Friday Music Guide: New Music From Blink-182, Charli XCX & Sam Smith, The Rolling Stones and More

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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, I guess this is Blink-182 growing up, Charli XCX and Sam Smith have a night on the town and The Rolling Stones triumphantly return to the studio. Check out all of this week’s picks below:

Blink-182, One More Time… 

“Aging gracefully” was never the logical outcome for Blink-182, a trio of pop-punk geniuses who built their live shows around scatological humor and turned their album titles into dirty jokes. Yet harrowing life experiences, particularly Mark Hoppus’ 2021 battle with cancer, has provided Blink-182 with a newfound sense of appreciation, and One More Time…, the first album with their classic lineup since 2011, carries a feeling of gravitas that acknowledges how much Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker care about each other in middle age. That doesn’t make One More Time… a dour affair, though: from early single “Edging” to pummeling opener “Anthem Part 3” to the radio-ready “Dance With Me,” Blink-182 have figured out a way to fire off more chewy melodies in between the heartfelt moments.

Charli XCX & Sam Smith, “In The City”

“The song is about finding the people you truly love and connect with through wild nights out and partying in magical places,” Charli XCX says in a press release of her charming new one-off with Sam Smith, “In The City.” A decade after getting the party started with songs like “Take My Hand” and the Icona Pop smash “I Love It,” Charli offers a more reflective night out (“I never thought I would find it / But I found what I was lookin’ for,” she sings), while Smith’s soulful vocals and the blinking synths bolster the song, giving “In The City” the feeling of starry-eyed connection at the heart of the collaboration.

The Kid LAROI, Jung Kook & Central Cee, “Too Much” 

Jung Kook and The Kid LAROI both know their ways around a durable pop hit, while songs like “Sprinter” and “Let Go” have established British rapper Central Cee as a chart heavyweight overseas; with their powers combined, the three have cooked up a downcast, undeniably catchy collaboration that sounds primed to become ubiquitous as the weather turns colder. “Too Much” showcases another rock-solid Jung Kook hook following “Seven” and “3D,” as well as a hardened middle verse from Central Cee, but LAROI sounds reinvigorated on the track, hoisting up rhymes and melodies with an ease that recalls his Justin Bieber-assisted smash “Stay.”

The Rolling Stones, Hackney Diamonds 

What should a new Rolling Stones album sound like in 2023? The legends’ first full-length of new material since 2005’s A Bigger Bang was years in the making, and arrives without an ounce of anything left to prove — and that lack of expectation works in its favor, as Mick, Keith and Ronnie have cooked up a rollicking check-in that should translate nicely to the stadium stage. A mix of iconic guests (Paul McCartney, Elton John and Lady Gaga all swing by) and meat-and-potatoes rock grooves (“Mess It Up” and “Whole Wide World” are a pair of mid-album highlights) help situate Hackney Diamonds as a best-case scenario for a band in their hallowed position.

21 Savage feat. d4vd, “Call Me Revenge” 

The fact that “Call Me Revenge,” the new team-up between 21 Savage and d4vd, was launched in conjunction with the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III helps explain the lyrical slant — after all, it’s easier to unpack d4vd crooning “I’m here to collect to all your sins, I’m goin’ in!” within the context of a first-person shooter game. Still, “Call Me Revenge” allows both artists to have fun while striking their most menacing poses, especially 21 Savage, who sounds downright jubilant while firing off clipped boasts and endless ad-libs.

Editor’s Pick: Jane Remover, Census Designated 

You won’t hear another album like Census Designated, the sophomore effort by Jane Remover, this year, or most years: the singer-producer, who reconfigured her sound (as well as came out as a trans woman) following 2021 debut Frailty, has mastered a singular blend of shoegaze, noise rock, pop melodies and indie balladry across these 10 tracks, while also prodding at her personal evolution and identity. Parts of Census Designated work best during a late-night headphones listen, while others beg to be blasted from car speakers; conceptually, the album begins at sundown and ends at dawn, but Jane Remover’s latest will affect you in any setting.

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