Plus new tunes from Calvin Harris, Adam Lambert, Future, and more
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 JAY-Z’s first album in four years — featuring Beyoncé and Frank Ocean — to St. Vincent’s return single, here are the week’s most noteworthy releases. Got Spotify? Stream all of EW’s picks by following our playlist (embedded below) for this week.
The hip-hop titan’s hyphen is back — and so are the rhymes. Despite two decades in the game, Jay still has plenty to talk about, from his relationship with Kanye West to the notorious La La Land mix-up at the Oscars to, yes, the tumultuous marital period that Beyoncé first documented on Lemonade. Queen Bey and Frank Ocean both stop by for guest appearances. —Eric Renner Brown
St. Vincent, “New York”
Annie Clark, the dynamic singer-songwriter better known as St. Vincent, opened her 2014 self-titled album — which was EW’s favorite of that year — with references to the Rio Grande. For the first single off her long-awaited fifth LP (she recently told EW to expect it this year), she’s shifted her sights to the metropolis where she cut her musical teeth. And she hasn’t just changed up the lyrical scenery. Clark has largely jettisoned the angular, prog-influenced guitar acrobatics of her recent work in favor of elegant piano and swelling strings. The sonic shift makes sense upon analyzing the track’s credits: Bleachers’ indie-pop savant and Lorde’s Melodrama collaborator Jack Antonoff co-produced “New York.” —E.R.B.
Calvin Harris, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1
Need a soundtrack to your summer block party? Look no further. Katy Perry, Future, Nicki Minaj, and nearly a dozen more stars pop in for the EDM producer’s latest, which might be his most organic collection yet. Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 also includes “Slide,” the phenomenal collaboration between Frank Ocean and Migos that EW named the best song of 2017 so far. —E.R.B.
Adam Lambert, “Two Fux”
No more deep house beats here — Lambert is ghosting on the sounds of “Ghost Town,” the Max Martin-produced banger from 2015’s The Original High. Instead, he’s going for a quirky, theatrical rock ballad about tuning out the haters. And if you think he looks like an outlandish Kingdom Hearts villain on the single’s artwork, well, that’s actually kind of the point: “People think that I’m from Mars … rep for them aliens, different like me.” —Nolan Feeney
Future feat. YG, “Extra Luv”
In 2016, Kanye West added a track to the end of The Life of Pablo months after its release. In that spirit, Future has tacked on new songs to both the albums, FUTURE and HNDRXX, that he originally dropped in February. “Extra Luv,” which he appended to the former, is a skittering collaboration with SoCal rapper YG that’s up to the album’s existing, high-quality standard. —E.R.B.
The R&B group’s first album in 15 years — and since the 2002 death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes — “courts nostalgia at every turn,” EW’s Jim Farber writes in his review. To celebrate the LP’s release, TLC’s T-Boz and Chilli took EW inside some of their biggest hits earlier this week. —E.R.B.
OneRepublic, “Truth to Power”
There’s nothing inconvenient about new music from OneRepublic — Ryan Tedder and company wrote this soulful piano ballad specifically for the upcoming sequel to Al Gore’s landmark climate change documentary, 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth. The new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, hits theaters July 28. —Nolan Feeney
Washed Out, Mister Mellow
Following two albums of sun-splotched chillwave — that’s Washed Out playing in the Portlandia credits — bandleader Ernest Greene has reinvigorated his sound with hip-hop, electro, and jazz elements while retaining his signature summer-afternoon aesthetic. —E.R.B.
Liam Gallagher, “Chinatown”
The Oasis singer’s second offering from his upcoming solo debut, out in October, is as plucky and sweet as lead single “Wall of Glass” was brash and aggressive. At minimum, the cut’s cyclical acoustic guitar riff and cinematic pianos suggest Gallagher’s full-length will have plenty of stylistic diversity — but it’s a top-notch ballad too. —E.R.B.
Arcade Fire, “Signs of Life”
The third offering from the seminal indie-rock band’s forthcoming fifth album Everything Now, due July 28, is blast of the brassy, disco-inflected funk that populated their previous LP, 2013’s Reflektor. “Love is hard, sex is easy,” frontman Win Butler sings on the swaggering cut. —E.R.B.
The National, “Guilty Party”
Like Arcade Fire, the National have taken four years since their previous studio album and are preparing for a buzzy return. Where “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” was twitchy and guitar-centric, “Guilty Party” explores another well-worn National lane: The slowly swelling showcase for singer Matt Berninger. But with quirky electro glitches and a restless drum track, it’s far from a retread. —E.R.B.
