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!
Now is the perfect time to be melodramatic, because Lorde has let the light shine on all of us with her third studio album. The dreamy and yellow-tinted Solar Power shows a fresh, airy side of the "Pure Heroine" singer that warrants a listen all the way through.
Shawn Mendes also seems to be harnessing this season's solar power in his romantic number with Tainy, "Summer of Love," which has plenty of discreet references to girlfriend Camila Cabello. Dillon Francis and Bow Anderson keep the good vibes going in the wholesome "Reaching Out."
Then, JoJo gets serious by owning up to her mistakes in the game of love, while Alesso, Marshmello and James Bay collaborate on another emotional song about a failed relationship.
What follows are our picks for the best of the best. Your playlist for the weekend of Aug. 20-22 has arrived. Enjoy!
Lorde — "Mood Ring"
We don't need a mood ring to tell us how much we love Lorde's new hippie album (which one fan called "eco-friendly" and "sustainable"). "My love is a mood ring / Up and down emotions / All these mood swings," the New Zealand-based artist sings on the third single, which at times is reminiscent of Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever."
Lorde's new album has an aura of light, with music videos that have already drawn comparisons to Harry Styles' beachy "Watermelon Sugar." She's one with nature, bringing background vocalists Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers along for her peaceful journey of growth.
Shawn Mendes and Tainy — "Summer of Love"
Shamila shippers have already found clues in Mendes' lyrics about his real life romance with his "Señorita" collaborator, Camila Cabello. "Meditation and tequila / Calling you my señorita / Didn't know how much I need ya / Hate it when I have to leave ya," he croons while shedding light on their romance. "It was the summer of love / A delicate daydream / And for a couple of months / It felt like we were 18."
As for the music video, we're getting serious Outer Banks vibes, thanks to his sunny adventures, boating and driving with the top down.
Alesso and Marshmello feat. James Bay — "Chasing Stars"
The producer and DJ behind Bastille's "Happier," Halsey's "Be Kind" and Selena Gomez's "Wolves" now teams up with Alesso and Bay for a slightly more somber sound about the pain of missing an ex—but not regretting a thing.
"Memories like freight trains hit me / I replay to keep you with me," Bay sings, before describing those visceral memories in more heartbreaking detail: "We were chasing stars / Across the county lines / Two imperfect pieces with our fingers intertwined." After crying to James Arthur's "Say You Won't Let Go," listen to this and take a nostalgic look back at a shattered love story.
Young Thug — "Tick Tock"
We know what you're thinking, and yes, the "Go Crazy" rapper does seem to be commenting on the TikTok influencer culture in his latest track. The music video showcases a young woman in front of a ring light and hot pink backdrop, filming content during the chorus of "Tick Tock." Tattooed hands upload a video to an app called TickTock, and he raps, "Do you wan' know how it is / When you a big dawg? / You might got to take the assist / Let your dawg get the big shot."
Addison Rae better start choreographing another viral dance.
Dillon Francis feat. Bow Anderson — "Reaching Out"
This catchy yet heartfelt number is accompanied by a frisky music video, showing cat mascots in tie-dye bodysuits literally reaching out for one another in a dry field. Take from that what you will, but the electro house artist infuses "Reaching Out" with a sweet message that promises "it's better when two align." It's about sticking together through it all: "Don't care what you say / I'll be there every way."
Francis' third album, Happy Machine, will be out Oct. 5.
JoJo — "Worst (I Assume)"
We're definitely not assuming the worst about JoJo's latest self-reflective song about a tumultuous kind of love. Daring to admit her faults, The Masked Singer alum says she keeps her "guard" up in this relationship, even though it means she can't get the closeness she wants. Of course, there's also the memorable line: "But I ain't lookin for no side d--k." She's all in.
Toro Gato — "SWIM"
It's incredibly fitting that Kat Graham's new futuristic sound as alter ego Toro Gato includes the lyrics "Now I am that girl you used to know." Granted, the actress is actually singing about an ex she can't let go, but the line also introduces her reinvention, filled with potential. Her self-titled EP will drop Sept. 10 and will be available as an NFT exclusively through YellowHeart.