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 Lana Del Rey’s latest star-studded set to Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s first full-length in over a decade, 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.
Lana Del Rey, Lust for Life
For her fifth album, Lana Del Rey is toning down the doom and gloom with her brightest, most hopeful LP yet. By expanding her circle of collaborators — Stevie Nicks, the Weeknd, Sean Ono Lennon, A$AP Rocky, and pop hitmaker Max Martin all contributed — she’s also created what her inner circle has called her most sonically diverse work to date as she touches on everything from folk music to trap beats. Read more about the making of the album here. —Nolan Feeney
Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Stony Hill
Marley hasn’t exactly been absent since he scored a massive crossover hit with 2005’s “Welcome to Jamrock” — he recorded an album with Nas, formed a supergroup with Mick Jagger and Joss Stone, and released numerous other one-off collaborations — but he hasn’t released a solo album. Stony Hill is a hell of a reintroduction, loaded with reggae classicism (greats including Dennis Brown and Black Uhuru are sampled), along with electronic and hip-hop elements. Plus, he interpolates the theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on one tune. —E.R.B.
Tyler, the Creator, Flower Boy
Flower Boy‘s advance singles — featuring Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky, and Corinne Bailey Rae — suggested the Odd Future leader was embracing his longstanding love of production. The set is his most instrumentally opulent yet, with crisp guitars, round keyboards, and more than a few sonic similarities to Ocean’s 2016 opus Blonde. But Flower Boy also is a welcome return to form for Tyler lyrically, with tracks like “Foreword” suggesting he’s still one of hip-hop’s most idiosyncratic and skilled MCs. —E.R.B.
Louis Tomlinson feat. Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals, “Back to You”
The One Direction star is playing catch up to his bandmates with only his second solo release since the boy band went on hiatus. After teaming up with Steve Aoki for the EDM banger “Just Hold On,” he’s duetting with pop star Bebe Rexha for a mid-tempo about a toxic romance. In the studio, however, there wasn’t an ounce of drama: “He was very nice to everybody around me and my team,” Rexha told EW last month. “No diva. No ego. He seemed really down to earth and centered. Just a normal guy.” —N.F.
Nine Inch Nails, Add Violence EP
Trent Reznor’s concussive alt-rock group stages their first American show in three years this weekend at Los Angeles’ FYF Fest — and they now have a darkly alluring set of fresh songs to perform. The EP begins with the fast-paced, already-shared “Less Than,” but from there drifts into consistently engaging, downtempo balladry. Stick around for the extended industrial closer, a wild noise collage that’s nearly 12 minutes long. —E.R.B.
Meek Mill, Wins & Losses
For his third album, the Philly rapper worked with Future, Young Thug, Quavo, Rick Ross, and more. The guests serve to accentuate Meek’s versatility, from silky slow jams (“Whatever You Need”) to showy bangers (“Issues”). —E.R.B.
Foster the People, Sacred Hearts Club
The “Pumped Up Kicks” foursome continue to churn out anthemic alt-rock. On Sacred Hearts Club, singer Mark Foster’s epic choruses collide with rattling synths and booming drums for their danciest record yet. —E.R.B.
Steve Aoki, Steve Aoki Presents Kolony
The party-hard EDM producer dives headfirst into the world of hip-hop, with Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Migos, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, T-Pain, and others lending their rhymes to Aoki’s electronic cacophony. —E.R.B.
X Ambassadors, “Ahead of Myself”
The first single from the alt-rock group’s forthcoming album employs the same blend of plucky acoustic guitars and soaring electronic elements that helped catapult their 2015 hit “Renegades” to No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. —E.R.B.
Avey Tare, Eucalyptus
Avey Tare and Panda Bear have long served as counterweights in Animal Collective, with the former serving up batty, colorful barrages of noise while the latter concocts pensive, modal soundscapes. So it’s fascinating that Eucalyptus, the latest solo release from the prolific Tare, is somewhat more reserved than his previous work. Of course, all things are relative: Cuts like “Jackson 5” still lilt with the joyous and disjointed primitivity of Animal Collective’s best work. —E.R.B.
Emily Warren, “Something to Hold On To”
The latest single from The Chainsmokers’ secret weapon — Warren is the co-writer behind ‘Don’t Let Me Down” and has penned tracks for Dua Lipa, Alessia Cara, and Little Mix— proves she deserves to be in the spotlight instead of just behind the scenes. “My solo stuff is different in the sense that people are surprised when they hear more stripped down, organic sounds because they’re used to hearing my voice over more heavy electronic production,” she told EW earlier this year. “The common thread, however, is you’ll never hear me singing lyrics that aren’t 100 percent true and based on something real in my life.” —N.F.
PRETTYMUCH, “Would You Mind”
On their debut track — the first original song they’ve released after posting impressive covers of songs from DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” to Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” — Simon Cowell’s latest boy band creation brings it back to ’90s-era pop and R&B with Backstreet Boys-style harmonies and the slinky confidence of Bell Biv DeVoe’s 1990 hit “Poison.” Also, they dance. One Direction who? —Ariana Bacle
Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.