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!
Ariana Grande is a woman of her word.
After sending fans into a tailspin in mid-October with a tweet that read, "i can't wait to give u my album this month," she went ahead and did just that. With only a day to spare, the superstar dropped Positions, her sixth studio album, on Friday, Oct. 30, leaving us with plenty to decode as we head into November.
Of course, she wasn't the only one to get in on the fun. And, as always, we've got some favorites. These are our picks for the best of the week's best.
Your playlist for the last weekend in October has arrived. Enjoy!
Ariana Grande — "my hair"
Depending on your affinity for spectacular vocals over loose, spacey R&B production, your mileage may vary with Ari's new album. There's a lot of sameness on this late '90s-inspired LP (think Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope), but when she allows herself to venture a bit outside that particular sonic landscape, the project comes to life. From the Doja Cat-featuring dance track "motive" to the jazzy "love language," there are several bright spots to be found. None shine quite as luminously as this clear standout, however. Effortlessly funky, smoky and sultry, this one's a stunner.
Sam Smith — "Another One"
Sam knows a thing or two about mining heartbreak for art. On this standout track from their new album Love Goes, the artist turns their vulnerability watching a lover move on into a sparkling dance floor filler. It's the sort of uptempo tearjerker that they've made their bread and butter as of late.
Bad Bunny x Jhay Cortez — "Dákiti"
The latest collaboration from these Puerto Rican superstars is a moody reggaeton banger that's perfect for this wild fall we find ourselves in. The dark synth vibe is chilling, guaranteed to get under your skin—in a good way. We promise.
Dua Lipa & Angèle — "Fever"
In the year since Dua dropped "Don't Start Now" as a Halloween 2019 treat to tease her sophomore album Future Nostalgia, the pop superstar has not taken her foot off the gas. She released the album in late March, teamed up with J Balvin, Tainy and Bad Bunny for "Un Dia (One Day)" in July, and then dropped a full remix album in August. For her latest, she's linked up with Belgian singer Angèle for this slinky bilingual piece of Europop that has us marveling at not just her level of productivity, but the unwavering quality that's been the through line of this album era. At this point, we're certain Dua can do no wrong.
BENEE feat. Lily Allen & Flo Milli — "Plain"
On the latest single from her forthcoming debut album Hey U X, the New Zealand newcomer (and 2020 E! People's Choice Award nominee) delivers alt-pop gold. The high-profile collab finds the three women letting their exes know exactly how they feel about the people they've moved on with. It's a fantastic kiss-off track.
Tierra Whack — "Dora"
After a standout appearance in Beyoncé's Black Is King earlier this year, the most inventive rapper in the game returns with her first official release of 2020. And true to form, it's an elastic, ecstatic wonderment. There's a childlike warmth here that's only amplified by the colorfully surreal music video, a clip we'd happily watch on a loop for the rest of our lives.
Cam — "The Otherside"
After five long years, the country star has returned with her second studio album. And it was well worth the wait. On this stunning title track, she brings to life a track that began as a collaboration with Avicii, doing the late folk-EDM legend proud in the process.
Kyle Lux — "222"
Just a stunning piece of R&B from a thrilling newcomer off his new EP Projectors.
Paris Jackson — "Let Down"
The daughter of music royalty kicks off a solo career of her own with this sumptuous alt-folk fantasy. If this is what we can expect from debut album Wilted, out Nov. 13, we're all in for one hell of a treat.