New Music Friday: 24 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 Lana Del Rey, Sheryl Crow, Big Boi, here are the week's most noteworthy releases.
Lana Del Rey ft. The Weeknd, "Lust for Life"
After hosting Lana Del Rey in his bad-boy lair on his last two albums, The Weeknd returns the favor and climbs up into the "H on the Hollywood sign" to sing with Del Rey on the Max Martin-assisted title track from her upcoming album, Lust for Life. Emphasis on lust: Del Rey basically spends half the song instructing her duet partner to take off his clothes. —Nolan Feeney
Sheryl Crow, Be Myself
The 55-year-old singer-songwriter teamed with old pals Tchad Blake and Jeff Trott — with whom she crafted '90s hits including "If It Makes You Happy," "Everyday Is A Winding Road," and "My Favorite Mistake" — and recaptured the sunny pop-rock sounds for which fans love her. Turn this one up and hit the road. —Madison Vain
Big Boi ft. Adam Levine, "Mic Jack"
The OutKast rapper last released a solo album in 2012 but has remained busy in the intervening time, whether reuniting with André 3000 for a tour in 2014 or teaming with Phantogram for the 2015 collaborative project Big Grams. He announced the release of his third full-length, Boomiverse, on Thursday with a synth-pop jam featuring Adam Levine — and if that cut doesn't seem up to Big Boi's hip-hop standard, look no further than the second Boomiverse song he dropped, "Kill Jill," which features Jeezy and once-protegé Killer Mike. —Eric Renner Brown
Brad Paisley, Love & War
The country thrasher's 11th LP features Mick Jagger, John Fogerty, Timbaland, and Bill Anderson — and that's just where the party begins. Paisley doesn't hold back anywhere on the set: The title track tackles the mistreatment of war veterans in the U.S.; "The Devil Is Alive and Well" laments the country's bitter divides; and "selfie#theinternetisforever" pokes fun at social media obsession. The results are undeniable. —M.V.
Chris Stapleton, "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning"
Willie Nelson popularized this somber lament, written by Gary P. Nunn and Donna Farar, when he released it on his 1982 collection, Always on My Mind. There's little similarity between The Red Headed Stranger's wiry tenor and Stapleton's thunderous baritone, but both are wonderful, moving interpreters. Bring your tissues, you'll need 'em. —M.V.
MØ, "Nights With You"
Everyone could use a friend like MØ: The Danish singer and star of Major Lazer's "Lean On" promises to "dye my hair in crazy colors just to make you smile" on this skronky BFF anthem, the latest proof that MØ couldn't write a bad song to save her life. —N.F.
Shawn Mendes, "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back"
Just in time for the kickoff of his world tour, the 18-year-old pop star is giving fans something they've never gotten from him before: a song they could play at dance parties. "It's a big step," he told EW of the song, which was also partially inspired by early '00s Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. —N.F.
Charlie Puth, "Attention"
On his first single from his forthcoming second album, the pop phenom shows he's grown beyond being just a teen-pop phenom: "Attention" pairs Puth's pleasant croon with a strutting funk groove and jazzy keyboard accompaniment; it's edgy yacht rock for the Snapchat generation. —K.O.
Charly Bliss, Guppy
On their impressive debut, Charly Bliss ably mines '90s rock touchstones from Weezer to Veruca Salt. But, like bands including Speedy Ortiz and Parquet Courts, the New Yorkers freshen up their nostalgia with whip-smart lyricism and unimpeachable hooks. Singer Eva Hendricks belts unforgettable lines — "I bounced so high, I peed the trampoline / I'm too sad to be mean / I'm gonna end up working at Dairy Queen," goes the "DQ" chorus — with high-pitched passion as the band's impeccable rhythm section follows her every step of the way. —E.R.B.
Paramore, "Hard Times"
Paramore go pop with the playful "Hard Times," off their upcoming After Laughter, but there's still some emo underneath its bright, '80s-inspired sound: "Hard times / Gonna make you wonder why you even try / Hard times / Gonna take you down and laugh when you cry," Hayley Williams sings on the chorus of the track, an incredibly fun — yes, fun — "f— you" to depression and all the struggles that come with it. —Ariana Bacle
Zaytoven ft. Gucci Mane & 21 Savage, "East Atlanta Day"
Few trap producers are as influential as Zaytoven, who regularly collaborates with Future, Gucci Mane, and more. "East Atlanta Day" is a quintessential blast of his style — squelching bass and twinkling keys — decked out with guest verses from Gucci and fellow Atlantan 21 Savage. —E.R.B.
Ray Davies, Americana
The former Kinks frontman hails from the U.K., but he pays tribute to the States on Americana, a collection of folksy songs that takes inspiration from Davies' 2013 memoir of the same name about his sometimes tumultuous, sometimes picturesque relationship with the U.S. What results is a sprawling soundtrack detailing America's peaks — and its valleys: Davies opens "The Great Highway," a hopeful song about wandering the country in search of happiness with the line, "I had this dream America was always a very special place… 'Til reality hit me in the face." —A.B.
