First Stream: New Music From The Weeknd & Ariana Grande, Karol G, Jonas Brothers and More

Billboard’s First Stream serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond.

This week, The Weeknd gets a new assist from Ariana Grande, Karol G returns with a splashy new project and Jonas Brothers take flight after a break. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:

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The Weeknd & Ariana Grande, “Die For You (Remix)”

“Die For You,” a track from The Weeknd’s 2016 album Starboy that was revived on TikTok last year and has now become a bigger hit for the superstar than anything he’s released since the beginning of 2022, may have taken a circuitous route to smash status, but placing Ariana Grande on a remix of the ascendant track makes all too much sense, especially after the same pairing took a remixed version of “Save Your Tears” to the top of the Hot 100 in 2021. Grande’s voice is actually more engrained into the fabric of the new “Die For You” — she swoops in for a heartfelt second verse, but also adds harmonies and vocal runs across the entire track — and as such, the unlikely hit, currently at No. 7 on the Hot 100, may be about to get a lot more ubiquitous.

Karol G, Mañana Será Bonito 

Today, much of the attention on Karol G’s new album will focus on “TQG,” the hotly anticipated collaboration with Shakira that sounds just as catchy and combustible as the pairing would suggest. Yet even if “TQG” ends up being the latest success story from Mañana Será Bonito — which also includes previously released hits like “Provenza,” “Cairo” with ova on the Drums and the Romeo Santos duet “X Is Solvemos” — the Colombian star has presented a body of work that hums along with passion and precision, its title promising a beautiful tomorrow but today bathed in gorgeous production and affecting vocals as well.

Jonas Brothers, “Wings”

On their first new single since September 2021, Jonas Brothers demonstrate that they’re not interested in simply playing to their strengths: the production of “Wings,” courtesy in part of close JoBros collaborator Jon Bellion, scrunches and wiggles, messing with the trio’s brand of snappy pop-rock as their melodies soar above the morass. Following the brothers’ wildly successful 2019 comeback, “Wings” sounds primed to not only return Jonas Brothers to top 40 radio, but also reinvent the sound that brought them back to the mainstream.

Halsey, “Die 4 Me”

“Die 4 Me” represents a piece of a Halsey song that’s been fully actualized: after first appearing in the form of “Die For Me” on Post Malone’s 2019 album Hollywood’s Bleeding and then being championed for years by Halsey fans, the song has been fleshed out into a standalone solo track. It’s worthy of the renovation — “Die 4 Me” carries the melody, intensity and personality of Halsey’s most memorable tracks, and even if the track serves only as a stopgap between full projects, fans will surely appreciate what it adds to her catalog in this new form.

Don Toliver, Love Sick 

Plenty of A-list hip-hop projects are star-studded affairs, but Don Toliver’s third album, Love Sick, sounds like the most lavish party thrown thus far in 2023: James Blake, Lil Durk and GloRilla show up early in the track list, then Justin Bieber, Future and Wizkid stop by, and Brent Faiyaz and Toro y Moi swing through before the night’s over. In the middle of the affair is Toliver, gaining confidence as a cross-genre lothario and hook tactician, and presenting some of his most memorable songs yet — the rhythmic slow burn of “Slow Motion” in particular showcases why his brand of hazy, R&B-leaning rapping is so effective.

Gorillaz, Cracker Island 

What began as an animated side project for Blur’s Damon Albarn has now persisted for over two decades, partly because Albarn has utilized Gorillaz as an outlet for his most fantastical ideas — including endeavors into hip-hop, electronica, dub music and a bevy of unexpected collaborations. Cracker Island, which features guests ranging from Bad Bunny to Stevie Nicks to Tame Impala, once again pairs experimentation with undeniable melodies; the team-ups are fun, but the album really hits its stride with the euphoric, feature-less one-two punch of “Baby Queen” and “Tarantula” in the middle of the track list.

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