It's new music Friday! And there's just so much. How can you possibly decide which album you should play on Spotify first? Well, I've already listened to all the new music released today, and I am here to make some recommendations for you! These are the four most-hyped albums released today, and one single you should definitely listen to.
Albums are ranked in Bieber heads, with 10 Bieber heads being the highest:
ONE DIRECTION, Made In the A.M.
The new One Direction album brings me a lot of joy because I love boy bands. I love their dumb hair and the conspiracies that surround them. I also love how they all follow the same cycle, from massive stars to confused young men to falling apart. On first listen, all I could think about was how much they must miss Zayn. This album sounds shallower than their others, vocally and emotionally, and honestly I couldn't pick out a number one hit on it, which was not true for Four or Making Memories. It's the beginning of the end for One D. The whole intention of this album is to set each of them up for their solo careers, and it's super obvious.
Grade: Four Bieber heads
JUSTIN BIEBER, Purpose Bieber, fresh off a three-year hiatus, has already released four or five singles off of this album, and all of them are beautifully-built songs with catchy hooks and an emotional core difficult to find in pop outside of Taylor Swift. Purpose reeks of money—it's pristinely produced; every beat behind Bieber's buttery voice sounds like it was custom-made, and the tracks are brilliantly honed, all the way through. It should be noted that it's really fucking SAD at points. In some ways, though, it feels like a stepping stone that Bieber needed to lay between where he was standing as a baby pop star with problems to get to wherever he's going next. There are places he could have pushed his vocals further, or taken risks that will be no-brainers in the future.
Grade: Nine Bieber heads.
ALESSIA CARA, Know It All Curly-haired 19-year-old Alessia Cara puts out her debut album today. Cara's achieved moderate fame among those of us who like music and hate parties with her song "Here." This album was turned around in less than three months start to finish. It's been released, probably earlier than it should be, to help Cara ride the wave of "Here," but there are some real gems on this album. Cara's voice is very distinct, and she has the chance to really become something. Know It All is full of promise.
Grade: Seven Bieber heads
HAILEE STEINFELD, HAIZ 18-year-old Hailee Steinfeld's banger "Love Myself" became a top 40 hit almost immediately after its release. Steinfeld—who was previously known for her role as the little girl in the 2010 Coen brothers film True Grit—isn't an actress I would have picked to have a pop career, and yet here she is! She's in Taylor Swift's squad. She's got four-song EP of relentlessly catchy tunes. Steinfeld's problem is that there's nothing about her songs, or her sound, that's distinguishable from the slew of chanting C-list blonde pop girls.
Grade: Five Bieber heads
SINGLE OF NOTE
Missy Elliot feat. Pharrell Williams, "WTF":
Do yourself a favor: Treat yourself to this song and this video featuring queen mom Missy and her amazing outfits.
Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.