New Music Friday Graphic

The release of Juice WRLD’s second posthumous album, “Fighting Demons,” notwithstanding, listeners might find themselves unfamiliar with many of the artists who dropped new music this weekend.

Juice WRLD’s album was released Friday, two days after the two-year anniversary of the singer’s death and a few hours after the first celebration of “Juice WRLD Day” in Chicago. His song “Burn” opens the album, highlighting the singer’s struggles with substance abuse and mental illness.

The word ‘Burn” is repeated several times throughout the song, sometimes accompanied by a loud drum beat to emphasize how much the singer is struggling. The artist reveals he uses narcotics to detach himself from reality, declaring “I pray to God for some water to wash down these percs / I been cursed since birth, guess I never learn.”

Sadie Jean’s song “WYD Now” became a popular TikTok sound before its streaming platform release. Users danced and cried to the lyrics “I don’t wanna be 20 something / And still in my head about / 17 in my bedroom talking.” The song is an anthem to all who have loved and lost, and might still be struggling with regrets of the past.

It includes minimal piano, guitar and percussion, leaving most of the song’s emphasis on the emotional lyrics and noticeable grief in Jean’s voice. At the end, Jean poses the question “What are you doin’ now?” to her previous lover, leaving listeners to wonder if there is still a possibility the pair’s flame can be rekindled.

Lost Kings, an LA-based duo, released “Broken In All The Right Places” in collaboration with American singer and rapper Mod Sun. An active percussive accompaniment and the singers’ intermittent screamed vocals highlight their inner turmoil.

Like Jean’s song, “Broken In All The Right Places” addresses the pain that accompanies drifting in and out of a past relationship with lyrics like “Cause when we get close we just drift apart / Tear another stitch, paint another scar.” The Lost Kings know the connection has always hung on by a thread, but say whatever has caused a rip in the relationship, they are ready to tape it up and try again.

Abby Cates’ “saw ur mom at the grocery store” has almost a meditative feel, with soothing guitar chords and soft vocals. The song begins with small beeps that sound as if they are being emitted from a hospital machine. Cates describes how the single moment of seeing her ex’s mom in a grocery store sends her spiraling into thoughts of how different her life is since her relationship’s end. “I should've told her the truth,” Cates sings. “That I don’t know who I am after you.” She recalls how it still hurts to look back at their framed pictures and a pair of shoes she used to wear when out with him.

Tucker Beathard offers up a bit of country twang with his song “Prayin’ For You.” The singer addresses the pain and hardship that plagues the world, including forest fires, drug addiction, wars and broken hearts. Beathard sings directly to God as he lays down to sleep at night and thinks of how broken the world is. “Cause I’m lookin’ out at a world on fire / It’s in Your hands, but they must be tired,” he sings. He finds solace in the idea that God has a plan for everyone’s lives, but wonders if it sometimes becomes too heavy for him to carry.

For those looking to discover some new artists this week, this week’s New Music Friday playlist features a wide selection of singles from lesser-known and up-and-coming musicians.

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