New Music Friday: Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga Among Spotify Editors' Picks
Every week, Spotify updates their "New Music Friday" playlist, featuring 50 of the freshest new tracks hitting the service that week.
On the heels of Billboard's partnership with the streaming giant, we'll be tapping Spotify's editors to sift through the soon-to-be-hits and highlight the best of the bunch.
Check out the picks and listen to the entire "New Music Friday" playlist below.
Bruno Mars - "24K Magic"
Just when you thought you finally got Bruno Mars’ insanely successful collaboration with Mark Ronson, "Uptown Funk," out of your head, the singer hits us with another infectious single. While Mars has technically been on a four-year hiatus in between studio projects, it certainly hasn't felt that way. His sophomore release, 2012's Unorthodox Jukebox, came at a time where Mars reigned in pop music, and since then, he's found a way to take a significant break without losing momentum. His new single, "24K Magic," is the title track off of his third album, slated for a November 18 release, and, as the line "Guess who's back again?" attests, the song makes for a hearty comeback for Mars, as if he ever really left. In fact, in a recent interview, the producers working with the 30-year-old confirmed the "next movement of Bruno" is upon us.The funky, synth-laden "24K Magic" sparks an explosive resurgence for the swaggy singer-songwriter.
Alicia Keys - "Blended Family" featuring A$AP Rocky
Alicia Keys in 2016 is just as magical as when she first broke out 15 years ago with the release her debut album, Songs in A Minor. While each Keys offering feels deeply personal, her latest song IS deeply personal, with a lyrical focus on celebrating co-parenting with her husband Swizz Beatz and his ex-wife. In an Instagram post, the singer details how important this song is to her and her family, explaining that rising above the situation by choosing love is a "powerful testament" to the healing that comes along with putting aside any differences for the sake of the children in a "blended family." The song sets an incredible example for parents in the same exact situation, with Keys recruiting the likes of A$AP Rocky to drive the point home.
John Legend - "Love Me Now"
John Legend reminds us of his remarkable vocal talents on his new single "Love Me Now." Judging from the song's artwork, the R&B heavyweight is sweetly dedicating this one to his wife, Chrissy Teigen. While Legend has been busy with becoming a new father, and executing his producer duties on several projects, including working on the film about the Obama's love story Southside With You, this single marks the first new music Legend has released of his own in quite some time. "Love Me Now" features an echoed chanting chorus, with his vocals standing alone or gracefully draped over soft pianos, with the production introducing soft strings and building as the song continues. The lyrics, "I don't know who's gonna kiss you when I'm gone / so I'm gonna love you now / like it's all I have" are a surefire way to make anyone you adore blush.
Lady Gaga – “Million Reasons”
Lady Gaga is a just weeks away from setting her fifth full-length album free and to help the wait seem a little more bearable for Little Monsters everywhere, she's released another promotional single in advance of the project. Fans in attendance during the first stop on her Dive Bar tour in Tennessee this past Wednesday (October 5) were in for a pleasant surprise when the singer debuted the stripped down acoustic ballad, fitting to the country music epicenter that is Nashville. The song, which Gaga characteristically banged out the lyrics for on her typewriter, is a perfect reflection of the chapter the pop singer began with the album's first single "Perfect Illusion." As revealed in recent interviews, Lady Gaga's intentions when writing this new project were to return to her roots as the 19-year-old bright-eyed girl in New York City's Lower East Side who decided that she was going to live the rest of her life in a way that her Aunt Joanne couldn't. (Her aunt passed away 12 years before Gaga could met her.) As exemplified through Gaga's music and her activism, her aunt's story imprinted on the singer's soul forever. "Million Reasons" is a beautifully written and executed love song that is going to find its way stuck in your head for days, further proving that the Lady Gaga we get with Joanne is going to present one of her strongest, and masterfully refined, creative endeavors to date.
Phantogram - "Calling All"
Phantogram's new album, Three, is out today (October 7), and it is another prime example of frontwoman Sarah Barthel's now-seasoned ability to craft edgy songs that weave in serious subject matter not commonly found in dance music. The forward-thinking dream-pop duo's electric sound allows Barthel and guitarist/vocalist Josh Carter the freedom to curate which direction they'd like to go in for each song, all without losing the ability of making it entirely their own. While working on their latest release, Barthel lost her sister to suicide and the tragedy shook the group, with the heartache they both experienced becoming a therapeutic focal point as they created the 10-tracks found on their third studio album. While exploring themes of hopelessness, uncertainty, confusion, anger and darkness, Phantogram remains, at the end of the day, somehow optimistic and uplifting, serving as a vital reminder that there's beauty in hardship and in overcoming said hardship alike. Of the track, "Calling All," Barthel explains in a recent interview, "It's about putting yourself on the edge, questioning yourself, and owning it." Going on to add that the song is about being yourself, the singer/keyboardist explains the song highlights the undeniable fact each of us has a dark side and a light side, and with Phantogram exploring that empowering juxtaposition over exhilarating upbeat tempos, there's something everyone can relate to and vibe with.