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 Kendrick Lamar, DNCE, and Chris Stapleton, here are the week’s most noteworthy releases.
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN
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The fourth album from the Compton, Calif. rapper - and proper follow-up to his 2015 masterpiece To Pimp A Butterfly - features guest spots from U2 and Rihanna and production work from Mike Will Made-It, Greg Kurstin, James Blake, and more. It also includes “Humble,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100 this week. For more, read EW’s first-listen highlights. -Eric Renner Brown
DNCE feat. Nicki Minaj, “Kissing Strangers”
Joe Jonas and Co. have their “Cake” and eat it too on this funky dance-pop confection, which doesn’t stray far from the template that made “Cake by the Ocean” an inescapable earworm last summer. Brace yourself for more syrupy-thick bass lines and a potent nah-nah-nah hook. -Nolan Feeney
Chris Stapleton, “Broken Halos”
Next month, Chris Stapleton drops From A Room: Volume I, the first of two albums he’s set to release this year. The 38-year-old country powerhouse debuted the project’s “Broken Halos” at a December benefit concert, but he shared an official version early Friday. Dave Cobb, who produced much of Stapleton’s 2015 Grammy-winning breakthrough Traveller, manned the boards for the reflective cut, which is yet another showcase for Stapleton’s weathered croon. -E.R.B.
John Mayer, The Search For Everything
With his seventh studio album, the singer-songwriter ends his longest streak without releasing a new solo LP - his last full-length, Paradise Valley, came out in 2013 - and Mayer has said this collection chronicles a three-year period of his life from 2014 until present. As such, as critic Jim Farber points out in EW’s review, the result is Mayer’s most deeply personal project yet. It also explores plenty of sonic terrain. There are whimsical ballads like “Emoji of a Wave,” sure, but there are also up-tempo blues rockers like “Love on the Weekend” and comfy funk-lite numbers like “Still Feel Like Your Man,” which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Steely Dan record. Lyrically, Mayer remains as sharp and funny as ever as he explores the ups-and-downs of love and heartbreak. “I still keep your shampoo in my shower,” starts one couplet, “in case you want to wash your hair.” -Kevin O’Donnell
Various Artists, The Fate of the Furious: The Album
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The blockbuster film gets an equally blockbuster soundtrack thanks to appearances by G-Eazy, Migos, Wiz Khalifa, and more. Don’t be surprised if one of these songs becomes a Song-of-the-Summer contender after Fate zooms into theaters - this is the franchise that gave us “See You Again,” after all. Read EW’s full review of the album here. -N.F.
Lil Yachty ft. Migos, “Peek A Boo”
Early Friday, the rising Georgian trap artist dropped “Harley” and “Peek A Boo,” featuring “Bad and Boujee” rhymers Migos. (The track has no connection to the trio’s 2014 song of the same name.) Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff all contribute solid verses, but the cut’s pulsing, trancelike beat steals the show. -E.R.B.
Lillie Mae, Forever and Then Some
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Jack White’s touring fiddler has been gigged since she was 3 years old, but now she’s finally stepping out on her own. White co-produced Mae’s solo debut, which features Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, The Dead Weather), Cory Younts (Old Crow Medicine Show), and Ian Craft (The Howlin’ Brothers). Don’t miss her swirling pastiche of well-worn Appalachian sounds - and learn more about Lillie Mae in EW’s April Breaking Big column. -M.V.
Little Dragon, Season High
On Season High, this Swedish crew continues to push the boundaries of what dance-pop can be - and each listen reveals fascinating new sonic details (dig those whirring, 8-bit sonics on “Sweet” ). Best track? “Celebrate,” in which Little Dragon mine the future-funk industrial sounds of Janet Jackson’s hitmakers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. -K.O.
Kamasi Washington, “Truth”
“Truth” is the first new cut from the tenor sax whiz since his appropriately titled 2015 triple LP The Epic - and at 13-and-a-half minutes, it picks up where Washington left off, with sprawling, fusion-indebted jazz soundscapes underscored by the virtuoso’s impeccable ear for gentle melody. -E.R.B.
Mac DeMarco, “On the Level”
The latest cut off DeMarco’s upcoming full-length This Old Dog, due out May 5, reprises the woozy, synth-driven yacht-rock chops he flaunted on 2014’s “Chamber of Reflection” and 2015’s “Another One” - and starkly contrasts the sunny acoustics of previously shared tunes “My Old Man” and “This Old Dog.” -E.R.B.
Linkin Park ft. Stormzy and Pusha T, “Good Goodbye”
“I’ve been here killing longer than you’ve been alive,” frontman Mike Shinoda raps at the beginning of Linkin Park’s latest single - and, in the case of 23-year-old grime sensation Stormzy, who guests on the track, it’s nearly true. The rap-rock group released their debut in 2000, but they’re still aiming for the rafters with arena-ready anthems like “Good Goodbye,” which benefits greatly from the contributions of Stormzy and Pusha T. -E.R.B.
Bailey Bryan, So Far EP
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The 19-year-old Washington singer-songwriter is poised for a major breakout in 2017. Her debut single, “Own It,” bursts with confident lyrics and an infectious can-do attitude - and her EP makes good on her potential. “I love music because I think it can be used to make other people feel understood,” Bryan told EW recently. “That’s my goal with writing songs.” -M.V.
Kiiara ft. Felix Snow, “Whippin”
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Despite telling EW last year that she was done with the whole chopped-up vocals thing, Kiiara and her “Gold” collaborator Felix Snow are back at it with another glitchy, hypnotic single - and this time, it’s a lot easier to sing along to. -N.F.
Noah Cyrus, “Stay Together”
A melancholy party song that’s equal parts playful and poignant is a rite of passage for most young pop stars. Noah Cyrus’s entry into that canon takes its cues from older sister Miley’s “We Can’t Stop,” but she ultimately makes the art form her own on this taste of her upcoming NC-17 LP. -N.F.