Lana Del Rey gets an assist from The Weeknd on the ethereal title track off her upcoming album, Lust for Life. Danish pop singer MØ drops another anthem for your next night out with friends. Justin Bieber lends a hand on a remixed version of a Latin hit — with great success. Rebecca Black, of "Friday" fame, returns with a sparkling little bop. And Queens-bred hip-hop artist Anik Khan finds a multicultural, reflective vibe in new song "Kites."
"Lust For Life," Lana Del Rey feat. The Weeknd
Alt-pop ingenue Lana Del Rey released the highly anticipated title track off her upcoming album Lust for Life, and in true Lana style, it's just as ethereal and moody as expected. The unusual composition of the track — she reworked it with famed hitmaker Max Martin to turn a verse into the chorus — gains potency thanks to the falsetto vocals of everyone's favorite collaborator, The Weeknd. There's something about the juxtaposition of optimistic lyrics and down-tempo harmonies that conjures a sensation of dreamy instability.
"Nights With You," MØ
Danish pop powerhouse MØ brings the beats — and the vocals — on "Nights With You," an instant anthem for nights out with friends. “I’ll take you out tonight/ Throw away your phone/ Don’t care about your boyfriend waking up alone," she insists. Previously featured on hits like Major Lazer's "Lean On" and "Cold Water," it looks like MØ is happily hitting her groove as the soundtrack to wild nights out.
"Foolish," Rebecca Black
If you remember the name Rebecca Black, you probably associate it with that inescapable, improbable viral hit from 2011, named for the best day of the week. But be forewarned: now 19, Black is back, and she sounds nothing like her younger self — in a good way. "Foolish" is a summery, sparkling pop jam that revels in the discoveries of young love, allowing Black to shine as a singer and pop songwriter.
"Despacito - Remix," Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
"Despacito" is, admittedly, not a new song. It's been dominating Latin charts for months now. But the surprise addition of Justin Bieber to this remix gives it an unexpected new energy. It was already a delightfully danceable track. Add in Bieber's pretty competent Spanish-language singing, and it's enhanced by a fun mix of vocal textures, languages and instrumentation. The excitement factor isn't hurt by the fact that Bieber, who's been on his worldwide tour and most recently performed in Puerto Rico, hasn't released or contributed to new music since last summer.
"Kites," Anik Khan
Settle in to the confident groove of Anik Khan's jazzy, soulful "Kites," the title track off his upcoming debut album. Khan, a young artist born in Bangladesh and bred in Queens, blends together elements from all corners of the musical diaspora. Although he leans toward hip-hop much of the time here, "Kites" is a tender and melodic ballad that allows him to show off his sophisticated, syrupy voice as he meditates on the currents that raise us up (and keep us down).