New Music Friday Graphic

It’s been a big 24 hours for the music industry. The third and final installment of Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon” series and a surprise Taylor Swift album may have stolen the show, but this week’s other new releases hold their own and offer a variety of sounds for upcoming travel playlists.

After a summer of playing “Pursuit of Happiness” on repeat, Kid Cudi’s “Man on The Moon III: The Chosen'' was exactly what I needed to finish the semester. Candid and occasionally Travis Scott-like, the 18-track album boasts features from Phoebe Bridgers, Trippie Redd, Skepta and Pop Smoke. “Elsie’s Baby Boy (flashback)” and “The Void” are standouts on the album. “The Void” is not as dark as the name suggests and features lyrics about accepting change and growing: “thіѕ іѕ thе rеаlеѕt hоw І’vе bееn / Теll mу / frіеndѕ аnd fоlkѕ thаt І’m оn а rіdе / Dоn’t knоw whеn І’m соmіn’ hоmе / Тhіngѕ mіght сhаngе, but І’m сооl wіth іt.”

If “folklore” opened the door to a new era of Taylor Swift, then “evermore” takes listeners by the hand and pulls them deeper into the forest of intricate narrative and authenticity Swift has created. From “no body, no crime (ft. HAIM),” a murderous country ballad, to the heartbreaking and ironically named “happiness,” Swift dives deeper into a genre listeners have only seen her scrape the surface of.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what Passenger has released since “Let Her Go” was popular when I was in high school, but “Remember to Forget,” the title track of their new EP, makes up for lost time. Opening with a rolling drum and twangy guitar, it sounds like a John Mayer song for a moment. From the perspective of a man just meeting someone and confessing all the things he is, “Remember to Forget” is a sweet and equally sad ode of hoping they will help you let go for a moment: “Help me remember to forget / Cos I, I don’t wanna wake up yet / Stay with me through the night / Until the morning light / Help me remember to forget.”

In a departure from the many new albums and EPs out this week, Tate McRae’s single “r u ok” has TikTok written all over it. Soft, soothing and sassy, McRae’s voice complements the lyrics about checking in on an ex who can’t seem to get over him perfectly. It’s heartbreak pop at its finest.

Madison Beer’s voice has the same almost-hypnotic sound as McRae’s, but her new track “BOYSHIT” falls flat where the other shined. The chorus is the only thing that stood out on the track, and even that was hidden behind the heavy bass. It’s a story too many girls know all too well about a toxic relationship with a boy who keeps popping back up. Beer isn’t falling for their “BOYSHIT” and I’m not really falling for her track.

It’s almost Christmas, and that means holiday songs from our favorite artists.

Chance the Rapper and Jeremih returned with their third collaborative Christmas album, “Merry Christmas Lil Mama: The Gift that Keeps on Giving.” The album builds on tracks from the two past releases but features two new songs from Chance: “The Return” and “Who’s To Say.” Neither track strays from the smooth vocals and raw rapping Chance is known for, but it works for him and he knows it. If seasonal R&B is your thing, this album is for you.

With Shawn Mendes’ new album last week came his holiday collab with Camila Cabello on “The Christmas Song.” The track is sugary sweet, and much like a candy bar at 2 a.m., it left me wishing for more. Nothing about the cover was particularly exciting, and it sounded like something you could hear on any festive coffee shop playlist.

It was a great Friday for album drops and a strong finish to one of the last release weekends of the year. So whether you’re looking for a rap song for your drive home after finals or a song to cry to after finals, this week’s new releases have you covered.

Abbi Ross is the Editor in Chief of the Arkansas Traveler, where she previously worked as senior staff reporter.

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