Every Friday, artists drop anticipated albums, surprise singles, and hyped collaborations. As part of New Music Friday, EW’s music team chooses some of the essential new tunes. With fresh offerings from Katy Perry, DJ Khaled, and an unearthed, Purple Rain-era Prince cut, here are the week’s most noteworthy releases.
Prince, “Electric Intercourse”
As the title not so subtly implies, Prince is pure sex on this previously unreleased outtake from the forthcoming Purple Rain reissue, out in June. “I feel some kind of sexual current,” His Purpleness falsettos over buzzy synths and jazzy pianos. “Tell me do you feel it, too?” Of course, the answer is yes. -Kevin O’Donnell
Katy Perry ft. Migos, “Bon Appétit”
The pop star may be injecting some social consciousness into her music these days, but sometimes you just need to blow off some steam between the protests. Leave it to the woman who once shot whipped cream out of her bra to provide another smorgasbord of horny culinary metaphors on this Max Martin-assisted taste from her upcoming LP. -Nolan Feeney
DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne, and Quavo, “I’m the One”
The megastar whisperer and social media dynamo returned Friday with another star-studded single. As usual, Khaled brings out the best in his guests, from Justin Bieber’s addictive hook to Chance the Rapper’s infectious verse. Don’t miss the video for the ebullient track, which is somehow both decadent and endearing. -Eric Renner Brown
After six years away, Damon Albarn has finally revived his zany electro-rock project - and with a diverse roster of guests including Pusha T, Vince Staples, Popcaan, De La Soul, Danny Brown, Mavis Staples, and D.R.A.M., Humanz may be the group’s most impressive outing yet. “In a way, you could call me the architect,” Albarn told EW of wrangling all the talent. “I’m pretty clear about what I want, but after that, it’s completely up to them how they interpret it, as long as I get the stuff within my bigger narrative. I love being surprised by the direction people take.” -E.R.B.
On her first album in nearly six years, the Canadian singer-songwriter is shunning any expectations for more bright pop ditties in the vein of her breakout single “1234.” Instead, she goes for something far artier - hushed folk-pop jams laced with serrated guitar riffs and her whispered cooing - and the result is a quiet tour de force that also reinvents what a typical singer-songwriter record can be. Read EW’s full review here. -K.O.
Mary J. Blige, Strength of a Woman
As she deals with a very public divorce from husband Kendu Isaacs, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul digs deep with R&B anthems featuring assists from Kanye West and producers like Kaytranada. Read EW’s full review here. -K.O.
Cashmere Cat, 9
The Norwegian producer gained acclaim with two stellar EPs - 2012’s Mirror Maru and 2014’s Wedding Bells - and his work on Kanye West’s 2016 song “Wolves,” but his debut album exceeds all expectations. The Weeknd, Kehlani, Selena Gomez, Tory Lanez, Camila Cabello, Ariana Grande, and more all appear on 9, which defies convention and genre alike for improbably delightful results. -Madison Vain
Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars previously told the New York Times he tried to find a “sci-fi voice that’s kind of a character” on “J-Boy,” the first single off the French band’s upcoming Ti Amo. While the track does have a slightly spacey feel, its shimmering synths and Mars’ casual-cool vocals define it - and together preview a playful, summer-ready album. -Ariana Bacle
After releasing solo tracks “Wood” and “Gravity Don’t Pull Me” in 2016, the former Vampire Weekend multi-instrumentalist is back with the pretty, contemplative “Gwan.” Here, his gentle, smiling voice strikes the perfect balance with the accompanying strings, highlighted by an evocative, cello-centric bridge that leads into the song’s blissful final moments. -A.B.
Thurston Moore, Rock n Roll Consciousness
The noise-rock godhead has teamed with Adele producer Paul Epworth for his fifth solo album, but it still has a distinctly Sonic Youth vibe, with wicked guitar riffs and Moore’s beatnik-style musings. -K.O.
