First Stream: New Music From Travis Scott, Post Malone & The Weeknd, Summer Walker and More

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Travis Scott

Billboard’s First Stream 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, Travis Scott provides a one-two punch before the end of the year, Post Malone and The Weeknd finally link up, and Summer Walker showcases her star power. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:

Travis Scott, “Escape Plan” & “Mafia” 

As Travis Scott prepares to kick off his Astroworld Festival in Houston this weekend, the superstar rapper has given fans hungry for the Astroworld follow-up a satisfying two-pack as a holdover snack. “Escape Plan” is classic Scott, possessing the coiled vocal hooks and ice-cool futurism of hits like “Sicko Mode” and “Highest In The Room”; meanwhile, “Mafia” acts as a more contemplative counterpart, as Scott’s syllables lengthen over a sorrowful piano line and J. Cole stops by at the end.

Post Malone & The Weeknd, “One Right Now” 

Although they’ve helped define popular music over the past five years as genre-hopping, arena-headlining superstars, Post Malone and The Weeknd have done so separately, with the Republic Records never having worked together prior to new single “One Right Now.” Following Posty’s “Motley Crew” and The Weeknd’s Swedish House Mafia team-up “Moth to a Flame,” “One Right Now” sounds like a pair of experts fine-tuning their crafts ahead of their next grand statements, with duel crooning to capture hurt feelings and a gummy beat to sink into.

Summer Walker, Still Over It 

Part of the reason why Summer Walker is such a gifted artist — and why the Atlanta singer-songwriter broke through in a big way two years ago with her debut album Over It — comes down to her ability to synthesize classic R&B textures through modern production and songwriting. While new album Still Over It doesn’t reinvent her formula, Walker expands her reach, using a varied guest list (SZA, Pharrell Williams, Lil Durk and Omarion included) to help tell her tales of love and lust.

Silk Sonic, “Smokin Out The Window” 

One week before Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak deliver An Evening With Silk Sonic in full, the pair has deployed another smooth move with “Smokin Out The Window,” an amiable slow jam with a slightly higher spring in its step than the No. 1 smash “Leave The Door Open.” As we receive more iterations of the way Mars and .Paak complement each other’s solid-gold impulses, their chemistry now sounds like a foregone conclusion after being a pleasant surprise at the top of the year.

ABBA, Voyage 

The backstory of ABBA’s Voyage — the legendary pop group’s first album of new material in a whopping 40 years — is both fascinating leading up to the new project, and inconsequential once play is pressed: these 10 songs are designed to get lost in as singalong-ready fantasias, anticipations and expectations be damned. A song like “No Doubt About It” demonstrates the immediacy that helped turn ABBA into icons — pop songwriting at its most sugary high and wondrous.

Radiohead, KID A MNESIA

Not a ton of reissues make noise on New Music Friday, but then again, not a ton of era-defining alternative projects receive long-awaited re-packagings with feverishly awaited deep cuts included. Kid A and Amnesiac, Radiohead’s turn-of-the-century triumphs released less than a year apart, now have a handful of alternate versions and B-sides for obsessives and casual listeners alike; the affecting leftover “Follow Me Around” and the “In The Dark” version of “Morning Bell” are worth perusing in particular.

Mariah Carey, Khalid & Kirk Franklin, “Fall In Love at Christmas” 

Looking for a Mariah Carey Christmas single that chills you out rather than peps you up? “Fall In Love At Christmas,” the Queen of Yuletide Cheer’s new team-up with Khalid and Kirk Franklin, boasts the vocal prowess and tenderness of “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but with a slower tempo and more heartfelt harmonizing. It’s only Nov. 5, but it’s never too early to start decorating, right?


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