New Music Friday: Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Jonas Brothers & More of the Hottest Songs and Albums of the Week
By Meredith B. Kile
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Happy New Music Friday! It's every audiophile's favorite day of the week, and some of our favorite artists from all different genres have blessed us with new tunes.
Ariana Grande dropped her steamy sixth album, Sam Smith ushered in a new era of songs to dance your broken heart away, and Keke Palmer urged fans to "Actually Vote" with a catchy new bop.
Plus, a "No Drama" collab from Becky G and Ozuna, a mind-bending new track and video from Tierra Whack and a slew of instant holiday classics from Kelly Clarkson, Brett Eldredge, Jonas Brothers and more!
Read on for some of our favorite recommendations for new songs and albums to listen to this week -- plus, where you can stream them now!
Positions - Ariana Grande
The prolific pop princess launched her Positions era on Friday, following last week's title single drop. Ari's new album certainly feels like a honeymoon period, with lots of sultry tracks and not-so-thinly-veiled innuendo (ahem, "34+35"). However, there's still plenty of heart and depth to be found -- standout songs include her collabs with Doja Cat and The Weeknd, the orchestral kiss-off of an opener, "shut up," and the emotional closing ballad, "pov."
Smith also debuted a new era on Friday, dropping their new double album full of stunning, soaring explorations of love, loss and the life in between that ties it all together -- from the slow burn build of the title track, a collaboration with Labrinth, to the slowed-down emotions of "For the Lover That I Lost," to the club catharsis of "Dance ('Til You Love Someone Else)."
“The last two years has been the most experimental time of my life, personally but also musically. Every time I went into the studio, I promised myself I would shoot for the stars and have no limitations. The result has been so magical and so therapeutic and FUN," Smith said of the album.
"I am so thankful to every human who embraced my creativity and direction and allowed me to be whoever I wanted to be in that studio on that day…listen to these songs with an open heart and treat each song like a different flower from the garden, have fun with them, I tried not to take myself too seriously when writing a few of these songs. I hope they make you smile, because they made and make me.’
Palmer teamed up with Finneas, Kaleena Zanders and Academy Award-winning Benj Pasek & Justin Paul to craft this actual bop about getting "off your couch, off your ass, off the fence and off the phone" to make your voice heard in the upcoming election, with guest appearances in the video from Julianne Moore, Bella Thorne, Ilana Glazer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
"Y'all it is TIME for America’s glow up, but it only happens when we SHOW UP!!!" Glazer said of the project. The Broad City star produced the Americana-themed video for Generator Collective.
The musical megastars teamed up for their first collab ahead of this year's Latin GRAMMYs -- where they both scored major nominations. "No Drama" is an infectious, beat-driven bop about just that.
“I love this collab with Ozuna," Becky G said of the track. "I have always liked his music and I knew that together we could record something amazing. Now, perhaps more than ever before in our lives, less drama is something we all need, and this was part of the inspiration for the song."
The eccentric Philly-born rapper dropped her first new song of the year on Friday, a minimalist ode to the finer things in life accompanied by a Wonder Showzen-esque video directed by visual artist Alex Da Corte. "When I go to sleep, Gucci sheets now / Goin' out to eat, don't eat no meat now," Whack raps over a choral track and catchy backing beat. "Yeah we from the streets, you get a beat-down / Skin tanned 'cause we livin' on the beach now."
The alt-rockers marked the week before the presidential election with a upbeat new single, laser-focused on current events and the state of the world at large, co-written by Mark Foster of Foster the People.
"The song was written from a shared feeling of uncomfortable complacency," lead singer Mitchy Collins said of the track. "Cultural insensitivity should be unacceptable in America or anywhere in the world. If this song even motivates one person to be kinder to themselves or their neighbor, or to get out and vote, it has served its purpose."
"With having such a crazy year, we all really need something to look forward to," the Jonas Brothers said of their new Christmas track, which includes an adorable throwback family photo as its album cover.
"The holidays are a time that brings us together and is something that brings us joy in the darkest of times. For us, this song stirs up memories of childhood snowball fights and finding the nearest hill to sled. It brings us back to spending time with family setting up the Christmas tree. Hopefully it can bring you guys the same feelings of warmth and happiness that creating it has brought us. We love you guys very much!"
"Under the Mistletoe" - Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge
“I love writing new Christmas songs that have a classic, throwback vibe," Clarkson said of her jazzy, romantic new classic. "Brett is such an amazing singer and I was so impressed by his classic sound on his Christmas record so it was a perfect match for picking a duet partner for "Under The Mistletoe.'"
Eldredge added, "When Kelly sent me this song I was blown away by the soul and joy that it brought into my life the moment I heard it. I couldn’t wait to go in and sing it, and once I heard our voices together I knew we landed something very special. I think we are going to be singing this song for a very long time and I’m glad I get to do that with one of the best vocalists on this earth."
"It's Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries" - Carly Rae Jepsen
The pop star dropped an ode to the more realistic side of the holidays as her first Christmas track of 2020, noting on Instagram, "I hope it makes you smile and think of you and yours this season (as chaotic as they may be!)."