Plus new tunes from 21 Savage, Liam Payne, Lil Wayne, 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 Kesha’s harrowing comeback single to HAIM’s hotly anticipated second album, here are the week’s more noteworthy releases. Got Spotify? Stream all of EW’s picks by following our playlist (embedded below) for this week.
It’s been five years since her last album and three years since her legal battle with Dr. Luke began, but Kesha is finally releasing new solo music — and her comeback ballad is a soul-stirring revelation. Co-written with Macklemore cohort Ryan Lewis, “Praying” showcases Kesha’s rich voice as it’s rarely been heard on record, and her lyrics about trying to take the high road in the face of her struggles — emphasis on trying; this empowerment anthem refreshingly presents its heroine as a work in progress, not a finish-line champion — are spine-tingling. “You said that I was done,” Kesha sings in the second verse. “Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come.” Judging by the power of this song, her “best” is shaping up to be incredible. —Nolan Feeney
HAIM, Something to Tell You
HAIM’s second album ends a four-year musical drought from the group. “Compared with their debut, Something is less cluttered with ideas and more deliberate about its influences,” EW critic Jonathan Bernstein wrote in an A- review, calling the album “a simple and staggering ode to the joy and craftsmanship of American pop.” For more, revisit EW’s recent profile of the trio. —Eric Renner Brown
21 Savage, Issa Album
The 24-year-old Atlanta rapper scored a surprise hit with last year’s Savage Mode, a collaborative EP with producer Metro Boomin that hit No. 23 on Billboard’s albums chart. Issa Album, his debut album, nearly hits an hour but its energy — always bubbling, but rarely boiling — never flags, in part thanks to the small group of accomplished beatsmiths (Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, Southside) with whom he worked on most of its tracks. Even so, Savage’s rhymes stand above the polished beats, whether he’s getting political (“Nothin New”) or churning out witty one-liners (“I know there’s bumps in the road like acne,” he says on “Famous”). And with its Millennial-courting hook — “I’m too drunk to text so can we FaceTime?” — the DJ Mustard-produced “FaceTime” has chart potential. —E.R.B.
Zedd & Liam Payne, “Get Low”
They certainly aren’t the first to claim the title — peep the catalogs of Lil Jon, Waka Flocka Flame, Dillon Francis, and 50 Cent before you call it “original” — but the producer and former One Directioner offer a refreshing, summery spin on the well-worn trope with their airy outing. —Madison Vain
Lil Wayne, “Magnolia (Freestyle),” “Loyalty,” “Mula Gang,” “Fireworks”
Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V continues to languish in label purgatory, so the revered MC took things into his own hands this week. “Im STILL trying to fight for my Independence but today Im saying Fuk it and giving all my fans some new music!” he wrote on Instagram. “Thanks for being there and patiently waiting while I endure this fight.” The four songs Weezy shared prove he can still run circles around most rappers, like on a freestyle over Playboi Carti’s “Magnolia” where he lightheartedly quips, “I’m higher than my socks.” —E.R.B.
Ringo Starr, “Give More Love”
To celebrate his 77th birthday, the Beatle announced his 19th studio album Give More Love and shared the project’s title track. The upbeat single epitomizes Starr’s “peace and love” aesthetic and fits with the upcoming LP’s sense of camaraderie — it’ll feature Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, and more. —E.R.B.
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, “Find Yourself”
Fresh off leading Neil Young’s backing band, Lukas Nelson — Willie Nelson’s son — and his raucous outfit, Promise of the Real, will drop their new, self-titled LP on Aug. 25. Nelson co-wrote Lady Gaga’s “The Cure,” which the singer dropped during her Coachella headlining set in April and now she’s returned the favor, contributing soulful vocals to “Find Yourself.” Nelson and Gaga may seem an odd combo at first, but their musical partnership works perfectly. —Madison Vain
Coldplay, “A L I E N S”
Brian Eno produced this cut, set to appear on the alt-rock group’s forthcoming Kaleidoscope EP, which is more sonically unique than some of Coldplay’s recent output. —E.R.B.
