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!
With Labor Day officially behind us, we somehow find ourselves in the transition to fall. (Doesn't it feel like summer just began? What is time anymore?) And though the week may have been short, the list of new releases certainly was not.
From a handful of high-profile collaborations to a country princess giving her most recent album a complete makeover, there's plenty to discover. As always, these are our picks for the best of the week's best.
Your playlist for the weekend of Sept. 11-13 has arrived. Enjoy!
David Guetta & Sia — "Let's Love"
The frequent collaborators reunite for this '80s-influenced dance track that's letting us live our full Jennifer Beals-in-Flashdance fantasy. "So take my hand/Don't be afraid," Sia sings in the uplifting chorus. "This too shall pass/This too shall pass/And we'll get through it all together." Feel the love.
Janelle Monáe — "Turntables"
The multi-hyphenate returns with this stirring call to action, written for the new documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy. "America, you a lie," she declares in the powerful chorus. "But the whole world about to testify/And the tables 'bout to turn."
Demi Lovato & Marshmello — "OK Not To Be OK"
Released on Global Suicide Prevention Day, this track from the pop star and powerhouse producer finds the duo assuring listeners that it's perfectly human to feel down and out sometimes and, more importantly, not to lose themselves in the negative feelings when they inevitably creep in. After the year we've had, it's a message everyone could stand to keep in mind.
Mr Eazi & Major Lazer feat. Nicki Minaj & K4mo — "Oh My Gawd"
What do you get when you combine the talents of Nigerian singers, Jamaican-American DJs and the Queen of Rap? This dancehall banger, that's what. Nicki's verse here is pure fire.
FLETCHER — "Shh... Don't Say It"
The S(ex) Tapes, the rising star's excellent third EP, is finally here, and this sultry song immediately stands out. By the time the wobbly synths kick in under the chorus, you'll be full under her spell.
Kelsea Ballerini — "the other girl (ballerini album version)"
Six months after the release of kelsea, the country superstar is back with ballerini, a new album of stripped-down versions of the earlier LP's material. We loved this track in its originally produced form, back when it was a duet with Halsey, but hearing it in this more nakedly emotional approach allows for the true power and pain in Kelsea's writing to jump out. The entire album is revelatory, to be quite honest.
NIKI — "Plot Twist"
After opening for the likes of Taylor Swift and Halsey on the Asian legs of their tours, the Indonesian singer stuns on her debut album, Moonchild. This swoon-worthy track, in particular, wouldn't have felt out of place on T.Swift's Lover.
John K — "Happiness"
All we can say is, we felt it deeply in our bones when the chorus kicked in on this alt-pop track and the rising star out of Florida sang, "Happiness, are you there?/Are you gone? Are you comin' back?" A track for 2020 if there ever was one.
Gabrielle Current — "Undercover"
The L.A. native delivers on this woozy whopper. From her breathy vocal to the swirling and soulful jazz-pop production, this one's like wading into some ethereally warm waters and slipping under.
Of Monsters and Men — "Visitor"
On their first release of 2020, the Icelandic band absolutely invigorates. With sweeping percussion and electric guitar flourishes, the indie-pop track feels incredibly cinematic. If this is the vibe we can expect from their forthcoming fourth studio album, we're in for a very big treat.