Happy Monday! Kickstart your week ahead by checking out all of the new music that has just been released in this roundup of new songs, new albums, and new artists that you need to be listening to.
Last week was a big one for new releases. From new albums by Cold War Kids and The Chainsmokers, to new songs from Halsey and will.i.am, to new collaborations from Kid Ink & Ty Dolla $ign, to our expert picks, take a look at this week's New Music Report.
Cold War Kids - L.A. Divine
L.A. Divine follows Cold War Kids' 2014 album Hold My Home, and their first to feature lead guitarist David Quon. The band first introduced their first new music in three years with their single "Love Is Mystical" at the beginning of February, and now, two months later, the rest of their new album has arrived.
CWK's new record is their sixth studio album, and features 14 new songs including "Love Is Mystical," as well as "Can We Hold On?," and a collaboration with Bishop Briggs called "So Tied Up."
After releasing L.A. Divine, the band tweeted that this is the best album that they've put together. "A year of sweat, heartache, work, more sweat, joy and love has been put into it. Record # 6 - pound for pound I think it's the best one we've made!"
Harry Styles - "Sign of the Times"
It's a sign of the times! Literally. After most of his fellow One Direction bandmates have released their own solo music, Harry Styles has finally released his debut solo single "Sign of the Times," the first single from his debut solo album.
"Sign of the Times" is much different from what fans have been hearing from Harry's 1D bandmates. The track boasts a more rock tone than anything else. In fact, there are some serious David Bowie vibes happening in this song, which is five minutes and forty-one seconds long.
Harry revealed, during an interview with Ryan Seacrest, that he worked on this album with his team at a low-key house in Jamaica. He said, "I just knew I wanted to get out of the city. I didn't want to be in London, I didn't want to be in L.A., I didn't want to be around kind of a bunch of things that I knew I'd get distracted by. So I loved kind of disappearing off and living in a house with the guys that I was working with, and it became this kind of 360 thing."
"We'd be in the studio," he continued, "then we'd go have dinner; then we'd write at dinner and do some writing after dinner; then we'd go back to the studio. I just found it a lot easier to immerse myself in finding out what it was that I wanted to make as a whole album."
Halsey - "Now or Never"
As Halsey gears up to release her second studio album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom this summer, the singer/songwriter released the record's lead single "Now or Never" and its accompanying music video. "Now or Never" is the 22-year-old's first new music since her 2015 album Badlands, aside from her collaborations with The Chainsmokers and Justin Bieber.
On her new track, Halsey worked with star producer Benny Blanco, and she told iHeartRadio in a new interview of the song, "It's about two people who are in a relationship, and one of them is begging the other person, 'Okay, you need to love me now or never. I'm tired of waiting, I'm tired of waiting for you to figure it out, and waiting for you to get it together. I just want this now. I want this to work out. And I need to know if it's not going to, because I need to go look at my other options.'" She adds, "It's a pleading song, but it's kind of careless at the same time. It's saying, I want you and I want this to work, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if it doesn't, kinda thing."
This message definitely comes across in the music video, which Halsey directed herself:
The Chainsmokers - Memories ... Do Not Open
It all started a few years ago with a little song called "#SELFIE," but fast forward to today, and The Chainsmokers not only have a number of hit singles under their belts, the duo released their debut full-length album Memories...Do Not Open.
Memories features 12 tracks, including songs like "Paris" and "The One," in addition to their collaboration with Coldplay "Something Just Like This." Speaking of collabs, the album also features country duo Florida Georgia Line, Jhené Aiko, Emily Warren, and French singer/songwriter Louane. MDNO also features a significant of singing by The Chainsmokers' very own Drew Taggart.
will.i.am - "Fiyah"
After the audience on “The Voice UK” continuously kept screaming “Fiyah” during his guest stint on the show, will.i.am decided to tribute his time on the singing competition with a new song appropriately titled “Fiyah.” On the cut, which is devoted to British culture, the Black Eyed Peas frontman boasts about his excellence over a funky-lite beat and it’s basically everything that a will.i.am production is known for.
Joey Bada$$ - All-Amerikkkan Bada$$
Joey Bada$$ released his sophomore album All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ and it’s unapologetically real. The politically charged project perfectly details the everyday thoughts of the inner-city youth, as they witness instances like police brutality, systematic racism, Donald Trump’s presidency and more. Joey is the voice of the unheard throughout his new album. He spits with authenticity, as he raps about the African-American struggle in the United States of America without sugarcoating it for anyone.
Michelle Branch - Hopeless Romantic
After a 14-year hiatus, Michelle Branch reemerges from the shadows with a new album, Hopeless Romantic, which finds the singer/songwriter embracing a new sound with the help of her boyfriend/The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. Similar to the way she did during the “TRL” era, Branch tackles the tribulations that comes with love on the set. However, as a 33-year-old, she now has a boatload of experience to back up new-found perspectives, ultimately shaping a more mature sound. See: "Best You Ever" and "Fault Line"
Kid Ink featuring Ty Dolla $ign - "F With U"
Kid Ink and Ty Dolla $ign have teamed up to impress the ladies on a new collaboration called “F With U,” which features production by DJ Mustard and J Holt. R&B fans will notice that “F With U” samples Tamia’s 1998 classic, “So Into You,” and that just makes the breezy cut shine just a bit more Oh, it’s also worth noting that Kid Ink promises to make his woman feel extra special on the cut by taking her to the Venetian and waking up her with mimosas. Never turn down a mimosa.
