Mike Will Made-It featuring Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar, “The Mantra”
Sounds like: A great way to cap off an excellent year for film soundtracks
Perfect for: Boxing the son of your father’s nemesis
Kendrick Lamar is quickly becoming the king of blockbuster soundtracks. Following his excellent work on the music for Black Panther, he teamed up with Mike Will Made-It for the understated “Mantra,” to be featured on Creed II: The Album. With help from Pharrell, the song moves like the type of inner monologue that would run through Adonis Johnson’s head while prepping for the fight of his life.
Sounds like: A refreshed return from an underrated pop writer
Perfect for: Facing the sound and the fury
Time to put down your white flags: Dido has returned. “Hurricanes” teases a more electronic sound, with the singer-songwriter’s signature, breathy vocals remaining a steady, grounding force above the stirring synths. She’ll release her first album in five years, Still on My Mind, in March and will follow it with her first tour in 15 years.
Betty Who, “Between You and Me”
Sounds like: A brand new declaration of independence
Perfect for: Getting a little closer to a seemingly forbidden crush
After parting ways with RCA, Betty Who’s career as an independent artist is not only off to a promising start but also has pop star returning to her acousti-pop roots. “Between You and Me” has the Australian star cooing about the unrealized romantic tension between her and a friend over a finger-picked guitar. Her third album, Betty, will be released in February.
Chris Cornell, “When Bad Does Good”
Sounds like: A rock legend who never lost his creative spark
Perfect for: Reminding yourself how to balance life’s negatives with the positives
Last Friday, Chris Cornell’s incredible musical legacy was honored with a career-spanning box. Alongside his work with Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog are a host of unreleased solo tracks from the iconic vocalist, including official single “When Bad Does Good.” Produced, written and mixed by Cornell, the power ballad opens up like a hymnal that builds into an earth-scorching, heaven-opening prayer.
Eric Church, “Jukebox and a Bar”
Sounds like: A tribute to the kind of coping mechanisms that don’t change with time
Perfect for: Curing a broken heart
We all have our coping mechanisms during heartbreak. For Eric Church, it seems there’s nothing more reliable than a couple drinks and some good music. On the Desperate Manballad “Jukebox and a Bar,” Church sings that for all of our technological wonders, very few effectively solve loneliness quite like this age-old method. Next time you put a dime in the jukebox when you’re feeling low, test this cut out.