Billboard’s Friday Music Guide serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond.
This week, Green Day returns to save something (rock and roll perhaps?), Nicki Minaj and Future reach for the remote together and Jack Antonoff scores an alt-rock ballet for his new bride. Check out all of this week’s picks below:
Green Day, Saviors
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ first album since 2020’s Father of All Motherf–kers sees the trio reuniting with Rob Carvallo — producer behind most of the group’s classic albums, from 1994’s Dookie to 2004’s American Idiot — for the first time since 2012’s ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy. Carvallo helps Green Day discover some of their size and scope after a few more back-to-basics albums, giving Saviors a feel reminiscent of their mid-’00s blockbusters. Whether the singles will ultimately measure up to skyscraping rock radio smashes like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “21 Guns” remains to be seen, but lead single (and album opener) “The American Dream Is Killing Me” is certainly off to a good start, having spent seven weeks atop Billboard‘s Rock & Alternative Airplay chart.
Nicki Minaj feat. Future, “Press Play”
The latest edition of Nicki Minaj‘s Billboard 200-topping 2023 album Pink Friday 2 is titled the “Pluto Edition” — so you could probably who is featured on the edition’s lone new bonus track. “Press Play” indeed features Future, who already appeared on original album highlight “Nicki Hendrix,” and leads off here with the song’s quickly undeniable hook: “Press play, lil’ booty b–ch/ Press play, big booty b–ch.” He and Minaj then trade too-cold bars over an ATL Jacob beat of racing piano and wobbly bass, with the latter even giving yours truly a namecheck: “Top of every list including your man bucket/ Been on the chart so long, I told Billboard to dust it.”
Bleachers, “Tiny Moves”
After another year of big moves as a writer/producer — including work on Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. album and its signature single “A&W,” which earned him nominations for both album and song of the year at the upcoming Grammys — Jack Antonoff is back in his main gig in 2024 as frontman for alt-rock hitmakers Bleachers. “Tiny Moves” is a typically rousing rave-up from the New Jersey outfit, but with strings driving the action more than the group’s typical combination of guitars and synths, giving extra drama and tension to lyrics like “The tiniest moves you make/ The whole d–n world shakes.” Margaret Qualley, Emmy-nominated actress and Antonoff’s wife, choreographed, directed and dances solo (with Anotnoff watching nearby from the hood of his car) in the song’s music video.
Mumford & Sons & Pharrell Williams, “Good People”
Legendary hip-hop, R&B and pop producer (and occasional solo star) Pharrell Williams as one of the Sons in alt-folk arena-dwellers Mumford & Sons? Doesn’t sound like the most obvious fit, but Pharrell’s never been afraid to branch out into new genre territory — he did an entire mini-album with country group Little Big Town in the mid-10s — and so he meets the retro stompers here on their own ground, adding his piercing “welcome to the revelation” backing vocals to the rise-up lyrics and giving the group’s clomping beat a little extra thump. Won’t be as big as “I Will Wait” or “Happy,” most likely, but an interesting new chapter in both artists’ storied careers.
Norah Jones, “Running”
Two decades after Norah Jones became one of the few artists in musical history to sell a million copies in a week with her 2004 album Feels Like Home — follow-up, of course, to her diamond-certified breakthrough set Come Away With Me — she’s back with the new single “Running.” The first taste from upcoming ninth album Visions, due in March, the song features Jones lamenting her perpetual state of commitment panic over sympathetic production from Leon Michels, accurately summarized by Jones in a press release as “kind of garage-y, but also kind of soulful.” She may not do the blockbuster numbers she did in the early ’00s, but Jones’ music just keeps getting better.
Kygo & Ava Max, “Whatever”
Extensively teased by both artists in the weeks leading up to its release, tropical house producer Kygo and pop hitmaker Ava Max are the latest duo to try to replicate David Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s “I’m Good” formula of building an undeniable club smash around a massive, can’t-miss turn-of-the-century interpolation. In this case, the throwback smash being lifted is Shakira’s English-language breakout single “Whenever, Wherever,” which indeed does give a rush to the song’s breakup-themed chorus. Wouldn’t be shocking if it heated up the top 40 airwaves this winter, though you may end up just wanting to listen to the classic original instead. (Guetta is also back with an interpolation single of his own this week, spinning off Cathy Dennis’ 1991 chartbuster “Touch Me (All Night Long)” for his Kungs and Izzy Bizu collab “All Night Long.”)