Music We Loved This Week: Eric Church, One Direction, Young Thug, Little Mix, and more | EW.com

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Music We Loved This Week: Eric Church, One Direction, Young Thug, Little Mix, and more

Yes, One Direction dropped a new single — and, well, actually we included it here, along with all the other tunes we’re spinning this week.

Eric Church, “Knives of New Orleans”
Country outlaw king Eric Church dropped the excellent Mr. Misunderstood, a surprise 10-song set, earlier this week. And this tune is a highlight from the collection that’s quickly proved a highlight of the music-year. Church’s track is the tale of a wanted man in The Big Easy — but Church elevates it with his husky baritone that has an urgency all his own. Mr. Misunderstood is currently available exclusively through Apple Music. —Madison Vain

One Direction, “History”
In advance of the Nov. 13 release of their fifth album, Made in the A.M., One Direction released a song that band member Liam Payne described to EW as “a bit of closure for this chapter” of the band. It’s an apt description: the lyrics and fan-sung chorus in “History” have the feel of the season finale for a TV series on the bubble of cancellation, as if it’s tying up loose ends juuust in case. (“We could be the greatest thing the world has ever seen,” and, “This is not the end / We can make it, you know it, you know.”) It’s an earnest, hand-clapping ode to the fans and to the future ahead — whatever that may hold. —Amanda Michelle Steiner

Young Thug, “Raw (Might Just)”

In just over a year, the 24-year-old Atlanta rapper Young Thug has gone from hip-hop’s best kept secret to one of the genre’s most eccentric and promising emerging voices. Slime Season 2, his third mixtape in seven months, showcases Thug as he continues to harness his often scattershot ideas into cohesive collections. “Raw (Might Just)” is one of the tape’s best cuts, but it’ll make listeners who only know the rapper through his phenomenal Jamie xx collaboration, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times),” do a double-take. The beat may be spaced-out, but it’s unmistakably Young Thug. —Eric Renner Brown

Little Mix, “OMG”
With a bouncing baseline and a punchy hook, this candy-coated track stands out from the rest on the quartet’s just-released album, Get Weird. It’s got some lyrical Britney influence (“Oh my gosh / I did it again / He said I broke his heart / It keeps happening”), peppered with some Rihanna-style “Oh na na’s” and Beyoncé’s attitude-filled inflections — an homage to some of the best divas around. —Isabella Biedenharn

Quilt, “Eliot St.”

The Boston psych-folk quartet releases its third album Plaza in February, and lead single “Eliot St.” indicates that it’ll be another collection of the jangly, upbeat rockers that endeared the band to fans of other indie acts like Mikal Cronin, Real Estate, and Woods. The flower-power vibes also recall classic bands like the Byrds and the Mamas & the Papas — this style never really goes out of fashion. —Eric Renner Brown

Frankie Ballard, “It All Started With A Beer”

The country-rocker follows up his three consecutive No.1 songs off Sunshine & Whiskey with a totally new tune and it’s a Heartland Rock slow jam. Co-written by Cadillac Three frontman Jaren Johnson — who also had his name on the title track of the last album — “It All Started With A Beer” is the first we’ve heard off Ballard’s largely undetailed next project, which he recorded at the Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas. —Madison Vain

Ty Dolla $ign, “LA (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Brandy, and James Fauntleory)”

Recruiting Kendrick Lamar for the first track off your debut album, as Ty Dolla $ign has done here, is both a remarkable accomplishment and a significant risk. In the year of To Pimp a Butterfly, it feels like Lamar can do no wrong. He does nothing to dispel that idea here, blistering through a guest verse about the role of God in the city of angels. But he doesn’t overshadow the main attraction. All the elements here — from James Fauntleroy’s singing to Ty Dolla $ign’s typically smooth delivery — sync together to form a love letter to their shared hometown, and a convincing argument that Free TC will more than make up for the wait. —Christian Holub