This week, Dua Lipa introduces us to her new era and the first release off her sophomore album with the disco-dance tune “Don’t Start Now.” Ariana Grande teams up with Chaka Khan on the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, with fun results. Labrinth shows off the spectrum of his skills in the lead-up to his new album. Maluma and his fellow Colombians Feid and Sky make a suave reggaeton slow-burner. And blink-182 pops up on a new track from Goody Grace.
“Don’t Start Now,” Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa came out the gate swinging in 2016 with her debut album and hit “New Rules.” Since then, she’s built a strong brand of honey-voiced disco-pop. “Don’t Start Now,” the first single off her upcoming sophomore album, doubles down on what she does best and also pushes her forward: bouncy and dance-ready, the twists of her voice keep it intimate, while the juicy synths and bubbly percussion are layers of fun finishing touches. Dua draws from different traditions like soul, electronic, disco for a result that’s fresh yet classic. Plus, Dua is always good for some breezy, unbothered empowerment pop: “Though it took some time to survive you,” she sings with cheeky joy, “I’m better on the other side.” Sounds good to us.
“Nobody,” Ariana Grande feat. Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan previously described this song as “cute,” but that undersells it: it’s a fun, jazzy collaboration between two top-of-the-game voices, and it’s hard not to get a kick out of their delivery and the foot-stomping beat. (There’s even a part in the bridge that features laughter.) Grande continues her winning streak, co-executive-producing the soundtrack for the upcoming Charlie’s Angels movie which is out in mid-November; getting to work with artists like Khan is just a cherry on top.
“Where the Wild Things,” Labrinth
British producer, singer and songwriter Labrinth has been behind the scenes with some of the world’s biggest artists, from Beyoncé to Sia, and just this year led the music on HBO’s Euphoria. So it’s good timing that he’s following things up with a new album of his own, Imagination & the Misfit Kid, out Nov. 22. “Where the Wild Things Are” shows off the breadth of his sonic style: there’s piano balladry, melodic gospel and beat-heavy electronic all mixed into one complex, uplifting track — with an electric guitar outro to boot. It’s hard to pin a genre dabbler like Labrinth down, but with music this consistently compelling, we don’t really need to.
“Fresh Kerias,” Feid, Maluma, Sky
Sometimes you just want a pleasantly lilting reggaeton jam to vibe out to, and that’s what Feid, Maluma and Sky have offered up with “Fresh Kerias.” Unhurried and smooth-like in rhythm and style, it sees the three artists — all stars hailing originally from Medellín, Colombia — comfortably layering their styles, with Feid and Maluma trading verses with easy camaraderie. Lyrically, it doesn’t get that deep; it’s a song about passion attained. But satisfying reggaeton songs depend more on mood than content, and on that front, “Fresh Kerias” delivers.
“Scumbag,” Goody Grace feat. blink-182
For a little pop-punk this week, turn to Canada’s Goody Grace and his new collaboration with blink-182, “Scumbag.” Goody Grace, who grew up as a fan of the band, was one of Blink-182’s openers for a handful of recent shows; the result is a natural collaboration that blends his more pop-leaning vocals with Blink’s familiar rock sound. Don’t look to this one for a boost; “She says I’m a scumbag / Wants to take her love back / Story of my life” are not exactly uplifting lyrics. But when it comes to disappointed love, “Scumbag” hits the nail on the head with a perspective that’s dour but honest, and a sound that falls on the right side of nostalgic.
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