Every Friday, artists drop anticipated albums, surprise singles, and hyped collaborations. As part of New Music Friday, EW’s music team chooses some of the essential new tunes. From Katy Perry’s latest high-profile collaboration to Selena Gomez’ spin on Talking Heads, here are the week’s most noteworthy releases.
When EW caught up with Katy Perry for our Summer Music Preview, she played coy about whether Witness included a response to “Bad Blood,” the song Taylor Swift purportedly wrote about Perry. But you’d be forgiven for thinking Perry’s new house-flavored Nicki Minaj collaboration is exactly that — Swift pal Ruby Rose certainly seems to think so — thanks to pointed lines such as “Karma’s not a liar / She keeps receipts.” —Nolan Feeney
Gomez has found her lane, and she’s racing full speed ahead to some of the most unexpected pop music of the year. Combining the breathy seduction of 2015’s “Hands to Myself” and a David Byrne-approved Talking Heads sample, “Bad Liar” is another ace team-up between Gomez and her writing partners in crime, Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels. —N.F.
“We were trying to create a new soundscape,” the 23-year-old Long Beach, California, MC told EW of his second full-length, Big Fish Theory. There’s certainly nothing quite like “Big Fish” in Staples’ catalog — but that’s because it’s a blast of classic, thumping G-funk. Taken with the jittery lead single, “BagBak,” the album promises to be as sonically diverse as his 2016 EP Prima Donna. —E.R.B.
Danger Mouse ft. Big Boi & Run the Jewels, “Chase Me”
For this loosey from the soundtrack to upcoming action-comedy Baby Driver, superproducer Danger Mouse enlisted Run the Jewels and Killer Mike’s longtime mentor Big Boi. All three MCs are in top form and Danger Mouse’s relentlessly rocking beat ties them all together. —E.R.B.
“Used to be in 1D / Now I’m out, free” sings the last member of One Direction to go solo. And on this declaration of independence, Payne shows he has more in common with the hip-hop and R&B stylings of his ex-bandmate Zayn than the rock- and folk-inspired sounds Harry Styles and Niall Horan are going after. —N.F.
Speaking of pre-fab X Factor vocal group alumni — former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello made her highly anticipated solo debut with this tropical-flavored Sia collaboration, produced by an all-star team that includes Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat. Does that post-chorus ad-lib sound a little familiar? Check the writing credits — the song borrows a melody from the Christina Aguilera classic “Genie in a Bottle.” —N.F.
When he recently connected with EW, the Black Keys frontman said the ensemble he assembled for his second solo album, Waiting on a Song, consisted “some of the greatest musicians that have ever walked the earth.” The album’s title track is an effortless country-rock gem that calls to mind the best moments of some of those musicians, like Duane Eddy and Jerry Douglas, who’ve jammed with greats like Waylon Jennings and George Jones. —E.R.B.
The pop star released All Your Fault: Pt. 1 EP earlier this year, and now she’s readying the second installment with this new single, inspired by the Whitney Houston classic. “There are no boundaries in the sound,” Rexha says of the upcoming EP. “It’s just having great pop songs with dope beats, doing what I feel and telling my story on each record.” —N.F.
(Sandy) Alex G, Rocket
It’s easy to see why a music visionary like Frank Ocean would recruit 24-year-old Alex Giannascoli to play guitar on his 2016 LPs Endless and Blonde: The singer-songwriter’s latest is a quirky indie-rock gem that veers from lilting country to pummeling noise. “That’s just my habit when I’m making stuff,” Giannascoli told EW recently. “To keep doing things to keep my own interest up.” For more, revisit EW’s interview with the rising artist. —E.R.B.
T-Pain & Lil Wayne, T-Wayne
Bust out those shutter shades: In a surprise move, T-Pain and Lil Wayne dropped T-Wayne this week, a brief collection of eight songs recorded in 2009, during the staggeringly prolific heydays of both artists. Weezy has teased the release since 2008, when his T-Pain collaborations “Got Money” and “Can’t Believe It” both cracked the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10. —E.R.B.
“The new songs are more physical,” the French band’s Christian Mazzalai tells EW of their upcoming sixth album, Ti Amo. “We couldn’t release this album in the winter.” Naturally, the project’s title track is another buoyant new wave jam built for the dance floor. —E.R.B.
The E Street Band guitarist’s first solo full-length in nearly two decades includes fresh recordings of vintage songs originally written with Bruce Springsteen, such as 1977’s “Love on the Wrong Side of Town.” —E.R.B.
The second album from Gary, Indiana beatsmith Jerrilynn Patton, the 29-year-old who performs as Jlin, is a seismic electronic work. Patton primarily draws on the footwork tradition that emerged from nearby Chicago, but unlike genre luminaries such as DJ Rashad, she focuses less on its connections to soul and hip-hop. Instead, Patton merges footwork’s skittering drums and throbbing basslines with the avant-garde stylings of producers like Holly Herndon, who appears on Black Origami‘s “1%.” Plug in some good speakers — you’re gonna need ’em. —E.R.B.
For the last decade, Wavves have consistently churned out solid pop-punk albums, and their sixth full-length is no exception. Frontman Nathan Williams continues to pen scuzzy nuggets worthy of the lazy, stoned beach days he so often sings about. —E.R.B.
Led by guitarist Mary Timony, one of the ’90s’ most underrated indie-rock bands is reissuing their entire catalog. The centerpiece is this 1995 LP, on which Timony’s dreamy vocals soar high above her tough, crunchy guitar riffs. —K.O.
Faith Evans & the Notorious B.I.G., The King & I
The late rapper’s wife brings the hip-hop titan back to life on this duets album, which features previously unreleased rhymes set to new instrumentals. Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and others join in to pour one out for Biggie Smalls. —E.R.B.
The New York artist is signed to ATO Records, the same label as Alabama Shakes, and has opened for Maxwell — and his slinky, soulful brand of psych-rock sounds hits the sweet spot between the two. As summer’s first true heat wave hits the East Coast, standout cut “Roller Skates” is an optimal soundtrack. —E.R.B.
All the Kooks’ singles are in one place on The Best of… So Far, a greatest hits album that also features cuts like Inside In/Inside Out‘s “Seaside” and two new songs, including “Be Who You Are,” a Britpop-style empowerment anthem with a blissed-out bridge and an infectious chorus. —Ariana Bacle