Five new songs to take you into the weekend, from a new iteration of Kid Cudi’s distinctively dark sound, Steve Aoki and former One Directioner Louis Tomlinson’s catchy collaboration, and Voice finalist Jacquie Lee’s raw ballad for her late friend singer Christina Grimmie. Also: rapper PARRI$ and Brooklyn indie group The Skins shares promising EPs.
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"Just Hold On," Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson
For his solo debut, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson teams up with international superstar DJ Steve Aoki for this undeniably catchy track, a surprisingly gentle mix of Aoki’s EDM backing and Tomlinson’s melodic boy band vocals.
"Somebody's Angel," Jacquie Lee
Nineteen-year-old Voice finalist Jacquie Lee proves she’s the real deal with this emotionally wrenching song written for her friend and fellow Voice alum Christina Grimmie, who was tragically killed earlier this year, but it’s also a love letter to all the legends we lost this year. Lee is known for her big vocals and distinctive bluesy twang, but in this track, the rawness of grief adds a crack to her powerhouse voice.
"Rose Golden," Kid Cudi feat. Willow Smith
Kid Cudi’s long-awaited album Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin’ is a sonically rich collection of soul-searching tracks and collaborations. “Rose Golden,” with Will Smith’s daughter and “Whip My Hair” prodigy Willow Smith, is a lush and instrumental song of self-discovery. “Since I was young, been grooving to my own drum / ain’t that many teachers show me my potential, felt like a failure,” they sing. “Soon I’d understand the power I possess.”
"Bury Me," The Skins feat. D.R.A.M.
Brooklyn indie fivesome The Skins have a solid rock-soul thing going, with a distinctive sound that comes together in new EP Still Sleep. But it’s time to wake up to the up-and-coming group, whose unusual production choices are offset by strong individual voices and harmonies; “Bury Me” featuring D.R.A.M. is a good primer on how infectious that mix can be.
The unapologetic, percussive hip-hop of choreographer/singer/rapper Parris Goebel, who styles herself as PARRI$—she’s the mastermind behind Justin Bieber’s juggernaut “Sorry” music video—gets a spot in the sun with debut EP Vicious. “Das It” takes no prisoners, in the vein of a modern-day Missy Elliott. It’s music to get down to.