Pop

First Stream: New Music From Demi Lovato, Olivia Rodrigo, BTS and More

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, Demi Lovato starts over in impressive fashion, Olivia Rodrigo drops a sequel worthy of its predecessor, and BTS fully dive into their balladry. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:

Demi Lovato, Dancing With The Devil... The Art of Starting Over 

As Demi Lovato’s first album since her 2018 overdose, Dancing With The Devil... The Art of Starting Over immediately acknowledges the elephant in the room, beginning with three songs that describe the pop star’s lowest point before segueing into an intro on which she prepares us for a project “that sheds the skin of my past.” The rest of the full-length finds Lovato applying her still-dazzling voice to an examination of her current state, exploring, love, loneliness, sobriety and peace with a soulful pop filter; it’s a towering achievement that blends high drama (“Anyone,” “Good Place”) with righteous fun (“My Girlfriends Are My Boyfriend” with Saweetie) to present where Lovato is today.

Olivia Rodrigo, “Deja Vu” 

When your debut single rockets to the top of the Hot 100 chart and stays there for eight straight weeks, chances are that anticipation for your follow-up single will be high. After conquering the pop world with “Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo has returned with “Deja Vu” and summarily handled the pressure: the new track once again wears the influences of Lorde and Taylor Swift on its sleeve (the former in the verse harmonies, the latter in the bridge), but Rodrigo once again commits to the post-breakup wholeheartedly, jamming in lyrical details and vocal flourishes with the ease of a natural pop star.

BTS, “Film Out” 

This touching BTS ballad -- a collaboration with Iyori Shimizu -- comes from their new Japanese-language album BTS, The Best, as well as from the upcoming Japanese film Signal: Long-Term Unsolved Case Investigation Team. And like many of the K-pop superstars’ tracks that aren’t necessarily radio singles, “Film Out” takes sonic risks that underscore their multi-faceted appeal, from RM’s emotional rap verse to the post-chorus sing-along.

Lil Tjay, Destined 2 Win 

Destined 2 Win has a lot riding on it for Bronx rapper Lil Tjay: after all, his 2019 debut True 2 Myself made him an intriguing new voice in hip-hop, while his new project was preceded by “Calling My Phone,” a collaboration with 6lack that became his biggest Hot 100 hit to date. Although Destined 2 Win boasts its fair share of guest stars -- “Run It Up” with Offset and Moneybagg Yo is a scorching summit of talent -- the album often hums along most efficiently when Lil Tjay tells his history with plenty of room to spare.

42 Dugg feat. Roddy Ricch, “4 Da Gang” 

If 2020 was the year that Roddy Ricch became an undeniable hip-hop star thanks to hits like “The Box” and “Rockstar,” the rest of 2021 promises big things for 42 Dugg, the Detroit rapper who already broke through as a guest star on Lil Baby’s “We Paid.” “4 Da Gang” lets Dugg take center stage and unfurl his charisma, his high-register jabs delivered over a lighter trap beat; he dominates the song, although Roddy Ricch does drop the best diss when he says your man “got a gangster card -- he bought it off Groupon.”

Ozuna feat. Ovi, “Envidioso” 

In the same week that another Ozuna collaboration -- “Vaina Loca,” his 2018 team-up with Manuel Turizo -- crosses the 1 billion views mark on YouTube, the reggaeton superstar has dropped another joint single that sets up its guest star for success. This time the beneficiary is Cuba native Ovi, who slings his own melodic bars to match Ozuna’s as the pair gleefully chops it up (literally -- the “Envidioso” video finds Ozuna and Ovi playing dance-happy chefs).

Garbage, “The Men Who Rule The World” 

In a press statement, Garbage leader Shirley Manson says that the alt-rock greats’ upcoming seventh album “was our way of trying to make sense of how f--king nuts the world is and the astounding chaos we find ourselves in.” Lead single “The Men Who Rule The World” pulls no punches when it comes to challenging capitalism and the ruin it so often brings -- and Manson sounds reinvigorated while doing so, whether she’s whisper-chanting “money money money” or declaring “Destroy the violator!”

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