We’re turning this New Music Friday into ladies’ night. As Joyce Wrice and KAYTRANADA experiment on her new EP and storytelling reign on Alex Vaughn and Samaria’s new projects, Jazmine Sullivan drops an Oscar contender, and Janet Jackson celebrates the 25th anniversary of The Velvet Rope. Sprinkle in a bit of alt-R&B, and we’ve got ourselves our top new releases for this week.
So, sit back, relax, and press play on some oldie-but-goodies mixed with newness from the women reclaiming the R&B throne.
Janet Jackson Feat. Blackstreet – “I Get Lonely (TNT Remix)”
This song isn’t new per se, but for the first time, the superior version of “I Get Lonely” is finally on digital streaming platforms to commemorate the 25th anniversary of what many consider to be her magnum opus, The Velvet Rope. Jackson also released the Ummah Jay Dee’s Revenge Mix of “Got ‘Til It’s Gone,” Timbaland and Missy Elliott’s remix of “Go Deep,” Jimmy Jam’s Deeper Remix of “Together Again,” and other new mixes of the aforementioned singles.
Alex Vaughn – The Hurtbook
LVRN’s Alex Vaughn got next. Dubbed “R&B’s favorite homegirl,” the DMV native released her debut project, The Hurtbook. “The project started off as a compilation of thoughts from an old relationship but grew into a quilted map of patterns and events that applied to more than just romance,” the 22-year-old expressed in a statement. “It’s about being honest with yourself and how you feel about those changes that are happening. Most importantly it’s a reminder that though these series of events may have hurt you, you are not broken.”
On “So Be It,” Vaughn details the pain from a platonic breakup that causes more pain than a romantic end. Lust radiates on the toxic “Demon Time,” and a Notorious B.I.G. sample gets flipped into something all her own on “Keep That Energy.” With this 8-track LP, Vaughn combines her true story with rich production that oozes all the best elements of R&B.
Joyce Wrice – Motive
To follow up her debut album, Overgrown, Joyce Wrice reunites with KAYTRANADA and others on her new EP, Motive. “In between coming off of my debut album and brainstorming ideas for my sophomore album, I was motivated to create an EP that the world could dance to,” shared Wrice in a statement. “This new project is experimental, fun, carefree, and sexy. After ‘Overgrown,’ I was inspired to be free-spirited and to let loose and during this process I was consistently asking myself, ‘what’s your motive?’” The short compilation features the uptempo jam, “Iced Tea.”
thuy – girls like me don’t cry
Hailing from the Bay Area, thuy (pronounced “twee”) debuts a new, enchanting EP that’s eerily reminiscent of Ariana Grande. girls like me don’t cry is a tribute to love in all its forms.
“It’s okay to cry,” expressed thuy. “Crying is not a sign of weakness; crying is when you are in tune with yourself, and you let it out and then go back to go back to your life. When I wrote this song, I was trying to tough it out during a really hard time in my life, and all I wanted to do was let it out. Once I did, I felt like a huge weight off my shoulder, and it showed me that I can have and show emotion but still be strong at the same time.”
If you’re ready to take a chance on something new yet very familiar, choose this.
Samaria – Didn’t Start With You
Ready to somewhat dissect a woman’s layered emotions? Samaria’s new EP does that while also providing a soundtrack to highlight the depths of a complex breakup.
On her new project, Didn’t Start With You, the Bay Area songbird revealed in a statement, “I was super sad after spending almost a year begging the person I loved the most not to walk out of my life. I was purposely isolating myself from everyone so that I wouldn’t accidentally take my pain out on the wrong people. I didn’t even want to make music. I just wanted to lay in bed and cry. Everyone was pushing therapy on me but I was too impatient to give it time to work. When I’d get in the studio, I would hate everything I was making. I started listening to a ton of Jazz and anything that didn’t have lyrics so that I couldn’t fall into the endless pit of comparing myself and my own abilities. I blame this entire project on overthinking, Casamigos, and Fireball… so cheers to the fact that I’ll probably always suck at love.”
Samaria presents rawness on “Can’t Fix This,” a therapeutic nature of “Shady Hills” that could be a sister track to Jazmine Sullivan’s “Girl Like Me” plus a two-sided POV on “Insanity” that proves this EP is R&B storytelling at its finest.
Jazmine Sullivan – “Stand Up”
Though Heaux Tales remains on repeat, Jazmine Sullivan uses her gift for the soul-stirring, lead single from the TILL soundtrack. The D’Mile production can easily be a contender for Best Original Song at next year’s Oscars.
Described as a “love story” amid balancing grief and outrage, TILL centers on the story of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley’s search for justice. The record focuses on how Till-Mobley “found her voice and purpose.” The full soundtrack will be available on Oct. 14 as the film premieres in select theaters.
Jamila Woods – “Boundaries”
With her first solo release since 2020, Woods returns with “Boundaries.” The new single “is a song about the negotiation between private and shared space in a new relationship, the risk involved in letting someone get close enough to see your rough edges,” she explained in a statement. “I think a lot about the Prentice Hemphill quote, ‘Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.’ The song is about learning the difference between erecting boundaries out of fear versus out of love.”