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!
We've made it through another week, music lovers. And that means it's time to sift through the week's new releases and determining which deserve to be in permanent rotation in our Spotify playlists.
With that in mind, we've gone ahead and done most of the work for you, listening to (almost) all of the new tracks out there. What follows are our picks for the best of this week's best. You can thank us later.
Your playlist for the weekend of June 19-21, 2020 has arrived. Enjoy!
John Legend feat. Koffee — "Don't Walk Away"
With neo-soul great Raphael Saadiq on board as executive producer, Legend's seventh studio album, Bigger Love, is a sumptuous listening experience that, as always, places those silken vocals front and center. On this standout track, he incorporates some island rhythm into the mix while allowing South Sudanese rapper Koffee to share in the spotlight. A mental vacation and a must-listen.
Victoria Monét with Khalid & SG Lewis — "Experience"
The Grammy-nominated songwriter and BFF of Ariana Grande continues to prove exactly why she's a star in her own right with this disco-kissed dream of a duet, the latest taste of her forthcoming LP Jaguar. A shimmering stunner.
Alicia Keys — "Perfect Way to Die"
The latest taste of her forthcoming album ALICIA, this haunting ballad written from the POV of Black mothers who've lost their children wasn't crafted with recent events in mind and yet, it only continues to feel more and more timely. "Of course there is no perfect way to die. This phrase doesn't even make sense but that's what makes the title so powerful and heartbreaking because so many have died unjustly," Keys said in a statement. "It's written from the point of view of the mother whose child has been murdered because of the system of racism that looks at Black life as unworthy. We all know none of these innocent lives should have been taken due to the culture of police violence." This one lingers long afterwards.
Teyana Taylor — "Still"
At long last, Taylor's LP The Album has finally arrived. And over the course of 23 tracks, she offers the listener a little taste of everything. "Like how they say there's someone for everybody, there's some type of record for each and every person you can possibly think of on this album somewhere," she told Apple Music. "It's family, love, sex, heartbreak, dance. You can literally laugh, cry, scream out loud with this record." And on this standout track, in which her desperate pleas for love can be read as either deeply personal or societal, you can feel your heart break into a thousand pieces.
Anderson .Paak — "Lockdown"
The SoCal-based Grammy winner offers his take on the recent protests that have gripped Los Angeles and other cities across the country in a way that only he can.
H.E.R. — "I Can't Breathe"
The Grammy-winning R&B sensation tackles the recent social unrest in the country in this stirring midtempo track that finds her wondering, "Will anyone fight for me?" Her spoken-word third verse will leave you breathless and, if you're white, probably a little uncomfortable—which seems to be exactly her point.
Wale feat. McClenney — "MOVIN' DIFFERNT"
After joining in recent protests, the Grammy-nominated rapper hit the studio and banged out The Imperfect Storm, his just-released six-track EP that comments on this moment in American history. He kicks the project off with this powerful track that lays bare his thoughts on everything that's going on.
Tiana Major9 — "Lucky"
On her latest release, the rising English soul star delivers with a smoothly captivating celebration of love. Those vocals!
Eden Prince — "Lift Your Energy"
The English producer offers up this latest taste of his forthcoming debut LP, a piano house track that will do exactly what its title promises.
Lil Halima — "Friends"
The Norwegian-Kenyan pop up-and-comer absolutely stuns on this twinkling new track. We are absolutely ready to be friends and can't wait to hear what's next.
Keedron Bryant — "I Just Wanna Live": Two weeks after going viral with his heartwrenching original track, the 12-year-old Florida native has signed with Warner Records and released an official version of the song. 100 percent of the track's net proceeds will be donated to the NAACP.
Saweetie — "Tap In": The rising rapper flips Too Short's "Blow the Whistle" on its head for this excellent track that'll have you ready to turn up.
Joy Oladokun feat. Tim Gent — "mercy": The queer singer-songwriter stuns on this stirring single that finds her admitting, "I don't wanna talk to God/I just wanna smoke weed."
Black Eyed Peas — "News Today": On this closing track off their new LP Translation, the trio aims some of their "Where Is the Love?"-esque gravitas at the coronavirus pandemic.
KYLE — "Bouncin": The SoCal native celebrates the silver linings in life on this latest track.