Fifth Harmony, Beck, Foo Fighters, and more have fresh tunes
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 Taylor Swift’s head-turning comeback to two Fergie singles, 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.
Taylor Swift, “Look What You Made Me Do”
The first taste of the pop star’s sixth full-length Reputation, due Nov. 10, is also one of her darkest cuts yet. On the Jack Antonoff-produced track, Swift promises “you’ll all get yours” to her enemies and even declares the “old Taylor” dead. For more, check out EW’s collection of reactions to the song and a fascinating theory that the track is about Game of Thrones‘ Arya Stark. —Eric Renner Brown
Fergie, “Hungry” feat. Rick Ross & “You Already Know” feat. Nicki Minaj
The wait for Fergie’s second LP has already exceeded a decade but, as the star told EW this week, “I can’t see something that’s unfinished and be okay putting it out. I don’t want to put out ‘okay’ stuff.” Mission accomplished. Today the singer-rapper dropped two fiery collabs, one with Rick Ross and one with Nicki Minaj. She’s raving about both: “I’m coming out with two bosses!” she exclaimed. —Madison Vain
Fifth Harmony, Fifth Harmony
On their first album since the departure of singer Camila Cabello, the pop group “doesn’t seem to be very interested in reinventing the wheel,” Marc Snetiker writes in EW’s B- review of Fifth Harmony. “The album feels cut from the same cloth as its predecessor but doesn’t wear it as well,” he observes. Read the full piece here. —E.R.B.
Beck, “Dear Life”
The alt-rock shapeshifter’s follow-up to 2015’s Grammy-winning Morning Phase — which he’s been teasing for nearly two years — finally got a title and release date this week. Last year, Beck told EW that the album, titled Colors and due Oct. 13, harkens back to the wild, uptempo tunes from his ’90s classics Odelay and Midnite Vultures; like 2015’s “Dreams” and 2016’s “Wow,” which both will appear on Colors, “Dear Life” makes good on Beck’s promise, with waltzing pianos, a killer guitar riff, and an immediately memorable chorus. —E.R.B.
Foo Fighters, “The Sky Is A Neighborhood”
The rock gods continued their march toward Concrete and Gold, due Sept. 15, with their new song “The Sky Is A Neighborhood,” and its corresponding video, directed by frontman Dave Grohl and starring his two daughters. “One night I was lying out looking up at the stars,” the singer said of the cut’s inspiration via a press release. “Just imagining all of these stars as places that have life on them as well, and I decided that the sky is a neighborhood, that we need to keep our s— together in order to survive in this universe full of life.” Like the rest of the upcoming album, pop hitmaker Greg Kurstin (Adele’s “Hello”) produced the track. —M.V.
Queens of the Stone Age, Villains
“If you write down ‘Mark Ronson produced the new Queens record,’ it reads funny, and I really like that,” Queens leader Joshua Homme tells EW. “Excitement, surprise, curiosity, mystery: These are all the greatest parts about being in a band.” But Villians, produced by the “Uptown Funk!” artist, is far more than a buzz-generating gambit — it’s one of the enduring alt-rock band’s best records yet. For more, read EW’s interview with Homme about Villains and the soundtrack of his life. —E.R.B.
Demi Lovato, “Tell Me You Love Me”
After taking you to the clubs with her sassy single “Sorry Not Sorry,” the 25-year-old is about to take you to church with the explosive, gospel-tinged title track to her upcoming sixth studio album that was co-written and co-produced by hipster favorite John Hill (Santigold, Phantogram, BANKS, tUnE-yArDs). —Nolan Feeney
The Killers, “Wonderful Wonderful”
Frontman Brandon Flowers told EW this summer that the dramatic title track to the band’s upcoming album, Sept. 22, has “some of the coolest production on the record” courtesy of Jacknife Lee (U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, Taylor Swift’s Red). Lee record drummer Ronnie Vannucci played along to old funk and hip-hop records on a boom box, then spliced up the recording into the rhythm section of “Wonderful Wonderful.” “There was a lot of experimentation,” Vannucci said. —N.F.
Blake Shelton, Blake Shelton (Live)
The Voice coach and country chart-topper’s six-song live EP collects enthusiastic renditions of hits including 2001’s “Ol’ Red” and 2016’s “A Guy With a Girl.” —E.R.B.
The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
The Philly band manages to top the expansive sound of 2014’s stellar Lost in the Dream on their follow-up, which teems with heartland anthems for the indie set. —E.R.B.
Lil Uzi Vert, Luv Is Rage 2
The studio debut from 23-year-old rapper — who hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 earlier this year as the featured guest on Migos’ “Bad and Boujee” — is a hypnotic experience, featuring polished production from studio wizards including WondaGurl (Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”), Metro Boomin (“Bad and Boujee”), and TM88 (Uzi’s own “XO Tour Lif3,” which peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100). Guest verses are scant on the project, but Pharrell and the Weeknd both shine in their appearances on “Neon Guts” and “Unfazed,” respectively. —E.R.B.
Action Bronson, Blue Chips 7000
Few current rappers combine style and substance as well as the crude, culinary-minded Queens MC does. His latest features more lush beats and colorful verses. —E.R.B.
Old Dominion, Happy Endings
The pop-infused quintet return with their second full-length along with some meatier lyrics, old school country harmonies — Little Big Town is even featured on a cut! — and even some arena rock bombast. “I felt like we’d made a really good romantic comedy,” vocalist Matthew Ramsey told EW earlier this month, speaking about their 2015 debut, Meat and Candy, “but in the movie world, that’s not what you get [respect] for.” Guitarist-keyboardist Trevor Rosen backed him up: “The name [of the new LP] was almost Trying to Show Growth While Still Staying True to Our Brand.” He added, “It was about stretching what it means to be an Old Dominion song.” —M.V.
