New Music Friday Graphic

Artists like Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion and Shawn Mendes offered listeners fresh tracks Friday, making for a perfect playlist for the lengthy drives home before Thanksgiving break.

Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber teamed up for the first time on “Monster,” Mendes’ second single from his upcoming studio album, “Wonder.” The track has an R&B-inspired aura, showcasing Mendes’ and Bieber’s resonant yet buttery vocals, which left me speechless. Complementing the production’s mellow vibe, the track’s lyrics offer insight into the pitfalls of the music industry: “You put me on a pedestal and tell me I’m the best / Raise me up into the sky until I’m short of breath.”

Bold and outspoken “Prisoner (Feat. Dua Lipa),” by pop icon Miley Cyrus is the fourth single from her seventh studio album, “Plastic Hearts.” The track’s ‘80s-inspired production unfortunately felt overdone and played out, creating an overly trendy vibe that I wish sounded more timeless. Delving into the trials and tribulations of a toxic relationship, the track’s lyrics create an encompassing, relatable narrative: “You keep making it harder to stay / But I still can’t run away.”

Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion dropped her debut album, “Good News,” an upbeat and carefree seventeen-track love letter to anyone looking to be hyped up. A few of my favorites, “Circles”, “Movie (Feat. Lil Durk)” and “Girls in the Hood” offer listeners an over-the-top yet perfectly crafted confidence booster.

One of my favorites from the week, “Dying in the Subtlety,” by Cautious Clay gives an honest look into the touch-and-go feeling of a romantic friendship. The lyrics “you’re fogging up friendship / I don’t want to say it back” are painfully honest and eye-opening. Beyond its narrative, the track’s production incorporated bells and jumpy-paced drums that reminded me of English pop-rock band The 1975’s multi-layered production style.

Music collective Peach Tree Rascals released “Fumari” Thursday, a positive pick-me-up perfect for any gloomy day. The track’s fast-paced instrumentals incorporate horns and layered backing vocals, which come together to create a feeling reminiscent of driving through the city.

“chinatown (Feat. Bruce Sprinsteen)” by Indie-pop band Bleachers, offers a tasteful combination of rising synths, electric keyboard progressions and sparingly placed violin. Switching points of view between both partners in a relationship, the track’s lyrics show vulnerability: “Get in my backseat, honeypie / And I’ll wear your sadness like it’s mine.”

Puerto Rican rapper Iann Dior released “Holding On,” a single off his third studio album “A Little Bit Confused.” Reminiscent of TikTok rock musician Jxdn, the track’s simple yet catchy chorus surprised me with its depth: “I been holdin’ on, don’t know why / Love’s not for everyone, but I still try.”

As road trips commence and families reunite for the holidays, this week’s music releases offer listeners a wealth of new tracks to accompany them on their home-bound travels or to dance alongside loved ones while fixing dinner.

Raegan Holland is the lifestyles editor for The Arkansas Traveler, where she previously worked as a staff reporter.

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