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!
You guys, there's just so much out there this week. By now, you've probably already given Selena Gomez's dual releases a listen or five, checked our Lizzo's surprise "Good as Hell" remix featuring none other than Ariana Grande, and maybe even begun to wade into the waters of Kanye West's oft-delayed Jesus Is King, but trust us when we tell you that they are just merely the tip of the new music iceberg. And now that we've listened to (almost) all of it, we're ready to present our picks for the best of the best. You're welcome.
Selena Gomez — "Look at Her Now"
It's been a big week for SelGo, who returned to music in a big way, dropping two new tracks within a span of 24 hours. And while both are certainly worth your time and we certainly love, honor and respect the raw emotion of "Lose You to Love Me," we'd be lying if we didn't admit the tightly-choreographed technicolor wonder she brought to life with the fierce bop "Look at Her Now" is precisely what we want and love out of her. And when she empowers herself (and the millions of people in a similar boat listening) with the reminder that "she knows she'll find love only if she wants it," it'll have you saying, "Wow. Look at her now."
Kesha feat. Big Freedia — "Raising Hell"
Two years after dropping her reflective album Rainbow, Kesha is back and in full party mode, blessing us with this truly divine bop. With a heavenly assist from bounce queen Big Freedia, this lead track off her forthcoming album, High Road (due January 10, 2020) finds Kesha imploring her Animals to "bounce it up and down where the good lord split it." It's an audacious return that'll take you straight to
church the dance floor. Our only complaint? That we have to wait to hear more.
Tinashe feat. Ms. Banks — "Die A Little Bit"
What will it take for you all to stop sleeping on Tinashe?! After a few rocky years signed to RCA, the severely underrated alt-pop/R&B princess is back with her first release as an independent artist. Over a sickening throwback house beat, she and London rapper Ms Banks extol the virtues of the party life. It's truly unlike anything being made at the moment. If this is what Tinashe's bringing to the party now that she's unfettered by label interference, the future looks bright. Get into it now.
Doja Cat — "Rules"
Doja ain't letting up ahead of the release of her second studio album, Hot Pink. Weeks after she surprised everyone by trying on 2000s alternative with the "Bottom Bitch" drop, she's back with this slick rap track that firmly cements her as an MC to be reckoned with. And the truly gonzo video? It's next level and needs to be watched right meow.
Coldplay — "Arabesque"
The way Chris Martin and Co. announced to the world that Everyday Life, their forthcoming eighth studio album, was en route may have been twee AF, what with the handwritten letters to fans and the advert in their hometown newspaper unveiling the double-album's track list, but this new track—one of two released, alongside apparent lead single "Orphans"—is almost enough to forget about it. The guys are at their most experimental on the five-plus minute track, bringing Belgian singer Stromae and a horn section solo courtesy of Afrobeat musician Femi Kuti and his band into the mix. It's excessive without feeling overstuffed and exciting in all the right ways, signaling that it's not strictly business as usual this time around for one of the biggest bands in the world.
King Princess — "Watching My Phone"
We've been beating the King Princess drum here at The MixtapE! for weeks now, making today's release of her debut album Cheap Queen feel like something of a personal holiday. And we've got to say, picking just one previously unreleased track from burgeoning queer icon Mikaela Straus to highlight felt damn near impossible. The entire album is just that good. With her smoky, full-throated vocal that belies her relative youth (she's just 20 years old), Mikaela doesn't make one false step. And though we've singled out this track, an all-too-relatable exploration of the way our smart phones can feel like a prison when we're longing for that special someone to light them up, we could've just as easily put the devastating "Homegirl," about a secret girlfriend, the beguiling "Tough On Myself," or the stunning kiss-off track "You Destroyed My Heart" in its place. What we're saying is you need to listen to this whole damn album, easily one of the most self-assured debuts in recent memory.
Luke Bryan — "What She Wants Tonight"
For the second single from his forthcoming new album, the country icon and American Idol judge tapped songwriters Ross Copperman, Hillary Lindsey and Jon Nite for this sexy celebration of women who know exactly what they want and aren't afraid to go for it. "I have wanted to get together with this group of writers for a long time," Luke said in a statement announcing the track. "We came up with some really infectious hooks for this song and I think women listeners are going to like that the girl in the song controls the dynamic of the situation. I've been wanting to get a big rocking tempo out for some time and this is certainly it."
Conan Gray — "Maniac"
We've been fans of Conan and his confessional indie-pop exploration of love and its many devastations since discovering the very excellent "Crush Culture" off his debut EP Sunset Season last year. And on this track, the latest release in advance of his debut studio album for Republic Records, he's back at it again. Singing to a lover who keeps trashing him in public while privately coming back for more, he's finally had enough. "Psychopathic, don't be so dramatic/We had magic, but you made it tragic/Now you're manic, honestly, I've had it/Listen to yourself, think you need to get some help," he sings in the bridge. It's a dramatic and delicious little slice of power-pop from a 20-year-old with a very bright future ahead of him.
Oh Wonder — "Better Now"
A little over a month after making their grand return with "Hallelujah," the soaring lead single off their upcoming third studio album, the charming London-based alt-pop duo are back with this heartbreaking track full of wishes for a hospitalized friend who might not make it. "May this song be a comfort blanket to anyone that needs it," the duo wrote on Twitter announcing the release. Keep the Kleenex nearby.
Victoria Monét — "Ass Like That"
After gaining prominence as the BFF and frequent collaborator of Ariana Grande, co-writing smash hits like "thank u, next" and "7 rings," Victoria is stepping into the spotlight of her own with this empowering little piece of retro-inflected R&B. In a statement released alongside the song, Victoria said, "I wanted to be strong enough to talk about my own body the way men do in many rap songs. I reserve and deserve the right to talk about it, with or without the world's approval, because they never asked for mine...I hope this song inspires more women to feel good about the personal goals they set out to achieve and talk about them how they please. Let this song be one of many on the soundtrack to that journey." As Ariana said herself on Twitter, "It's a f--kin bop @VictoriaMonet you are so so loved."
Galantis & Dolly Parton feat. Mr. Probz — "Faith": Dolly does dance on this uplifting interpolation of John Hiatt's 1987's track "Have a Little Faith in Me" courtesy of the Swedish DJ duo who can't seem to make a bad song. And the country icon's presence in the video? Perfection.
Isabela Merced — "PAPI": The star of Dora and the Lost City of Gold kickstarts a music career with this empowering bilingual bop that finds her promising her man she'll never call him Papi. Perfección.
Banoffee feat. Empress Of — "Tennis Fan": This team-up between the Australian-born producer-turned-pop star Banoffee and L.A. native Empress Of is an endlessly original, insanely catchy kiss-off to the sort of toxic friend no one needs. Bring on the debut album!
Daniela Andrade — "Tamale": Canadian-Honduran Daniela already impressed us weeks ago with the insanely sexy "Ayayai," and now that her EP Tamale has arrived, she's proved she's no one-trick pony. The slinky title track, an impressive piece of R&B, is an excellent entry point.