Dark, stormy and sexy – I don’t think we’re in One Direction land anymore, Toto. Zayn’s album Mind of Mine certainly isn't boy band material, nowhere less so than the X-rated sex jam “wRoNg,” featuring Kehlani. “I get her wetter than ever…she likes when I’m messy/I like when she’s undressed” Zayn croons over a hypnotic beat.
"Blue Wave" -- Operators
Dan Boeckner is set to take the stage this May for Wolf Parade’s first shows in five years, but this isn’t the only thing the reunited band’s co-frontman has cooking. He’s got a new band called Operators, and its debut album Blue Wave (due April 1 via Last Gang) suggests it’ll be more than just a side piece. “Blue Wave” introduces itself with frothy synth strokes, and then reels you in with some unexpected sax that's smooth enough to sound like it could’ve come off the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack.
"Piano Player" -- The Hotelier
The Hotelier started off as a rather ordinary pop-punk band; five years since their debut album, they’re matured into a cathartic rock band capable of expressing life’s most crucial feelings. “Piano Player” ponders love across one’s lifetime with warm, jangly refrains that burst into otherworldly yelps from frontman Christian Holden around the two-thirds mark. The new album Goodness is out May 27 via Tiny Engines, and it’s one worth marking your calendar for.
"MIA OLA/Foreign Friend" -- M.I.A.
M.I.A.'s new song is actually two songs, both of which bode well for her upcoming fifth album. "MIA OLA" addresses the Trump-fueled U.S./Mexico border panic with a slice-of-life narrative over a staccato piano riff, aided by a sample of The Lion King's "Circle of Life." "Foreign Friend" is a slower, hypnotic track with a similar lyrical theme: "Better tell somebody I'm an immigrant," M.I.A. says, "When I jump that fence I'm gonna get a Benz / Then I leave my tent and I'm gonna be your foreign friend."
"Obsesionado" -- Farruko
Puerto Rican reggaetonero Farruko earned his second top five charting track thanks to his latest single “Obsesionado.” It hops 7-4 in its ninth ranking week (chart dated April 2). The upbeat love song stays true to Farruko’s romantic style.
"Andas En Mi Cabeza" -- Chino y Nacho feat. Daddy Yankee
After years of talking about working together, Venezuelan duo Chino y Nacho finally join forces with reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee for their latest single “Andas En Mi Cabeza,” which is moving up on the Hot Latin Songs chart. The catchy track is currently No. 29 in its fourth charting week.
"Seven Lions" -- Creation feat, Vök
The talented Santa Barbara producer’s sound has evolved significantly since his OWSLA breakthrough, “Days to Come,” adapting to the festival format and channeling diverse influences from pop song-craft to prog metal. The title track off his new Creation EP represents a compromise between his past and present, smoothly shifting between melodic dubstep and slick four-to-the-floor house beats beneath Icelandic band Vök’s ethereal vocals.
"Justin Jay & Friends" -- Weatherman feat. Josh Taylor
Finally a college graduate without classwork to compete for his focus, Dirtybird’s young star takes a stylistic pivot with a project that melds his bass-heavy production with live vocals, drums and guitars, courtesy of his USC classmates. With hybrid live/electronic outfits like Bob Moses gaining traction in a climate filled with cookie-cutter DJs, Jay’s timing couldn’t be better.
"Long Time" -- Ty Dolla $ign feat. Quavo
With a eery backdrop provided by producer-in-demand Metro Boomin', the West Coast crooner brags about his lengthy hustle as well as his abilities in the bedroom. Quavo, one third of Atlanta's trappin' and dabbin' trio Migos, adds some bounce to the lowkey earworm.
"Vamonos" -- Audio Push feat. Kap G
The Inland duo, comprised of Oktane and Price, channel Narcos' beloved villain Pablo Escobar with a Spanglish banger called "Vamonos." The Hits Since 1987 rappers also recruit Mexican MC and Dope co-star Kap G, who brings more fuego to an already-hype anthem.
"Four Years of Chances" -- Margo Price
Margo Price, the voice behind the latest release off Jack White’s Third Man Records, shares her label head’s lo-fi sensibilities and vintage affectations (much to the delight of music writers across the Internet). But Price’s twang is more than just a schtick. On “Four Years of Chances,” she reprises the rollicking roadhouse groove of lead single “Hurtin’ (On The Bottle),” this time for a lament on one of country’s classic subjects: a no-good man. With a tallboy and a shot of well whiskey, the hoe-down will practically come to you.
"God Is A Working Man" -- Jason Isbell
Yes, the title “God Is A Working Man” is peak Isbell — but the song, stripped down and sweet, lets its lead metaphor rest gently rather than beating it to a pulp. “Hail to the working man,” Isbell sings, making it clear that his religion is as much about the proletariat as it is about the man upstairs. On the occasionally overwrought Southern Family compilation, “Working Man" is an effortless example of why his brand of anticommercial country endures.
"Never Let It Die" -- Jussie Smollett and Yazz
The power of music and family: That’s the double message forcefully delivered by Empire’s Jussie Smollett and Yazz on “Never Let It Die.” The anthem ushers in the Fox series’ March 30 spring premiere.
"Digits" -- Young Thug
It's been a minute since fans have heard anything from London On Da Track, but the Atlanta-based producer is as crucial to the apex of Young Thug's sound as Metro Boomin is to Future's, and the lead single from Thugger's latest, Slime Season 3, is a fresh example. Thug is most effective when he eschews driving trap beats; he thrives when the be production gives him the space to stretch out and let his unhinged vocals provide both backbone and melody. Here, London's melancholy organ is the key to one of Thug's best songs since Barter 6.
Listen to the full playlist below!