From Fergie to the Killers, EW has your fresh jams
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 Fergie’s first solo album in a decade to the Killers’ return, here are some of the week’s most noteworthy releases. Got Spotify? Stream all of EW’s picks by following our playlist (embedded below) for this week.
1. Fergie, Double Dutchess
It’s been 11 years since Fergie released her solo debut, The Dutchess, which yielded five Top 5 singles on Billboard‘s Hot 100 — but her long absence as a solo artist hasn’t diminished any of her colorful pop charm. “I feel like I’m nine months pregnant,” Fergie told EW before Double Dutchess‘ release. “But as people were getting more and more disappointed that the album wasn’t coming out, it made me more motivated to put out something great.” For more about the album, which includes guest spots from Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and more, read EW’s interview with the pop star. —Eric Renner Brown
2. The Killers, Wonderful Wonderful
The glammy alt-rockers’ fifth album — and first since 2012’s Battle Born — offers more stadium-size anthems while also serving up some of their danciest material to date. “It’s the closest thing we’ve done to Sam’s Town,” frontman Brandon Flowers told EW in June. And, while it doesn’t quite recapture the brilliance of their 2006 epic, EW’s Chuck Arnold writes in his B-grade review, Wonderful Wonderful “affirms that the Killers are far from dead yet.” For more about the album, check out EW’s interview. —E.R.B.
3. Jhené Aiko, Trip
Full of heady beats and deep lyrics — plus cameos from Big Sean, Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee, and John Mayer — Aiko’s second LP explores the topic of addiction as well as her brother’s death from cancer in 2012. At 85 minutes, it’s Aiko’s grandest artistic statement yet. —E.R.B.
4. Walk the Moon, “One Foot”
The Cincinnati alt-rockers blew up a few years back thanks to their sticky 2014 single “Shut Up And Dance.” The time since has been trying, though. As frontman Nicholas Petricca told EW, the band journeyed through grief, sexual exploration, and their relationships with each other and their music to arrive upon a new batch of tunes. “Making the record was not necessarily a smooth ride, but it’s the most excited we’ve ever been about our music,” he said. “I think it’s because we dug deeper and we’ve been more vulnerable here than we have been on any other record. We made it through to the other side.” Today, they’re sharing their next project’s lead single, the don’t-give-up, one-day-at-a-time “One Foot.” For more, read EW’s interview. —Madison Vain
5. Macklemore, Gemini
For the first time in more than a decade, the “Thrift Shop” MC didn’t work with producer Ryan Lewis. But plenty of other folks stop by, like Kesha and Lil Yachty. Even without Lewis’ guidance from behind the boards, Gemini has anthems for days, largely thanks to Macklemore’s unflagging enthusiasm. —E.R.B.
6. Moses Sumney, Aromanticism
The rising musician’s debut album drifts by like a genreless, 34-minute dream: Sumney dabbles in simmering jazz, pensive folk, tender R&B, and bracing electronica for a concoction that’s as entrancing as it is unpredictable. Aromanticism‘s unifying factor is Sumney’s velvety croon, which erupts into a world-class falsetto on a dime. —E.R.B.
7. Midland, On the Rocks
“It’s going to take people to a place they haven’t been in a really long time in country music,” frontman Mark Wystrach told EW earlier this year, teasing his trio’s debut. They delivered in spades. On the Rocks, out today, tosses around honky-tonk, swing, and classic country, dressing them all up with undeniably catchy pop hooks. Dig in. —M.V.
8. Steve Martin, The Long-Awaited Album
Bluegrass has long been part of Martin’s appeal — see his banjo playing on Saturday Night Live in the ’70s — and his latest project combines excellent musicianship with his signature wit. For more, revisit EW’s premiere of his new LP from earlier this week.
9. Gwen Stefani feat. Blake Shelton, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas”
Sure, today’s the first day of fall and, yes, the weather forecast this weekend for much of the East Coast will hover in the high ’80s — but Christmas is only three months away. Musicians have slowly started to announce holiday projects, and Friday welcomed news of one of this year’s highest-profile Christmas album yet: The first-ever seasonal release from Gwen Stefani. You Make It Feel Like Christmas includes six originals and six classics — Stefani worked extensively with pop production wunderkind Justin Tranter — and the infectious title track, released today, features boyfriend Blake Shelton. Who cares that the Halloween supplies are still on display at Rite Aid? —E.R.B.
