Feeling overwhelmed by the new songs, albums and videos being unveiled today? You’re not alone. 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, DJ Khaled’s got the coolest guest list in music, Halsey tries to continue her Hot 100 hot streak and Tyler, The Creator has returned with a bold new project. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
The Album With The Most Must-Hear Features:
DJ Khaled, Father of Asahd
Khaled has spent over a decade working with an unbelievable collection of A-listers, and his latest full-length, Father of Asahd, once again brings the celebrity heat. Hip-hop fans will love the contributions by artists like Travis Scott, Cardi B, Meek Mill and Lil Wayne, although “Higher,” featuring one of Nipsey Hussle’s final verses, serves as the album’s emotional center. And while Khaled did not precede the project with a traditional single, previously released hits like “Top Off” with Jay Z, Beyonce and Future, and the Justin Bieber-led “No Brainer,” make the final cut here.
The Pop Song That Will Cause You To Unexpectedly Head-Bang:
The last time Halsey released a solo single, “Without Me,” it became her first to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The pop superstar has opted to follow up that smash with something spectacularly intense: “Nightmare” is a furious anthem directed toward anyone trying to tell Halsey what she should or shouldn’t be. “No, I won’t smile, but I’ll show you my teeth,” she declares before the chorus bursts forth with the energy of a turn-of-the-century rock hit. The song works on multiple levels, as those who thought they had Halsey’s sound figured out need to guess again.
The Album That Rap Diehards Have Been Salivating For:
Tyler, The Creator, Igor
The evolution of Tyler, The Creator has been transfixing: from his hyper-provocative beginnings as a solo artist and within Odd Future a decade ago, he has explored abrasive rock, fuzzed-out funk, modern soul and rhythmic pop, in addition to being a five-star MC. Igor, which arrives with only a week’s warning, may be his most expansive project to date, rooted in R&B but with room for fiery rhymes on “What’s Good.” Although they’re uncredited as artists, be on the lookout for some superstar guests, including Kanye West on “Puppets” and Al Green on “Are We Still Friends?,” the album’s finale.
The Album That Will Make You Gleefully Dance Around Your Bedroom:
Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated
With 2015’s Emotion, the Canadian “Call Me Maybe” singer-songwriter morphed from Top 40 mainstay to indie-pop critical darling, embraced by the Internet at large for her shimmery bangers. Dedicated, Jepsen’s long-awaited follow-up, does not let down those in need of starry-eyed romance packed within immaculate hooks: songs like “Feels Right” (with Electric Guest) and “Now That I Found Out” are so deliriously joyful they’ll make you want to unfurl your arms and twirl. Once again mastering the ‘80s synth-pop aesthetic, Jepsen’s songwriting remains intoxicating.
The Video With The Trippiest Use of Green Screens:
Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber, “I Don’t Care”
After dropping their much-ballyhooed collaboration last week, Ed and Justin appear poised for a very high Hot 100 debut on next week’s chart. What might give it a further push in coming weeks? The song’s proudly silly music video, released a week after the song. The clip finds Sheeran and Bieber multiplying themselves, donning wacky costumes (at one point Bieber dresses up as an ice cream cone — summer is officially here!), and generally goofing around in front of a green screen that can visually transport them anywhere they want. A single as breezy as “I Don’t Care” deserved a purely amusing music video, and thankfully, the superstar pair delivered.
The Album That Switches Up a Winning Formula, And Wins Anyway:
The National, I Am Easy To Find
An eighth album is a good occasion for a band to shake a few things up, and The National, beloved indie stalwarts who have been releasing sturdy rock tunes for nearly two decades, do just that on I Am Easy To Find. Instead of Matt Berninger’s reliable warble dominating the mic, a slew of vocalists — Sharon Van Etten, Eve Owen, Ann Dorsey, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus — take the stage amidst more piano-driven arrangements. The result is The National’s most ambitious, and arresting, project since 2010’s High Violet.
The Album That Transcends Genre Barriers:
Over the past two years, Maluma has become one of the most sought-after personalities in all of popular music; if you need proof, just look at how Madonna has led her forthcoming album by collaborating with the Colombian heartthrob on “Medellín.” Madonna returns the favor on Maluma’s new 11:11 album by appearing on the playful “Soltera,” and while Ozuna, Ricky Martin and Ty Dolla $ign all show up as well, Maluma often shines brightest on the album’s solo cuts, including “Te Quiero” and the enduring hit “HP.” Following last year’s F.A.M.E., Maluma continues to establish himself as a singular voice in Latin music, and in music in general.
The Song That Will Make You Dust Off Your Hacky Sack:
Lana Del Rey, “Doin’ Time”
The Sublime Revival continues, as Lana Del Rey has offered up her spin on the beloved ska-punk band’s 1997 hit ahead of her long-awaited fifth album. The combination of the ultra-chill chorus and the alt-pop singer’s delicate delivery turn this version of “Doin’ Time” into a loving tribute worth revisiting.