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 a big week, music lovers.
Not only did Olivia Rodrigo release her highly anticipated debut album sour, capitalizing on her overwhelming overnight success, but Lil Nas X continued his progression into an artist worth taking seriously. Oh and did we mention that BTS and the Jonas Brothers are back with new tracks?
Like we said, big week.
What follows are our picks for the best of the best.
Your playlist for the weekend of May 21-23 has arrived. Enjoy!
BTS — "Butter"
As the follow-up to their English-language smash hit "Dynamite," the Bangtan Boys return to the funky soul sounds of the song that delivered them their first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. They're aiming for Song of the Summer territory here, and we'd say they did what needed to be done.
Olivia Rodrigo — "jealousy, jealousy"
On this standout track off Olivia's debut album sour—the entirety of which reveals the newcomer to be a true superstar on par with the Taylors and Billies of the world—she expertly melds her teenage angst lyrics with a funky bassline and a sumptuous multi-layered vocal performance. While much of the album seemingly traces one very bad breakup, here she turns her pen on the toxic comparisons to other young women she's forced to make thanks to our social media-obsessed world. It's the detour from the LP's overarching lyrical sameness that kept our attention.
Lil Nas X — "SUN GOES DOWN"
Following his hell-raising descension to Satan's throne in the thrilling "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," Nas comes back down (or is it up?) to Earth with this tender track that takes fans into the inner struggles he faced pre-fame as a young Black gay man in the world that's taught him to hate himself. There's tragedy here, to be sure, but also—and ultimately—an uplifting beauty. It's unlike anything we've ever heard from him.
Marshmello x Jonas Brothers — "Leave Before You Love Me"
The masked producer teams with our favorite trio for this groovy little heartbreaker all about getting out before things get too serious. Trust us, though, you'll be bopping along despite the subject matter.
City Girls — "Twerkulator"
After clearance issues meant this song was left on the cutting room floor when it came time to release the 2020 album City on Lock, a leaked version made its way to TikTok and went viral. Now that Yung Miami and JT have officially released it, it's not hard to see why this one blew all the way up on social. It's wild in all the right ways.
Rauw Alejandro — "Todo de Ti"
For his first single following the 2020 release of his debut album Afrodisíaco, the Puerto Rican singer steps out of the reggaeton sound that put him on the map and ventures into funkier, '80s-inspired dance-pop territory. This one feels tailor-made for summer.
Oneohtrix Point Never & ROSALÍA — "Nothing's Special"
Ignore what the title of the track says. This rework of the closing track off Daniel Lopatin's 2020 album Magic Oneohtrix Point Never, which finds the Spanish superstar taking over vocal duties and singing in her native tongue over the original production, is a meditative and mournful affair that far exceeds merely "special." If you're not careful, this one will crack you open. It's that stunning.
AUDREY NUNA feat. Saba — "Top Again"
This standout track off the Korean-American newcomer's debut mixtape, a liquid breakfast, is a total vibe. Laidback and introspective, it positions her as an exciting new voice in the R&B space that you should start paying attention to now.
Fousheé — "enjoy the silence"
Just a sublime reimagining of Depeche Mode's 1990 hit from the viral star who you might recognize from her brief stint on The Voice in 2018.