Billboard’s First Stream serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond.
This week, Calvin Harris recruits Dua Lipa and Young Thug to get us ready for a heat wave, while SEVENTEEN makes a daring return. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
Calvin Harris with Dua Lipa & Young Thug, “Potion”
“Potion,” Calvin Harris’ new summer-ready team-up with Dua Lipa and Young Thug, could be construed as a sequel to “One Kiss,” the producer’s 2018 smash collaboration with Lipa, but its disco swagger more closely recalls Harris’ top-notch 2017 full-length Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 (on which Thugger appeared, as a guest on the standout track “Heatstroke”). As Harris at long last prepares Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, “Potion” sets up the project with more shimmer and sex appeal, as Lipa sets the mood as an overqualified hook-singer and Young Thug’s elastic flow acts as the single’s connective tissue.
SEVENTEEN, Face The Sun
K-pop marvels SEVENTEEN start their new project with a pair of firecrackers: English-language single “Darl+ing” is unadulterated uptempo pop, while “Hot” swerves toward hip-hop with a slithering beat and ample clap-along opportunities. Nearly three years after their previous full-length, the 13-piece collective has returned to grab our attention and flaunt a newfound sense of purpose, as the rest of Face The Sun keeps up that kinetic energy.
blackbear with Machine Gun Kelly, “GFY”
Two of Machine Gun Kelly’s biggest hits to date, 2020’s “My Ex’s Best Friend” and this year’s “Make Up Sex,” feature blackbear as a wingman in his tales of romantic strife, so it’s only fair that MGK slides in with the assist on blackbear’s pissed-off post-breakup single. “GFY” seethes in jealousy and pop-punk production flourishes, and while blackbear sounds furious at the betrayal he can’t forget, Machine Gun Kelly has a ball while rattling off references to Euphoria and The Matrix.
Tate McRae, I Used to Think I Could Fly
One look at the credits to Tate McRae’s debut album I Used to Think I Could Fly — which includes contributions from Greg Kurstin, FINNEAS, Blake Slatkin, Louis Bell and Charlie Puth, among others — confirms that a lot of veteran pop creators believe in the potential of the Canadian singer-songwriter. And with good reason: McRae possesses a singular mix of lyrical vulnerability, understanding of pop melody and flexibility to hop across a crackling trap beat as well as a sorrowful guitar strum, as tracks like “Don’t Come Back,” “I’m So Gone” and recent hit “She’s All I Wanna Be” showcase.
Eminem, “Jimmy, Brian and Mike”
This week marks the 20th anniversary of The Eminem Show, the 2002 follow-up to Eminem’s landmark 2020 album The Marshall Mathers LP that found the biggest commercial rap artist in the world grappling with fame and adjusting to a new reality, while still cracking jokes and needling cultural institutions whenever possible. For an expanded edition of the album, Eminem has shared “Jimmy, Brian and Mike,” a party-music goof with plenty of intoxicated gags and personal touches in a little over three minutes; as such, the demo reminds us why Eminem was such a mainstream force in the early ‘00s.