Halsey, "Manic" (Capitol)
Halsey's 2015 debut, "Badlands," was a pop album that succeeded top-to-bottom without contributing much to pop in return. She simply sharpened some of Lorde's and Lana Del Rey's angst into tighter, neon-blue-dyed hooks. On 2017's "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom," she still didn't know what she wanted to be, but tried harder to find out, which made for highs like the exasperated "Bad at Love" and the slow-burning, bi-breakup lament "Strangers." But she can't seem to progress as quickly as pop itself.
The more ideas stuffed into her third album, the more they boil down to the boilerplate. Separate interjections from Alanis Morissette and BTS should stick out more, no? The rocking "3am," the chamber-pop "I Hate Everybody," and the stomping "Killing Boys" all make themselves known.
But only the closing "929" packs in all the details and desperation this album needs, with head-turners from "I forget half the people I've gotten in bed/ And I've stared at the sky in Milwaukee and hoped that my father would finally call me" to "I bought another house and I never go outside."
dan weiss, Philadelphia Inquirer
Bad Bunny, "6 Rings"
Bad Bunny is paying his respects to basketball legend Kobe Bryant the way he knows best: through music.
The singer released the song "6 Rings" on Monday in honor of the late Lakers star, who died in a helicopter crash Sunday along with his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others.
The two-minute track, sung in Spanish, includes commentary from Bryant's 2006 game against the Toronto Raptors where the Lakers player scored a staggering 81 points.
It's an earnest song filled with sorrow, mourning and admiration for the sports star, and it also grieves for Bryant's young daughter. The song's title is a nod to wife Vanessa Bryant and No. 24's five NBA championships.
In the track, Bad Bunny sings, "Black Mamba forever. Forever we'll remember you," before ending the tune with an audio clip of Bryant thanking his fans after his final game: "From the bottom of my heart, thank you. And what can I say? Mamba out."
Dorany pineda, Los Angeles Times
• Kesha, "High Road"
• Lil Wayne, "Funeral"
• Louis Tomlinson, "Walls"
• Poliça, "When We Stay Alive"
• Meghan Trainor, "Treat Myself"