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!
It's been a busy week, music fans. Not only did the 2020 Billboard Music Awards bring the thrill of live performances back to our TV screens for one glorious night, but we've also heard the returns of a few A-listers. Not only did Demi Lovato drop her scathing protest track "Commander in Chief," but Justin Bieber returned with "Lonely," a plaintive peek into the trappings of his fame.
That was just the tip of the iceberg, though. After our weekly deep dive, we've surfaced with our picks for the best of the best.
Your playlist for the weekend of Oct. 16-18 has arrived. Enjoy!
Kelly Rowland — "Crazy"
The Destiny's Child diva does her best Donna Summer in this new disco-kissed single that reminds just how crystalline those vocals of hers are. We can't wait to get lost under the lights on the dance floor to this one—whenever that day might be.
Bad Bunny x Nesi x Ivy Queen — "Yo Perreo Sola Remix"
Fresh off their appearance at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards—marking the first time Bad Bunny has ever performed at the event!—this trio of Puerto Rican all-stars have released their excellent remix of the smash hit off YHLQMDLG. And the addition of the extra feminine energy on the track, written from a woman's perspective, makes the reggaeton banger all the more powerful.
King Princess — "Only Time Makes It Human"
After staking her claim as a burgeoning queer idol in pop music with the release of debut album Cheap Queen in 2019, Mikaela Straus has returned with this track about the haunting of a former flame that's as groovy as it is grounded. (It does feature co-production from Mark Ronson, head of her label Zelig Records, after all.) It's a thrilling first taste of her second album era, one that's left us hungry for more.
Omar Apollo feat. Ruel — "Want U Around"
We may have never gotten a collaboration between Prince and Miguel before the former left us in 2016, but now we have the next best thing in this staggering duet off Omar's new project Apolonio. The vibe here is truly transcendent.
Emotional Oranges & Channel Tres — "All That"
For the first sip from their forthcoming third LP Juicebox, the relatively anonymous Emotional Oranges—known simply as "A" and "V" to fans—have linked up with Channel for this '90s dance-inspired track that practically bounces from the funk. We've sung the praises of Channel's velvety baritone vocals in the past, and he does not disappoint here, slipping effortlessly into the groove.
Leon Bridges x Lucky Daye — "All About You"
Just two of the finest soul singers in the game joining forces for one of the smoothest pieces of '90s-influenced R&B we've heard in a while. These chill vibes are perfect for losing track of time on a warm Sunday afternoon.
Alaina Castillo — "¡párate!"
By the time the beat drops in the chorus of this new track from the Mexican-American up-and-comer, you'll understand why it's on this list. The pop production here is major. Get into Alaina now.
James Blake — "Before"
On this title track off his new EP—and elsewhere across the four-song collection—the English hitmaker has delivered just the sort of glitchy, deconstructed dance music that this paranoid, disconnected moment in time both needs and deserves.
Tiera — "Found It In You"
Just a sweet piece of pure country-pop from an exciting new voice out of Nashville. If the name or voice sounds familiar, that's because Tiera was a contestant on USA's Real Country in 2018.
Fred again.. — "Jessie (I Miss You)"
Built around a vocal sample from Jessie Reyez, this is some luscious lite house from the British producer known for his work with heavy-hitters like Ed Sheeran, BTS and Ellie Goulding. There's a real warmth here.
Rostam — "Unfold You"
The latest solo release from founding Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij is a soulful mediation on the notion of change that floats gently above the clouds thanks to his soothing vocal and the occasional burst of Harry Solomon's saxophone. It's gorgeous.