Mic-Check 🎵 Weekly Music Newsletter (10.18.21)

Adele returns! New Mac Miller track. Young Thug, Drake and Travis Scott team up. Coldplay & Selena Gomez duet. Remi Wolf debut album.

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Demi Lovato says calling extraterrestrials “Aliens” is offensive.

Click here for a Spotify playlist with the songs mentioned in this story.

BIGGEST Songs of the Week 📈

New music from Adele is as rare as a Stradivarius, but after an arduously long wait, the patron saint of piano ballads has finally returned with Easy On Me, shattering Spotify and Amazon Music’s single day streaming records. Arriving nearly six years after her last album, Easy On Me is the first preview of the singer’s upcoming LP 30, out November 19th. With a voice as powerful as ever, Adele sticks to her tried-and-tested formula, belting heartbreaking lyrics over a mostly bare track. Though the song doesn’t offer listeners anything new, you can’t fault her for knowing what she does best. Her harrowing lyrics are more poignant than ever as she struggles with the guilt of her recent divorce, noting in a British Vogue interview that the track was written to explain to her 9-year old son why she “voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of [her] own happiness.”

1. Adele, Easy On Me (Pop Soul) 👍👍

2. Young Thug, Drake, Travis Scott, Bubbly (Trap) 👍

3. Coldplay, Selena Gomez, Let Somebody Go (Ambient Rock) 😐

4. Lil Durk, Pissed Me Off (Trap) 👍

5. Anitta, Saweetie, Faking Love (Contemporary R&B) 🗑️

6. Camilo, Evaluna Montaner, Índigo (Latin Pop) 😐

7. Kodak Black, Killing The Rats (Trap) 😐

8. Summer Walker, JT, Ex For A Reason (Contemporary R&B) 👍

9. FINNEAS, Love is Pain (Alt Pop) 👍

10. 88rising, BIBI, The Weekend (Dance Pop) 👍

Honorable Mentions: Kygo, X Ambassadors Undeniable (Tropical House) 😐, Miranda Lambert If I Was A Cowboy (Contemporary Country) 👍👍

Noteworthy 📰

  • Belgian musician Stromae, best known for his 2009 hit Alors On Danse, which went №1 in 19 countries, returned with Santé, the artist’s first single since 2018.
  • James Blake updated the track Funeral from his most recent album Friends That Break Your Heart with a verse courtesy of British rapper slowthai.
  • Demi Lovato mourned the loss of their friend on the emotional new track Unforgettable (Tommy’s Song).
  • American rock legend Neil Young and frequent collaborators Crazy Horse shared Song Of The Seasons, the first preview of their upcoming album Barn, their 13th studio album together.
  • Indie folk band The Lumineers released BIG SHOT, the second single from their eagerly awaited new album BRIGHTSIDE, out in January.
  • Ahead of the release of the late David Bowie’s lost 2001 album Toy, the singer’s team shared Karma Man and Silly Boy Blue (Alternate Ending Mix), two previously unheard tracks.
  • To mark the 40th anniversary of Prince’s 1981 album Controversy, the artist’s estate unearthed a demo recording for the slow jam Do Me, Baby.
  • Holiday season is upon us — Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande teamed up on Santa Can’t You Hear Me. Separately, legendary new wave band Blondie and rapper Fab 5 Freddy reissued their rare 1981 flexi-disc Christmas single Yuletide Throwdown.
  • WATCH: Dijon, once one half of the University of Maryland based R&B duo Abhi + Dijon, announced the release of his debut LP next month. To coincide with the news, he shared a live performance video of the album’s still unreleased first track.
  • WATCH: Disney dropped the first trailer for the three-part Beatles documentary directed by Peter Jackson, out Thanksgiving weekend. The restored footage follows the Fab Four in January 1969 as they pen songs for their last two studio albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.

BEST Songs of the Week 🔥

Since Mac Miller’s 2018 passing, his team has continued to ensure that the rapper’s legacy lives on, particularly with the release of last year’s posthumous album Circles. This week, for the first time, the entirety of Mac’s 2014 mixtape Faces was brought to streaming platforms. Arguably his most critically acclaimed body of work, Faces saw Mac transition from a Donald Trump frat rapper to a soul and jazz-inspired, psychedelic artist with depressive and existential themes. To coincide with the project’s re-release, the bonus track Yeah was added to the mixtape. With a raw performance and lush production, it’s anyone’s guess as to how this got left on the cutting room floor. Yeah’s already haunting lyrics are further made tragic by Mac’s early death — “When will we die? This life isn’t fair / And one day we’ll die, no one will care.”

1. Mac Miller, Yeah (Trip Hop) 👍👍👍

2. Don Broco, Endorphins (Alternative Rock) 👍👍👍

3. Remi Wolf, Street You Live On (Contemporary R&B) 👍👍👍

4. Snail Mail, Ben Franklin (Indietronica) 👍👍👍

5. Black Country, New Road, Chaos Space Marine (Art Rock) 👍👍👍

6. Sondre Lerche, Dead of the Night (Art Pop) 👍👍

7. elbow, Six Words (Art Rock) 👍👍

8. Michael Kiwanuka, Beautiful Life (Psychedelic Soul) 👍👍

9. aldn, n2o (Hyperpop) 👍👍

10. Cate Le Bon, Running Away (Psychedelic Pop) 👍👍

Honorable Mention: Lone, Inlove2 (Ambient House) 👍👍

Albums Spotlight 💿

Unique and full of life, Remi Wolf’s debut album Juno does not have a boring moment. Over the last couple years, the genre bender and one of a kind talent has built a dedicated fan base using her charismatic energy off singles like Woo! and Photo ID. That untold charm seeps through her latest record which serves listeners a refreshing kick to the face. Juno has aptly been compared to Beck’s 1999 Midnite Vultures which combined funk, rock, R&B and hip hop. Like her predecessor, Remi stretches the boundaries of pop, taking the album in a different direction with each track. Her versatile voice delivers a vibrant performance over upbeat melodies with R&B baselines, funky licks and electro undertones. Juno is endlessly fun and takes pride in being weird. In an industry which can be very formulaic, Remi has stepped out with an unmistakable presence, carving her own niche in the world of pop.

Remi Wolf, Juno (Synth Funk) 👍👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: Guerrilla, Sexy Villain, Liquor Store, wyd, Street You Live On, Quiet On Set

Lil Ugly Mane, volcanic bird enemy and the voiced concern (Trip Hop) 👍👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: porcelain slightly, vpn, headboard, cold in here, discard

PinkPantheress, to hell with it (Mixtape) (Drum and Bass) 👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: Just for me, I must apologise, Passion, Reason, Pain

Young Thug, Punk (Pop Rap) 👍

  • Favorite Tracks: Bubbly, Stressed, Faces, Contagious, Insure My Wrist

Coldplay, Music Of The Spheres (Pop Rock) 😐

  • Favorite Tracks: Coloratura

Other Notable Projects: Disclosure DJ-Kicks (Mix), FINNEAS Optimist, Ice Nine Kills Welcome to Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2, Knocked Loose A Tear in the Fabric of Life (EP), Santana Blessings and Miracles, Tom Morello The Atlas Underground Fire, Vanishing Twin Ookii Gekkou, Xenia Rubinos Una Rosa, Zac Brown Band The Comeback, Zack Fox shut the fuck up talking to me

WORST Song of the Week 🗑️

Soulja Boy, Squid Game (Trap)

Next week: Lana Del Rey releases her 8th studio album, Blue Bannisters.

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