New Music Friday: 14 releases to hear now
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 Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and Calvin Harris, here are the the week’s most noteworthy releases.
Mary J. Blige ft. Kanye West, “Love Yourself”
The opener from Blige’s forthcoming studio album, Strength of a Woman, is a brassy, soulful ode to the redemptive powers of love and self-worth. Kanye West stops by to ruminate about his own career arc and the ills of inner-city violence for one of his most affecting verses in years. —Eric Renner Brown
Kendrick Lamar, “Humble”
On his second new song in a week, the Compton, California MC is on fire — in the music video released along with “Humble,” flames literally wick off his head. But the track is equally incendiary, as Lamar raps about topics from fame (“Obama just paged me, ayy”) to positive body image (“show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretchmarks”) over a stuttering Mike Will Made-it beat. —E.R.B.
Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell, Ariana Grande, Young Thug, “Heatstroke”
In bringing together a genre-spanning trio of guests, the EDM star cooks up another sizzling slice of sun-flecked pop bliss. Kudos to Harris for finding the common ground between Young Thug’s bizarro rap, Pharrell’s R&B nostalgia, and Grande’s bubblegum pop. —E.R.B.
Bleachers, “Don’t Take the Money”
He may be an in-demand songwriter for pop A-listers like Taylor and Zayn, but Jack Antonoff’s new single as Bleachers (from a new album due this summer) picks up where his solo project left off three years ago: an anthemic slice of John Hughesian new-wave pop powered by a jackhammer synth bass and an inviting, shout-along hook. Oh, and that woman singing backing vocals near the end? You’ve got the green light to make a few guesses about who that is. —Nolan Feeney
Bob Dylan, Triplicate
Comprised of 30 songs, the Bard’s latest Sinatra homage is his most expansive yet. Like 2015’s Shadows in the Night and 2016’s Fallen Angels, Dylan brings his weathered voice and weary worldview to the classic songs penned by the likes of Irving Berlin and Rodgers & Hammerstein. —E.R.B.
Various Arists, Big Little Lies (Music From The HBO Limited Series)
The HBO series has used music to great effect and, ahead of its Sunday finale, the show’s soundtrack is now receiving an official release. The laid-back compilation features tunes from Alabama Shakes, Michael Kiwanuka, Charles Bradley, Leon Bridges, Martha Wainwright, and more. —E.R.B.
Goldfrapp, Silver Eye
The English electronic duo have spent their past few studio albums switching from one style to the next. Now, on their seventh LP, they’re back to the grinding, glam-inspired synth-pop that defined beloved albums like Black Cherry and Supernature. Get ready to ooh la la all over again. —N.F.
Nelly Furtado, The Ride
After stepping away from the big pop sounds of her 2006 blockbuster Loose (and it’s less-successful English-language follow-up, 2012’s The Spirit Indestructible), Furtado is going the indie route: She made her new album with St. Vincent producer John Congleton and is putting it out on her own Nelstar label. There’s even a collaboration with Nashville tunesmith Liz Rose, who’s written hits for Taylor Swift and Little Big Town. “These songs are more poetic than I’ve been in the past,” Furtado told EW last year. —N.F.
Freddie Gibbs, You Only Live 2wice
The Gary, Indiana rapper’s latest album is shorter than some of his EPs, barely topping the half-hour mark. But the deft MC covers plenty of ground on You Only Live 2Wice‘s eight songs, infusing each cut with his grizzled lyricism. BADBADNOTGOOD and Kaytranada — the same collaborators who caught President Trump’s eye via the beat for Snoop Dogg’s “Lavender” earlier this month — produced the instrumental for standout cut “Alexys.” —E.R.B.
Amber Coffman, “No Coffee”
Coffman didn’t appear on the latest Dirty Projectors album, but the second stellar single from her long-gestating solo debut, City of No Reply, confirms she’s still in fine form. Strong on breezy, Laurel Canyon vibes, “No Coffee” is Coffman’s lilting ode to the caffeinating properties of romance: “Don’t need no coffee, I’m wide awake / I’m not much for sleeping when your love is at stake.” —E.R.B.
Les Amazones d’Afrique, République Amazone
The Grammy-winning songwriter Angelique Kidjo leads this 10-piece supergroup of African female artists for a celebration of the popular music from their respective homelands of Mali, Nigeria and Benin. And while the melodies and grooves are undeniable party-starters—dig the distorted thumb-pianos on “Dombolo” or the gritty jazz-funk groove of “Doona”—Les Amazones d’Afrique’s message is deeply political: The album addresses the systemic abuse of women in many African countries and their ongoing struggle for equality. —Kevin O’Donnell
Aimee Mann, Mental Illness
The singer-songwriter’s ninth set is a somber but gorgeous batch of folk tunes. Gentle acoustic guitars and understated string arrangements buttress Mann’s casually moving vocal delivery. —E.R.B.
Dave Davies & Russ Davies, Open Road
The Kinks guitarist’s latest solo effort is a collaboration with his son, Russ, who makes electronic music under the moniker Abakus. Logically, the album blends sweeping folk, strutting rock, and some electronic textures for a singular union between father and son. —E.R.B.
Mastodon, Emperor of Sand
For 15 years, Mastodon have reliably churned out exhilarating collections that nail the sweet spot between arena rock and heavy metal. Their seventh full-length is another batch of explosive, riff-heavy ragers. —E.R.B.