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!
Even though it feels like summer just started, it's time to start saying goodbye to the season (if not the heat) as we head into Labor Day weekend. And though celebrating the long weekend will be, like all things in this cursed year, a little different, there are still plenty of new tunes to turn to regardless of your plans.
From the long-awaited return of an R&B princess to a pair of fantastic features from Doja Cat and more, we've narrowed down our picks for the best of the week's best. And if you're really looking for a party vibe, you won't want to miss Bonus Tracks this week. Trust us.
Your playlist for Labor Day weekend has arrived. Enjoy!
SZA feat. Ty Dolla $ign — "Hit Different"
It's been three long years since SZA dropped her excellent debut album, Crtl, but she's finally back and ready to reclaim her role as one of the most exciting voices in R&B. The smooth track, produced by The Neptunes, is split in two, with a bouncier first half that's followed up by a soothing ballad approach, reminding us of all that she and her silky vocals are capable of. It's a thrilling return.
Ozuna feat. Doja Cat and Sia — "Del Mar"
Summer may be winding down, but Ozuna clearly did not get the message. On this track off new album Enoc, the Puerto Rican reggaeton star wisely taps two heavyweights for a bilingual bop that'll keep the tropical vibes going well into fall.
Ava Max — "OMG What's Happening"
Ahead of the release of debut album Heaven & Hell later this month, Ava keeps those Lady Gaga comparisons coming with this delicious pop bop that wouldn't have been out of place on the latter's first LP, The Fame. And we mean that as a compliment of the highest order.
Chloe x Halle feat. Doja Cat, City Girls and Mulatto — "Do It (Remix)"
For Doja's second (and, sadly, final) appearance on the list this week, the rapper pops up on this excellent remix of Chloe x Halle's smash hit off their latest album, Ungodly Hour. And she's not alone. The Bailey sisters cede the floor to a handful of rising voices in the rap world before Chloe jumps back on to close things out and prove she's got bars too. Well done, ladies.
FLETCHER — "The One"
A few weeks out from the release of The S(ex) Tapes, due Sept. 18, the rising star delivers a glitchy and sultry dark pop bop all about that relatable feeling of finding someone for a good time, if not a long time. It's slick and sexy—perfect for a late-night listen.
Declan McKenna — "Rapture"
On this standout track off new album Zeros, the English alt-rocker has a lot on his mind. "It's talking about fear of the future, because it's this torment and being told that stuff isn't real by some and that it's an ever-present threat by others, and it's like the rapture's in your head," he told Apple Music of the track. "It's both this dread for the future but also this personal torment and personal struggle." And yet, we can't help but dance to the track that takes its cues from '70s glam rock and The Strokes at the height of their power.
VanJess — "Come Over"
There's something intimately familiar about this fresh release from Nigerian sisters Ivana and Jessica Nwokike. Some tracks just feel like they've long been a part of your life even upon first listen. And this fiercely funky R&B song is one of them. It's firing on all cylinders.
Foxes — "Friends In The Corner"
What do we have to say to get you to stop sleeping on Foxes? For the third single off her forthcoming third studio album, she's delivered a heartfelt ode to friendship wrapped up in her uniquely pristine brand of pop. It'll have you in your feels even as you're dancing and singing along at the top of your lungs.
Dylan Fraser — "Face Tattoo"
The audacity of this UK newcomer to deliver a sound that's as fully formed and self-assured as this incredible smooth alt-pop track on what amounts to his second at-bat ever. Get into him now so you brag to all your friends about knowing him first when he inevitably breaks big.
SuperM — "Tiger Inside"
The K-Pop supergroup continues to come for all our throats, unleashing their titular jungle cats on this heavy-hitting track that reminds they are not to be trifled with. Ignore them at your own peril.
This week, this section's all about the BPM. These tracks are guaranteed to get your heart rate going.
Ghetts feat. Jaykae & Moonchild Sanelly — "Mozambique (OTHERLiiNE Remix)"
Sofia Reyes x Darell x Lalo Ebrett — "Echalo Pa' Ca"
Jackson Wang & Galantis — "Pretty Please"
Lost Kings feat. DeathByRomy — "Hurt"
Lele Pons & Guaynaa — "Se Te Nota"