Damian Marley ft. Stephen Marley, "Medication"
Right in time for the 4/20 holiday, the reggae royal extols the virtue of Mary Jane — and rails against the indignities of marijuana criminalization — on a dubbed-out jam with just the right amount of skank. —K.O.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, So It Is
TV On the Radio's Dave Sitek produced the jazz septet's latest in New Orleans after the group took a "life-changing trip" to Cuba — and So It Is is a logically swirling amalgam of musical styles, from Latin rhythms to Big Easy soul. From the sultry title track to the breakneck "La Malanga," the album grooves nonstop across its tight 34 minutes. —E.R.B.
Dua Lipa feat. Miguel, "Lost in Your Light"
EW named Dua Lipa one of "10 new artists who will rule 2017" — now see why for yourself on this rollicking Miguel duet from her upcoming self-titled album, due June 2. "I always wanted to get some collaborations on the album," she told EW earlier this year. "Some people that I really wanted to work with heard some of [my] stuff and liked it. I'm really excited to have these collaborators join the album because I think it's going to make the album even better." —N.F.
The War on Drugs, "Thinking of a Place"
After releasing 2014's perfect psychedelic-rock opus Lost in a Dream, Adam Granduciel and his Philadelphia-based band have jumped to the major label Atlantic for their anticipated follow-up. In the meantime, they're staying true to their indie roots with the track "Thinking of a Place," released to coincide with Record Store Day. And it's a stunner: an 11-minute opus of strummy acoustic guitars, lilting pedal steel, and celestial washes of synths. —K.O.
Yes, Incubus continues to make music in 2017 and, yes, that music sounds like the Incubus that ruled alt-rock radio in the '00s — and, as their new full-length, 8, confirms, both of those facts are good things. From sizzling opener "No Fun" to simmering "Make No Sound In the Digital Forest" (bonus points for that song title), the band draws on their best moments for plenty of solid ones here. —E.R.B.
J Dilla, Motor City
Eleven years after the seminal hip-hop producer succumbed to a rare blood disease at the age of 32, music from his vault continues to emerge at an impressive clip: Motor City, an hour-long collection of fresh Dilla tunes, follows more than a dozen posthumous releases. The album isn't as consistent or inventive as Dilla's best work — a worthy successor to his 2006 masterpiece, Donuts, Motor City is not — but curated by his mom, Ma Dukes, the set has plenty of highlights including the chopped-up Creedence Clearwater Revival homage "Motor City 7" or the clattering funk cut "Motor City 15." —E.R.B.
Sigrid, "Plot Twist"
The fiery follow-up to the Norwegian singer's debut single "Don't Kill My Vibe" draws from her love of trap and grime music, but she originally wrote the track on the piano. "If you start with the production, I find it quite easy to think that we don't need much of a melody," she recently told EW. "But when you're at the piano, it's so naked. You need to have a good topline to keep the attention. —N.F.
Woods, Love Is Love
The prolific psych-folkies recorded this brief follow-up to 2016's City Sun Eater in the River of Light in the weeks following Donald Trump's election as president. "But it's not a record borne entirely of angry, knee-jerk reaction to what America is becoming," a press release announcing the project read. "Instead, it's a meditation on love, and on what life means now." Clocking in at only 32 minutes, the project has all the looseness of an off-the-cuff jam session, including on the 10-minute, brass-laden centerpiece "Spring Is in the Air." —E.R.B.
Amy Shark, Night Thinker EP
The Australian artist—who beat out big names like Chance the Rapper and The Weeknd on Australian radio station Triple J's year-end countdown last year —combines the intimacy of indie-rock singer-songwriters with the soundscapes of pop and EDM. Eerie pitched-up vocals give her breakout single "Adore" a ghostly feel, while "Blood Brothers" sports a slick synth-pop beat. —N.F.
TLC ft. Snoop Dogg, "Way Back"
"It's nothin' but a thing to pick up where we left off yeah," Chilli and T-Boz purr on the first single from their first album in 15 years—and the first without the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. And that's exactly what they do on "Way Back," a crazy-sexy-cool slab of old-school '90s R&B that gets an assist from another '90s pop icon: Snoop Dogg. —K.O.
Sir Sly, "High"
This Los Angeles crew serve up a euphoric new wave jam with a massive, shout-along chorus. But the high-concept video is even better — with awkward-cool choreography that rivals the bro from Future Islands on Letterman. —K.O.
Various Artists, Beatitudes
The guitarist and songwriter Stu G has spent the last two decades traveling the world to understand how poverty, prostitution, drug addiction, and sex trafficking have afflicted society globally. But he's turned those learning experiences into something uplifting and inspiring: a collection of songs, partly inspired by Christian beatitudes, that are performed by friends and colleagues like Amy Grant, The McCrary Sisters and others. A documentary about his travels is forthcoming. —E.R.B.