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Future, Justin Bieber, Kehlani: Must-Hear Releases of the Week – Billboard

Check out the must-hear releases of the week.
By Jason Lipshutz
Editor
Billboard’s First Stream 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, Future is back with a killer list of dislikes, Justin Bieber links up with Don Toliver for a surefire hit, and Kehlani opens up to fans on her latest full-length. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
Future, I Never Liked You 

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Longtime Future listeners understand the Atlanta superstar’s impact on hip-hop: in short, he changed the texture of rap music a decade ago, then spent the following years collecting No. 1 albums and crossover hits as the rest of the genre played catch-up. I Never Liked You, the follow-up to 2020’s expansive High Off Life, features the warbled hedonism, crackling trap beats and VIP guest list that Future has fashioned into a calling card, yet the new project also makes more room for his vulnerable side — “Wait For U,” featuring Drake and Tems, focuses on substance-fueled honesty in a relationship, while “Love You Better” revels in the hurt of a significant other’s distance. Future is still a king within hip-hop, but I Never Liked You impressively changes the size and scope of his throne.
Justin Bieber feat. Don Toliver, “Honest” 

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Over the past year and change, Justin Bieber has scored some of the biggest hits of an already illustrious career by teaming up with other artists, from the buttery R&B hit “Peaches” with Giveon and Daniel Caesar to the jittery synth-pop chart-topper “Stay” with The Kid LAROI. “Honest,” featuring Don Toliver, finds Bieber sliding gracefully into the Houston rapper’s world, adopting a stunted flow over a rubbery beat and honoring his wife before handing off the baton to Toliver, whose voice glistens over the production; with the single, one of pop’s biggest superstars retains his chameleonic skill set, and may have just scored another smash.
Kehlani, Blue Water Road 
The first words that Kehlani sings on Blue Water Road are “Wouldn’t say I’m a liar, but I’m not always honest” — yet the 13-track project that follows is the most open-hearted of the singer-songwriter’s career, a rhythmic, revealing full-length that gives the listener full access to Kehlani’s emotional complexities. The guest stars are carefully selected, as artists like Justin Bieber, Jessie Reyez and Blxst complement Kehlani’s vocal acrobatics, although solo tracks like the stunning, string-laden “Everything” encapsulate an artist expanding personal limits in order to tell their unbridled truth.
Miranda Lambert, Palomino 
Before Miranda Lambert released The Marfa Tapes last year with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, the country star met up with Natalie Hemby and Luke Dick at her Tennessee farm in 2020, and started writing the songs that would eventually serve as the foundation of her eighth solo album. Palomino finds Lambert at the top of her game, both synthesizing the classic tropes of country music while modernizing its sound and taking risks (Exhibit A: “Music City Queen,” a twangy romp with none other than The B-52’s).
Sam Smith, “Love Me More” 

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Although some of their biggest hits, from “Stay With Me” to “Dancing With a Stranger” to “Too Good at Goodbyes,” have focused on their relationship with others, Sam Smith truly beguiles as a songwriter through self-examination, focusing on their wants and needs regardless of the world around them. “Love Me More,” Smith’s first original song since 2020, marks an uplifting check-in with a singular voice, as they navigate shifting desires and prioritizing self-care with snappy harmonies and sterling vocal runs as support.
Tegan and Sara, “F—ing Up What Matters”
In a press release, Tegan Quin describes new single “F—ing Up What Matters” as a reflection on “the moment in your life when you realize that you have most, if not all of the things you wanted and you start to think about what would happen if you just walked away from it all.” The great Canadian sister duo have done a minor version of this desertion with their sound over the years, hopscotching from indie-pop to guitar-rock to power-pop, and for their first track on new label Mom+Pop Music, they’ve returned with a raw, blunt-force delivery that still prioritizes an immediate hook and represents another successful reinvention.
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