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!
We're just days away from music's biggest night, with the 62nd Grammy Awards going down on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Los Angeles. And that means that most of the industry is paying attention to this year's crop of deserving nominees. But even with that gigantic distraction, there was still a good number of new releases to wade through on this New Music Friday. As always, we've listened to (nearly) all of them and returned in hands with our picks for the best of this week's best. You're welcome.
Rosalía—"Juro Que": With just days before the Best New Artist nominee makes history at the 62nd Grammy Awards as the first Spanish singer to ever perform during the telecast, she returns to the flamenco fusion of her earlier releases with this stunning lament about an imprisoned lover that soars thanks to her powerful vocals and one hell of a Spanish guitar.
Calvin Harris—"Hypnagogic (I Can't Wait)": The king of crossover EDM is taking it back to the '90s. Under the alias Love Regenerator, he's released a pair of tracks inspired, as he noted in a press release announcing the project, "by early rave, breaks, techno and house, the music I was obsessed with growing up." We're really feeling this track, named for the state immediately before falling asleep, that's primed for the sweaty warehouse party of our dreams. When the piano kicks in the minute-and-a-half mark? Euphoric.
Doja Cat—"Boss Bitch": The title says it all. As far as we're concerned, it's Doja's world and we're all just living in it. The latest taste of the Birds of Prey soundtrack—which is shaping up to be something truly major—has us feeling so hyped with every listen. Just the sort of banger we needed heading into the weekend. Play this one real loud.
Hayley Williams—"Simmer": The Paramore frontwoman kicks off a solo career with this track, the first single from upcoming LP Petals for Armor, and what an impression it makes. Produced for her by the band's guitarist Taylor York, the alt-pop track carries with it an ominous feeling that you couldn't shake even if you wanted to. "Rage is a quiet thing," she begins the song, telling you all you need to know. There's a ferociousness lying in wait. We'd be scared if we weren't absolutely buzzing for more.
Jessie Reyez—"LOVE IN THE DARK": Days before attending her first Grammys, where her 2018 EP Being Human in Public is up for Best Urban Contemporary Album, the Canadian singer-songwriter has dropped this stirring track, the latest taste of her forthcoming debut LP, Before Love Came to Kill Us, due in March. The emotional ballad finds her ruminating on unconditional love in the face of loss and despair. "I wrote this during a really sad time in my life, I remember crying," Reyez said in a statement. "I hope people understand how vulnerable it is." Rest easy, Jessie. That vulnerability is nearly palpable.
Kiana Ledé—"Mad At Me.": The delicious R&B drops from Kidz Bop alumni (yes, really) just keep coming. Between a delivery absolutely dripping with swag and an expert interpolation of OutKast's classic "So Fresh, So Clean," our excitement for her debut album just went way up.
Gary Clark Jr. and The Roots—"This Land (Remix)": Days before he's due to take the stage at the Grammys to perform his fiery protest anthem, a reaction to the racism that's had a stranglehold on America for, well, ever, the nominee has released a remix of the track featuring The Roots that was recorded live during a December appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Get familiar with Black Thought's new verse now, because the iconic hip-hop crew will be joining Clark on stage come Sunday for a moment that we'll surely be talking about for some time.
Trixie Mattel—"Malibu": The iconic RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3 winner, born Brian Firkus, gives a taste of the new surf rock style she's bringing on Barbara, her third studio album due on February 7. The throwback feel, reminiscent of The Beach Boys and Annette Funicello, is a total vibe that has us more than ready for summer. We have no choice but to stan.
Lion Babe—"Hot in Herre": Ever wondered what Nelly's classic hit would sound like as a deep house track? Thanks to Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman, you no longer have to. This is some truly funky stuff.
Iyla—"Tattoo Tears": The L.A.-based rising star is kicking off 2020 with the launch of a new era following her debut EP War + Raindrops in 2018. As the lead single for the forthcoming Other Ways to Vent, this excellent pop/R&B hybrid finds the singer telling an ex she's all out of tears. "I can reign on my own/I'ma wear your crown, throw a king off his throne," she asserts. Long may she reign.
All Time Low—"Some Kind of Disaster": After a protracted break and some therapeutic soul-searching, the pop-punk band returns with this introspective track and a whole new outlook. "We're back and ready to be all yours again," they write on the song's YouTube page. Welcome back, guys.
L Devine—"Boring People": An excellent piece of downbeat electro-pop from the British singer-songwriter takes on the mundanity of everyday life. Anything but boring.
Monique Heart—"Smiles": The RuPaul's Drag Race alum born Kevin Richardson gets brown cow stunning on this evocative mid-tempo track from debut EP Beloved SoS 6.3. The vocals jump out!
Jack Harlow—"WHATS POPPIN": The Louisville native kicks off a new year spitting some serious bars on this one.
Two Feet—"Grey": The latest taste of New York-based singer-songwriter Bill Dess' debut album PINK, due March 13, delivers a bass line that you'll feel in your bones. Get into him now.