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, Drake gifts us three table-setting tracks, Justin Bieber previews his next era and Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak unveil the sound of Silk Sonic. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
Drake, Scary Hours 2
While the world continues to await his Certified Lover Boy album, Drake has at least delivered a delicious appetizer to his delayed full-length. Scary Hours 2, a three-song project to tide fans over that follows a similar EP in 2018, includes some of Drizzy’s most focused lyrics in recent memory — “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” with Rick Ross allows him to wax poetic about fatherhood and attending parent teacher meetings — and successfully whets our appetites for more.
Justin Bieber, “Hold On”
The world will receive Justice in two weeks, as Justin Bieber’s recent slew of singles (“Anyone,” “Lonely,” “Holy”) following last year’s Changes album will find a home in a quickly concocted follow-up — and of that run of songs, “Hold On” might just be the best of them. The new single builds upon the ‘80s-indebted synth pulse of “Anyone,” but with a punchier hook and more pointed lyrics, as Bieber’s search for peace plays out in gleefully dramatic fashion.
Silk Sonic, “Leave The Door Open”
Hankering for Bruno Mars, who hasn’t released an album since late 2016, to return with some slow-jam R&B a la “Versace on the Floor”? Mars has answered your prayers with a friend in tow: “Leave The Door Open,” the first track from his new duo Silk Sonic with Anderson .Paak, is as silky-smooth as one would hope, an ode to stylish yearning that leans in to the throwback charm that has helped define both artists’ respective careers.
DJ Snake & Selena Gomez, “Selfish Love”
With each new song released from her upcoming Spanish-language project Revelación, Selena Gomez sounds more comfortable in her delivery: on “Selfish Love,” a new team-up with DJ Snake, the pop superstar oscillates between languages with a steadiness that helps sell the song. Gomez and DJ Snake scored a radio smash with “Taki Taki” in 2018, and the pairing remains fruitful here.
Bebe Rexha, “Sacrifice”
Bebe Rexha began her career by lending her vocals to uptempo dance hits by artists like Cash Cash and David Guetta; the pop singer-songwriter has evolved artistically since those days, but can still drop a club anthem with little hesitation. “Sacrifice” shoots for the stars on its hook, with Rexha taking a backseat to the sweaty synth-pop production, but she provides to connective tissue to give the song an emotional core.
Kings of Leon, When You See Yourself
When You See Yourself is the first Kings of Leon album that’s a full decade removed from the chart-topping, Grammy-winning success of their Only By The Night era, anchored by smashes like “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire.” The projects that followed flirted with the mainstream, but the quartet has settled into its skin, exploring the outer edges of its swaggering riffs (see the sprawling “A Wave,” or the beautiful closer “Fairytale” here) without too much concern for rock-radio expectations.
Lil Baby feat. EST Gee, “Real As It Gets”
Lil Baby arguably owns the best verse on Drake’s Scary Hours 2 project, as the Atlanta superstar blacks out during “Wants and Needs” and runs laps around the beat. That guest spot should earn Baby a ton of kudos, but so should “Real As It Gets,” in which his relentless flow meets a horror-movie piano line and gains momentum as the track progresses; EST Gee does his best to keep up with the breathless pace, but Lil Baby still streaks ahead.
Camilo, Mis Manos
If last year’s Por Primera Vez allowed Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo to fully arrive in the Latin pop mainstream, Mis Manos is a quickly realized victory lap, with his nimble voice and romantic verve applied to a new collection of even stronger tracks. The hit single “Vida de Rico” anchors the back half of the Mis Manos track list, while songs like “KESI” and “Mareado” quickly demonstrate Camilo’s multi-faceted flair in the first half.