New music Fridays are a thrilling, yet daunting prospect for any music lover.
It's essentially a weekly holiday where fan-favorite artists and fresh faces alike drop their latest offerings for all the world to hear, flooding streaming services and digital retailers with an onslaught of aural goodies. But who has the time to sit there and listen to everything before updating their playlists? There's just too much good stuff! (And, if we're being honest, usually a few stinkers, too.)
As it turns out, we do. Welcome to The MixtapE!
Well, friend, we've made it through another week. And while the big music stories this week have been the epic High School Musical reunion and surprise Beyoncé appearance during ABC's The Disney Family Singalong on Thursday night, filmed entirely in in the homes of stars practicing social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the new releases have not slowed up. In fact, there was so much good stuff that dropped this week, after listening to (nearly) all of it, we made the executive decision to supersize this week's playlist!
What follows are our picks for the best of the best. Hopefully, you'll find something you love in the mix. And, as always, stay home and stay safe.
Kelly Clarkson — "I Dare You"
Our queen of vocals is back and blessing us with a powerful anthem preaching positivity and love, a bop tailor-made for these unique times. And she puts her money where her mouth is when it comes to the song's message of inclusivity, releasing five multi-language duets, each in a different language and featuring an artist singing in their native tongue. "This is my favorite/hardest project that I've ever worked on," she said in a statement. "It has always been a dream of mine, as I grew up singing in different languages, to find that perfect song, with the perfect message, to connect us all globally and then record that song with several other artists around the world in their native languages. We have put a lot of work into this as a team and decided to continue with our release date of this project because we feel like we all couldn't be more connected right now across the world, and maybe this message will bring a little hope in this sometimes dark, and isolating time. Thank you so much to all the artists that worked on this with me. We hope everyone out there connects with this message and chooses love instead of fear. I dare you."
Sam Smith and Demi Lovato — "I'm Ready"
Two of pop's most powerhouse performers coming together for a slick bop about being ready for love? Absolutely divine. Between the pulsating bassline on the track and the vocals served on the gospel-inflected chorus, this is truly next-level. And the queer AF music video, featuring RuPaul's Drag Race stars Valentina and Gigi Goode (among others), is a must-watch. An absolute serve.
John Legend — "Bigger Love"
On this uplifting title track from his forthcoming studio album, John takes it to the dance floor in celebration of love in all its forms. "This song is a celebration of love, resilience and hope," he said in a press release announcing the track. "I wrote it last year, before any of us could have imagined what 2020 would become. The message of the song is that love can help carry us through these dark times and music can bring us joy and inspiration. I hope it brings some light to people's day and maybe inspires a dance break!"
Diplo and Blanco Brown — "Do Si Do"
If this latest release from the DJ's country-fried forthcoming album Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley, Chapter 1: Snake Oil isn't trending on TikTok by the time we finish typing this sentence, then something's wrong. This team-up with the man behind the hit track "The Git Up" feels tailor-made for viral success on the app.
Rina Sawayama — "Snakeskin"
At long last, Rina's genre-hopping debut album SAWAYAMA has finally arrived. And it was well worth the wait. Over 13 tracks, she presents a sort of global future pop that truly sets her apart from anyone else in the game. By the time you reach this closing track, you'll feel as though you've reached the final level of video game and are gearing up for battle against the big boss. It's wild in all the right ways. A must-listen.
Fiona Apple — "Under The Table"
It's a quarantine miracle! With eight years between her and her last release, one of music's greatest lyricists has returned with a new album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Amid 13 raw and determinedly sheen-free tracks, it feels as though Fiona simply couldn't keep quiet any longer. Indeed, there's a sense that these songs just burst out of her, the result of suffering through nearly a decade of bulls--t in silence. On this standout track, she makes it clear that she's done keeping her thoughts to herself. "Kick me under the table all you want," she sings in the chorus. "I won't shut up." And for that, we are supremely grateful.
dvsn — "Keep It Going"
Canada's princes of slinky bedroom R&B take it to the club on this standout track from their third studio album, A Muse in Her Feelings. This one's an absolute banger.
Twinnie — "I Love You Now Change"
Hollywood Gypsy, the debut album from an exciting new voice in country, is here and we're getting serious Faith Hill vibes from this standout track, a kiss-off aimed at a man trying to change his girl under the guise of love.
EOB — "Brasil"
Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien is stepping out on his own with the release of his debut solo album, Earth. And while this lead single, a magnificent and nearly nine-minute track that takes you on a journey from acoustic folk into festival-ready house music, has been around for a minute, it's the best argument we can make for the existence of this truly special project. The song is simply gorgeous.
Jamie xx — "Idontknow"
The xx's resident producer returns with his first solo track in five years, a heavily percussive dance track that defies expectations. When we can all gather at music festivals again, this one will have everyone going absolutely mental.
Kid Cudi — "Leader Of The Delinquents": Cudi returns to the pure rap sounds of his early mixtapes on his first solo single in four years.
Joji — "Gimme Love": On the latest single from forthcoming album Nectar, the Asian-born artist presents an ambitious track that moves from frenetic to cinematic with startling ease. It's a true achievement.
Kelly Rowland — "Coffee": Kelendria is finally back with a sultry little slapper that we wish was much longer than its 2:25 run time.
Dua Saleh — "umbrellar": On their latest release, the Sudanese-American artist continues with their own brand of genre-blending music, this time expertly adding alt-rock into the mix.
Brett Eldredge — "Where the Heart Is": The country star blessed us with three new tracks today: "Gabrielle," "Crowd My Mind" and this gorgeous mid-tempo strummer that just begs to be sung at the top of your lungs on a warm summer night.
Lauren Jauregui — "50ft.": The former Fifth Harmony star extends her record of flawless single releases with this bilingual beauty that takes social distancing to a whole other level.
Jack Gilinsky feat. Don Toliver — "My Love": One-half of one-time Vine act Jack & Jack goes solo with this smooth debut track that links him up with the "No Idea" rapper.
Zhavia — "Waiting": On the latest single from the The Four finalist, she makes it clear that those waiting to see her fall will be doing so for quite some time.
Florence + The Machine — "Light of Love": Florence Welch will be donating all proceeds from this stunning and soothing previously unreleased track, originally recorded for her album High As Hope, to The Intensive Care Society COVID-19.