List to this week’s YouTube Music playlist here.
“Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” Mark Ronson & Miley Cyrus
Sounds like: An emotionally fragile pop banger
Perfect for: Crying on the dance floor
She’s a little bit country, he’s a little bit disco. Mark Ronson recruited Miley Cyrus for the first taste of his next album, and it works perfectly for a set that he promises will be full of “sad bangers.” Miley reflects on the state of the world and her tender heart in her signature Southern twang, while Ronson serves up a moody orchestral arrangement.
“Good Form,” Nicki Minaj featuring Lil Wayne
Sounds like: A rap queen at the top of her game
Perfect for: Reminding yourself of Minaj’s unmatched wordplay skills
Nicki Minaj’s Queen rollout almost drowned itself out with random drama, meaning that moments like “Good Form” came close to being ignored entirely. Thankfully, she’s released the track as a single with a bonus guest verse from her friend Lil Wayne. “Good Form” is peak Minaj: clever, cheeky wordplay and memorably catchy one-liners that will exist as Instagram captions and comebacks until the end of time.
Ozuna featuring Lunay, Rauw Alejandro and Lyanno, “Luz Apaga”
Sounds like: Four rising stars ready to take over American airwaves
Perfect for: Pretending like it’s July, not December
Ozuna is one of the strongest presences in the wave of reggaeton artists dominating the clubs and the charts, and he gives us an early winter warm-up with his latest single. Detailing what exactly happens when the lights go out on the dance floor, “Luz Apaga” features a trio of even newer artists from Puerto Rico, making it a who’s who of Latin pop artists to watch.
Swmrs, “April in Houston”
Sounds like: Young punks growing up and growing bitter
Perfect for: Temporarily staving off the scariest parts of getting older
The boys are back in town: Bay Area grunge-pop outfit Swmrs are newly signed to a major label and prepping the release of their sophomore album Berkeley’s on Fire in February. The first sip of what’s to come is the world-weary, spunky “April in Houston” which has lead singer Cole Becker wondering why everybody wants to get him high.
Van Morrison, “Got to Go Where the Love Is”
Sounds like: A legend in his prime
Perfect for: Starting over and finding a better place than the one you’re at
On Friday, Van Morrison releases his 40th studio album, The Prophet Speaks. It’s especially endearing to know that the great Irish singer-songwriter sounds fresher and more brazen than ever with his jazzy, soulful tune. Re-teaming up with frequent collaborator Joey DeFrancesco, “Got to Go Where the Love Is” is a brassy, hopeful highlight.