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, Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks combine for a one-of-a-kind remix, The Weeknd lends Maluma an assist and Justin Bieber and J Balvin find a new “Mood.” Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
The Song That We Have All Earned After This Stress-Inducing Week:
Miley Cyrus feat. Stevie Nicks, “Midnight Sky (Edge of Midnight)” remix
There’s a lot going on right now if you live in the U.S. or closely follows its politics — days of vote-counting, anxiety, false proclamations and cable news chyrons. You deserve to treat yourself to the “Edge of Midnight” remix to Miley Cyrus’ “Midnight Sky,” during which Cyrus’ new single has its “Edge of Seventeen” sample extracted and placed center stage as an excuse for a cross-generation duet. Hearing Cyrus and Nicks give it a go side-by-side, rearranging one of the year’s strongest pop singles to more prominently feature a timeless hit, represents nearly four minutes of unadulterated pleasure and the most inventive remix in a release week full of them. With Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” recently re-entering the top 20 of the Hot 100 (thanks to an ultra-viral TikTok), perhaps “Midnight Sky” will follow it back up the chart, and continue a stellar year for Nicks.
The Song That Could Make a Global Hit Even Bigger in the U.S.:
Maluma & The Weeknd, “Hawái” remix
“Hawái,” a standout from Maluma’s recently released Papi Juancho album, has reached the top of the Hot Latin Songs chart and No. 55 on the Hot 100; perhaps a new version featuring The Weeknd, which allows two disparate styles to come together in vocal harmony, will raise that overall stateside peak a bit in the coming weeks. The Weeknd gives the remix a heartfelt intro before locking down on the chorus and letting the rhythmic hook work its magic. Meanwhile, Maluma still sounds effortlessly charismatic on the track, unflappable even when trading lines with one of the biggest American pop stars on the planet, and potentially earning himself one of the biggest crossover hits to date.
The Song That Lets a Few VIPs Join The Party:
24KGoldn & Iann Dior feat. Justin Bieber & J Balvin, “Mood” remix
When your song comes out of seemingly nowhere to reach the top of the Hot 100 chart, that song has a much better chance of adding a couple superstars onto a remix than it did previously. After 24KGoldn and Iann Dior’s global smash “Mood” arrived from the world of TikTok to take over streaming platforms and multiple radio platforms, the previously little-known pair have added none other than Justin Bieber and J Balvin to the affair, putting an exclamation point on a whirlwind year. The “Mood” remix features two animated superstars, with Bieber proposing a YouTube clip binge-watch to get on his girl’s good side, and Balvin making every late-song croon sound surprisingly soulful; as long as that immaculate hook remained, this new version was always going to be golden.
The Album That Continues An Unending Winning Streak:
Little Mix, Confetti
It cannot be overstated how remarkable Little Mix’s longevity has become: in a pop landscape where girl groups and boy bands typically stick together for a few albums before growing up and going their separate ways, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock have survived, and thrived, together for six studio albums now. Confetti does not show any signs of fatigue, as the quartet handle tracks like “Sweet Melody” and “Break Up Song” with great panache and enthusiasm, while “Gloves Up” nods to the group’s highly entertaining Salute era as a sky-high empowerment anthem. Drop Confetti over the weekend, and hear an underrated pop act at the top of its game.
The Song That Will Sound Absurdly Good When Blasted in a Club:
Mike WiLL Made-It, YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Nicki Minaj, “What That Speed Bout?!”
It’s truly unfair that Mike WiLL Made-It — one of the best producers ever to grace speaker systems in overly crowded gatherings — is launching a heater like “What That Speed Bout?!” during the time of social distancing. For now, we can only imagine how the strands of beats being tied together here, on a single that precedes his third album, will sound on a dance floor, but at least YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Nicki Minaj sound delightfully intense while trying to match it. Minaj has been prolific as a featured artist in recent weeks, and gives frequent collaborator Mike WiLL a generous portion of double entendres as YoungBoy goes for the jugular with a wild-eyed hook.
The Mixtape That Will Make You Feel Like You Need To Be More Productive:
NLE Choppa, From Dark To Light
NLE Choppa just turned 18 years old — his new mixtape, From Dark To Light, was released earlier this week to celebrate the occasion — and the hard-spitting Memphis native is quickly moving on from Top Shotta, a top 10 debut album that was released barely three months ago. In spite of the wildly prolific streak (which also includes a number of guest spots and collaborations), the quality hasn’t dipped at all on From Dark To Light, which is a focused, more reflective version of the unhinged approach that blew up on “Shotta Flow”: lead single “Bryson” details his personal evolution as a lonely sax echoes in the background, while “Moonlight,” which features Big Sean in elder-statesman mode, creeps up on the listener and begs for replays.
The Songs That Serve as a Reminder That One Election Does Not Mean Society is Cured:
System Of A Down, “Protect The Land” & “Genocidal Humanoidz”
“It took an attack against Armenians to bring it about, but the wait is over,” declares a press release for System Of A Down’s first new songs in a whopping 15 years, as the band — massively influential and politically righteous hard rock stars in the 2000s — has come back together following the recent eruption of violence between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. The more operatic “Protect The Land” and the unabashedly furious “Genocidal Humanoidz” are products of devastating attacks, and kudos to SOAD for using their shared platform to call attention to them; the band that created “B.Y.O.B.,” one of the most harrowing anti-war songs ever recorded, is still a potent force when rallying against injustice.
The Album That Will Soundtrack Your Post-Election Dance Party:
Kylie Minogue, Disco
Looking for a way to relieve some of that anxiety caused by absolutely everything that happened this week? Supremely consistent pop icon Kylie Minogue has just the antidote: Disco, her reasonably titled disco album, represents a lovable bounce back from the country-dance sound of her 2018 full-length, Golden. Instead of reinventing disco (or abiding by the new-school tropes of the disco-tinged singles at pop radio this year), Minogue simply provides her interpretation, sashaying through nearly an hour of dance floor romance and glittery production. Songs like “Real Groove” and “Last Chance” suggest that there’s no one else but Minogue who could execute a disco album in 2020 this confidently.