- Each week, INSIDER rounds up a list of great songs and albums to stream on Spotify over the weekend.
- In addition to Taylor Swift’s new single “You Need To Calm Down,” you can listen to GoldLink’s new album and a song from frequent Ariana Grande collaborators.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Friday is typically a big day for music, but in the world of YouTube, SoundCloud, and streaming services, it can be difficult to keep track of new releases.
That’s where we come in. Each week, INSIDER selects albums and songs – usually new, sometimes old but relevant – that we believe deserve your attention.
This week, in addition to Taylor Swift’s new single “You Need To Calm Down,” which celebrates LGBTQ rights, you can listen to GoldLink’s new album and a song from frequent Ariana Grande collaborators that features her own ghostly backing vocals. Keep reading to see our four additional picks and why we pulled them out of the fray.
1. “You Need To Calm Down” by Taylor Swift
- Big Machine Records
“ME!” should have been Taylor Swift’s triumphant return to music after 2017’s “Reputation,” her era of snakes, black lipstick, and getting shut out at the Grammys.
Unfortunately, “ME!” is bad. But so was “Shake It Off” and “Look What You Made Me Do,” so maybe Swift has made a habit of releasing underwhelming lead singles so the follow-up will sound even better.
“You Need To Calm Down” is by no means Swift’s best work, but it has a catchy beat and cheesy-yet-relatable lyrics, which is Swift’s bread and butter. It also has a strong message of empowerment and acceptance, explicitly shouting out the LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD and possibly calling out President Donald Trump.
2. “Diaspora” by GoldLink
The rapper GoldLink is most famous for 2017’s perfect summer song, “Crew.” But his underrated 2017 mixtape “At What Cost” explored complex themes and employed a variety of musical styles.
“Diaspora” takes that even further. As Tom Breihan wrote for Stereogum, “the album looks into the global legacy of black music,” toying with everything from afrobeats and dancehall to trap and funk.
“When that could be a messy and over-ambitious sprawl,” Breihan notes, “GoldLink keeps it tight – only 40 minutes – and makes sure it stays focused and personal.”
3. “Look What You’re Doing To Me” by Banks, featuring Francis and the Lights
- Harvest Records
Singer-songwriter Banks is best known for translating tortured, pained emotions into dance floor-worthy electropop, and her newest single is no different.
“The song is about love,” the singer said, according to Rolling Stone. “About falling in love, being in love and how you feel when you’re high on love. Vibrant, scared, on fire, excited, and all the goodness in between.”
4. “Madame X” by Madonna
- Interscope Records
Madonna’s newest album has been called “her most bizarre album ever” (The Guardian) and “a blueprint for multigenerational and multicultural artistry” (Forbes) – which is to say that it’s certainly worth a listen, even just to grapple with its utter uniqueness.
As Rob Sheffield wrote for Rolling Stone, “Madonna’s ‘Madame X’ is so admirably bizarre, all you can do is stand back and watch the girl go.”
5. “Bounce Back” by Little Mix
- Columbia Records
The British girl group Little Mix is everything pop music needs right now: a modernized Spice Girls with all the attitude and even more flair. The group’s newest single “Bounce Back” cements that reputation, especially when paired with the colorful, perfectly choreographed, Barbie-inspired, Cheetah Girls-esque music video.
6. “Sucks 4 U” by Silver Sphere
- Human Re-Sources
“Sucks 4 U” exists within the same universe as Ariana Grande’s post-breakup anthem, “Thank U, Next.” Silver Sphere’s version is more mellow and nostalgic, but the powerful “I turned out amazing” energy is channeled perfectly.
7. “Haunt You” by Social House
- Universal Music Group
Frequent Ariana Grande collaborators Mikey and Scootie, who were signed by Grande’s manager as the duo Social House last year, enlisted their pop star pal for their new single “Haunt You.”
Grande’s airy voice shine through the understated, melodic production, but the song’s true triumph is the gorgeous lead vocals from both boys.