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Keeping up with new music can be exhausting, even impossible. From the weekly album releases to standalone singles dropping on a daily basis, the amount of music is so vast it’s easy for something to slip through the cracks. Even following along with the Uproxx recommendations on a daily basis can be a lot to ask, so every Monday we’re offering up this rundown of the best new music this week.
This week saw a slew of terrific year-ending collaborations between Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi as well as Juice WRLD and Justin Bieber. Yeah, it was a great week for new music. Check out the highlights below.
Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi — “Just Look Up”
Grande and Cudi expanded their IMDb pages this year by appearing in Don’t Look Up alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence. Along with their on-screen roles, the pair also came together on a song for the film, which, at least in title, has the exact opposite message, as it’s called “Just Look Up.” As for the sound, it’s a grandiose ballad that sees both artists showing off their emotional sides.
Juice WRLD — “Wandered To LA” Feat. Justin Bieber
Even though Juice WRLD tragically passed away two years ago now, new music from the late rapper has been released at an impressively regular rate. His posthumous output has included a lot of collaborations, and his latest is a Justin Bieber collaboration called “Wandered To LA.” As Uproxx’s Wongo Okon notes of the track, “The new song sees both artists wide-eyed and curious for the good and bad things that await them in the future.”
Grimes — “Player Of Games”
Get ready for a new Grimes era, because she launched one last week, declaring, “And so the BOOK 1 era begins.” That message came alongside the release of a new club-ready single, “Player Of Games.” Naturally, some speculate the song is about Elon Musk, as Grimes sings on the chorus, “If I loved him any less / I’d make him stay / But he has to be the best / Player of games.”
Khalid — “Scenic Drive” Feat. Ari Lennox and Smino
Khalid found himself in a funk this summer, as he noted of his then-in-progress project, “Creating is what keeps me from losing my mind but my passion goes away a little more every day.” Eventually, though, Khalid powered through and released Scenic Drive last week. A highlight from the project is its title track, a healthy dose of nighttime R&B that features Ari Lennox and Smino.
Ed Sheeran and Elton John — “Merry Christmas”
In recent years, Elton John’s older Christmas music has had some annual chart success, so he wanted to run it back with a new holiday tune. He recruited Ed Sheeran to help him out and together, the pair dropped “Merry Christmas.” If you’re surprised the song’s title is so simple, that’s how Sheeran felt when he discovered that basically no notable song had used it before.
Phoebe Bridgers — “Day After Tomorrow”
It’s Christmas music season, so leave it to Phoebe Bridgers to subvert expectations with her holiday song. Instead of going in the Sheeran and John direction of a classic bell-heavy Christmas tune, her contribution to the holiday season is a gloomy and gentle six-minute cover of Tom Waits’ “Day After Tomorrow.”
The National — “Somebody Desperate”
The National and its members have their fingerprints all over the new Cyrano movie. The Dessners composed the score and recently performed a song from it with Peter Dinklage on The Late Show. Matt Berninger and his wife (and frequent The National collaborator) Carin Besser also penned lyrics for the film, and The National themselves contributed a song to the soundtrack, the evocative “Somebody Desperate.”
Tierra Whack — “Stand Up”
The end of last week was kind to Tierra Whack fans: On Thursday, she announced a new project called Rap?, and on Friday, she released it. Among the highlights is “Stand Up,” which is delightfully minimal in its production and lets Whack’s deceptively catchy rhythm take over.
Cordae — “Sinister” Feat. Lil Wayne
Cordae is gearing up to drop his next album, From A Birds Eye View, but in the meantime, he’s kept his fans fed with miscellaneous drops here and there. Another one of those came last week, but it was more than a diversion, as he linked up with Lil Wayne for the groovy new single “Sinister.”
SZA — “I Hate U”
This summer, SZA decided to drop a trio of new songs on Soundcloud, and one of those, “I Hate U,” ended up gaining enough popularity for SZA to give it an official release, as she noted, “this started as an experiment on SoundCloud but y’all asked for it On streaming.” The track is a smooth tune that sees SZA flexing her vocal chops over moody production.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.