Billboard Hot 100 Fest
The Weeknd, Ashanti and More Spotify Editors Pick for New Music Friday
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.
The Weeknd - Starboy
With many fans fighting the urge to fall asleep after consuming copious servings of Thanksgiving dinner in order to digest their first listens of The Weeknd's Starboy album once the clock struck midnight, it's already being celebrated as one of the best releases of the past year – and then some. The two-time Grammy winning artist has previously shared with us the Daft Punk-assisted title track, "I Feel It Coming," and "Party Monster," with his diehard fan base making a strong case that the alternative R&B singer really outdid himself on his third studio album. Now that the 18-track collection has finally arrived, it is evident it’s a polished release arguably exceeding expectations with ease, offering something for even the most critical of listeners. Considering the Weeknd already set his own bar high with his previous two releases, it is both impressive and inspiring he is able to navigate new territory through his music while also playing up his strengths and revealing some new tricks he had been keeping up his sleeve. With Kendrick Lamar, Future and Lana Del Rey also blessing his project, Starboy is a complex album that demands a front-to-back (and back-again) listen, something that feels increasingly rare in a music landscape that thrives off of loose singles. With Starboy, the Weeknd kills off his former self and reinvents himself all at once, while still leaving room for whatever suspense and drama may be looming in the darkness around the corner, as further showcased through his accompanying action-packed short film, M A N I A. With his first global trek awaiting him as 2017 arrives, the 26-year-old righteously can say the world is his for the taking. This ain't ordinary life.
Ashanti - "Hopeless" feat. Ja Rule
Many fans couldn't help but fixate on how casual Lin-Manuel Miranda's announcement was that the Hamilton mixtape would be released in early December. After all, this is something that has been several years in the making, soundtracking a musical that, with its widespread success, is doubling as a cultural movement. The mixtape features a collection of remixes, covers and samples of the songs that the critically acclaimed musical is built around, and the compilation truly going to add value to everyone's music collection. This week, leading up to the Dec. 2 release date, we are treated to yet another teaser, featuring the likes of one of R&B's most influential duos, Ashanti and Ja Rule. On the track, "Hopeless," the powerhouse pair pick up exactly where they left off the last time they collaborated, further exemplifying why they simply are better together. The track feels like textbook and timeless Ashanti and Ja Rule all at once, while curiously fitting in with the themes of the game-changing historic reimagining.
Robin Schulz and David Guetta - "Shed A Light" feat. Cheat Codes
While putting two heavyweight producers such as Robin Schulz and David Guetta into the same studio is a surefire way to ensure a high quality dance tune will be created posthaste, "Shed A Light" is proof that the pair don't necessarily play it safe either. While their risks pay off gloriously, such as the choice to weave together an intricate series of strings and the decision to focus more on crafting a beautiful anthem as opposed to a strict club banger, the song commands attention, pulling softly at the heartstrings. Featuring vocals from Cheat Codes, the progressive house ballad fills any room it’s played in, humbly showing off the collaborative genius that the German and French producers hold.
G-Eazy - "Still"
While G-Eazy's schedule has been filled to the brim with steady touring, performing at reputed award shows, such as at the MTV VMAs, and lending his rapping talents to the likes of Britney Spears, the Oakland native definitely had a landmark year he'll always cherish. While 2016 personally treated him very kindly, the 27-year-old isn't fully satisfied, nor is he forgetting what he went through to get to where he is today. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, G-Eazy has dropped a surprise pair of singles, marking his first official release since his sophomore album, 2015's When It's Dark Out. Throughout his track "Still," G-Eazy displays intriguing lyricism, waxing nostalgic on his journey through music with gratitude, vulnerability and honesty. As the rapper gets personal, rapping over a piano-laden cut produced by Digital Genie, he reflects on how it wasn't too long ago he was day-dreaming of arriving at the level his music career currently is poised going into the new year. Singer Ashley Rose handles the melodic outro, leaving us with the always-appreciated reminder, "It can only get better."
Calum Scott - "Rhythm Inside"
Calum Scott has come a long way from touring the UK as part of a happy-go-lucky Maroon 5-tribute band. After advancing to the finals on Britain's Got Talent last year, the 28-year-old captured the attention of listeners worldwide, even landing the No. 2 spot on the UK Singles Chart for his highly praised, stripped-down cover of Robyn's "Dancing On My Own." While the English singer readies his debut album, fresh off of quitting his day job in HR and inking a deal with Capitol Records earlier this summer, he has today released his first original single, "Rhythm Inside." The song follows in a similar vein as the vocal stylings we've come to know and love Calum for, with the track's soft pop rock vibe finely framing his celebrated range as a versatile singer while accentuating his charm as a hopeful romantic. With this track marking our first official taste of what the Brit has in store next, it is safe to say it's already well worth the wait.