for its fusion of the young MC’s dark rhymes and Albarn’s upbeat production. Gorillaz also shared “Andromeda” and “We Got the Power,” featuring D.R.A.M. and Savages’ Jehnny Beth, respectively; out April 28, Humanz also includes guest appearances by Danny Brown, Pusha T, Grace Jones, De La Soul, Mavis Staples, and more. —E.R.B.
Mike Will Made-It, Ransom 2[spotify id="spotify%3Aalbum%3A0jqcY0azNzkluuC8hxNGlw" /]
From Beyoncé’s “Formation” to Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles,” the 28-year-old producer’s beats are ubiquitous. But, after a string of mixtapes, Ransom 2 is his debut album under his own name. For the project, Mike Will recruited luminaries from the hip-hop and pop worlds: Rihanna, Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Rae Sremmurd, Migos, and many more lend their talents to his distinctive, trap-oriented instrumentals. —E.R.B.
David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj & Lil Wayne, “Light My Body Up”
The EDM titan and the queen of rap teamed up for yet another collaboration. This time, instead of high-octane dance music in the vein of “Where Them Girls At” and “Turn Me On,” they deliver what sounds like a sequel to Minaj’s 2012 track “Beez in the Trap,” with some help from Lil Wayne. —N.F.
Craig Finn, We All Want the Same Things[spotify id="spotify%3Aalbum%3A0pyXtFVeXowmiIeiMlf1Bn" /]
On his third solo LP, the Hold Steady frontman freewheels between riff-tastic guitars, moody bass lines, and piano-driven rock. As always, the set features Finn’s soaring poetry. —Madison Vain
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, “Hope the High Road”
The former Drive-By Trucker returned this week with the a dynamic first sample from his sixth album, The Nashville Sound, due out June 16. He told EW the electric tune was a call to arms for people to “stay classy” during these divisive times. —M.V.
Kelly Lee Owens, Kelly Lee Owens[spotify id="spotify%3Aalbum%3A3Zx14dyUjtZcEas89nZZfn" /]
The stunning debut album from this Welsh songwriter-producer is the aural equivalent of a hot-stone massage: It’s 45 minutes of gently pulsing electronic beats, sumptuous keyboard hooks, and Owens’ heavenly vocals. —Kevin O’Donnell
Mount Eerie, A Crow Looked At Me[spotify id="spotify%3Aalbum%3A5p64XgvFREt1P6mC7Xl6XN" /]
A Crow Looked At Me, Phil Elverum’s latest album as Mount Eerie, is one of the year’s starkest and most harrowing releases yet: Over 11 largely acoustic tracks, the former Microphones frontman wrenchingly sings about the 2016 death of his wife and mother of his daughter. —E.R.B.
Betty Who, The Valley[spotify id="spotify%3Aalbum%3A73AQHzR5yXHtA71tfeX6H2" /]
The Australian export is still serving up dazzling ’80s electro-pop on her second album. But there are new detours: She channels G-funk on “Free to Fly,” and “Mama Say” is her self-proclaimed tribute to ’90s-era Britney Spears. “I’ve always said that, to me, there is such thing as a perfect pop song,” Betty recently told EW. “With a pop song, you can edit it to death until it’s perfect. That’ still a challenge I strive to do and work toward.” —K.O.
Perfume Genius, “Slip Away”
The electro-pop artist’s sound is bigger than ever on the lead single from his upcoming fourth album, No Shape, out May 5. That’s partly thanks to producer Blake Mills, who has recently worked with John Legend and Alabama Shakes and helps Mike Hadreas elevate his brand of bedroom indie to arena-sized proportions. —E.R.B.
Boss Hog, Brood X
Seventeen years after their last album, noise-punk icons Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez sound as dangerous as ever: Brood X is a thrilling assault of fuzzed-out guitars, shagadelic ’60s organs, and Martinez’s earth-quaking caterwaul. —K.O.
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Souvenir[spotify id="spotify%3Aalbum%3A2kDauY3LahKExPQgfdKGPY" /]
For their latest, the Americana outfit teamed with producers Joe Pisapia (k.d. Lang, Guster) and Ian Fitchuck (Maren Morris, Kasey Musgrave) to craft a plucky set that bounces between country, rock, folk, and blues. Come for Holcomb’s love letter to his new daughter (“Mama’s Sunshine, Daddy’s Rain”), but stay for his understated lament for the never-satisfied (“Rowdy Heart, Broken Wing”). —M.V.
Paul McCartney, Flowers in the Dirt reissue[spotify id="spotify%3Aalbum%3A1s7LPaj535T6kSivKTBjR7" /]
Time-travel back to 1989 with this reissue of Macca’s solo classic. The new edition features demos of the single “My Brave Face,” which he co-wrote with Elvis Costello, plus previously unreleased tracks. —K.O.