What better way to kick off a weekend than with new music? Fridays are always chock full of the latest songs and albums ready to be the soundtrack to everyone’s antics, and here you’ll find some of the week’s standout releases. Whether you’re ready to spin an anticipated song from a favorite artist or just taking a look at what’s out there, there’s a whole lot of tunes to dive right into. Who knows—maybe you’ll find your next obsession.
Taylor Swift “ME!” (feat. Brendon Urie)
A lengthy period of teasing finally comes to a close as Taylor Swift raises the curtain to let her new single “ME!” fly free. With no album release attached to the track, just yet, there’s a strong possibility that this isn’t a lead single (or even on an album), which makes it all the more impressive for its quality. The butterfly wing/pink hues/hearts combo featured in her promotional campaign before the track’s debut almost spells it out entirely: “ME!” is an unabashed sugary pop track that’s out of left-field even for Swift.
The track takes a number of risks with self-aware, borderline cringe-lyrics (“Spelling is FUN!”) to emphasize the carefree nature of the song, which sets the stage for Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie to play a call-and-response-type role in the bridge (in addition to the song’s duet-feel to begin with). Urie’s performance, overall, nearly outdoes Swift’s — but when you think about her first singles to kick off new eras over the years, “ME!” is another example of her ability to storm out of the gates with something polarizing, for better or worse.
Sum 41 “Out for Blood”
You can always count on Sum 41 to be the band that’ll most likely always sound like themselves. From the opening riffs of their new single “Out for Blood” to the name of the song itself, fans and familiar listeners alike know that they’re in for a brash, metal-infused rock fest and there’s never anything wrong about that. While we have no idea what their upcoming album will sound like, the over-the-top guitar solo in the bridge coupled with an anthemic chorus gives off the impression that it’ll be another solid outing.
Say what you will about AJR’s similarities to the likes of Jon Bellion (would anyone complain if there were two versions of The Beatles back in the day!?!?!). The indie-pop trio of brothers’ new album, Neotheater, does little to stray away from the sound that garnered those comparisons in the first place (and why would they, it was successful?), but the LP does manage to sound like an extension to their debut rather than a rehash.
Kayzo “Up in Flames” (feat. Alex Gaskarth)
For those familiar with DJ/producer Kayzo, his new joint collaboration with Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low comes as no surprise. If you aren’t familiar, Kayzo is a guy bridging the gap between your favorite pop-punk/rock bands and EDM and, for the most part, it’s been working out pretty well. Arguably his highest profile feature yet, “Up in Flames” sounds almost like an electronic remix of an All Time Low song, as the songwriting is undoubtedly Gaskarth-influenced with EDM elements that don’t take the attention away from the vocals.
Diplo “So Long” (feat. Cam)
After recently releasing an ambitious triple-threat album with Sia and Labrinth, Diplo is right back at it again with something new. Deemed his “country project”, his latest offering “So Long” boasts a big-time country singer in Cam but not really much else in terms of the production and instrumentation. It’s kind of like saying Zedd’s “The Middle” is a country song because Maren Morris featured on it, but we’ll give Diplo the benefit of the doubt and just appreciate a decent pop song with a wonderful voice.
The Chainsmokers “Do You Mean” (feat. Ty Dolla $ign and bülow)
The soundscape of The Chainsmokers’ “Do You Mean” is vast and atmospheric, and most importantly, it makes room for all those featured on the track. The EDM duo enlists rapper Ty Dolla $ign and rising pop artist bülow for a tranquil piece that shimmers with hooks. As Ty and The Chainsmokers’ Drew Taggart trade off vocal duties, bülow’s chorus is the glue that holds it all together to make it one of their best singles since “Closer”.
Various Artists For the Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones)
Initially, you might have the urge to groan when you see a bunch of pop and hip-hop artists being meshed together on a so-called Game of Thrones compilation, but the execution is actually extremely well-done. Many of the tracks here have direct GoT references or metaphors about battles and gods and power, so there was thought put into the curation of this thing. Stylistically, it teeters back and forth with ballads and slow-burners from the likes of Maren Morris and The Lumineers, to off-the-wall smashes from Ellie Goulding and the SZA, The Weeknd, and Travis Scott cut, “Power is Power.”
Martin Garrix “Summer Days” (feat. Macklemore and Patrick Stump)
If Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump becomes a mainstream mercenary—just offering his pipes in huge guest features—nobody would mind. With his second appearance on a track this year, Martin Garrix gets the luxury of flaunting Stump’s stuff on the funky “Summer Days”. Also featuring Macklemore, the rapping helps break up Stump’s whirlwind of falsettos, making you appreciate them that much more when they kick back in.
The Damned Things High Crimes
Patrick Stump isn’t the only Fall Out Boy member to celebrate a release this week. The Damned Things, the rock supergroup featuring members of FOB, Alkaline Trio, and Every Time I Die get together for their second full-length, High Crimes, making it evident that they’re too good to wait another nine years for their next LP. High Crimes is packed with head-spinning guitar riffs and a similar sense of urgency as their debut, but the increased production quality and emphasis on a rock-radio shine sets it apart as a must-listen in the genre this year.
P!nk Hurts 2B Human
P!nk has been in the pop game for nearly two decades but her eighth full-length, Hurts 2B Human, may be her most varied yet. Known for her loud and brash singles like “Raise Your Glass” and “Just Like Fire”, Hurts takes a different approach with a wide array of sounds and guest features that all work thanks to P!nk’s adaptive vocals. She goes folk-pop on “Walk Me Home”, bubblegum with AutoTune on “(Hey Why) Miss You Sometime”, and finishes up with a memorable closer in the acoustic “The Last Song of Your Life”.
Other new releases: DREAMERS – Launch Fly Land DRAX Project – NOON (Acoustic) EP Bastille – “Doom Days” LANY – “okay” (feat. Julia Michaels) Halestorm – Vicious/Chemicals DUO Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Balance Nick Murphy / Chet Faker – Run Fast Sleep Naked / “Dangerous” The Black Keys – Eagle Birds / Hi/Lo DUO FKA twigs – “Cellophane” Lauv – “Drugs & the Internet” PRETTYMUCH – “Phases” Two Door Cinema Club – “Satellite” Metric – “Risk” Breathe Carolina – “All I Need” Bruce Springsteen – “Hello Sunshine” Olivia O’Brien – Was It Even Real? ScHoolboy Q – Crash Talk Marina – Love + Fear Florence + The Machine – “Jenny of Oldstones (Game of Thrones)” FLETCHER – If You’re Gonna Lie Kim Petras – “Broken” Kevin Abstract – “Peach” / ARIZONA BABY Zara Larsson – “WOW” Farruko / Bad Bunny – “La Cartera” Bebe Rexha – “Girl In the Mirror” Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Natti Natasha – “No Lo Trates” Flying Lotus – “Spontaneous (feat. Little Dragon)” / “Takashi” Stormzy – “Vossi Bop” Sean Kingston – “Peace of Mind (feat. Troy Lanez, DaVido)” Local Natives – Violet Street Terror Jr – Loved By You” Slushii – “Dreaming of You” FRENSHIP – Keep You Close EP Rob Thomas – Chip Toothed Smile Esperanza Spalding – “Lest We Forget (blood)”TWICE – FANCY YOU EP / “FANCY”