Willie Nelson, God’s Problem Child
Recent conversations about the Red-Headed Stranger have focused on his health, and that’s not lost on the indefatigable icon, who turns 84 this weekend. His latest offers a clear-eyed look at his mortality. With his humor, honesty, and wiry tenor fully intact, God’s Problem Child is one of the year’s most endearingly human collections yet. -M.V.
The charming D.C. rapper’s first release since 2015’s The Album About Nothing is an easy-going affair featuring Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Travis Scott, and J Balvin. Major Lazer, Dua Lipa, and WizKid (“One Dance”) appear together on the bouncing jam “My Love.” -E.R.B.
Skip Marley, “Calm Down”
The Katy Perry collaborator - that’s him on her hit single “Chained to the Rhythm” - and grandson of Bob Marley tries to tune out the world’s problems with this grandiose reggae-lite banger, a fitting soundtrack for both the cabana and the club. -N.F.
Sylvan Esso, What Now
The North Carolina duo’s brand of electro-pop is warmer and more intimate than the kind usually dominating the charts, but it’ll move listeners to dance just as hard: Highlights such as “Radio,” an ultra-clever critique of airwave homogeny, and “Kick Jump Twist” begin simply, but they climax with dizzying arrays of synths that sound like old-school video game characters raving at Coachella. Not that the group needs any of that pizzaz to be riveting - the penultimate track “Slack Jaw” is an astoundingly gorgeous, nearly a cappella number that should leave plenty of mouths gaping. -N.F.
Shabazz Palaces, “Shine a Light”
The experimental hip-hop duo announced their forthcoming album Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star with a crackling blast of vintage soul, which samples Dee Dee Sharp’s 1965 classic “I Really Love You.” But Palaceer’s lryics are the main attraction: “Sliding cornered by more law enforcements / Feeling like I’m riding with The Four Horsemen,” the Digable Planets alum effortlessly rhymes. -E.R.B.
Trombone Shorty, Parking Lot Symphony
Collaborations with Mark Ronson and Foo Fighters, performances for President Obama at the White House, an opening slot on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ latest arena tour: The stellar New Orleans musician is one of contemporary music’s most underrated forces. His latest full-length - and Blue Note Records debut - is an energetic showcase of his wonderful blend of funk, soul, and, most of all, brassy, Big Easy jazz. -E.R.B.
BNQT, Volume 1
BNQT is a supergroup that’ll make any indie-rock fan swoon: Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), and Fran Healy (Travis) each contributed two songs to Volume 1, which runs the gamut from brassy, ’70s-inspired pop-rock to turn-of-the-millennium crunchy alt riffs. Midlake’s Eric Pulido pulled all the moving pieces together for an immaculately polished and straightforward full-length. -E.R.B.
The Cranberries, Something Else
Do they have to, do they have to, do they have to... revisit classic ’90s alt-pop gems like “Linger” on a covers album of their biggest hits? Yes, they do - and their acoustic take is (almost) as charming as the original. -K.O.
Lady Leshurr, Mode EP
Every time this British MC drops a video, it’s an event - and for good reason. The rapper behind the viral (and hilarious) Queen’s Speech series mixes equal parts swagger and charisma into the “Juice” she’s serving on her propulsive new EP. And don’t worry, there are still plenty of punchlines on this go-round: She samples the infamous “Cash Me Outside” clip on the EP’s intro. -N.F.
Tove Styrke, “Say My Name”
The Riverdale-approved Swedish singer’s first new track since her phenomenal 2015 album Kiddo isn’t the flashiest, most in-your-face song she’s ever recorded, but once that twangy guitar and rubber-band beat burst open into that soaring pre-chorus, you’ll have trouble wearing “Say My Name” out. -N.F.
Old Crow Medicine Show, 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde
The Americana stalwarts paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s seminal album in May 2016 by covering it in its entirety - and now, everyone who wasn’t at Nashville’s CMA Theater that evening can take part. 50 Years features the barn-burning full recording of that show. -M.V.
Particle Kid, Particle Kid
As Particle Kid, Willie Nelson’s son Micah records quirky prog-rock that also incorporates folk, jazz, funk, and Americana. His self-titled debut is a far-out collection of tunes that displays his musical versatility. -E.R.B.