orginally published on billboard.com here.
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.
Lorde - "Liability"
Lorde returns to our #SpotifyNMF playlist this week to remind us exactly why her impeccable voice, fearless lyricism and unique artistry is propelling her into prodigious territory once again. Part lullaby, part poem and part possible personal monologue, the 20-year-old's latest offering, "Liability," is a truly beautiful display of honest self-expression. With her intensely stunning voice taking center stage, the song balances minimalism with creative theatrics, as soft piano melodies add to the track's whimsical dynamic. Lyrically, the song slow dances with romance's darker edges, as Lorde highlights what she considers to be her flaws, almost as a way to make sure she has power over them and prove that her faults do not solely define her. "Liability" is a complex, multi-layered confession of sorts, finding success as a ballad more than capable of captivating listeners through its balance of curious obscurity, daydream-esque fantasy and realism, with Lorde's mystical voice doubling as a breath of fresh air on a track strikingly different than her dark pop anthems. With "Liability" showing off yet another side to the singer, her forthcoming album, Melodrama, due out June 16, is beginning prove that when it comes to what Lorde will create next, the starry night sky's the limit.
Norwegian production duo Stargate is ready to step out from behind the scenes, today releasing their debut single, "Waterfall." After over a decade of writing some of pop's biggest hits, including Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World)," Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable," and Ne-Yo's "Miss Independent," as well as contributing hits for Katy Perry, Coldplay, Charli XCX, Fifth Harmony, Selena Gomez, Shakira and more over the years, Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen have since signed a deal with RCA to release music entirely their own as lead artists. Recruiting Sia and Pink for their debut definitely sets their own bar high with "Waterfall" marking a new exciting chapter for the Grammy Award-winning musicians. The track features their frequent collaborator Sia and pop veteran Pink trading verses and taking turns handling the chorus over dancehall-inspired production, making for a strong offering combining the songwriting expertise the duo has spent the past decade honing with their expert knack for piecing it all together. The song's infectious quality is anything but out of character for Stargate, leaving fans eager to see what else the duo has in store for us now that they've assumed their rightful positions in the driver's seat.
While the Fast and the Furious film franchise is notorious for dominating the box office and for the fast-paced nature of its plot – an exhilarating premise built off of high stake illegal street racing, undercover FBI work and heists – another element not to count out is the movie's soundtrack. With the eighth installment of Universal's most successful franchise due to arrive in theaters next month, a new single off of the soundtrack has finally been released, along with a new action-packed trailer for the film. The song debuted is a collaboration featuring the likes of Pitbull, J Balvin and Camila Cabello, titled "Hey Ma," and was recorded both in English and in Spanish. The eighth movie in the series was also filmed in Cabello's original home of Cuba, adding to the fitting charm that she was able to lend her vocals for the upbeat addition to the film's score. J Balvin's verse opens the steamy single, with all three handling the chorus and Pitbull taking care of the second verse. The Spanish version of the single arrives today and finds itself in good company on this week's #SpotifyNMF playlist, with the English version set to be released the same day the film hits theaters on April 16. With Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Kurt Russell and more making up the film’s epic cast, we're sure the scene "Hey Ma" soundtracks is going to be nothing short of awesome.
When thinking about the hypothetical possibilities regarding what would happen if 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign, Jhené Aiko and Trey Songz got in the studio together, it's a safe bet to wager that it'd result in quite the vibe. Naturally, their first collaboration had to call dibs on using the three words "It's A Vibe" as the song’s title; it's only fitting. With 2 Chainz expertly recruiting these three fine additions to his track, the song is exactly what it promises it sounds like, with each passing the mic around accordingly and building off of each other's laid back, characteristic vocals. This song definitely falls under the category of "mood music," with its swooping beat full of jazzy finger snaps, subtle keys and funky drums, helping to create the illusion that these four artists crafted this undeniable earworm with the lights dimmed low, a copious amount of champagne on standby and maybe even a fireplace or assortment of candles to further complete the stress-free scene. With "It's A Vibe" further proving 2 Chainz, Jhené Aiko, Trey Songz and Ty Dolla $ign's collective ability to set the mood proper, this song reminds us that turning up in the luxury of one's own home can make for the perfect Friday night line-up.
alt-J - "3WW"
British indie rock band alt-J kicked off the month by announcing their comeback in a nonchalant, straightforward manner, releasing the first single of their freshly confirmed third studio album, Relaxer. The single, "3WW," is a gentle and spacey reintroduction to the group's celebrated eclectic sound, featuring a lengthy instrumental opening, with vocals not arriving until a minute and a half into the five-minute jam. With additional vocal support from Wolf Alice's Ellie Rowsell, the track has a hypnotic quality surrounding it, enticing listeners to follow the beat until soothingly cryptic lyrics make their first appearance. The title "3WW" stands for "3 Worn Words," remaining open to interpretation and playing off of a theme of three’s incorporated in the group’s return, such as how the song’s teaser was released on 3/3, the full song arriving three days later and the album arriving three months and three days after the single. "We’d like to thank you for your patience over the last year or so," the band shared in a recent statement. "After finishing touring This Is All Yours in December 2015 we took a long break. Thom released a solo album; Gus opened a restaurant; Joe has been watching a lot of films. We hadn’t set a time limit on our time off but by August 2016 we were ready to get back into the studio. The result is our third album, Relaxer, and we are really excited for you to hear it." The new single also draws inspiration from the Japanese PlayStation1 game "LSD: Dream Emulator," with each vocalist singing about three various characters and sharing alternate perspectives of a delicate, simple romance. With the new album due out in June, "3WW" marks a more-than-welcome return for alt-J.