Five new songs to take you into the weekend, from Taylor Swift and ZAYN's unstoppable new duet for Fifty Shades Darker, Post Malone's moody alt-rap, and the first solo project from Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui—a collaboration with electropop group Marian Hill.
"I Don't Wanna Live Forever," ZAYN & Taylor Swift
The duet that no one expected has dropped, and it's a guaranteed chart-topper: Taylor Swift's first official release of 2016 is a collaboration with ZAYN for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. ZAYN makes good use of his silky falsetto in the stripped-down track, while Swift grounds the song in signature lyric forwardness. While the tune is only available via iTunes, they both did share some snippets on social media. Expect to hear this one everywhere before long.
"Back to Me," Marian Hill feat. Lauren Jauregui
In Lauren Jauregui's first solo project, the Fifth Harmony singer pairs up with electro-pop duo Marian Hill, known for their seductive tracks. In signature style, "Back to Me" plays with negative space and sharp production from Jeremy Lloyd to give vocalists Samantha Gongol and Jauregui ample room to show off their smooth pipes.
Sister DJ duo KREWELLA are back with a single that dispenses with the more traditional EDM hard drops and instead delivers a poppy, melodic party banger. "I ain't giving up, I ain't giving in," they chant. "I don't need a crown to know I'm king." Cue the tropical house chords, and it's safe to say that the free-spirited pair—one of the highest-profile female acts in the DJ world—are ready for round two in the spotlight, following their splashy debut on the world stage in 2011.
"Leave," Post Malone
It's hard to categorize genre-crossing artist Post Malone, a breakout Texan sort-of-rapper whose moody tracks blend a hip-hop sensibility with orchestral backing and an alt-rock casualness. "Leave," off of new album Stoney, mixes his smooth delivery with lyrical urgency, turning out something reminiscent of Citizen Cope. His deft opening: "She said, 'Love me,' so I love her / She said, 'Leave me,' so I left"—quickly spirals into catchy madness.
"Immortal," J. Cole
J. Cole's long-awaited new album, 4 Your Eyez Only, is mostly a smooth, low-key set of rap tracks. "Immortal" has a hauntingly simple backing track and a flow that won't quit. "To die a young legend or live a long life unfulfilled / 'Cause you wanna change the world / But while alive you never will," he recites, considering one of fame (and rap's) recurring questions.