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.
A Tribe Called Quest – “We The People…”
By releasing their new project and making a special appearance on a debut Dave Chappelle-hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest is graciously providing a silver lining to what has been an especially trying week in America. Throughout the sixteen tracks making up We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, Tribe’s first album in 18 years (and final offering overall), a proper homage is paid to the Phife Dawg, who tragically passed earlier this year, at 45, amid the recording process. On top of honoring the late member by weaving in some of his last moments in the booth, the project also presents timely, insightful and unapologetic commentary regarding our country’s current political climate. Recorded exclusively in Q-Tip‘s home studio in New Jersey, Tribe picks up right where they left off in 1998, consciously bringing a hand-selected group of featured guests along for the culturally historic ride. The long-awaited project brings the group’s iconic sound up to speed, fit for a 2016 audience. But it achieves this without losing the distinctive qualities that make the group who they are and what they represent, while humbly demonstrating why they will always be celebrated as one of the most influential, innovative rap groups deeply rooted in the genre’s history forever. As evidenced on the politically charged anthem, “We The People…,” the group manages to cover a lot of ground lyrically , expertly doing so without trying too hard or doing too much. The world will only ever be blessed with one Tribe, and we’re beyond lucky their coveted discography is bookended in the way that it is with We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. Long live, ATCQ.
Emeli Sandé – “Lonely”
Emeli Sandé makes a welcome return to #SpotifyNMF this week,celebrating the release of her sophomore LP, Long Live the Angels. The project marks a fresh start for the Scottish singer, doubling as a re-introduction of sorts following a four-year gap in between releases. In a recent interview, Sandé explains how her hiatus allowed her to approach music the way a new artist would and how her new sound is both empowering and emotional as a result. “Lonely” revisits some of the darker days she experienced as an artist. Channeling feelings of alienation and frustration, Sandé found solace through penning “Lonely,” a soulful, somber testament that some of the most powerful music is born out of a painful place. As exemplified throughout her growing catalog, Sandé represents a precarious balance of real talk, self love and vulnerability, translating her personality beautifully into her music and in turn, is beginning to solidify herself as one of today’s most promising, profound female voices.
The xx – “On Hold”
The xx is up to something. While teasing hungry fans with multiple mysterious 55-second snippets of new music this past week, it is now clear that the pieces make up their new single, “On Hold.” Not only that, but the group recently confirmed that their third studio album, I See You, will arrive early next year, on Jan. 13, following up 2012’s Coexist. With over a decade of creating music together already under their belt, the English trio has well established their own distinctive sound over the years. However, their latest offering “On Hold” feels like a bit of a breath of fresh air, steering away from the breathable indie electro-pop territory the group traditionally resides in. This different direction gives the impression that Grammy-nominated producer Jamie XX was able to take the wheel a bit more than in the past, sprinkling forward-thinking sounds of post-dubstep and other subtle electronic-leaning spices into the mix. While the song begins by placing stunning, standalone vocals at the forefront, Jamie XX’s production helps give the track more dimension as it unfolds, while also allotting each member the proper space to let their own individual talents shine through. The xx impressively continues to evolve through their collaborative approach and if their new single is any indication of what’s to come, their highly-anticipate forthcoming studio album will be well worth the wait.
Zara Larsson – “I Would Like”
Zara Larsson is a voice we simply can’t get enough of. The pop singer last graced our #SpotifyNMF with her infectious “Ain’t My Fault,” and today returns with her latest single, “I Would Like.” While both tracks feature her confident, heart-on-her-sleeve style of songwriting, “I Would Like” feels like the prologue to her story of modern romance, one that “Ain’t My Fault” refuses to apologize for if (and when) things grimly go sour. “I Would Like” features a big room sound the singer is becoming reputed for owning and making her own. With bouncy electronic-laden production and straightforward lyrics, Larsson cuts to the chase on “I Would Like.” Without a doubt, the 18-year-old’s new single is another strong teaser anthem leading up her international debut album, expected to arrive sometime in early 2017.
Seven Lions – “Cold Skin” featuring Echos
Seven Lions, the pseudonym of California born producer, instrumentalist and DJ Jeff Montalvo, is known for his versatility, expertly combining and gliding between various music styles, and his latest offering “Cold Skin” might just be one of his most pleasantly surprising tracks to date. The collaborative song features Lexi, Echos’ vocalist, and together the two create an inviting track that is both airy, dynamic and illustrative. Of how the unlikely pairing came to be, Lexi shared with Billboard that it was as simple (and magical) as getting a phone call regarding the collaboration in the middle of dinner one night. “I try to not let myself get over much, but imagine getting a phone call saying that one of your favorite artists want to collaborate with you,” Lexi says. Echos also shares that their writing process is very organic, which further led them to working with Seven Lions. “It begins with whatever we are feeling at the time,” the group says. “It’s almost strange to know that our ‘diary’ of sorts is being released in real time.” Pairing Seven Lions’ prodigious and inventive production with Lexi’s piercingly exquisite voice makes for an enticing hit with the cosmic ability to take us out of our current world, if only momentarily.