It’s Friday, which means there’s a batch of new music to carry us through the weekend.
This week we have a buffet of projects from artists in different genres, from Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram’s new country album “The Marfa Tapes” to British rock band Coldplay’s upbeat, motivational single “Higher Power.”
Pop sisters Aly and AJ are back with a new studio album, which they say captures “that West Coast energy” on the 12-track project.
Rapper J. Cole also teases his upcoming album with the release of his new single, titled “Interlude.”
Here’s what we’re adding to our playlists.
Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram, ‘The Marfa Tapes’
This unvarnished collection of 15 songs from country storytellers Lambert, Ingram and Randall opens a door to rural Marfa, Texas, and a southwestern landscape where the trio says endless stars fill night skies and photos can’t do the sunrise justice. “I’m hoping that because people weren’t there with us, after they go through the whole record, (they feel) that they were,” Lambert told The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network.
‘The Marfa Tapes’: How Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram harnessed the magic of West Texas
Weezer, ‘Van Weezer’
Nothing if not adroit, the longtime rockers of Weezer channeled their inner metalheads for their 15th studio album. Fans of KISS, Van Halen and Metallica will appreciate the riffs and sonic sensibilities created as an ode to hard rock. This is Weezer’s second album of 2021, following their first orchestral album “OK Human” in January.
J. Cole, ‘Interlude’
Rapper J. Cole released a new single titled “Interlude” ahead of his upcoming album “The Off-Season” expected May 14.
“it can go up it can go down… either way I’m prepared ‘i n t e r l u d e,’ ” the rapper tweeted about his two-minute single. “See you in a week The Off-Season.”
“Interlude” is focused on the ups and downs of life and gun violence.
J. Cole announced his sixth studio album May 4 on Twitter: “just know this was years in the making. My new album The Off-Season available everywhere 5/14.”
Van Morrison, ‘Latest Record Project: Volume 1’
Northern Irish musician Morrison follows last year’s anti-lockdown songs with a 28-track commentary on modern life. His 42nd, the genre-spanning album includes tracks with such titles as “Why Are You on Facebook?,” “They Own the Media’ and ‘The Long Con.”
Social media users criticized Morrison’s latest project, which seems to air out his grievances with the media and criticizing social media with lyrics like “Why do you care who’s trending? // Is your life that empty and sad?”
Music critic Dan Ozzi tweeted: “generally i don’t have a problem with van morrison and morrissey ruining their legacies by devolving into stubborn old bigots but i do think they should be forced to merge into one guy for our convenience. it’d be a lot easier if they both just went by van morrissey.”
Responding to Morrison’s tweet announcing his new album, another user @Lauriemac916 wrote: “Music means something to me, does to most people I’m sure. I loved your music. I’m sad I can no longer listen to it.”
Bebe Rexha, ‘Better Mistakes’
Rexha’s long-awaited follow up to her 2018 debut “Expectations” (which earned her a best new artist Grammy nomination), “Better Mistakes” cherry picks the best genres for Rexha’s unique voice. She tapped a few hotshots for collaborations including Doja Cat on “Baby, I’m Jealous,” Travis Barker on “Break My Heart Myself” and Lil Uzi Vert on “Die for a Man.”
Aly & AJ, ‘A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun’
Fourteen years after their last studio album, pop duo Aly & AJ are back with studio album “A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun.”
Sisters Alyson and Amanda Michalka came ready with their submission for album of the summer with their latest project, which includes laidback tracks that make you want to drive by the beach with the top down.
“Aly and I wanted to capture and bottle up that West Coast energy of the music we loved growing up,” AJ Michalka told Vogue in an interview published Friday. “We wanted to translate how California makes you feel into this record, and I feel like we accomplished that.”
Coldplay, ‘Higher Power’
Coldplay continues to show us why they’ve been around for so long.
The band released its latest single “Higher Power,” produced by Grammy-winning producer Max Martin, who’s known for delivering iconic hits like Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
The upbeat single gives off summertime vibes – and extraterrestrial vibes. The British band first premiered it to Thomas Pesquet, the mission commander on the International Space Station.
During an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe Friday, Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin explained the origin of “Higher Power.
“It came on a kitchen sink. A bathroom sink. And then the title, ‘Higher Power,’ had been around for a while,” Martin said. “I think with good songs, at least, they are just like their own things that you happen to catch. Because you just know that it’s nothing to do with you. I have a deal with myself. It took a while to negotiate it, but we came to an agreement. But to say that if anything comes calling, you have to go and do it.”
Contributing: Matthew Leimkuehler, Tennessean