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 for April 7 below.
Halsey – “Now or Never”
Halsey is making a tsunami-sized wave this week, further proving that despite having the most impactful year of her career in 2016, this year, she’s taking even more of a no-ceilings approach to her artistry. Earlier this week, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter released her new single, as well as confirmed that her upcoming sophomore album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, is slated for a June 2nd release. Pairing the track, “Now or Never,” with a cinematic visual depicting an action-packed tale of ill-fated lovers, Halsey begins a new chapter — one that is respectfully starting to abandon her alternative pop roots without completely starting over from scratch. Drawing inspiration from R&B slow jams, the theatrical song is easy to champion, with Halsey quick to find her footing as she explores intoxicating new territories for the first time. The song’s accompanying video also doubles as her directorial debut, setting the stage for what fans can expect from her forthcoming conceptual body of work. “[It] is one part in the center of a long narrative that tells the story of two people in love despite the forces trying to keep them apart,” she shared in a statement. “On its own, the song is about two impatient young lovers, but in the context of the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom universe, the stakes are much higher for these two star-crossed lovers.” Needless to say, with her dynamic lead single, Halsey has already got us at the edge of our seats. Hook, line and sinker.
Chainsmokers, “Break Up Every Night” (from Memories…Do Not Open)
The Chainsmokers have been carefully and cautiously been building up to the release of their long awaited debut album for the last several years, beginning with their infectious and witty 2013 chart-topping single “#SELFIE.” While the dynamic duo (composed of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall) has found unprecedented success built off of loose singles and smart collaborations alone, fans have been eagerly awaiting to find out what the pair is capable of when curating a cohesive collection of tracks to be digested in true blue album format. Now that their debut, Memories…Do Not Open, has finally arrived, fans are quickly celebrating the previously predominately EDM duo’s significant range, with songs skewing between lighthearted sing-along-inducing tunes (a la “Break Up Every Night”), radio-ready rock (courtesy the Coldplay-assisted “Something Just Like This”) and sultry electronic-tinged anthems (such as with “Wake Up Alone” featuring the ever-alluring Jhene Aiko). With the album’s lead single “Paris” already impressively racking up nearly 300 million streams on Spotify, it’s exciting to see how the rest of the songs will resonate with the storied group’s dedicated fan base and which track will climb its way up the charts next. As the Chainsmokers commemorate their continued winning streak with a solid top-to-bottom release true to their signature sounds, they remind us that sometimes sticking to a trusty formula is the wisest risk of all. Especially considering the fact the group has spent years authentically carving a lane of their own single-by-single, it’s only fitting that the Chainsmokers’ consistency and knack for quality song-writing shines brightly through on their polished debut album.
Harry Styles – “Sign of the Times”
Just over a year that One Direction began their self-declared hiatus, member Harry Styles has now officially got a piece on the board once again. With today’s release of his debut solo single, the beloved singer is a testament to the fact that rushing greatness rarely works in one’s favor and that sometimes taking a break to restore one’s creative energy is a more fitting decision before diving in headfirst again. As his new single proves to be well worth the wait for his fans, many are weighing in that when the singer is left to his own devices musically, he skews in a direction that is all too reminiscent of David Bowie – and in the best way possible. A stark contrast to the work he collaborated on with the pop sensation that helped him begin carving his legacy, Styles’ solo material is as majestic as it as captivating. The song opens with the singer’s impassioned voice softly joined by an effortlessly sound piano melody and as the song unfolds, the moment captured is not rushed whatsoever but rather is developed gradually; a nod to Styles’ beginning to hone his songwriting skills in a new way. With the track almost reaching the six-minute mark, Styles depicts a somber scene, full of cryptically vague lyrics and an urgency to take action, as he sings a compelling argument that the end is near. While the song’s design allows listeners to interpret the meaning as they wish, Styles revealed during an appearance on BBC Radio 1 that this is the song he’s the most proud of writing thus far. Considering the weight of it all, it’s clear “Sign of the Times” was pulled out of the very depths of Styles’ brilliant mind, expertly crafting a song that sets the bar extremely high for his forthcoming debut masterpiece.
French Montana – “Unforgettable” ft. Swae Lee, “No Pressure” ft. Future
French Montana is doubling up the ante this week, appearing on our New Music Friday playlist no less than two times and bringing along two heavyweight collaborators for the ride. The Morocco-born rapper has been gearing up to share these with fans for months now, first teasing he was in the studio with Rae Sremmurd‘s Swae Lee last year. While his 2016 release, MC4, was met with several unfortunate setbacks, such as having some issues with sample clearance and the project being accidentally sold in a Target two months before its scheduled release, French Montana is readying his recovery from those discouraging setbacks and is making sure that this time around, whatever he’s working on will see a much smoother roll-out. Adding a Future collaboration to the heat he unleashed from the vault this week, it’s currently unclear whether these songs will be part of a larger project or if they are helping the rapper to warm up and appease fans in the meantime. With each release, French flexes his ability to adapt to the distinctive vibe of each drastically different song. While his Swae Lee-assisted track is primed to soundtrack the summer months, his joint effort with Future sure to thrive in the late night club scene. Whether the song is upbeat and sensual or dripping with auto-tuned goodness, French Montana rises to the occasion each time, creating two fine additions to his ever-growing catalog and reminding listeners it’d be unwise to ever count him out. After all, there’s no feeling quite like leveling up on a Friday — twice.
Joey Bada$$, “Ring the Alarm” featuring Nyck Caution, Kirk Knight, Meechy Darko (from All-Amerikkkan Bada$$)
Simply put, there can be a tremendous amount of pressure placed on an artist’s sophomore album. Such a pressure is arguably doubled when one’s debut was so successful, it charted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, elevating one’s career to a level where a national spotlight has been both blinding and unwavering ever since. While such is part of the story of Brooklyn’s own Joey Bada$$, now that his follow-up to 2015’s B4.DA.$$ has officially arrived, it’s safe to say that the now 22-year-old turned that pressure into fuel and motivation, delivering a cohesive project full of bars and impeccable production alike. With All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, the Pro Era co-founder continues building a case he’s one of the most impactful rising artists in recent memory. While the emcee has steadily been releasing music since 2010, he has come a long way from sharing freestyles on YouTube. Throughout his second studio album, such growth is highlighted at the forefront, with songs such as “Ring the Alarm,” “Good Morning Amerikkka” and “Temptation” all making it evident he is consistently coming into his own over time. With the 12-track album truly showcasing his range as a striking lyrical force, the production and guest features he includes on the project also speak to his impressive ear for selectively piecing together elements that make him stronger. With blessings from J. Cole, ScHoolboyQ, Styles P, Nyck Caution, Kirk Knight and Chronixx, Joey Bada$$ doesn’t oversaturate his project with guest features, something that today’s artists can definitely take a note from. With his talents at the forefront and a series of deeper themes weaving the project together, Joey Bada$$ finds success in unapologetically addressing today’s political climate and rising above as a born leader, all while making sure he doesn’t lose sight of his own identity at his core throughout his selfless missions. All in all, All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ is everything fans were holding the wonderboy emcee accountable to and then some, with the rapper himself confidently sharing with Billboard, “If I die right now, I know I made an impact on the world with this body of work.” Bravo, Joey, bravo.