Star Tracks compiles the most interesting new music from a broad range of established and emerging artists.

This week’s playlist features new music from Bad Bunny, Silverstein, Sabrina Claudio, Carly Rae Jepsen, King Promise, Cam Maclean and more.

Click here to listen along to the Spotify playlistwhich includes additional tracks we loved this week.

Kendrick Lamar: N95

Kendrick Lamar “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” is available now: https://KendrickLamar.lnk.to/MrMorale

It’s finally here, Kendrick Lamar has dropped “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.” Really any track could be here but “N95” is one of the most curious in Lamar’s entire discography. Cinematic synths, pounding 808’s, galloping drums, and twinkling keys have all found a home. “N95” is an eclectic orgy of sounds, none of which anyone would have associated with Lamar prior to this song. It’s as if The Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” and Travis Scott’s “Astroworld” crashed into each other, shattered then Lamar assembled the pieces.

As for Lamar’s performance, “N95” it’s an implicit criticism of how America has handled the COVID-19 pandemic but it’s an explicit call out against: clout chasers, fake flexors, car loans, white lies, fake jewelry, Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana , Birkin bags, top fives, fake streams, police, rich people, false flags, fake wokeism and gossipers. It’s Lamar at his most incredulous of him yet he maintains a calm demeanor amidst the pyrotechnics. And that’s only the first verse.

The rest of the track is an observation of society as Lamar bounces between one of his trademark hurt flows and worried vocals to one reminiscent of Baby Keem. “N95” is a display of mastery on all fronts and a track in bold on an album that’ll be deconstructed, reconstructed and analyzed for years to come. —Demar Grant

Bad Bunny: After the Beach

Bad Bunny – After the Beach (360° Visualizer) | A summer without you

Bad Bunny never fails to keep things interesting. Since his sudden rise to international fame a few years back, the Puerto Rican rapper, (and singer, producer, actor and professional wrestler) has released four densely entertaining albums, each of which contains – in addition to loads of top tier, club- ready reggaeton and Latin trap — at least one or two head-turning curve balls (ex.1, ex. two).

His latest surprise occurs just minutes into his new record, “Un Verano Sin Ti” (A Summer Without You) on “Después de la Playa,” which opens with a typical slow burn, as Bad Bunny’s vocals meander through layers of candy-coated synths. But after a minute, instead of dropping into a classic reggaeton or dembow beatthe track contours into a crash of music merengue, as Bad Bunny raps, sings and slurs his way over bongos and exuberant horns. It’s an extremely fun and borderline ridiculous song, made possible only by the artist’s undeniable charisma. — Richie Assaly

Don’t Make Me Wait — Sabrina Claudio

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Sabrina Claudio – IOU [Official Audio]

R&B/Soul singer Sabrina Claudio has made waves with the release of her new album “Based On A Feeling,” marking her first drop of new music since her 2020 holiday album “Christmas Blues.”

The 11-track album features “Don’t Make Me Wait,” one of many compelling songs on the album. The Miami native is known for her sultry, sensual voice and knows exactly how to captivate a crowd during live performances.

The romantic instrumentals on “Don’t Make Me Wait” compliment Claudio’s calming, angelic vocals. She perfectly conveys the emotion of fiending for love in a soulful and dreamy manner throughout the track.

Claudio also released a captivating music video to accompany the single, featuring the artist singing on a cloud-white bed in the middle of a mountain surrounded by musicians dressed in white floor-length gowns playing the harp and cello.

“We were in the middle of a massive sand storm. Everyone lowkey (kinda high key) hated me for putting them at the top of a mountain,” the artist stated.

Catch Claudio on her “Based On A Feeling” tour this year, she’s stopping by History in Toronto on Sept. 17. — madison wong

Live Like This: Silverstein

Live Like This features nothing, nowhere. and is taken from Silverstein’s upcoming album Misery Made Me, out May 6.

Occasionally, a band or track so important to you during your formative years will reappear on your playlist shuffle, and you’ll be immediately transported back to simpler times where your only worries were your iPod battery (RIP to the glorious iPod) and which band you’d rep on your T-shirt. Wait, only me? Well, then.

Joking aside, Burlington’s Silverstein, whose legendary emo punk rock albums from the mid-2000s at times make appearances in my Spotify rotation, are still going strong — and perhaps are making some of their best tracks to date. It’s increasingly difficult to keep up momentum after more than two decades in the business, and despite a few misses the past few years, the band’s tenth and latest album “Misery Made Me” feels a lot like a homecoming.

To mark the release, the band shared a new single “Live Like This,” featuring up-and-coming emo rapper and singer nothing.nowhere. At first it’s a collab that might raise an eyebrow, but it’s a perfect combo of new and old and a clear indication of how influential this band has been to the many who grew up listening to them.

It’s catchy yet sad, and it’s dripping with that nostalgic emo feel. It really just brings you back, doesn’t it? — justin smirlies

Carly Rae Jepsen: Western Wind

Listen to Western Wind here: https://CarlyRaeJepsen.lnk.to/WesternWind

It seems like everything Rostam Batmanglij touches turns to gold.

Known for his gentle approach to songwriting, warm piano tones and programmed percussion, the former Vampire Weekender has produced two solid solo LPs and left his mark on critically-acclaimed albums by Haim, Clairo and Hamilton Leithauser. Rostam hits the mark again on “Western Wind,” his latest collaboration with the Canadian Queen of Pop.

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You know that moment on a road trip, when you finally leave the city and hit the open highway? “First bloom, you know it’s Spring/ Reminding me love, that it’s all connected,” Jepsen sings over a slinky beat and thick piano chords, her voice poised and optimistic. Just lovely.

Here’s hoping for a full album soon. — AR

Dylan Sinclair: Open

Gospel Dylan Sinclair is gone. Back with bounce is a 20-year-old trying to convince someone to fall in love with him. Backed by a simple but flared guitar, Sinclair takes his soulful vocals into the realm of sultry. His light melodies from him supported by his breathy backing vocals make “Open” a sharp contrast in style and substance. Seductive tracks are typically down-tempo ballads but Sinclair has managed to make a sunny, danceable track meditative and alluring. “Open” is one for the Sunday drive with the top down allowing you to wonder what it will take for a prospective paramour to notice you “And treat you like the goddess that you are.” —DG

Cam Maclean: Visions

Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises

During the pandemic, Cam Maclean – a Montreal-based singer-songwriter and founder of the alternative group Vesuvio Solo – teamed up with his friend Rollie Pemberton (better known as the 2021 Polaris Prize-winner Cadence Weapon) to record his second solo album, “Secret Verses.”

On the single “Visions,” Maclean croons like a blissed out 60s soft rocker, his voice and gentle guitar cradled by Pemberton’s silken production. It’s a dreamy indie rock lullaby, perfect for cloud gazing in a park with a cheap bottle of wine.

“Secret Verses” arrived on Friday. — AR

King Promise: Ginger

King Promise – Ginger out now: https://kingpromise.lnk.to/Ginger

Right in time for sunny chill days ahead, Ghanian musician King Promise has released his latest single, “Ginger.”

King Promise sings about trying to win a lover over, providing reassurance that while she is fearful and hesitant to get involved romantically, he promises she won’t regret it.

The silky, mellow tune infuses Afrobeats and feels like a warm embrace. Its catchy beat is bound to lead you to vibing to the song on repeat and end up on your summer playlist for any happy, mood-boosting occasion.

“Ginger” is King Promises’ second release of 2022 following “Bad N Rude” featuring West London collective, WSTRN. — MW

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