I am overwhelmed.
New Music Friday nearly used up my iCloud storage space this week with all the amazing releases. But, as a woman who is always excited for music from other women, I hate to admit it was a man’s world this week.
Other than Beyonce, who curated the just-released soundtrack for the live-action version of “The Lion King” that hits theaters on Thursday, and Malayasian singer-songwriter Yuna, it was mostly male artists who brought me the latest additions to my music library.
This week hit me with culturally cohesive stunners, nostalgic hits, an “Old Town Road” remix only country lovers could love, a lot of collaboration and a few disappointments.
But, before I break it down, we need to talk about Ed Sheeran.
After weeks of letting single by single trickle out, the full “No. 6 Collaborations Project” has been released and WOW. It is a multi-genre, versatile, skillfully curated and utterly flawless album with some of this generation’s biggest artists. Sheeran parked himself in a Nashville studio and hit up his favorite artists as they came to town and curated the whole project in three months.
Who does that? And who does it flawlessly? Only Ed Sheeran. I swear the creativity pours out of him like sweat.
While I’m all about empowering women, let’s give a round of applause for the male artists of today who exceeded expectations this week.
“No. 6 Collaborations Project” – Ed Sheeran
- One decade after Sheeran’s “No. 5 Collaborations Project,” his newest collab project is here in full and I am ecstatic. With true hip-hop feels, slight R&B, a touch of pop, a key emotional ballad and a Latin hint, Sheeran didn’t miss a note. “South of the Border” partners Sheeran, Camila Cabello and Cardi B, and it is a soon-to-be spicy hit. One of my favorite tracks, “Remember The Name,” joins rap legends Eminem and 50 Cent. It brings me back to the mid-2000s, in a nostalgic manner, and reminds hip-hop lovers that the two legends are still very much in the game. The song I listened to the most on Friday was “Nothing On You” featuring Paulo Londra & Dave, because it hit me with a Spanish verse that made me wish I was in the office alone so I could dance to it. A future chart breaker, “1000 Nights” featuring Meek Mill and A Boogie wit da Hoodie is a true hip-hop hit with soulful vocals, dope flows and a sick beat. My least favorite, but still worthy of a listen, songs are “I Don’t Care” featuring Justin Bieber and “Feels” featuring Young Thug & J Hus. While I understand not every album can be created to perfection, these two tracks simply lacked the oomph I was expecting.
“Likes” by Yuna & KYLE
- Yuna, a Malaysian singer-songwriter, is making music that matters and music that people actually want to hear. “Likes” is from her new album “Rouge,” her first project in three years. While other songs like “Pink Youth” featuring Little Simz and “Blank Marquee” featuring G-Eazy, are fun, funky and round out the album, “Likes” addresses our society’s obsession with getting social media “likes” and conforming to the “norms” that get those internet admirations. Yuna touches on her Muslim heritage and sereneades listeners while sharing the struggles she faces with being herself in today’s instant gratification world. And KYLE, he’s a rapper perfectly chosen for this song, given his ability to tell a story while keeping the right flow.
“It’s Real Love” by Yellow Days
- There’s nothing I love more than finding new artists to stalk and stream. Yellow Days (George van den Broek), is an artist making soul-filled indie rock music for the modern age. I am one million percent here for it. I love artists who can create music with two opposite genres, soundfully breaking barriers. The best word to describe “It’s Real Love” is captivating. It’s a sultry song that tells listeners not to be afraid to express your love. It drew me in, took me by surprise and now I can’t wait to fall into more of his music.
“Crimes” by Gallant
- While I’ve heard (Christopher) Gallant’s name several times over the course of my 23 years of music-obsessed life, I’ll admit I never gave him much of a listen. Thanks to “Crimes,” a sweet R&B not-love song to a girl who can’t stop coming in and out of his life, I am now a fan of the Maryland-born singer/songwriter. His high notes are flawlessly high and his low notes are sexy, seductive and keep me wanting more.
“Thing For You” by David Guetta & Martin Solveig
- I’m not usually a fan of EDM songs, but this one is an exception. It’s electro flirty and they drop the perfect beat at the perfect time. The first minute drew me in with the lyrics and simple beat, then the beat hit seven seconds later, and the only word I could find to describe the moment was “Damn.” Guetta is a French DJ/producer/songwriter who has released some of the biggest EDM/pop songs to date. Solveig (Martin Picandet) is also a French DJ/producer. The best part of any song, especially an EDM one, is the vocalist the DJ’s choose to lead the effort, and the French duo really hit the nail on the head with this one.
“Anybody” by Burna Boy
- This song is everything 21st century music should be: culturally cohesive. My new favorite Nigerian Afro-fusion singer released my official song of the summer. It’s beautiful, fun and makes me want to dance every time I hear it. It has a touch of jazz, African American vibes and Latin feels, and his vocals are exceptional with both the low and the high notes.
“Look What I’ve Become” by Mike Posner featuring Ty Dolla $ign
- My face lit up when I saw a collaboration track with these two known hitmakers. There are very few songs that hip-hop artist Ty Dolla touches that don’t turn to gold, and “Look What I’ve Become” is one of those few. Throughout my listening, I kept asking myself what the hell was going on. The first 30 seconds I grew intrigued and hopeful. But by the time the chorus hit, I just wanted it to be over. Posner didn’t even try to use his beautiful vocals and Ty was nearly out of tune. Maybe with a better backbeat, this song could have had a chance.
“Old Town Road Remix” by Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus featuring Young Thug & Mason Ramsey
- The only reason I am reviewing this is because of Ramsey, the Internet’s favorite yodeling 12-year-old in cowboy boots. The southern boy was made for the original song, which has spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While I, along with the rest of the country, are sick of hearing “I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road,” this remix was extremely necessary. The only thing I don’t understand is Young Thug’s verse. I wound up fast forwarding through it to get straight to Ramsey’s.
“The Lion King (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)”
- If you are between the ages of 20 and 30, have yet to see the new live-action Lion King, and want to experience all the nostalgia feels, then download this soundtrack. Curated by Beyonce and Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) — What could be better? The album is an audible representation of the film I am over-the-moon excited to see. With Beyonce, Childish Gambino, Seth Rogen, John Oliver, Billy Eichner and Elton John all on one album, I’m not sure there’s much else anyone could ask for.