Since this week’s Valentine’s Day, two things have been proven true: Love is (still) in the air and the season for love and lust never ends. Some have chosen to breathe life into oldies-but-goodies like Coco Jones, Leon Thomas, Victoria Monét, and Bryson Tiller. Meanwhile, others are gifting fans with new music they have either been begging for or never knew they needed.
So, whether you’re still in your feels yearning for lost love, or need an anthem to kick you back into gear, here are VIBE’s top picks this New Music Friday.
Janelle Monáe Feat. Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 – “Float”
Janelle Monáe is back with her first non-soundtrack song in five years. “Float” featuring Nigerian collective Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 is a blaring celebratory anthem.
“It’s hard to look at my resume and not find a reason to toast/ She throwin’ that thang in a circle/ Makin’ it viral, I might just elope,” Monáe sings over the captivating production. It was first teased in 2022 during promos for ABC/ESPN’s NBA Saturday Primetime campaign with Monáe narrating the ads. It will continue to appear in NBA ads throughout the regular season.
According to a statement “[and] sources closest to Monáe,” the record was “inspired by Muhammed Ali talking s**t in Zaire, 1974, Jane’s evolution, Mary Poppins’ umbrella, Aladdin’s magic carpet, Ja Morant’s flotation to the rim while dunking on his ops, Sara Elise’s ropes, excerpts from Paramahmsa Nithyananda’s talks on levitation, Raul’s toast on Dec 1, and Bruce Lee’s mighty philosophy on being ‘shapeless, formless,’ and becoming one with your surroundings, to be like water…”
OG Parker Feat. Muni Long And Ty Dolla $ign – “Still Work”
OG Parker linked up with Ty Dolla $ign and Muni Long for their new single, “Still Work.” It’s the third release from Parker’s forthcoming project, Moments. The infectious record is for those lovers hoping to rekindle an old flame with the one that got away. “Day and night, I can be there/call me my number still works/You just gotta dial it first,” Ty croons on the chorus.
Long slides in with the question we’ve all asked at one point, “Why you wait until I’m happy?” She later adds, “You was on bull when you had me… as soon as I get over it, you pop back up and wanna reminisce.” To say the song is a relatable nod to relationships everywhere is an understatement.
When discussing the collab, Ty shared in a statement, “OG Parker is one of the most talented producers in the game right now and Muni Long is killing the R&B scene. It was only right that we combine all of our talents and make this song.”
Debbie Feat. Lucky Daye – “Is This Real Love? (Remix)”
Def Jam signee Debbie is described as a newbie that seems like a seasoned veteran due to “the way the music flows out of her, from her reflective but effortlessly relatable lyricism to her rich, resounding voice and her spiritual curiosity.” So, naturally, it only seemed fair to partner with the illustrious phenom known as Lucky Daye.
With a million questions running through her mind—the most obvious being the song’s title—she sings, “I swear I read this in a magazine that this was how lovers were supposed to be/ I swear I saw it somewhere on TV.” Daye offers a bit of reassurance as he adds, “Her dad don’t agree/ but it don’t matter/ She’s taking my name ’cause we ride together.”
The rising star crept onto the scene in late 2021, but with this, she is definitely one to watch.
Elijah Blake and Jordin Sparks – “Deux”
Elijah Blake and Jordin Sparks are musical soulmates, in case you haven’t heard. The pair first released “Unhappy” in 2015 on Sparks’ Right Here Right Now and four years later, debuted their joint project, 1990 Forever. Now, they’re back with a sexy rendezvous titled “Deux.” Upon release, Sparks took to her Instagram Stories, expressing, “OKAY FAV!! Let’s give the people what they want.”
On the record, the American Idol winner’s sultry tone woos in listeners as she sings, “I got a present for ya/ How ya gon’ pay for it/ I need to be out the door to see your reaction.” Blake later croons about backseat loving and escaping on a high.
Coco Jones And Leon Thomas – “Until The End Of Time”
In November 2007, Justin Timberlake released his “Until The End Of Time (Remix)” featuring Beyoncé. it instantly became regarded as a classic love song considering Bey was the perfect touch on the soft record. Fast forward nearly 16 years later, Spotify exclusively tapped Coco Jones and Leon Thomas to recreate the timeless slow jam for Valentine’s Day.
“Early in the creative process, I just like put nothin’ by positive energy around what we’re gonna create right now. It’s one of those songs like when I heard that Justin Timberlake album I was super obsessed with […] Coco’s on the way and she’s about to snap. Truly snap,” said Thomas in a behind-the-scenes vignette of their recording session.
The production of the remake alters slightly from its predecessor, but it fits Jones and Thomas’ vocal styling like icing on a cake. For those still getting hip to the artist side of Thomas, an acclaimed songwriter, here’s a solid place to start.
Victoria Monét And Bryson Tiller – “We Might Even Be Falling in Love”
“What a sweet way to kiss the JAGUAR 1 chapter farewell,” Monét tweeted about her new duet with Bryson Tiller. After it was first heard as an interlude on her critically-acclaimed 2020 album, the songbird rereleased the endearing ballad as another Spotify exclusive duet for Valentine’s Day.
The heartwarming teaser is an evident hint of what’s to come. As Monét remained relatively off the grid, working on the highly-anticipated JAGUAR II, fans accept every breadcrumb offered regarding new tunes. This will suffice…for now.
Theo Croker Feat. Ego Ella May & D’LEAU – BY THE WAY
Theo Croker and Ego Ella May reunite on their joint EP, BY THE WAY. The magnetic collaboration is an explorative trek into love, heartbreak, and the path back to one’s self as Croker’s fluid instrumentation paired with May’s enthralling words form an evocative, sonic embrace.
According to Croker, each track is a “little vignette” for May’s lyricism and vocal stylings to flourish. From the cheerily brisk “Theo Says” to the repetitive optimism of “Good Day” and the nod to Black rock music on “Something,” the EP successfully crosses into varying genres and approaches while somehow, keeping listeners grounded.