Friday Playlist: New Music for Your Weekend

New music from Kali Uchis, Meek Mill, and Brandi Carlile

After a year and change spent listening to new music from the confines of our homes, dance parties and concerts have returned (with some restrictions, of course) and artists are ramping up their new releases. Each week, we pick a handful of newly released songs worth a play—or four.

Kali Uchis ft. SZA, “fue mejor”

A Kali Uchis and SZA collab is one that fans have likely been dreaming about about for years now, so it feels like a true gift to hear them on a track together now. Uchis tapped SZA for the rework of her single “fue major,” where they both sing in Spanish. The original track featured PartyNextDoor on her 2020 sophomore album Sin Miedo (Del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞. The updated single also arrives with a steamy video directed by Daniel Sannwald.

Uchis thanked SZA on Twitter saying, “Thank u @sza for jumping on this & taking the time to sing in a whole different language. Thank u for making Spanish speakers feel seen & for being such a loving, pure & open spirit. que dios me la cuide siempre!!!” [artist info]

Meek Mill, Expensive Pain

The Philly rapper released his first album in three years, Expensive Pain, on Friday. The 18-track project—including one bonus track—is among the emcee’s most emotional offerings, and features him playing with various melodies and vocal arrangements on the album.

Expensive Pain features guest appearances from A$AP Ferg, Young Thug, Kehlani, and Brent Faiyaz, and arrives just a few weeks after Mill dropped two singles, “Sharing Locations” with Lil Baby and Lil Durk and “Blue Notes 2” with Lil Uzi Vert.

“I think the people are going to be able to identify when they hear this album,” Mill told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe about the follow-up to 2018’s Championships. “I got a lot of energy but I’m not screaming on a lot of records. You can hear me more [clearly] because I’m expressing myself in a better way this time.”

Mill will celebrate the release of his fifth studio album with Expensive Pain: Meek Mill & Friends “album playback concert” on October 23 at NYC’s Madison Square Garden. Tickets are available now. [artist info]

Brandi Carlile, In These Silent Days

Six-time Grammy winner Brandi Carlile released her seventh studio album In These Silent Days on Friday. The ten-track album comes just a few months after she put out her New York Times best selling memoir Broken Horses. Much like the book, which gave a behind-the-curtain look into the singer’s life, In These Silent Days is brilliantly emotional and authentic.

Carlile is set to appear on Saturday Night Live on October 23 with guest Jason Sudeikis, and will also perform Joni Mitchell’s legendary album Blue in full at Carnegie Hall on November 6. [artist info]

Nao, And Then Life Was Beautiful

We had to skip last week’s new music update because I was out of town, but I couldn’t let the week pass without highlighting Nao’s latest album, And Then Life Was Beautiful. The British singer’s third studio album, which dropped on September 24, contains 13 tracks and features verses from vocalists New Orleans crooner Lucky Daye, fellow British singer Lianne La Havas, breakout Nigerian singer Adekunle Gold, and experimental soul artist serpentwithfeet, all of whom blend beautifully with Nao’s distinct tone.

During a sit-down with radio personality Nadia Jae, Nao explained that she named the album And Then Life Was Beautiful because she wanted to offer hope to her listeners. “It’s not saying that life is beautiful, it’s kind of like … and then life gets beautiful,” she said.

Earlier this week, Nao announced on Twitter that she won’t be touring the album next year due to her struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome, which makes it difficult for her to handle tour life. Although we won’t be able to catch her on tour, we’re holding out hope that she’ll make some festival appearances. In the meantime, we can create our own Nao concerts in our living rooms. [artist info]

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