New Music Friday Graphic

Classic rock icons AC/DC and Stevie Nicks made their return to the charts this weekend, giving listeners a refreshing reprieve from subpar pop and college boy rap. Add in budding rock icon Greta Van Fleet's new release, and this weekend's new music lineup is sure to leave listeners dreaming of flared jeans and rose-tinted glasses.

AC/DC's “Shot in the Dark” is their first new release since 2014, but a quick listen takes you back to the band’s prime in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Iconic guitar riffs and a steady beat transported me to my childhood and listening to music with my dad.

What better to follow AC/DC than a relatively new to the rock scene band looking to find their own sound? Greta Van Fleet’s “My Way, Soon” is a salute to the band's time on the road in recent years. With lyrics like, “I’ve packed my bags and I’ve got my freedom / I’ve sacked the rules so I don’t have to heed them / I’ll bet on a chance if I’ve just got one / I’ll throw out the plans and live with no burden,” the track has me ready to pack my car and start a road trip to nowhere.

Stevie Nicks’s first single since 2014 is a different sound than those who have beens fans since her Fleetwood Mac days might know, but Nicks still delivers. The emotional lyrics paired with her distinct voice left me reaching for the replay button. The song is as much a political statement as it is a plea for some higher being to deliver guidance. With multiple references to the Kennedy family and Martin Luther King Jr., it feels like it could have been written in the 1960s just as easily as it could have been written today.

If rock isn’t quite your favorite flavor, don’t worry yet. Mellow tunes from artists like Russ and Labrinth help break up the monotony of this week's pop and rap releases. The opening beat of Russ’s “Paid Off” vaguely reminds me of the Mii people sound from the Wii, but I’m here for it.

Labrinth’s “No Ordinary” is an ode to love that transcends into a vibrant, building track full of reaching vocals and strong beats. I have a feeling we’re going to see this at some cheesy peak moment in a rom-com sometime soon.

Bebe Rexha’s “Baby, I’m Jealous (feat. Doja Cat)” had me in the first half, much like Razorback football, before she fumbled the bag. The lyrics “I'm jelly, jelly, jelly, jelly, jelly on a plate / Sunny side up, I got egg on my face,” were just too much from me and I had to skip it from there.

Little Mix’s “Not a Pop Song” is indeed a pop song and that’s probably all I could tell you about it. It’s not as sugary sweet as some of their past work, though, and it does leave room for hope with their upcoming album, releasing Nov. 6.

New releases from Trippie Red, Travis Scott and Lil Wayne also fell into the “not bad, but I have no clue what I just listened to” trap. Juicy J and NLE Choppa’s “Load it Up” was a fun surprise. It’s as repetitive as it is enjoyable. It would have been a perfect pre-game song in a pre-pandemic world.

This week’s new releases left me wanting more in a lot of genres, but classic rock delivered, and I can live with that. So grab a friend and a flannel, roll the windows down and enjoy the beginnings of fall with the perfect road trip music.

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

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