Usher: Hard II Love
Usher releases his eighth studio album, Hard II Love. We got an early taste in June when “No Limit,” featuring Young Thug, surfaced, but the collaborations on Hard II Love don’t end there — of note is “Rivals,” a first-time partnership between Usher and fellow Atlantian Future.
And after 20 years in the game, Hard II Love proves Usher hasn’t lost any relevance. Metro Boomin steps in to lend a hand on “Make U A Believer” and a sample of the classic R&B song “Love You Down” by Ready For The World also surfaces. Jon Pareles at The New York Times writes “Usher also has a canny psychological sensitivity in his lyrics, a dancer’s physical grace and an ear for up-to-the-minute electronic productions that warm to his voice,” which compels us to say Hard II Love is definitely worth a listen.
Mac Miller: The Divine Feminine
Mac Miller’s fourth album, The Divine Feminine, is a departure for the young MC. Well known for his party-loving, wild and free raps, he says The Divine Feminine is “10 songs about love.” Miller does unveil his softer side on the new album, opting to be a singer rather than a rapper, while live instrumentation and harmony background vocals push The Divine Feminine into R&B territory and out of hip-hop.
With a wide array of guests — CeeLo Green, Kendrick Lamar, and Ty Dolla $ign — the first single, “My Favorite Part,” features Miller’s new girlfriend Ariana Grande. Expectations are high that “My Favorite Part” will be as well received as their previous collaboration on Grande’s “The Way,” which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Taking Back Sunday: Tidal Wave
Long Island rockers Taking Back Sunday drop the new Tidal Wave, which features a smorgasbord of the band’s various takes on the rock genre — but that’s not a bad thing. The album shifts from the back-pedaled, acoustic opener “We Don’t Go in There” to the snidely snotty and defiant title track.
The band kicks off a Stateside tour today and will be out on the road through the start of 2017, so whether you’re in the States, across the pond or Down Under, you’ll have a chance to catch them at a venue near you.
Against Me!: Shape Shift With Me
If you’re looking for more new rock music, Shape Shift With Me certainly fits the bill. The anticipated follow-up to 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues (which addressed frontwoman Laura Jane Grace’s transgender status), the new album is, “raging, tender, organic, erotice and liberating,” according to NPR’s Jason Heller.
And if classic rock is your thing, be sure to check out Led Zeppelin’s The Complete BBC Sessions, a 33-track rock ‘n’ roll tour de force.
AlunaGeorge: I Remember
First things first: AlunaGeorge is a duo — not a person.
OK, now that we’ve cleared that up, here’s what you need to know: This British duo’s sophomore effort is breaking new ground. The BBC calls the album “a little bit R&B, a little bit garage, a little bit dancehall and several other genres besides,” but Aluna Francis and George Reid also tackle a number of political and social issues. If you’re keen on what artists have to say about about the world in the here and now, we recommend a listen.
The Devil Makes Three: Redemption & Ruin
Neo country/Americana road warriors The Devil Makes Three have unleashed an album of covers that, according to PopMatters is “divided equally between songs of sacred striving and secular abandon.” Long a live favorite among fans, this release should tide you over until they swing through your town.
There’s a slew of new singles that were released this week, among them Tinashe’s “Company” the second single from her upcoming album, Joyride. The first single, “Superlove,” was what we expect from Tinashe, but “Company” is a little more racy — she is not trying to “settle down” and “have a baby” this time around. In fact, she has no shame taking control and letting a man know she’s just looking for company and “just a little side thing, a fling.”
While we’ve been treated to a couple of singles, Tinashe hasn’t released an album since 2014 and has been hinting about the release of Joyride for quite some time. The only information she’s given is that the album is set to release early fall and while she’s worked with a lot of high profile artists like Chris Brown, Schoolboy Q, and Travi$ Scott, she’s said she’s unsure if the tracks will appear on the Joyride or if she’ll “just be herself.”
If you’re still singing along to Justin Timberlake’s joyous pop smash “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” there’s another earworm that’s just dropped: “True Colors,” a duet with Timberlake and Anna Kendrick. Each song is from the upcoming animated movie Trolls and if these two singles are any indication, the flick’s sure-to-be-infectious soundtrack will have people humming for months.
And don’t forget to check out Ariana Grande’s “Jason’s Song (Gave It Away),”, Calvin Harris’, “My Way” and Shawn Mendez’ “Don’t Be a Fool.”
Compiled by Jazmyn Pratt and Vickie Gilmer