Kacey Musgraves, Justin Timberlake, Cardi B

Kacey Musgraves, Justin Timberlake, Cardi B

Billboard’s Friday Music Guide serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most important releases—the key music everyone will be talking about today and that will dominate playlists this weekend and beyond.

Take a look

Take a look

Check out the latest videos, rankings and news

Check out the latest videos, rankings and news

This week, Kacey Musgraves takes center stage on her songwriting, Justin Timberlake returns to the dance floor, and Cardi B puts her enemies on edge. Check out all of this week’s picks below:

Kacey Musgraves, A deeper well

Although A deeper well could be interpreted as an antidote to Kacey Musgraves’ 2021 album Star-Crossed, considering how the jagged edges of this divorce meditation are smoothed over in songs about quiet pleasures and self-love, Musgraves’ stellar songwriting has always remained the North Star of her craft, and she doesn’t let her latest album feel like a sharp turn. There are many earthly pleasures to be found deep within A deeper wellbut the 1970s opening sequence of “Cardinal,” the rustic title track and the blissful “Too Good to Be True” rank among the strongest 10-minute cuts in Musgraves’ discography.

Click here to read a full review and follow Musgraves’ rankings A deeper well.

Justin Timberlake, Everything I thought it was

Six years have passed since Justin Timberlake’s last full-length album in 2018. Man from the forestand pop supsertsr has re-emerged with an album that takes him out of the woods and better understands his core appeals. Everything I thought it was finds Timberlake playing the hits to some extent — brilliant rhythmic pop; crackle, Timbaland hits; disco channels not contained in radio unit lengths; even the return of *NSYNC — but it also doesn’t represent a retreat into safe territory. Timberlake may be forty years old at this point, but he still aims to make every moment of a sprawling, 76-minute album feel exciting. He is a consummate artist who knows what he is best at and still finds opportunities to operate on the fringes of his aesthetic.

Click here to read a full review and track Timberlake’s rankings Everything I thought it was.

Cardi B, “Enough (Maami)”

Cardi B Is Tired of Paying Attention to Her Rivals: “I See My Tasks Connecting, I’m Like, ‘What the Hell?'” she spits on new single “Enough (Maami),” which quickly follows another solo track, ” Like What (Freestyle),” which similarly took aim at an opponent and her hastily assembled cohorts. “Enough (Maami)” is full of rolling eyes from Cardi as well as killer lines; he might get tired of playing defense, but throwing out Dr. Seuss and “Knuck if You Buck” references in the same song will always be fun.

Zane, “What I Am”

Zayn has already spent more years as a solo artist than as an active member of One Direction, and over the course of that period he’s allowed his curiosity to roam without committing to any pop plan. ‘What I Am’ takes a folky approach we haven’t heard from Zayn before – country great Dave Cobb co-produced the new track, which precedes the upcoming album Room under the stairs — but his voice continues to resonate, and his lyrics suggest a healthy reinvention: “Take me as I am,” he cries, “I’m tired of dancing around the point.”

PARTYNEXTDOOR, “Real Woman”

“This is the hardest album I’ve ever worked on,” said PARTYNEXTDOOR billboard in a recent cover story. Indeed, new single “Real Woman” which precedes PARTYEXTDOOR 4, features the R&B singer-songwriter sounding invigorated as he struts the woman who has captured his imagination. Rumbling, lush percussion and backing harmonies aid PND as he climbs into his falsetto, and “Real Woman” immediately becomes a candidate for heavy rotation at R&B radio.

Editor’s Pick: Willow, “Symptom of Life”

On Willow’s haunting new single “Symptom of Life,” the juxtaposition of the strumming chorus—fast-moving, chattering, full of unanswerable questions about the meaning of life—and gentle, silent piano and drum breaks showcases Willow’s skill as a pop creator capable of to fill the space with excitement and then pull back to exhale. “Symptom of Life” has a whiff of Kate Bush’s witchery; let’s hope Willow continues to delve down that rabbit hole on her upcoming studio album.

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