As sponsored by Billboard.com x Spotify – September 16, 2016
Every week, Spotify updates their "New Music Friday" playlist, featuring 50 of the freshest new tracks hitting the service that week.
On the heels of Billboard’s partnership with the streaming giant, we’ll be tapping Spotify’s editors to sift through the soon-to-be-hits and highlight the best of the bunch.
Check out the picks and listen to the entire “New Music Friday” playlist below.
Calvin Harris – “My Way”
Calvin Harris recently teased that his new song, “My Way,” would feature a mystery guest vocalist. After fans speculated that it would be Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato or another established female singer, now that the single has arrived, the surprise is on everyone: Harris featured his own vocals! The producer shared during an interview that regarding handling the singing duties himself, as opposed to featuring a guest, he felt that the “the time [was right,” while also adding “I like to sing on a song every two or three years or so. I just kind of thought it was a bit of a curve ball.” Fans also are speculating that the song, particularly lyrics such as, “you were the one thing in my way,” is dedicated to none other than his infamous ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift. Naturally, it’s all up to interpretation but Harris did elaborate saying, “The song’s kind of about breaking out of a situation that you thought was a good thing. And it could be anything.” The Grammy-winning producer/DJ has worked with an impressive list of musicians, including Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Tinashe, Florence Welch, Ellie Goulding and more, so his decision to go at this one alone makes for a refreshing change and reintroduction to his own distinctive talents, expression and identity as an artist. Recently explaining he’s focusing on one song at a time as opposed to on an album, Harris’ “My Way” is a testament to taking control back, over his art and his life alike and going about it all his way. So far, judging from the music alone, this choice is inevitably working in his — and his fans’ — favor.
Mac Miller - “Dang!” featuring Anderson .Paak
The morning after Mac Miller and Anderson .Paak performed their electric collaborative single “Dang!” on Stephen Colbert, the track finds a happy home on our #NewMusicFriday this week. Today (September 16) also marks the release of Mac’s new album, The Divine Feminine, and it couldn’t feel further away from the Mac Miller fans got to know and love through his earlier and oft-delinquent mixtapes. His 2015 full-length release, GO:OD AM, was a declarative album proving he’s evolved into his artistry in a way making it an extreme disservice to write him off as a rapper only fit for rocking college campuses. His new album, as showcased in “Dang!,” picks up where he left off last year, delivering his vocals over feel-good, buoyant and funky production, honing a new energy and matured perspective. Mac himself also croons, following Anderson .Paak doing his thing on the hook, and together, the two craft an addictive and pensive earworm fit for a dance floor, all while following a storyline of fleeting romance where sadness or self-deprecation is interestingly not the focal point.
Ryan Hurd - “Love In A Bar”
Country music, almost by indisputable definition, explores timeless topics of long-lasting love and heartbreak, which all too often can be traced back to a beloved small-town bar. Ryan Hurd’s latest offering, “Love In A Bar,” cuts to the chase, toasting the lyrical pillars of the genre with his infectious, smooth voice. The rising songwriter, in late 2014, celebrated his first No. 1 single, “Lonely Tonight,” recorded by country music veteran Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe, before going on to be nominated for a Grammy. Now that Hurd has several impressive milestones as a songwriter under his belt, the musician is focusing on establishing his own destined career as a solo artist and is doing so with humility and grace. On “Love In A Bar,” the Michigan-born singer makes a strong case that he’s actually not a newcomer on the scene, naturally built to endure whatever may be thrown his way as he navigates his next chapter as a musician. The song highlights what everyone loves about classic country music, while also hanging onto late summer and celebrating unexpectedly finding love in your own hometown bar.
Panic - “Samurai” featuring Katy Tiz
Beginning his 2016 on a strong footing by way of signing a deal with Disruptor Records of Sony Music and embarking on a 25-date tour leading up to back-to-back performances at Coachella, Vancouver DJ/producer Vanic, real name Jesse Hughes, continues to deservedly capture the attention of forward-thinking fans of electronic music everywhere. Vance’s avant-garde production style makes him a force to be reckoned with, with his latest offering “Samurai” featuring the perfectly cinematic voice of Katy Tiz. The song balances a big-room feel with building dramatics, making for an equally complicated and delightful song that belongs soundtracking a live action movie. Out of our entire #NMF playlist this week, “Samurai” wins the title of most epic. Get lost in its legend-in-the-making tale.
Emeli Sandé - “Hurts”
Powerhouse vocalist Emeli Sandé is back behind the mic after a four-year hiatus, with her new single “Hurts” showcasing her vulnerability in a way that can only be commended while also getting fans excited for her sophomore album, Long Live The Angels, due out on November 11. Speaking honesty during a recent interview, the singer explained taking a break allowed her to “start from scratch,” and approach her music like she’s a brand new artist. In many ways, she is, with a new sound further strengthened by passion and raw emotion. Recently signing over her management to Roc Nation, the singer detailed how she went from songwriting for Rihanna in Paris to her and her mom flying to New York for a surreal meeting with Jay Z himself. Since leveling up and bringing herself back into the studio, years after her 2012 debut Our Version of Events, the Scottish singer shares that she’s approaching her music now by focusing on quality and only releasing what she truly stands behind. With “Hurts” as her leading single, it’s clear the singer has a lot to get off her chest and we’re all ears.