Jennifer Lopez ft. Gente De Zone, “Ni Tú Ni Yo”
J.Lo hasn’t released much music since signing a new record deal last year — apart from the Meghan Trainor-penned, Dr. Luke-produced misfire “Ain’t Your Mama” — but between her acting projects and Las Vegas residency, we’ll take what we can get. (Even if it’s not as bangin’ as whatever she and Skrillex were cooking up in the studio last year.) —N.F.
DJ Shadow, The Mountain Has Fallen
The world has deteriorated significantly since seminal producer DJ Shadow released The Mountain Will Fall — hence the title of his new, surprise EP, The Mountain Has Fallen. Nas stops by, as does Danny Brown on the undulating “Horror Show.” —E.R.B.
Broken Social Scene, Hug of Thunder
The Canadian indie-rock collective — which counts Feist and Metric as alumni — hasn’t released an LP since 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record. Here, they prove they’ve still got their knack for sweeping, dynamic anthems. —E.R.B.
Old Dominion, “Written in the Sand”
The Virginia-bred five-piece debuted loudly with 2015’s cheeky Meat & Candy, which notched three top five country airplay hits and landed them an opening slot on Kenny Chesney’s massive summer tour. Now, they’ve shared “Written In Sand,” a sweet, second taste from their upcoming sophomore effort, Happy Endings, due Aug. 25. —M.V.
Toro y Moi, Boo Boo
Prolific indie artist Chaz Bear (until very recently Chaz Bundick) has long since transcended the chillwave genre he pioneered in the late ’00s, subsequently exploring funk, R&B, folk, and more. His latest is less adventurous than 2015’s rock-dabbling What For?, which is something of a relief — Bear’s most at home when he’s creating low-key ’80s synth-pop, with which he loaded up Boo Boo. —E.R.B.
Joey Bada$$, “500 Benz”
In April, the emerging Brooklyn rapper released his stellar homage to classic hip-hop, All-Amerikkan Bada$$, but he returned this week with three fresh tracks, all produced by legendary beatmaker Statik Selektah. Catch a vibe with the atmospheric, laid-back highlight “500 Benz.” —E.R.B.
Jade Bird, Something American
Nineteen-year-old U.K. export Jade Bird enchantingly blend of folk, alt-country, and blues on her fittingly titled debut EP. Come for the haunting, singalong-invitation “Cathedral,” stay for the impressive cover of Son House’s “Grinnin’ in Your Face.” —M.V.
Jet + the Bloody Beetroots, “My Name Is Thunder”
The ’00s rockers who sold a bajillion iPods returned Friday with a collaboration with electro duo the Bloody Beetroots. It’s a banger, but don’t take our word for it: In an Instagram post teasing the song, the Beetroots described it as “a plutonium bomb … like putting a bell pepper in the ass of AC/DC.” —E.R.B.
Kamaiyah, “Build You Up”
The Bay Area rapper channeled ‘80s and ‘90s R&B and hip-hop on last year’s A Good Night in the Ghetto — which made EW’s list of the best albums of 2016 — and she’s still keeping it old-school on this frothy, just-in-time-for-summer jam. Even better: the track’s colorful music video will give you early-’00s Missy Elliott vibes. —N.F.
Tristen, Sneaker Waves
Singer-songwriter Tristen has spent the last several years touring in Jenny Lewis’ jangly back-up band, but now she’s finally returning with her first full-length album since 2013. Sneaker Waves is easy listening: Sunny LA-garage rock gently bumps into feathery-rock pop; synths and the Nashville-based singer filigree vocal add welcome twinkle, as does her knack for penning an infectious hook. Bonus: Her recent road boss even shows up on the set’s lead single, “Glass Jar.” —M.V.
Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.