Today’s New Music Releases: Sia, The Weeknd, Christopher The Conquered, Bloc Party, And Rihanna

The highly-anticipated This Is Acting was released by Sia on January 29, the follow-up to her Grammy-nominated 1000 Forms of Fear. Other artists releasing music today include Rihanna, Bloc Party, Zayn Malik, Christopher the Conquered, The Weeknd, and Phil Collins. Further details and reviews for these albums and more are below.

New albums

The most talked about release this Friday is Sia’s This Is Acting. One of the most interesting pieces of trivia about the album is that many of the songs were initially written for other artists but ultimately rejected (some of those artists include Adele, Rihanna, and Beyonce). However, as a Pitchfork review commented, This Is Acting is still “a complete piece of work, and one that serves as a commentary on the intersectionality of art and fame by someone who has recently acquired a new level of notoriety.” This is Sia’s seventh studio album. It comes out 18 months after 1000 Forms of Fear, which peaked at No. 1 on the U.S., Australian, and Canadian charts.

Having undergone some significant changes, it’s no wonder that British indie band Bloc Party took three-and-a-half years since Four to release Hymns. Since that release in 2012, Bloc Party has parted ways with (and replaced) two members, moved to a new label, and significantly altered their sound. Naming their album Hymns is not accidental or ironic. As NME pointed out, Hymns is “so drenched in quasi-religious themes and tones it could be a sister piece to the Pope’s recent kick-ass rock album.” But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the review concludes with a very positive synopsis.

“A bewitching new Bloc Party has risen from the grave. Praise be.”

This is Bloc Party’s fifth studio album. While their previous albums have failed to break the Top 10 in U.S. charts, three of their previous albums peaked in the top three on the U.K. charts.

Other artists releasing full-length albums today include Charlie Puth (One Track Mind), Moby (Hotel Ambient), MONEY (Suicide Songs), and Wet (Don’t You).

New EPs and singles

If you’ve been around many up-and-coming, yet-unsigned artists, you know that it’s a pretty common practice for them to give their CDs to other artists. Chris Ford of Christopher The Conquered did just that with an advance copy of I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll. That advanced copy was passed from Natalie Prass to Ryan Adams. Adams liked the album so much that he tweeted about it and posted to Instagram, instantly giving the band what Ford calls the “Ryan Adams bump,” resulting in thousands of new music fans following the Des Moines-based artist. While I’m Giving Up won’t be released until this spring, Ford released his I’m Not That Famous Yet EP today, which includes two songs to be featured on I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll and two songs exclusive to this EP. If ordered through the label’s website (Maximum Ames Records), the digital EP comes with access to an exclusive stream of CTC in concert.

Former One Direction member Zayn Malik released his first solo single — “Pillowtalk” — today with a video featuring supermodel girlfriend Gigi Hadid. As the BBC noted, “Pillowtalk” has more of an influence from R&B than his previous work with One Direction. Lyrically, Zayn isn’t being subtle about the content.

“I think I’m pretty black and white about what it’s about. Everybody has sex, and it’s something people wanna hear about.”

Other artists releasing singles today include Akon (“Hypnotized”), Foxes (“Wicked Love”), and Katy B (“Honey”).

Other releases

For such collectors, The Weeknd releases last August’s Beauty Behind The Madness on vinyl today. Bloc Party, alongside the release of the new Hymns album, are issuing Silent Alarm on vinyl as well. Both of those albums marked breakthrough points in the careers of the respective artists.

Serving as the beginning of his Take a Look at Me Now reissue campaign, Phil Collins officially reissued Face Value and Both Sides today. Meanwhile, Rihanna made a deluxe version of Anti available on iTunes today. The initial release was exclusive to TIDAL. The deluxe version includes three new songs.

Artists set for major album releases next week include Elton John, Lucinda Williams, and Wiz Khalifa.

[Image via Billboard]