John Legend, Childish Gambino & More Are Spotify Editors' Picks 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.
John Legend - Darkness and Light
John Legend today (Dec. 2) releases his first album in three years, following up his Grammy-nominated Love in the Future. For his fifth studio album, Darkness and Light, the soul singer recruits the likes of Chance the Rapper, Brittany Howard and Miguel for guest features, as well as enlists Blake Mills to handle the production duties. With Mills referring to the project as Legend's "manifesto," it's evident throughout the 12-track recording that the acclaimed singer truly dug deep into his emotions and talents for this one, doing so with boldness and grace, helping accent a reoccurring message of perseverance. During "What You Do to Me," featured in this week's #SpotifyNMF, Legend explores themes of conflicted duality in romance, singing over a plunging beat that sways between dramatic and subtle. A perfect introduction to what he calls his best work to date.
Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love!
Almost arriving as quickly as the promotional singles "Me and Your Mama" and "Redbone" did, Childish Gambino's latest studio album, "Awaken, My Love!" is here, right in time to adorn year-end lists recapping an incredible year of music. While many have recently gotten to know Childish Gambino, i.e. Donald Glover, through his FX television show, Atlanta, as further exemplified on "Awaken, My Love!", his creativity and artistry truly knows no bounds. Glover's multifaceted talent shines throughout his new project, with the track "California" paying a funky, and at-times cosmic, homage to his roots.
Molly Kate Kestner - "Good Die Young"
April 21, 2016 is a day that rocked the world, as we once knew it, taking from us one of the greatest musicians of all time. When Molly Kate Kestner, a 21-year-old singer from Minnesota, learned of the heartbreaking news that Prince had passed, in true form as a songwriter, she chose to work through her initial emotions by penning a heartfelt tribute to the late icon. Throughout the soulful anthem, she ponders why the "Good Die Young" while also calling for others to live each day to the fullest, since nothing in life is promised. With Kestner's striking vocals beautifully framed by an acoustic-driven melody, the song finds success in discussing darker themes found within life and death, doing so in a curiously uplifting manner. As shared with FADER, Kestner says that the song is her "candle of hope in a world that could use a little more light."
Tove Lo - "cool girl"
Dropping by Spotify's New York City studio, Tove Lo recorded a special rendition of her track, "cool girl," celebrating how far she's come since her 2014 debut. During the Spotify Singles session, the Swedish pop singer strips down her celebrated pop anthem, making for an arguably even-cooler version -- something we didn't know was possible -- while showcasing that a well-written song can adapt flawlessly to whatever style it's being executed in. 2016 was full of many impressive milestones for the singer-songwriter, with her sophomore album Lady Wood receiving all sorts of positive reviews, with many highlighting her impeccable songwriting and her distinctive ability to incorporate dark, weird moments into the ever-evolving genre of pop music. For her exclusive Spotify session, Tove Lo reminds us exactly why 2016 will go down as the year she captured both our hearts and attention forevermore, while also leaving us excited for what she's got up her sleeve next.
Lin-Manuel Miranda - Hamilton Mixtape
"Washingtons By Your Side" - Wiz Khalifa
Today marks the official release of the beyond highly anticipated Hamilton mixtape, a 23-track collection of accompanying the now-Broadway staple. While the play and its soundtrack are no less than seven years in the making, the dedicated fruits of Lin-Manuel Miranda's labor have paid off and then some, with the success of the project spearheading a cultural movement and phenomenon that has captivated audiences from around the world. In celebration of the star-studded project's release, we're highlighting Wiz Khalifa's contribution in this week's #SpotifyNMF, "Washingtons By Your Side," a track full of chilled-out epiphanies about money, success and other's criticisms that manages to fit swimmingly into the creative, historic retelling of Alexander Hamilton's life. Additionally, be sure to check out our official Hamilton Mixtape playlist, featuring tracks from the new project and from the double platinum, Grammy and Tony-award winning Original Cast Recording.