The best new music of the week: The Weeknd, Prince, Francesco Yates and more

By Nicholas Jennings

As music columnist for, 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!

Scroll down for playlist…


The WeekndBeauty Behind the Mask
Already armed with massive hits like “Earned It” and song-of-the-summer “Can’t Feel My Face,” The Weeknd is blowing up. Along with those two songs, his new album features such highlights as the eerie “Dark Times” with Ed Sheeran and the vertiginous “Prisoner” featuring Lana Del Rey. Channeling Michael Jackson on the swinging “In the Night” and Prince on the sensuous “Acquainted,” The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) has produced a monster that just can’t miss.

Various artistsThe Wrecking Crew
This fabulous 4-CD set is the soundtrack for the excellent documentary about the studio musicians, including Glen Campbell, Leon Russell and Dr. John, who created Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound and were the unsung heroes behind some of pop’s biggest songs. The 74 tracks include hits from the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and the Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” to Sam Cooke’s finger-popping “Another Saturday Night” and Cher’s classic “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”


Duran DuranPaper Gods
Credit the former Fab Five for pulling out all the stops on their 14th studio release, teaming up with guests as diverse as Canada's Kiesza , Janelle Monäe and even Lindsay Lohan on songs both funky and synthy.

Francesco YatesBetter to Be Loved
The 19-year-old Toronto native has producer Pharrell in his court for this six-song debut, featuring ballads (“Call’), crooning pop (“Honey, I’m Home”) and Prince-like funk on “Change the Channel.”

Ben FoldsSo There
Classical crossover, anyone? The one-time crown prince of nerd rock teams up with the Nashville Symphony for a three-movement concerto and then dabbles in Beach Boys pop on “Phone in a Pool” and Queen-inspired choruses on “Yes Man.”

“You better cover your ears,” His Purpleness warns (or promises) on his guitar anthem “HARDROCKLOVER,” one of several blisteringly loud new tracks that will offset the album’s otherwise quieter, gentler bedroom ballads.


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