MYBADD featuring Olivia Holt - "Party On A Weekday"
A party on a weekday might not seem like the best day with school and work the next morning, but after you hear Olivia Holt's new collaboration with producer MYBADD, you might fee differently. "Party On A Weekday" is actually MYBADD's debut single, and the dance song is complimented nicely by rising star Olivia Holt's vocals. The catchy tune is sure to find its way to your summer playlist. Or to .. well .. party on a weekday! 🙌🏻
J Balvin & Pitbull featuring Camila Cabello - "Hey Ma"
Weeks after the Spanish version of the track surfaced, J Balvin, Pitbull and Camila Cabello (formerly of Fifth Harmony) have finally unleashed the English version of their collaboration, "Hey Ma." Ahead of the release of the track's accompanying The Fate of the Furious soundtrack, which drops on April 14, the English rendition of the song arrived simultaneously with the release of the music video for the song. It’s a flavorful cut, but the Spanish version of the track might just be the superior of the two.
Gorillaz featuring Pusha T & Mavis Stapes - "Let Me Out"
Gorillaz called on Pusha T and Mavis Staples for his new song “Let Me Out.” This single will be featured on his upcoming album Humanz. The catchy song has a smooth vibe and after hearing it once, you won’t be able to stop yourself from listening again. “Let Me Out” only draws you in.
EMERGING ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Olivia Holt
You may already know Olivia Holt from her starring roles on Disney Channel shows like I Didn't Do it or Kickin' It, but the 19-year-old is taking her talents from the TV screen to the studio & stage. In 2016, she released her debut single "Phoenix," then shortly after dropped her debut five-song EP via Hollywood Records called Olivia, which also includes her new single "History."
Now, as we are in 2017, Olivia is sharing new music, first by being featured on a remix of We The Kings' "Sad Song," and now, her collaboration with producer MYBADD called "Party On A Weekday." And we're betting there's more where that came from.
Fans are hoping for a full-length album this year, and it sounds like she's on the right track. It sounds like she's learned a lot from releasing her first EP. She told iHeartRadio during an interview as 2016 came to a close:
"Creating the EP or just creating a record in general, it's always nice to experiment and figure out what direction you want to go in, and not just genre-wise, but lyrically too. I did a lot of experimenting over the past year and a half, two years, working with different people and understanding the way that they work, and not just with producers, but songwriters as well.
It's given me a lot of insight as to how music actually works and all the logistics and hard work that goes behind it. I learned a lot about what I wanted my music to be like. I wanted to make a pop record, but I'm from the south, so organic instruments [is something] I'm just naturally drawn to. To throw in those elements is really nice or, to throw in a little bit of soul or alternative is something that I wanted to incorporate, too, in the EP."
Can't wait to hear what else Olivia has in store!
Dillon Francis featuring G-Eazy - "Say Less"
I love when my favorites join forces. So I was particularly happy to see this collaboration between producer/DJ Dillon Francis and G-Eazy. With "Say Less" we get an electronic/trap production from Dillon, combined with the smooth flow of G-Eazy's rap verses. Dillon and Gerald -- which is coincidentally the name of Dillon's famous piñata pal -- have been working together for a while, as fans have seen on via social media, and I'm sure "Say Less" isn't the only thing they've together. But as summer approaches, and especially with the arrival of festival season, fans will likely be hearing this new tune a lot. Also, the lyric video is awesome:
Piñata Gerald obviously loves it:
G-Eazy & Carnage featuring 24hrs - "Down For Me"
Can you tell I'm on a G-Eazy kick? G-Eazy teamed up with producer/DJ Carnage on an entire EP together called Step Brothers, and "Down For Me" is just one of the songs from the four-track release that was dropped at the end of last month (March). "Down For Me" also features singer/rapper/producer 24hrs, as he and G-Eazy sing and rap about a very special loyal lady. It's a bop.
Follow Nicole on Twitter: @NicoleMastr0
Shakira - "Me Enamoré"
After the colossal success of her Maluma-assisted “Chantaje," Shakira continues on with the stream of Spanish material with a new song called "Me Enamoré.” Over a delicate electro beat, the Columbian songstress croons about all the things she loves, including one particular lover. "I never thought it would be like this, I didn't think you'd fall for me ... With you, I'd have 10 kids, but let's start with a pair," she sings.
MAAD - "90s Love"
If you need a smooth dose of R&B, look no further than newbie MAAD and the sweet sounds of her single, “90s Love.” With the help of Claude Kelly (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson), MAAD is planning on taking her model-turned-singing career to the next level with the release of her EP, Le Funk, and this cut is definitely a must-add to your April playlists. Remember this name, folks.
Follow James on Twitter: @newyorkinstinct
Wale x Travi$ Scott - "Fish N Grits"
Wale released his new single “Fish N Grits” featuring Travis Scott and yes, it’s a banger. In usual Wale fashion, the D.C. rapper delivers deep lyrics that make you get lost in thought. But, since our guy Travie is also on the record, we can also turn up with his contributions to the song, AKA his auto-tuned hook and verse. Yasss!
Maino - "The Ghost of Kalief Browder"
After watching Spike TV’s “The Kalief Browder Story” six-part documentary, Maino was so moved by it that he created “The Ghost of Kalief Browder.” As many people in the urban community know, Kalief Browder was only 16 years old when he was locked up at Rikers Island for over 1,000 days for a crime that he didn’t commit. Unfortunately after witnessing countless amounts of monstrous acts in the facility, as well as falling victim to physical and mental abuse at the hands of fellow prison-mates and Rikers Island prison guards, Browder committed suicide two years after his release. This story hit close to Maino. So, he decided to make a song from Browder’s perspective, so people could understand the emotions he must have felt during these struggles.
Follow Isha on Twitter: @IshaThorpe