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!
MØ is back with her sophomore album Forever Neverland today, her first full-length since 2014's No Mythologies to Follow. As a whole, the new album builds on the Danish singer-songwriter's well-established cred as a melodic jukebox, full of nuanced singing, witty lyrics, knockout collaborations from fellow powerhouses Charli XCX to Empress Of, and hooks upon hooks galore. One such example is "Blur," which blends idiosyncratic production, including a blissful warped post-chorus synthline, with yes, a thousand hooks. The song explores the feeling of being lost in Los Angeles — creatively, personally, and otherwise — but, fortunately for all of us, "Blur" doesn't suffer from a sense of lack. MØ instead imbues the song with enough emotion to feel personal, and enough allure to feel universal.
Jessie Reyez, surely one of this generation's most electric young singers, releases her second EP today, Being Human In Public. It's a continuation of the strong themes introduced in Kiddo, an EP with dark, message-driven songs such as "Gatekeeper" and "Figures," but it's a greater evolution toward the light. Songs like the all-women "Body Count" and "Saint Nobody," which is an anthemic, beautifully sung tune about taking control of one's destiny, put Reyez, who has always authored her own career, more firmly position the driver's seat, goddess (and the rest of us) as her witness.
Future and Juice WRLD dropped a new collaborative album today, merging both rapper-singers' distinctly melodic styles. "Transformer," a glitchy party jam that might make you feel superhuman shakes up the cloudy formula found on most of WRLD On Drugs, with an on-point collaboration with Nicki Minaj.
Empress Of, the solo project of singer-songwriter Lorely Rodriguez, returns with sophomore album Us. It more squarely centers Rodriguez's pop-centric ear, with contributions from Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, DJDS, and Pional, and possesses an air of lightness. (It also features Rodriguez blending those smart pop melodies seamlessly with Spanish lyrics, incorporating more sonic elements for everyone to enjoy.) "I Don't Even Smoke Weed" is one of many smartly written, catchy standouts: while of course the title jumps out from the album's tracklist, it turns out that the song is more about "eating out the palm" of a lovers' hand, effectively comparing desire and relationship promises to cravings, like those 4am munchies some of y'all find yourself with on nights in (or out) before hitting the club (or before.)
Dua Lipa drops "Kiss and Make Up" today, a surprise collaboration with K-pop girl group, Blackpink. And of course, it offers the best of both worlds: Dua's undeniable earworms and Blackpink's crossover star power. As a song, it's a simple, cute concept. Sometimes, all you need in life is a radio-pop kiss-and-make-up bop by the world's biggest and brightest. "Kiss and Make Up" is here for your pure enjoyment.
Summer Walker, a promising new R&B singer, delivers her debut project, the cleverly-titled Last Day of Summer. But from taking a listen to the album, it's only just the beginning for Atlanta-based Walker. And she's off to a strong start: the songs throughout Summer are unfussy, lyrically honest, and heartfelt affairs. "CPR" is a great example of her gifts, as a cleverly written metaphor of desire, love, sex, and emotions within a relationship capable of resuscitating itself from darker times. Walker also sings it with unwavering passion, like a blast from past eras of soul singers, but pinch yourself; she's not from a dream. Summer Walker is here and now.
We should all be well-versed by now in Khalid's school of witchcraft and harmony. The Texas-bred singer-songwriter's new EP Suncity is out today, and "Vertigo" is a shining example of why he's one of our most popular new talents currently breaking through to the masses. Those strings! That twisty melody! His voice, full of lovelorn wistfulness, as if he's lived on earth for double his 20 years! "Vertigo" is nearly five minutes of (delirious) heaven.
Gus Dapperton releases "World Class Cinema" today, and it's an exercise in the singer's penchant for indie-flavored, R&B. But it sounds and feels like '80s nostalgia, you may discover. It's because in three minutes, Dapperton, from his voice to the song's grooves, are immersive enough to transport you the land of his eclectic influences.
We've had our eye on Carlie Hanson, the Wisconsin teen who has had quite the breakout this year. "Toxins," out today, is a smart and super-catchy new entry into her confessional catalog. "No money in my jeans," and "take a ride inside your whip" are a couple of many lyrical quips encompassing the world of getting lost in and intoxicated by the whirlwind of new romance. Listening to Carlie Hanson is always like, "yes, I've been there." And "Toxins" is just another compelling reason why we're still following along.
Tove Styrke captured our fascination with Sway, an impossible-to-resist mini-album of pop bangers with an emotive bleeding heart. "Vibe" further makes the case for Styrke's chops as a songwriter. "I thought we had a vibe" is a statement that doubles as part accusation, part self-questioning, especially when sung with melancholy. But whether you see yourself in "Vibe," or just enjoy it as the sugary pop confection it is, there's no denying this song carries its own frequency.