Tyler, the Creator, “Who Dat Boy” and “911 / Mr. Lonely”
For his first official new material since 2015’s Cherry Bomb — his Bill Nye Saves the World theme song notwithstanding — the head-turning MC turned to two of his collaborative stalwarts, A$AP Rocky and Frank Ocean, for two quintessentially Tyler cuts. The lurching, uneasy “Who Dat Boy” features a quality verse from Tyler’s 2015 touring partner, while “911 / Mr. Lonely” sports angelic vocals from Ocean, who recently recruited Tyler for his own song “Biking.” —E.R.B.
Public Enemy, Nothing Is Quick in the Desert
The legendary rap group’s follow-up to 2015’s Man Plans God Laughs is a free gift to fans to celebrate Public Enemy’s 30th anniversary. “WE thank you & THIS is on US,” Chuck D tweeted. And it’s not the only PE-related release due this year: In September, Prophets of Rage, the supergroup featuring Chuck, Public Enemy’s DJ Lord, Cypress Hill’s B-Real, and members of Rage Against the Machine, will drop their full-length debut. —E.R.B.
Floating Points, Reflections—Mojave Desert
Producer Sam Shepherd’s latest release as Floating Points fuses innovative electronica with psych-rock freak-outs. And he has a major cosigner: Talking Heads’ David Byrne is releasing the album on his Luaka Bop label. —E.R.B.
Toro y Moi, “You and I”
“I don’t think it’s me, I don’t think it’s you / It’s the universe,” Chaz Bear sings on the latest, ’80s-tinged synth jam from his forthcoming album Boo Boo, due July 7. The sweeping soundscape he creates on “You and I” is as sweeping as the heavens to which he lyrically alludes. —E.R.B.
Beach House, B-Sides and Rarities
Though the dream-pop duo have toured steadily since releasing two albums, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, in 2015, they haven’t continued to put out new material. B-Sides and Rarities dips into their vault, which should be just fine for fans: Dating back to their self-titled 2006 debut, Beach House’s catalog is more or less unimpeachable, as is this set. —E.R.B.
Baio, Man of the World
This year is shaping up to be a big one for current and former Vampire Weekend members. Drummer Chris Tomson debuted as Dams of the West in March and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij has his first solo full-length slated for September. (He also collaborated with HAIM on their new album.) The whole solo thing is old hat for bassist Chris Baio, of course, who already released a solo album in 2015. His second outing, Man of the World, is another accomplished blast of upbeat, electro-pop cuts. —E.R.B.
Josh Abbott Band, “I’m Your Only Flaw”
The Texas sextet topped Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart — and earned a spot on EW’s favorite country albums of 2015 — with their stunning, sprawling Front Row Seat. The concept record followed the demise of the frontman Josh Abbott’s marriage in five moving stages. If that saga made recording their follow-up, Until My Voice Goes Out, due Aug. 18, challenging, lead single “I’m Your Only Flaw” doesn’t show it. With the charm factor turned way up, Abbott spills about his girlfriend, Taylor, with whom he just welcomed his first child. “When I think of happiness, innocence, and truth / In an almost perfect person / That’s when I think of you,” he sings. —Madison Vain
Astrid S, Party’s Over EP
Behold the soundtrack to your summer crush. The Norwegian singer writes glistening electro-pop tunes about infatuation and attraction that are as irresistible as whoever she’s singing about. The 20-year-old credits the visceral thrills of songs like “Breathe” and “Bloodstream” to her no-fuss writing process. “Both [were] songs where I’ve thought the least about the lyrics while writing them,” she told EW in May. “I just let it happen and went with the flow.” If you’re still not convinced, the EP also contains an ode to sushi — what’s not to love? —N.F.
Mura Masa ft. Christine and the Queens, “Second 2 None”
While the DJ-producer’s recent breezy collaborations with Desiigner and Charli XCX have been fit for the dance floor, his new track with French pop star Christine and the Queens — from his upcoming self-titled debut LP — is slower and weirder yet somehow just as entrancing. —N.F.
James Elkington, Wintres Woma
On his first solo album, Elkington, who has performed six-string duties for Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Steve Gunn, and more, combines his virtuosic guitar playing with accomplished singing and songwriting. Wintres Woma is the latest serene gem from rootsy indie label Paradise of Bachelors. —E.R.B.
The dreamy electro trio have amassed a following opening for artists including Halsey and X Ambassadors and won over Spotify listeners in 2016, becoming the service’s most streamed Discover Weekly artist last year. Their accomplished debut album includes “Super Far,” a collaboration with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder. —E.R.B.
Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.