Miguel feat. Travis Scott, “Sky Walker”
Outside of a handful of features, the R&B crooner has been quiet since his masterful 2015 LP Wildheart. But despite his absence, Miguel easily slips back into the groove on this sultry, promising new cut. —E.R.B.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
The Red-Headed Stranger’s son and his band gained notoriety over the last two years as Neil Young’s backing band. “This record, more than any record, really captures who we are as a band,” Nelson told EW of the group’s latest full-length. “There’s a little more emotional weight to the songs and even to the quality of the recording. It’s more cinematic.” It features some of his best lyricism — check out the moon shining tale “Runnin’ Shine” — and also sports two guest spots from Lady Gaga. “She can really do anything,” Nelson said of the pop star. “I think she’s a true artist in every sense of the word.” For more, read EW’s complete interview with Nelson. —E.R.B.
London on da Track feat. Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset, “No Flag”
The rising trap producer has worked extensively with artists including Gucci Mane, Young Thug, and 21 Savage. His alluring debut single features Migos’ Offset, 21 Savage, and Nicki Minaj, who dishes about what she’d do if she had male genitalia in a quality verse. —E.R.B.
Iron & Wine, Beast Epic
Though “beast epic” are hardly the first two words that spring to mind when we think of Iron & Wine, Sam Beam’s latest is a reliably soothing return to the low-key minimalist approach that first made I&W the soundtrack to everyone’s sunny, drowsy afternoons. “Claim Your Ghost” and “Call It Dreaming” are precisely the kind of balm you need after a long day in the current political climate. —Alex Heigl
Tyler, the Creator, “Ziploc”
Fresh off releasing his impressive new album Flower Boy last month, the Odd Future leader dropped his spin on the devastating, emotional centerpiece of JAY-Z’s recent full-length, 4:44. In just a minute and a half, Tyler channels similar intensity: “What’s the point of being rich when you wake up alone?” he raps. “What’s the point of going home when it ain’t nobody home?” —E.R.B.
The Cadillac Three, Legacy
The rock-lined trio meditate on larger themes on their latest LP. “Early on, it was only a Cadillac [Three] song if it was a heavy riff and we were talking about fighting and drinking,” frontman Jaren Johnston told EW earlier this month. Now, they’re ready to tackle lyrics about fatherhood and family — and with arena-rock gloss. “We want to be the biggest band in the world,” Johnston said. “We could be that band without selling out.” —M.V.
John Prine, September ‘78
On the eve of its 29th anniversary, the country legend has released his fabled live album, September ’78, for the first time digitally. Cut at the Park West Theater in Chicago, the set features beloved tracks from his repertoire, including “Often is a Word I Seldom Use,” “Sweet Revenge,” and “Crooked Piece of Time,” and a cover of the Righteous Brothers’ “Try to Find Another Man” and Elvis Presley’s “Treat Me Nice.” —M.V.
D’Angelo, Brown Sugar (reissue)
D’Angelo’s groundbreaking Brown Sugar — an early entry in the “neo-soul” canon that served as a touchstone for Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and more — gets a lavish reissue, stuffed with remixes and instrumentals, further bolstering the case for D’Angelo as one of the modern-day heirs to one wing of Prince’s castle. —A.H.
Tasha Cobbs Leonard ft. Nicki Minaj, “I’m Getting Ready”
Just because you rap about “anacondas” doesn’t mean you can’t also spit bars about God. Gospel mainstay Tasha Cobbs Leonard’s new album Heart. Passion. Pursuit. features Nicki Minaj on the eight-minute ballad “I’m Getting Ready,” and her interlude sounds pretty much like you’d expect Minaj-gone-gospel would: “Beach house vibes maneuver the jet ski/ ‘Cause I serve a god that parted the Red Sea,” she rhymes. “Multimillion dollar commercials for Pepsi/ From food stamps to more ice than Gretzky.” And the unlikely collab has plenty of Minaj’s inspired humor. —Eric King
Noah Cyrus, “Almost Famous”
The younger Cyrus’ music career has burned slow so far. Bops “Make Me (Cry)” and “I’m Stuck” both effectively separated her sound from her older sister and aren’t dependent on the Cyrus family name. “Almost Famous” is a breezy acoustic ditty about a love that could have been fulfilling and great, just under different circumstances. It also seems to nod at the 2000 Kate Hudson film of the same name, with heart-shaped glasses on the cover art. Let it carry you through your summer fling breakup. —E.K.
Astrid S, “Think Before I Talk”
The Norwegian wonder wowed us with this June’s Party’s Over EP, and she’s already back from more. With an acoustic guitar track that feels like a throwback to her Norwegian Idol days, “Think Before I Talk” is lighter and breezier than the electro-pop crush anthems like “Breathe” and “Bloodstream” but just as catchy. “Sometimes you can tell when a song has been written and produced afterwards, or if a producer made a track and someone wrote on top of it,” she told EW in May. “I hope that when people listen [to my music], they can hear that everything has been made together, step by step.”
Sam Dew, “Runner”
The name of this singer-songwriter might not ring a bell, but he’s already helped make one of the biggest songs of 2017 — he co-wrote Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Jack Antonoff on top of amassing writing credits for Rihanna and Jessie Ware. Now, with one EP already under his belt, he’s sharing the first taste of his upcoming solo album: a droning, jittery number that actually sounds right at home next to another Swift-Antonoff collab you might have heard today. —N.F.
Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.