Thursday, June 13, 2024

Eminem, Normani, Shaboozey & More

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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. 

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This week, Eminem returns to recapture the glory days of him trying to recapture his glory days, Normani’s debut album is finally just weeks away, Foster the People are back on a new label with a new sound and much more. Check out all of this week’s picks below.

Eminem, “Houdini”

Not surprising that Eminem begins “Houdini” — reportedly the lead single off his upcoming The Death of Slim Shady album — with a callback to his classic 2002 single “Without Me,” recreating that song’s famous “Guess who’s back?” intro. More surprising is the lift that follows: Eminem not only swipes the backing melody from the Steve Miller Band’s 1982 Billboard Hot 100 topper “Abracadabra,” he more or less recreates the chorus wholesale, just swapping out Miller’s “I wanna reach out and grab ya” for “I’m bout to reach in my bag, bruh.” Unfortunately, in this case, Em going in his bag involves making jokes about R. Kelly, the Megan Thee Stallion shooting and his “transgender cat,” before proclaiming, “If I think that s–t, I’ma say that s–t/ Cancel me, what?” Well, if it hasn’t happened yet for Eminem after 25 years of superstardom, this song probably won’t be the thing that does it, anyway.

Normani, “Candy Paint”

Only two weeks until Normani’s long- — and we mean long — awaited debut album, Dopamine, finally arrives. In the meantime, we have one more advance single: “Candy Paint,” in which she boasts about her ability to steal your man if and when (and for as long as) she’s so inclined. “If you let me take him, you might never get him back/ I’m a baddie and I don’t know how to act,” she proclaims in the chorus, with the first part evolving to “When I’m finished, baby, you can have him back.” It’s a frisky and fun three minutes, with a Coke-bottle-clinking beat from co-producers Starrah and Tommy Brown that keeps everything moving nicely.

Shaboozey, Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going

Few artists releasing albums in 2024 have done more leveling-up since their prior LP than Virignia country artist Shaboozey, who featured prominently on one of the year’s biggest sets in Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter, then scored a breakout hit of his own with the Billboard Hot 100 top 5 hit “A Bar Song (Tipsy).” That still-growing smash is found on Shaboozey’s third album, Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going, along with other dusty and lightly hip-hop-inflected bangers like “Highway” and “Let It Burn,” as well as ballads like “East of the Massanutten” and the Noah Cyrus collab “My Fault.” But there’s also some fun newer looks for the artist, like the Post Malone-sounding pop-rock of “Anabelle” and the trappier, BigXthaPlug-featuring “Drink Don’t Need No Mix.”

Charli XCX feat. Robyn & Yung Lean, “The 360 remix with robyn and yung lean”

Yes, that is the real title of the star-studded new remix of Charli XCX’s “360” single, now featuring a pair of Swedish guests in rapper Yung Lean and pop icon Robyn. The three trade lyrics breathlessly and almost interchangably throughout the two-minute redo, amping the energy of the already impressively kinetic original version. And of course, the best lyrics belong to Ms. Carlsson: I started so young, I didn’t even have e-mail/ Now my lyrics on your booby.”

Ayra Starr, The Year I Turned 21

Rising Beninese-Nigerian singer-songwriter Ayra Starr releases her follow-up to 2022’s 19 & Dangerous with this week’s aptly titled The Year I Turned 21. The album, which features the the top 10 Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs hit “Commas,” seamlessly mixes Afrobeats with genres like pop, R&B and amapiano, all tied together with Starr’s rich, deep vocals. “It feels very cohesive because of my voice,” she told Billboard earlier this week. “My voice is my sound — so whatever genre I find myself in, as long as my voice is there, you’re gonna hear the Afrobeats.”

Foster the People, “Lost in Space”

Speaking of artists with a “Houdini,” 2010s alt-pop hitmakers Foster the People are back this week with the new single “Lost in Space,” the band’s first taste of their just-announced upcoming album Paradise State of Mind, FTP’s first new set in seven years. “Space” takes off with a squelching synth bass line and disco groove that sounds closer to “Pump Up the Jam” than “Pumped Up Kicks,” with a falsetto vocal hook from lead singer Mark Foster — all making for an auspicious beginning to the group’s new era, which they’ll be beginning on Atlantic Records after spending their first three years on Columbia.



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