New Music Friday always promises a plethora of that good-good new-new from some of your favorite artists, maybe some long-awaited, maybe some tired, through, and delayed, and maybe some songs by a treasure trove of #whos you've never heard of before. We know. It's overwhelming! Thank the heavens PAPER is here help sift through the goodness, the garbage, and the noise, and bring you the best every Friday. We gotchu, sis. Let's bop to it!
After a mental health emergency this week that prompted an outpouring a love for one of our favorite rap queens out, prolific Chicago titan/hoeism evangelist CupcakKe releases "Squidward Nose" today. She's all spitfire flows and raunchy humor ("roses are red, violets are blue/ I'm all about the head like I'm in beauty school"), complete with loopy synths and snappy reggaeton production. And like always, our girl doesn't miss a beat. Welcome back, CupcakKe, we love you!
Betty Who drops a clubby bop about reminiscing on the good times with a lover, with a fresh new looque! It's the companion piece to Robyn's "Missing U" you didn't know you needed until now, but like overall more joyful. Who knew that you could miss someone and feel mournful and exuberant at the same time? Grief is complex, people; the dance floor is the space that holds all of the feels.
Related | Betty Who Can't Be Ignored
Lauren Jauregui, in the run up to her debut solo album, returns with second single "More Than That." Where her first single put on the swaggering blues about relationships "Expectations," her latest adopts a lo-fi trap rumble to let her lyrics breathe in the open, much like the floral-fields space conveyed on her romantic cover art above. If "Expectations" was about wanting the bare minimum tenets of honesty and trust in a relationship, then this song is about the singer's refusal to settle. "If I'm gon' take a gamble, then you better come correct," Lauren sneers, before this stunner: "Remember that I don't belong to you," before opening up into that gorgeous raspy howl for the chorus. It may take more than appearance and words to grab Lauren's attention, but she needn't do much more than she is now to hold onto ours.
Lady Gaga and Madonna producer, BloodPop® releases "Newman," a bop that allows the artist born Michael Tucker to flex his melodic sensibility in a super-gay (!!!) four-to-the-floor banger that belongs on runways and multi-level clubs worldwide.
Here's a cute new rags-to-riches soft trap bop from ILoveMakonnen and Gucci Mane about high-end materialism that makes maxing out credit cards sound like easy-breezy fantasia rather than the real-life disaster it is for peasants like you and me! That said, retail therapy can be fun if you've tried it. But, just like, check your bank balance before you ball out.
Finally, "Dancing with a Stranger," a hot-off-the-presseds new dance track by Sam Smith that isn't so schmaltzy we want to isolate from the world for days. No shade, but "Latch" remains one of his best songs, although, yes of course we know he can carry a power-ballad (cc: "Stay With Me"). Adding a bit more smolder to the pulsating track so that it feels as elevated as expensive French perfume ads, are the smoky-soul vocals of Normani, who is slowly but surely coming out of hiding this year with her own solo debut.
Related | Normani is the Next Household Name
Latin crossover singer Juanes pays tribute to his native Colombia with a totally joyous new song, "La Plata," feature Lalo Ebratt. The song. which feels almost spiritually infused with upbeat energy, from vocals to the hip-shaking rhythms — seriously, I dare you to listen to this all the way through with a straight face: you can't — is a direct folkloric homage to Colombia's rich and vibrant vallenato music tradition. With "La Plata," you needn't be a Spanish-language speaker to feel Juanes' intent on bringing more Colombian culture and sounds to the world can and will be accomplished.
Do you have seven extra minutes to spare? Of course you do, especially for New York composer and singer Kelsey Lu. Her epic new song "I'm Not In Love," which is just under the seven-minute mark, is at turns psychedelic jazz meditation, but every second is a thing of celestial beauty. "I'm not in love, so don't forget/ It's just a silly phase I'm going through," she sings over stacked choirs of blissed-out Kelseys. Excuse us for being totally smitten.
Here's a kinky-cutesy, Myspace-indebted bop by Gameboi and Ayesha Nicole Smith (who is formerly known as Ayesha Erotica, the producer behind futuristic pop singer Slayyyter's best songs). "Ken Doll" is the inventive, hilariously raunchy answer to Ken Doll's barely beneath-the-surface queerness, and puts its vocalists in a scenario where Ken responds to those inner urges away from the trap of Barbie. (Yes, he finally has the gay sex we all know he's been having behind Barbie's back). Plus, it's three minutes of perfectly irreverent pop, and what's better than that.
DAMEHT's "Aurora" is a bright sunburst of a tune closing out this week's bops list. Fusing pop smarts, rock uproar, shouty vocals, and irresistible disco grooves, it's an undeniably perfect package that can keep the party going well into next week, even if you're a party of one. What else do you need?
What was your favorite track this week? See you next week, lovers!
Photography: Tarik Carroll for PAPER