First Stream: New Music From Maroon 5, Blink-182, DaBaby & More

Feeling overwhelmed by the new songs, albums and videos being unveiled today? You’re not alone. 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, Maroon 5 gets a little bit softer now, Blink-182 keeps rolling and DaBaby furthers his case for rap superstardom. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:

The Song That Will Be The Subject of Countless Nostalgic Sing-Alongs:
Maroon 5, "Memories"

After one of the biggest hits of their career, a quasi-controversial Super Bowl halftime performance and a quiet few months, Maroon 5 has returned with... a sparse, low-key, wistful new single? “Memories” is certainly a surprising offering from Levine and co., whose Red Pill Blues album carried several uptempo pop singles, but the long-awaited follow-up to the “Girls Like You” remix with Cardi B gains its power by upending expectations. “Toast to the ones here today / Toast to the ones that we lost on the way,” Levine sings, on a refrain universal enough to inspire many raised glasses in the future. Although “Memories” represents a change-up for Maroon 5, it will easily slide into the band’s setlist whenever they next tour -- a breather in between all the danceable smashes to catch your breath and reflect.

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The Album That Will Have You Busting Out That T-Shirt You Bought at Warped Tour:
Blink-182, Nine

For enthusiasts of the search for alien life on earth as well as pop-punk, this has been a banner week, as Blink-182 returns with a rousing new album and former member Tom DeLonge had the U.S. Navy officially acknowledge his UFO videos. Even if Blink’s new album isn’t quite as momentous of an occasion, Nine still allows Mark Hoppus to shine as one of rock’s most reliable song craftsman, and Travis Barker to command the drum kit like few before him. The album also sounds more comfortable as the second outing with Matt Skiba in DeLonge’s place, with more standout tracks — like the propulsive “Darkside” and more modern-sounding “I Really Wish I Hated You” — than 2016’s California.

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The Song That Serves as a Well-Timed Victory Lap:
DaBaby, “Intro”

It’s hard to believe that DaBaby hasn’t released a solo track over the past six months: he’s been too busy promoting his breakthrough hit “Suge,” collaborating with artists like Lil Baby and Megan Thee Stallion, and jumping on remixes from hits by Lizzo and Lil Nas X. “Intro,” then, is a reminder of the lyrical athleticism and palpable charm that have made DaBaby one of hip-hop’s breakthroughs of 2019. DJ Kid provides a peppery beat but “Intro” is essentially three minutes of DaBaby throwing jabs and reflecting on lightning-fast success: “How a n---a perform on BET and a year ago couldn't afford a sandwich?” he muses. DaBaby’s jocular talent makes that an easy question to answer.

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The Song That Should Be Your New Early-Morning Motivation:
Celine Dion, "Lying Down"

“Stirring” is a word that could be used to describe multiple huge Celine Dion songs -- “My Heart Will Go On,” sure, but even the rapturous drama of “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” or the amped-up wisdom of “That’s The Way It Is.” When Dion comes back with a song co-written by Sia and co-produced by David Guetta, please believe that it will stir, and “Lying Down” does just that, as a showcase of the pop legend’s voice and message of strength. Dion has shared multiple tracks this week ahead of her upcoming Courage album, but “Lying Down” would be the standout even without its pedigree, thanks to a booming chorus that wakes up anyone who was sleeping on Dion’s legacy.

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The Album That Contains At Least Four of Your Favorite New Bangers:
Tove Lo, Sunshine Kitty

Tove Lo may never have another crossover hit as commercially potent as her 2014 single “Habits (Stay High),” but those who have been paying attention to the Swedish singer-songwriter over the past five years know that she’s remained a vital, brilliant voice in the wider pop community. New album Sunshine Kitty combines the blindingly bright choruses and frank sex talk of Queen of the Clouds with the low, luxurious thump that ran through Lady Wood, for an album that may could be considered her most consistent to date. Come in for the guest stars (Kylie Minogue, Doja Cat, Jax Jones), stay for the pristine solo jams like “Stay Over,” “Mateo” and effervescent single “Glad He’s Gone.”

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The Song That Will Help You Power Through Your Work Day:
Liam Payne feat. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, "Stack It Up"

Success does not come easy, even for a former member of One Direction, and Liam Payne is quick to exalt the value of hard work on new single “Stack It Up.” “I got dreams and I got time, but that ain't enough to get me by,” Payne asserts before ceding the stage to A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, who hits similar notes of money-over-everything. Ed Sheeran co-wrote “Stack It Up” and it’s easy to tell -- from Payne’s vocal approach to the construction of the chorus, “Stack It Up” sounds like it could have been snuck onto Sheeran’s recent collaborative album without anyone noticing. Although Payne already has a post-1D hit with “Strip That Down,” “Stack It Up” is a plea to continue the singer’s trajectory in upward motion.

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The Album That’s A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Everything Else:
Zac Brown Band, The Owl

Zac Brown Band has spent the 2010s expertly examining the outer limits of country while providing Nashville radio instant classics like “Chicken Fried” and “Homegrown.” The Owl takes the former tenet to the extreme, as Brown has recruited a wide swath of studio whizzes — Skrillex, Max Martin, Poo Bear — to further shake up his sound. As a result, the album can oscillate between rhythmic pop (“OMW”) to deep-fried hip-hop (“God Given”) in a way that would be jarring in less steady hands. Fortunately, Brown understands how to navigate the game of hopscotch — and songs like “Finish What We Started,” a duet with Brandi Carlile, will surely charm ZBB’s longtime supporters.

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The Song That Will Give You The Best Kind of ‘90s Vibes:
Monsta X, "Love U"

When K-pop group Monsta X released the French Montana-assisted single “Who Do U Love?” earlier this year, the throwback appeal — specifically, an ostentatious nod to turn-of-the-century American boy band pop — was immediate. Follow-up “Love U” exists in the same vein, with a slightly slower tempo, grand proclamations of unrequited love that “they won’t play... on the radio,” and unobtrusive production that keeps the focus on the vocal harmonies. The extended homage to old-school bubblegum is working for Monsta X, as the group has a fairly bulletproof sonic foundation for how it unfurls its respective hooks. Even if you’re not interested in the extended K-pop universe, you’ll be interested in this.

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The Album In Which a Familiar Voice Explores New Tones:
Brittany Howard, Jaime

For anyone wondering why Alabama Shakes leader Brittany Howard is releasing her new album as a solo project and not as the highly anticipated new Shakes record, one listen to Jaime will explain why. Howard’s full-length, named after her sister who died at the age of 13, is deeply personal and triumphant in its inherent experimentalism, as the singer-songwriter leans into the soulfulness of her voice and explores jazz and psychedelic funk, historical sloganeering and wide-eyed cacophony. Fortunately, Howard more than has the talent to pull off the more daring sounds and straightforward pleasures; “Stay High,” a gooey R&B jam, is very much the latter, while “13th Century Metal” shows off the breadth of Howard’s wild ambition.

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