Friday Music Guide: New Music From Zach Bryan, Lana Del Rey & Quavo, Morgan Wallen and More

Billboard’s Friday Music Guide serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond. 

This week, Zach Bryan continues his prolific streak, Lana Del Rey and Quavo get “Tough” and Morgan Wallen takes a muted new step. Check out all of this week’s picks below:

Zach Bryan, The Great American Bar Scene 

Zach Bryan has released a new full-length in each of the last three years, somehow managing to unveil extended alt-country opuses in between nonstop tour dates and expand his aesthetic in the process — after scoring his first Hot 100 chart-topper last year with the Kacey Musgraves duet “I Remember Everything,” for instance, new album The Great American Bar Scene boasts collaborations with Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer, among others. Yet Bryan’s tireless work ethic and growing popularity is not yielding diminishing returns: The Great American Bar Scene is defined by the same rustic, open-hearted songwriting that has made Bryan a star, and songs like “Mechanical Bull,” “28” and “The Way Back” are among the strongest in his quickly swelling discography.

Lana Del Rey & Quavo, “Tough” 

Lana Del Rey has become a beloved pop heroine without paying too much attention to crossover pop singles — she’s only entered the top 10 of the Hot 100 twice in her career, once with a remix and another time thanks to a featured spot on a Taylor Swift song. Yet “Tough,” her new team-up with Quavo, finds a sweet spot in between dreamy alt-pop and sizzling trap, with each artist sticking to their respective approaches before Del Rey starts rapping and the Migos star begins crooning. “Tough” shape-shifts, but never in an unnatural way; don’t be surprised if this unexpected collaboration becomes a late-summer hit.

Morgan Wallen, “Lies Lies Lies” 

As Morgan Wallen enjoys the type of superstardom that winds up becoming decade-defining — and spends another week atop the Hot 100 chart, with his Post Malone team-up “I Had Some Help” — the country giant has released “Lies Lies Lies” as something of a palette cleanser, with the wistful, low-key track a far cry from his latest chart-conquering anthem. Originally recorded at Abbey Road Studios in 2023 and released as part of a digital series in March, “Lies Lies Lies” arrives on streaming services as a humbled admission of continued longing, with Wallen trying to convince himself that he’s moved on from a relationship before crying, “I’m still a fool for you.”

Childish Gambino, “Lithonia” 

Donald Glover’s Childish Gambino project crowned the Hot 100 and scooped up multiple major Grammys with the provocative 2018 anthem “This Is America” — and instead of doubling down on mainstream music fame, Glover released an offbeat pandemic project (3.15.20), revisited and renamed it a few years later (Atavista), and retreated into rewarding film and TV projects. Now, he’s prepping what has been teased as the final Childish Gambino album, Bando Stone & The New World, and “Lithonia” marks an intriguing first taste: a fuzzed-out power ballad featuring some open-chested singing and soul harmonies, the track sounds designed for the arena crowds that Glover can still command whenever he wants.

Eminem feat. Big Sean & BabyTron, “Tobey” 

The first two tracks that Eminem has released from his upcoming album The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grâce) showcase two of the qualities that have made him an enduring superstar: while “Houdini” was all quotable crassness and pop hooks, “Tobey” is ear-melting rap theatrics, with Em’s technical skill taking center stage in the back half of the track. Before that, Big Sean and BabyTron crash in to deliver their own double-time rhymes, operating over a minimalist beat that allows all three MCs to turn their bars into the song’s priority.

Editor’s Pick: Kesha, “Joyride” 

The release of Kesha’s “Joyride” on Independence Day was purposeful: the new single represented the pop star’s first song as an independent artist, following a years-long legal battle with Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and the fulfillment of her initial label contract. With that in mind, “Joyride” is both an exhalation following unhappy circumstances and a smart back-to-basics move, in which Kesha can wrap her arms around a sly, hard-charging party track and reintroduce herself. “Joyride” bounces along with carnival-esque production and wacky sound effects, but Kesha matches its exuberance, altering her voice to punctuate every punchline and having a blast on the giddy hook.

Powered by Billboard.

Related Articles

Back to top button