New Music Friday Graphic

With album drops from Justin Bieber and Lana Del Rey on Friday, this weekend’s new release playlist is ruled by established artists with cult-like followings. Singles from artists including Lord Huron and Tai Verdes balance out the icon-dominated weekend and add a new life to weekend tunes.

Justin Bieber’s sixth studio album, “JUSTICE,” is just what the Beliebers ordered. It’s a solid mix of shallow pop hits, decent features and Bieber’s foray into more emotional songs.

“As I Am” (ft. Khalid) is raw and honest with soft melodies that take listeners on the journey of someone’s lover accepting their shortcomings: “You were there for me when I was actin' selfish / And you prayed for me when I was out of faith / You believed in me when ain't nobody else did / It's a miracle you didn't run away.” It’s a sweet song that pairs perfectly with Khalid’s subtle vocals and makes up for the less meaningful tracks on the album, like “Peaches” (ft. Daniel Caesar and Giveon).

If you searched the term obsessed online, it wouldn’t surprise me if something about Lana Del Rey’s fanbase popped up. The release of her seventh studio album, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” is sure to only fan the flame. The album’s opener “White Dress'' features the artist’s breathy, whisper-like vocals, which frankly, hurt my ears. Del Rey’s voice is incredibly high in the first half of the track before she adopts her usual mesmerizing tone and steals the show with her story-telling lyrics.

If Bieber and Del Rey aren’t your preferred cups of tea don’t worry, as other well-known artists along with up-and-coming stars filled the gaps.

Jelani Aryeh’s “Marigold” is an alternative ode to that person with a larger-than-life personality. Aryeh’s unique vocals pair perfectly with the track’s experimental production and lyrics describing an out-of-this-world friend: “Playing your stereo loud / Flaunting your taste / Blazing the space around you / With love, light and marigold sounds / Pray we live long lives / Seeking our futures out.” “Marigold” makes you feel like doing a little dance around your bedroom.

TikTok star Tai Verdes did it again with “we would have some cute kids.” Plucky guitar and Verdes’ youthful, soft voice are the perfect vehicle for a song literally describing how they would have cute kids with their crush.

“Mine Forever” by Lord Huron has coming-of-age film soundtrack written all over it. The twangy electric guitar and drum-driven intro scream highway montage at the end of a movie filled with stars you only barely know and a plot-driven by a need to defy parents.

“The Drop it Like it’s Hot” king himself, Snoop Dogg, is back and better than ever with “CEO.” The track is what Snoop does best, it’s a little funky and a whole lot of fun. Lyrics celebrating his success and time in the industry pair perfectly with the track’s funky rhythm.

This week’s new music releases may have been dominated by two of the biggest musicians around right now, but it’s the tracks from lesser-known artists that really shine.

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

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