The best new music of the week: Nicki Minaj, She & Him, Leonard Cohen and more

By Nicholas Jennings

As music columnist for hellomagazine.ca, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!

TOP ALBUMS

Nicki MinajThe Pinkprint
Everything Nicki touches blows up in the most delicious way—just look at how her presence made “Bang Bang” so massive. Now, the “Anaconda”-taming MC is set to do the same with her third studio album, which she promises will be darker, inspired by Enya (!) and full of empowering anthems like the confessional “Bed of Lies.”

She & HimClassics
New Girl star Zooey Deschanel has a parallel career recording retro-sweet covers from pop’s past with musical partner M. Ward. Backed by a 20-piece orchestra, the duo’s latest is their best yet, with warm renditions of songs like “Unchained Melody,” “This Girl’s in Love with You” and others first made famous by Frank Sinatra and Dusty Springfield.

OTHER NOTABLE ALBUMS

AC/DCRock or Bust
Nothing – not even the departure of dementia-stricken Malcolm Young – can keep the legendary Aussie band from rocking, especially on standout tracks like “Play Ball.”

Mary J. BligeThe London Sessions
She’s inspired a generation of UK soul and dance artists, including Sam Smith, Emeli Sandé and Disclosure, who now return the favour on this inspired transatlantic adventure.

Kevin HearnDays in Frames
The Barenaked Ladies multi-instrumentalist’s latest is a low-key gem, featuring whimsical songs and cameos from Dan Hill, Ron Sexsmith and the late Lou Reed.

Leonard CohenLive in Dublin
This 3CD/DVD set finds the 80-year-old legend still going strong, performing classics like “Suzanne” and “Closing Time” with his crack band and angelic backup singers.

PLAYLIST OF THE WEEK

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