Every Friday, artists drop anticipated albums, surprise singles, and hyped collaborations. As part of New Music Friday, EW’s music team chooses some of the essential new tunes. From U2’s epic new album to Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé’s new duet, here are some of the week’s most noteworthy releases. Got Spotify? Stream all of EW’s picks by following our playlist (embedded below) for this week.
1. U2, Songs of Experience
U2’s latest brings back everything we love about the rockers: “You’re the Best Thing About Me” honors a lover over an exuberant riff; “American Soul” drips with scuzz; “The Blackout” pulses with chunky bass and urgent soothsaying about current events. It’s a welcome return to form. —E.R.B.
2. Ed Sheeran & Beyoncé, “Perfect Duet”
You know what’s better than “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran? “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé. Sure, the British pop star might’ve missed out on the major Grammy nominations, but he’s moving forward. And as winter approaches, the soothing duet might be a fitting soundtrack for cuddling up with that special someone. —J.G.
3. Miguel, War & Leisure
The magnetic R&B crooner’s fourth album is his most vital yet. “The biggest thing I was setting out to do was to create something that felt upbeat,” he told EW of the political LP. “I want my music to be a place for my audience to go and be able to feel good.” For more, read EW’s full interview. —E.R.B.
4. Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Vol. 2
It would be easy to take the gritty country artist for granted — his last LP arrived just seven months ago, after all — but his latest set of bluesy, world-weary tunes proves that’d be a mistake. —E.R.B.
5. Neil Young + Promise of the Real, The Visitor
The rock god spends much of his new album railing against the American government — but his collaborations with his backing band of late, Promise of the Real, elevate his screeds with molten blues. —E.R.B.
6. N.E.R.D feat. Future, “1000”
The funky Pharrell-led group’s pulling out all the stops for their first album in seven years: They already shared the Rihanna-featuring “Lemon,” and No One Ever Really Dies will also feature Kendrick Lamar, André 3000, M.I.A, Gucci Mane, and Ed Sheeran. Their energetic new single features another A-lister, the trap king Future. —E.R.B.
7. The Rolling Stones, On Air
A new collection of BBC recordings from 1963 to 1965 captures the band’s formative years, when they churned out rock & roll ditties with tight, energetic ease. —E.R.B.
8. Logic and Rag’n’Bone Man, “Broken People”
It has been a big week for Logic, to say the least. On top of snatching a Song of the Year Grammy nomination for his suicide-prevention anthem “1-800-273-8255,” he also dropped this new track from Netflix’s forthcoming Will Smith movie, Bright. With Rag’n’Bone Man adding a catchy hook, the song shows off Logic’s lyrical prowess and is a worthy victory lap for his breakout year. —J.G.
9. DMX, “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer”
The “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” rapper finally followed up on his viral 2012 spin of the holiday classic with an official Spotify release. The song is exactly what you’d expect it to be, and that’s why it’s so hard to stop listening to it. Unfortunately, DMX probably won’t be celebrating the new release all that much, as he just plead guilty to charges of tax evasion. —J.G.
Listen to a playlist of tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.