10. Hiss Golden Messenger, Hallelujah Anyhow
In recent years, M.C. Taylor, the prolific creative force between folk-rock group Hiss Golden Messenger, has quietly amassed an extensive, top-notch catalog. More laidback than 2016’s solid Heart Like a Levee, Hallelujah Anyhow channels the casual, rootsy excellence of the band circa The Basement Tapes. —E.R.B.
11. Rapsody, Laila’s Wisdom
The talented MC boosted her profile considerably with two recent, scene-stealing guest verses, on Kendrick Lamar’s “Complexion (A Zulu Love)” and Anderson .Paak’s “Without You.” Lamar and .Paak both stop by on her second studio album — which follows 2016’s Crown mixtape — as do Busta Rhymes, Black Thought, BJ the Chicago Kid, Terrace Martin, and more. The accomplished project proves why she’s drawn the attention of some of hip-hop’s biggest names. —E.R.B.
12. METZ, Strange Peace
The noisy Sub Pop band continues their aural assault on their third full-length, Strange Peace, another cathartic shot of cacophony. This time, though, they brought revered producer Steve Albini — who helmed Nirvana’s In Utero, Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, and many other classics — into the fold to focus their razor-sharp sound even further. Check out the music video for album highlight “Cellophane,” which also dropped this week, above. —E.R.B.
13. Olivia Holt, “Generous”
Earlier this year, singer and Disney alum Olivia Holt told EW how she planned to shake off her mouse ears and transition into a grown-up pop career of her own: “I’ve decided I’m just going to take one day and a time and not make any rash decisions and be mindful of who I am,” she said. “I don’t want to just shock people with something crazy to let them know I’m now mature and ready.” On her hook-filled followup to breakout single “History,” she’s eyeing the Selena Gomez playbook, pairing cheeky lyrics about sexual tension and weird, funky percussion that’s somewhere between Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” and Gwen Stefani’s “Harajuku Girls.” —Nolan Feeney
14. Haley Reinhart, What’s That Sound?
Haley Reinhart, season 10 semi-finalist of American Idol and perpetual frontwoman of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, has made a career out of covering other artists’ songs. For her third studio effort, What’s That Sound?, Reinhart took on 11 ’60s classics, including Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” The one that Reinhart’s snarly pipes make shine the most is the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” — which also happens to be the song she sang for her American Idol auditions. —Eric King
15. Alma feat. French Montana, “Phases”
Just in time for back-to-school season, Finnish newcomer Alma — come for her chartreuse hair, stay for her powerhouse voice — recalls getting too lit at a graduation party and all the complicated feelings that followed. Co-written with pal Charli XCX, the dancehall-tinged banger is perfect for that rager you’re planning to throw when your parents are out of town. —N.F.
16. Marlene, “Miss You a Little”
Have you ever tried sleeping with a broken heart? Swedish singer Marlene knows what that’s like, and on her sparkling new single — which evokes the Alicia Keys insta-classic in the best way, with a dash of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “All That” — she’s channeling heartache so effectively and convincingly you almost want to cancel your weekend plans and go console her. Don’t worry, Marlene! We’re coming over with a bottle of wine right now! —N.F.
- Chris Janson’s second set of barn-storming country anthems, Everybody
- Starrah x Diplo, the collaborative EP between Diplo and rising pop singer and songwriter Starrah, who co-wrote Rihanna’s “Needed Me,” Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish,” and more
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s latest blast of cinematic post-rock, Luciferian Towers
- Paradise, the debut album from Knox Fortune, a perennial collaborator of Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, and Joey Purp
- La Confusion, the latest full-length from Malian worldbeat couple Amadou & Mariam
- The cast recording for the SpongeBob SquarePants musical, including original tunes from Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, and more
- An all-star trio cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio” by Gary Clark Jr., Leon Bridges, and Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste, released as the second installment of a covers series in conjunction with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War documentary
- “Dawsin’s Breek,” the Jeremih-featuring single from Ty Dolla $ign’s upcoming album, Beach House 3
- “Truth Hurts,” the latest stellar song from “Good As Hell” singer Lizzo
Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.