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!
And just like that, the first month of 2021 is over.
Before we officially kick January to the curb, though, there's one last round of new releases for music fans to sift through. From the second Spanish-language release from Selena Gomez ahead of her highly anticipated March EP, REVELACIÓN, to a pair of imports from South American superstars Maluma and Anitta, and everything in between, these are our picks for the best of the week's best.
Your playlist for the weekend of Jan. 29-31 has arrived. Enjoy!
Selena Gomez feat. Rauw Alejandro — "Baila Conmigo"
For the second taste of her forthcoming Spanish-language EP, Selena turns up the tempo a bit. Leaving behind the dreamy balladry of "De Una Vez," she links up with a rising star out of Puerto Rico for this mesmerizing collaboration, a steamy reggaeton bop that's downright seductive. You'll find yourself lured onto your feet, as its title is less a request and more a command.
Anitta — "Loco"
The Brazilian superstar returns with her first track of 2021, a sultry Middle Eastern-influnced reggaeton track that's guaranteed to heat up even the coldest corners of the globe this winter. It's a miracle she didn't melt the snow she's skiing on—bikini-clad, of course—in the accompanying music video.
Maluma — "Chocolate"
After teasing fans with a big reveal, the Colombian hunk revealed that his latest baby is, in fact, a seven-track project called #7DJ (7 Dias En Jamaica). It's the thumping R&B beat here that makes this track an immediate standout for us. The island vibes fit our Pretty Boy like a glove.
Celeste — "Tonight Tonight"
After first catching our attention exactly a year ago with her excellent single "Stop This Flame," the British-Jamaican singer has a winner on her hands with debut album Not Your Muse. This standout track, a soulful song punctuated by a funky horn section, gives us shades of Amy Winehouse while still announcing Celeste as a wholly original artist whose name you won't soon forget.
Fancy Hagood — "Mr. Atlanta"
The Nashville-based singer-songwriter who previously recorded under the name Who Is Fancy—his 2015 single "Boys Like You," featuring Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande, is worth a listen—is reintroducing himself to the world with a string of new singles ahead of his debut album, due later this year. This one, a confection of country, rock and pop influences that tackles the openly gay artist's dating history, is a real charmer.
FKA twigs, Headie One and Fred again.. — "Don't Judge Me"
Avant-garde pop star FKA twigs and rapper Headie One team with producer Fred again.. for this haunting and hypnotic rumination on the oppression they've faced being Black in Britain and beyond. Her ethereal falsetto is right at home on top of a production built around a heartbeat-esque percussion line and swirling, atmospheric synths. This one will stick with you all day.
Arlo Parks — "Hope"
There's such an understated warmth to this track off the British poet-turned-singer-songwriter's debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams. Her gentle voice and the jazzy production drape over you like the coziest of blankets.
Mosa Wild — "Cry Baby"
The quartet return with a surprisingly tender exploration of the impermanence of life. As the production builds from a sparse guitar line to something more evocative, it's lead singer Jim Rubaduka's vocals that burst forth to guide you through the song's changing tides.
Andra Day — "Tigress & Tweed"
Ahead of the February release of Hulu's The United States vs. Billie Holliday, the film's leading lady debuts an original track that advances the titular luminary's "Strange Fruit" to our modern time. It's a resonant plea, a call to action and, most importantly, a stunning work of art.
Lyn Lapid — "Itsy Bitsy"
After her song "Producer Man" blew up on TikTok and landed Lyn a major record deal, she returns with this clever twist on a classic nursey rhyme, with her version of that infamous arachnid decidedly more adult. It's an exciting alt-pop release from a very promising new talent.