- Each week, INSIDER rounds up a list of great songs and albums to listen to over the weekend.
- In addition to Lana Del Rey’s highly anticipated sixth studio album, you can listen to Post Malone’s new single and SiR’s RCA debut “Chasing Summer.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Friday is typically a big day for music, but in the world of YouTube, SoundCloud, and streaming services, it can be difficult to keep track of new releases.
That’s where we come in. Each week, INSIDER selects albums and songs – usually new, sometimes old but relevant – that we believe deserve your attention.
This week, Lana Del Rey has dropped her highly anticipated sixth studio album, “Norman F—ing Rockwell.” You can also listen to Post Malone’s new single and SiR’s RCA debut “Chasing Summer.”
Keep reading to see all our picks and why we pulled them out of the fray.
1. “Norman F—ing Rockwell!” by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey’s newest album will delight longtime fans. The queen of making sadness sound sexy is true to form on “NFR.” Her very first line is, “Godd— man child, you f—ed me so good that I almost said I love you.” Whew.
And yet, while it delivers on those classic Del Rey whims, the album – produced largely by Jack Antonoff, who’s fresh off the critical praise of his 11-song production credits on Taylor Swift’s “Lover” – is also more sweeping and ambitious than she’s been in years.
“The long-awaited ‘Norman F—ing Rockwell’ is even more massive and majestic than everyone hoped it would be,” Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield raves. “No other songwriter around does such an expert job of building up elaborate romantic fantasies, and then burning them to the ground.”
2. “Circles” by Post Malone
Post Malone is at his best on “Circles,” flexing his tender vocals over an acoustic melody and a groovy beat that recalls “The Less I Know the Better” (in a stroke of genius, Malone enlisted Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker to produce the track).
3. “Chasing Summer” by SiR
When an album’s lead track has a Kendrick Lamar feature, you already know you’re in for a treat. And, improbably, Lamar’s stellar verse isn’t even the best part of “Chasing Summer,” SiR’s first album after signing a joint record deal with TDE and major label RCA. The soul singer flexes his newfound place on a major label with rich, atmospheric production – but maintains his own point of view, centering his sharp observations about love and lust.
“‘Chasing Summer’ is radiant,” Yoh Phillips writes for DJ Booth. “It’s a collection of robust and well-constructed R&B songs. SiR knows his strengths as an artist and his identity as a singer-songwriter.”
4. “Babushka Boi” by A$AP Rocky
Highlighted by its surreal music video, “Babushka Boi” reminds us how A$AP Rocky has simultaneously managed to build a reputation as a fashion It Boy, a sharp provocateur, and a dominant rapper – all while keeping a steady sense of humour.
Now, maybe we can add “soothsayer” to the list. As Billboard notes, “the Nadia Lee Cohen-directed clip tells the satirical story of Rocky and his crew’s escape from police detention” – even though reps for the rapper confirmed that it “was created months ago,” before he was infamously detained in a Swedish jail.
5. “Graduation” by Benny Blanco featuring Juice WRLD
Benny Blanco’s slick production (“Eastside,” “I Can’t Get Enough”) pairs beautifully with Juice WRLD’s silken voice on their new collaboration.
Moreover, the thematic choice to invoke high school clichés in “Graduation” is perfect for Juice WRLD, who shot to fame by making anguish and angst sound appealing. As Mitch Findlay writes for Hot New Hip Hop, “his voice is capable of conveying a glorious emo sensibility, the likes of which 2008 skinny-jean-clad mascara-wearing young men might have fought and even killed for.”
6. “Not 20 Anymore” by Bebe Rexha
“Why lie ’bout how old I am? When I’m a better lover than I was in 2010?” Bebe Rexha croons on this slow-burning ode to ageing and growth – an unexpected but welcome addition to the recent burst of self-love songs, especially from nontraditional female artists (Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts,” in particular, comes to mind).
“I recently had a MALE music executive tell me that I was getting too old and that my brand was ‘confusing.’ Because… I’m a songwriter and I post sexy pics on my Instagram and that’s not what female songwriters are suppose to do, especially for my age,” Rexha wrote on Instagram ahead of the song’s release.
“I’m 29. I’m fed up with being put in a box. I make my own rules. I’m tired of women getting labelled as ‘hags’ when they get old and guys get labelled as sexy with age,” she continued. “Anyways, I’m turning 30 on August 30 and you know what, I’m not running away from it.”
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