The animated band of trip-hop purveyors (masterminded by Blur’s Damon Albarn) is back with their first album in seven years, Humanz. Over 19 tracks on the deluxe edition, Humanz boasts a massive guest list, including Danny Brown, Vince Staples, Grace Jones, D.R.A.M. and Rag’n’Bone Man — many of whom Albarn admitted to Billboard he worked with just to “impress” his teenage daughter.
Even though she scored a surprise hit in 2007 with the twee “1234,” Feist has never chased hits or trends, and on her fifth album, she explores darker lyrical territory against skeletal musical backdrops. But with her gift for melody and affection for shambling folk, Pleasure still warms the soul.
Katy Perry ft. Migos, “Bon Appétit”
Moving away from the “purpose pop” of “Chained to the Rhythm,” Katy Perry returns to winking sexual entendre on “Bon Appétit,” which serves a heaping helping of food/sex puns: “Got me spread like a buffet,” “World’s best cherry pie,” etc. Migos’ feature heats up the song’s chilly electro groove, with each member of the trio getting a verse to serve up their own culinary-themed bedroom puns.
Mary J. Blige, Strength of a Woman
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul tackles the demise of her 13-year marriage on her new album, which features guest spots from Kanye West, Missy Elliott, Quavo and DJ Khaled. Old-school soul horns meet a shuffling hip-hop beat on “Love Yourself,” which finds Blige meditating on priorities after decades in the game: “Everybody don’t mean you well, you gotta love yourself before you love anybody else.”
Lea Michele, Places
The Glee star admits that on her debut album, she was trying too hard to sound like Katy Perry or Kelly Clarkson at points — so on her second album, Places, the powerhouse vocalist lets her true colors fly. Finding a sweet spot where Celine Dion vocal acrobatics meet reflective, personal lyrics, Michele is starting to carve out a niche that is distinctly hers.