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.
This week, Lewis Capaldi returns to his sweet spot, Gabby Barrett gives a loved one a Lone Star State-sized compliment and The Game links up with a star father-and-son team. Check out all of this week’s picks below:
Lewis Capaldi, “Strangers”
If the Lewis Capaldi of “Forget Me” — lead single from last year’s Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent album — was just a little too upbeat for you, then you’ll be heartened by the sounds of his new song “Strangers.” Yes, Capaldi is back to the big balladry of breakout hit “Someone You Loved,” with the same vocally strained heartbreak in the chorus that fans fell in love with at the turn of the decade. A new wrinkle to this one, though: Capaldi sings of he and his now-gone beloved initially bonding over their shared hatred of Oasis’ “Wonderwall” (“You say you hate this song… my dear, you’re not the only one”), an insult likely to reignite Capaldi’s long-simmering feud with the Brothers Gallagher.
The Game & Big Hit, Paisley Dreams
On New Year’s Day, West Coast rap fixture The Game dropped the nine-track project Paisley Dreams alongside veteran MC Big Hit — who released his first album The Truth Is in My Eyes last year while in his 50s, having spent much of his adult life in prison. The tight, smartly structured project has a similar energy and focus to Nas and Hit-Boy’s recent full-length team-ups — Game’s voice even sounds like God’s Son on a couple tracks — which makes sense, given that Big Hit is Hit-Boy’s father, with the latter artist even showing up as a producer on set highlight “P Fiction.”
Gabby Barrett, “You’re My Texas”
Country hitmaker Gabby Barrett may be born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, but it’s Texas that feels like home to her in this sweet new ballad. Throughout the song, she compares her man to the Lone Star State, calling him “my home away from home/ You’re blue bonnets growin’ wild/ Boy, no matter where I roam/ You’re my Nacogdoches sky.” No telling how Steelers country might feel about the relocation, but in the land of the Cowboys, there’s sure to be a lot of young couples swooning to this one throughout 2024.
The Last Dinner Party, “Caesar on a TV Screen”
British quintet The Last Dinner Party scored one of the breakout alt-rock hits of 2023 with the scorching “Nothing Matters,” generating a lot of buzz and anticipation for full-length debut Prelude to Ecstasy, due out in February. Before that, though, the group releases the stirring “Caesar on a TV Screen,” with lead singer Abigail Morris perhaps getting ahead of the album’s inevitable press avalanche by poking fun at her own delusions of grandeur: “I am Caesar on a TV screen/ Champion of my fate/ No one can tell me to stop/ I’ll have everything I want/ Anyone and everyone will like me then/ Everyone will love me.”
Liam Gallagher & John Squire, “Just Another Rainbow”
Speaking of the Gallaghers: One of them is back with a new release this week, with a particularly esteemed Mancunian collaborator in tow. Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher has teamed up with guitarist John Squire of The Stone Roses, the Manchester greats who never quite crossed over to the U.S. mainstream but paved the way for the U.K.’s ’90s Britpop explosion with their attitude-driven psych-pop gems. The duo’s first release “Just Another Rainbow” might not quite be on the timeless level of “I Wanna Be Adored” or “Live Forever,” but it rocks familiarly enough to satisfy fans of the retro twosome — especially when Squire’s soloing goes into near-“I Am the Resurrection” overdrive at song’s end.
Green Day, “One Eyed Bastard”
And if you prefer your ’90s alternative heroes to hail from this side of the pond, there’s always pop-punk paragons Green Day, still going strong 30 years after Diamond-certified breakout album Dookie. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trio is set to release their 14th studio album Saviors in two weeks, and this week they release another new taste from the set with “One Eyed Bastard,” a hard-earned winners’ anthem for the stadium-touring group who’s outlived nearly all their onetime peers: “I never asked to hear your god-d–ned feelings/ Get on your knees when you are kissing my ring.”
The article “Friday Music Guide: Lewis Capaldi, The Game, Gabby Barrett & More” by Andrew Unterberger was published on 05/01/2024 by www.billboard.com