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!
Another week down, music lovers. And by now, you know the drill. The artists flood streaming services with their latest releases, and we wade through them all to bring you the ones truly worthy of your time.
From a pair of album drops by two music superstars to a handful of singles from rising stars that need to be on your radar, these are our picks for the best of the week's best. And if you're looking for the perfect dance party playlist, don't miss this week's Bonus Tracks, which we recommend listening to in order for the perfect flow.
Your playlist for the weekend of Sept. 18-20 has arrived. Enjoy!
Keith Urban feat. BRELAND & Nile Rogers — "Out the Cage"
To kick off his latest LP, THE SPEED OF NOW Part 1, the country-pop icon enlists the help of the "My Truck" star and the Chic legend for a track that takes its cues from the late '90s breakbeat rhythms of Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy, of all places. It's a propulsive barn-burner and one hell of a way to introduce fans to the energy Keith's bringing on the sinewy, shape-shifting new album.
Alicia Keys feat. Tierra Whack — "Me x 7"
At long last, Alicia's oft-delayed self-titled seventh studio album has arrived. (It was originally scheduled for release in March, before COVID threw everything into disarray.) And while the whole thing is certainly worth your time and attention, this hazy track featuring a killer verse from one of rap's most exciting voices is an immediate standout.
Anitta feat. Cardi B & Myke Towers — "Me Gusta"
Fall may be just around the corner, but summer lives on courtesy of this sultry star-studded bop from the Brazilian superstar. Cardi's verse is, as always, on point, but it's far from the only draw here. And the video? Talk about lewks.
Sam Smith — "Diamonds"
Sam is finally ready to share their long-awaited third studio album with the world. But before Love Goes drops in late October, the singer's offering this newest taste of their defiant new sound. With Sam's sumptuous vocals backed by a glittering and anthemic production, this one's got the dance floor on its mind. And after one listen, you will too.
Melanie C feat. Nadia Rose — "Fearless"
Weeks out from the release of her self-titled eighth solo studio album, the Spice Girl has teamed up with the rising U.K. rapper for this empowering mid-tempo track that'll have everyone reaching for their own crown.
Rico Nasty — "Own It"
As we inch ever closer to the release of her debut album Nightmare Vacation, the wild rapper is encouraging fans to practice a little bit of self-acceptance on this bouncy bop. "This song was built upon owning yourself. The good, the bad and the ugly," she said in a letter penned to the Nasty Mob, her name for her fans. "Zoom in on the things that make you who you are! Embrace yourself. Lift yourself up at all times. I want to show you guys inspiration is all around yo MF eyes! This song makes me feel like such a baddie and this is one of my most favorite music vids." As for the visual, it's a feast for the eyes. Strap in.
Cautious Clay — "Agreeable"
The R&B singer and producer-to-the-stars (John Legend) kicks off a new album era with this swirling chillwave track that finds his typically soulful vocals ruminating on the ways in which people with differing opinions work to undermine one another. "'Agreeable' is both a reflection on how compromise is a part of our daily lives and how the compromises we make, both big and small, can have an effect on personal growth," he told PAPER. "It is also a satirical look at our current media landscape and the divisive rhetoric certain outlets and people employ in order to argue their points of view."
Trixie Mattel — "Video Games"
Seven months after the release of her excellent third LP Barbara, the RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3 winner returns with this gorgeous and arresting cover of Lana Del Rey's signature song. In Trixie's hands, the song becomes a forlorn Americana ballad that feels more than appropriate for our current national climate. And vocally, she's never sounded better. Though there have been many artists who've put their spin on the iconic track, Trixie finds herself leaping to the top of the high scores here.
Astrid S — "It's OK If You Forget Me"
With her debut studio album, Leave It Beautiful, finally on the way, the Norwegian synthpop upstart stuns on this stirring mid-tempo track that finds her surprised at how little her breakup is actually hurting her.
The Avalanches feat. Denzel Curry, Tricky & Sampa The Great — "Take Care In Your Dreaming"
On this latest single from the Australian group's forthcoming album We Will Always Love You, things get mystical and otherwordly real quick. With verses from their trio of collaborators floating in and out of an ethereal production seemingly on a whim, you'll feel as though you've been transported somewhere altogether new, only for the track to remind you of reality every time it's punctuated by the whirring of helicopter rotors, of all things. It's an experience.