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6 albums you need to hear this week

With music from Little Simz, Declan McKenna, Shygirl, Brittany Howard, Zara Larsson and Usher.

By Rolling Stone UK

This week's albums

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 Little Simz, Declan McKenna, Shygirl, Brittany Howard, Zara Larsson and Usher.

Little Simz – Drop 7

The release of Little Simz’s new EP Drop 7, teased across socials in recent weeks, is the latest in her Drop series, and arrives a decade after the first EP in the run. Across that 10 years, the rapper has become a vital and ever-present voice in the UK rap scene, winning the Mercury Prize and honing her craft across a series of critically acclaimed records. Drop 7 serves as another stepping stone between 2022 album No Thank You and whatever comes next, proving her continued relevance and potency.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Declan McKenna – What Happened to the Beach?

After becoming a bonafide indie star for a new generation on his first two albums, Declan McKenna decamped to Los Angeles to create third LP What Happened to the Beach?, working with Arlo Parks and Lana Del Rey producer Gianluca Buccellati. The album is as sunny and refreshing as this location and collaboration makes it sound, pushing McKenna’s voice in new directions while sacrificing none of the bubbly charisma that he made his name on. “The whole process has been less traditional,” McKenna told Rolling Stone UK of making the new album, and it’s delightful to listen to him letting his hair down.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Shygirl – Club Shy

Club Shy began as a worldwide series of club events from Shygirl, and finds its home on record on her new EP, a paean to cutting-edge nightlife. Leaning in to her love of club and electronic music, the artist – already established as a future-facing star of the UK pop landscape – called in the likes of Kingdom, Boys Noize, SG Lewis, Karma Kid and Sega Bodega to make a sultry and pulsating collection of tracks that gets as close as possible to recreating the sweaty chaos of the now-notorious Club Shy nights.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Brittany Howard – What Now

Since going solo from her – presumably defunct – band Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard has discovered a whole new world to inhabit. Standing out in the first place for her outstanding blues-y vocal tones, her debut solo album Jaime came out in 2019 and saw her take things to more experimental and psychedelic directions. Its follow-up, What Now, is even more of a bold step – tackling ’90s R&B, pop and dance, all with brilliant results.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Zara Larsson – Venus

“It’s a little bit all over the place, but that’s honestly just very me!” Zara Larsson said of new album Venus, hitting upon a trait in her music that has sometimes held her back, but could also be her greatest weapon. The Swedish singer has spent her career going back-and-forth between pure pop, edgier experimental sounds and balladry, leaving her to inhabit a somewhat unidentifiable space in the pop landscape. On Venus, she uses it to her advantage and dances between these styles with abandon, all of it tied together by her exuberant personality.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Usher – Coming Home

Arriving just two days before the biggest gig of his career at the Super Bowl, Usher has delivered a record that fittingly sees him teaming up with some of music’s leading lights – including Summer Walker and 21 Savage on ‘Good Good’, his ‘Standing Next to You (Remix)’ with Jung Kook and even Burna Boy on ‘Coming Home’. For Usher, it’s a double celebration.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music