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6 albums you need to hear this week

With music from Blur, Nas, Bloc Party and the 'Barbie' soundtrack

By Rolling Stone UK

In the age of streaming, it’s never been easier to listen to new music — but with over 60,000 new songs added to Spotify every day, it’s also never been harder to know what to put on. Every week, the team at Rolling Stone UK will run down some of the best new releases that have been added to streaming services.

This week, we’ve highlighted records by Blur, Nas, Bloc Party, Oscar Lang, Lauren Auder and the Barbie soundtrack.

Barbie: The Album

The most hyped film of 2023 also comes with an absurdly star-studded soundtrack befitting of the cinematic moment of the year. On here, we’ve got Dua Lipa smashing her disco era to pieces on ‘Dance The Night’, Charli XCX getting back behind the wheel with ‘Speed Drive’. On the softer end of the spectrum are Sam Smith’s ‘Man I Am’ and Billie Eilish’s ‘What Am I Made For?’, and the soundtrack is as vibrant, colourful and effervescent as Greta Gerwig’s film. Stick it on while you’re heading to and from your local cinema today.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Blur – The Ballad of Darren

Blur’s first album in eight years, arriving alongside a rapturously received tour of stadiums and festivals, is a meditative and thoughtful return far removed from the chaotic nature of their 2023 gigs. The Ballad of Darren sees the Britpop heroes ruminating on their past and present, and bringing these topics forth with a mix of their rowdy ‘Parklife’-like chaos and more subtle textures. The Rolling Stone UK review of the album said: “This is an album where Blur return older and wiser, reflecting on the here and now while still managing to retain every ounce of the charm and musicality that made them such a brilliant prospect in the first place. It’s a joy to have them back.”

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Bloc PartyThe High Life EP

After supporting Paramore on tour in the UK and United States in recent months and finding a new legion of fans with it, Bloc Party are looking to move beyond their ’00s roots and find a home in the 2020s. On their new EP The High Life, the band collaborate with fast-rising US pop-punk star KennyHoopla on the rowdy and moody ‘Keep It Rolling’, and the rest of the EP sees them try to break even more boundaries. “It’s the sound of coming out of the wilderness and re-embracing life,” frontman Kele Okereke has said of the EP, and looks to give the indie heroes a fresh start.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Nas – Magic 2

Announced just this week, Nas’ new album Magic 2 is the sequel to his 2021 album Magic. Alongside a trilogy of albums under the ‘King’s Disease’ title, all in all the new LP is his fifth in the last three years. This post-pandemic hot streak from the legendary rapper continues on Magic 2, which follows directly from where 2022’s King’s Disease left off. Cameos from 21 Savage and 50 Cent

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Lauren Auder – The Infinite Spine

Lauren Auder’s debut album The Infinite Spine, the French-British singer-songwriter brings the lofty sounds of chamber pop and post-rock into the pop world. She has said that the album is based around a question – “what if we could rewrite history?” – and, in musical terms, she tries here to will it into existence. Auder’s version of pop music is exciting, subversive and unique, working with producers such as Mura Masa to sculpt a disruptive vision that works most effectively when given an album-length format to tell its story.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Oscar Lang – Look Now

On his second album, Oscar Lang emerges wiser with a record that charts his own journey so far – heartbreat, personal love and growth, it’s all on show here. Paired with kaleidoscopic instrumentation that span the gamuts from stadium-sized synths to intimate piano balladry, it’s a commendably accomplished effort from the London star.

Listen on: Spotify ‎Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music