May Release Rundown

A look at some of the most notable new albums and singles released in May, from established stars to emerging artists.

May Release Rundown
Third Bridge Creative
Third Bridge Creative
May 31, 20244 min read
Permalink Copied

Written by Peter A. Berry of Third Bridge Creative

This is the fifth installment of our monthly column that looks back at key new releases from artists across the spectrum, from superstars to upstarts. We’ll break down what happened and why it mattered. In this edition, we highlight releases from Billie Eilish, Yaya Bey, Tommy Richman, Chief Keef, and Knocked Loose.

Billie Eilish Dominates Again With HIT ME HARD AND SOFT

With her whispery vocals and idiosyncratic musicality, Billie Eilish is a few years into superstar status, and she proves why with her new album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT. The LP is an exhibition of her emotions and understated cool. “LUNCH” is carefree alt-pop that’s as tongue-in-cheek as it is irresistible. With its ambient soundscape and Billie’s ghostly runs, “CHIHIRO” is an existential bop that doubles as an immersive dancefloor excursion. Threaded by a muted aesthetic, it’s all as fun as it is skillful, which is probably a reason why Billie’s Spotify monthly listeners have grown by over 20 million since its May 17 release. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart after selling over 300k equivalent album units in its first week. 

Knocked Loose and You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To

Knocked Loose’s latest album is an exercise in propulsive force. While they retain their underground sound, everything on the project is bigger and more intense than ever. The Poppy-assisted “Suffocate” is an appropriately riotous explosion that captures the album’s chaotic energy quite well, so much so that fans have streamed the track over 6 million times. Since the album’s May 10 release, the hardcore metal band’s Spotify monthly listeners have increased by 25%, bringing them to 2.3 million. Knocked Loose is also settling into an upward groove on other streaming platforms. In the past month, their Pandora streams have grown by nearly 400k, where they’ve also doubled their monthly listeners.

Yaya Bey’s Artistry Blossoms With Ten Fold

A seamless mix of funk, R&B, and emotionally transparent rap, Yaya Bey’s Ten Fold showcases her malleable musicality and earnest lyricism. The beats here are ambiently soulful, and Bey’s vocals are mixed in a way that sounds like you’re listening to her perform in a Brooklyn hookah lounge. Tracks like “career day” brim with self-aware analysis and light jokes, but they’re filled with heart, too. The project is streaming pretty well too, collecting a few million streams across its 16 tracks dating back to its May 10 release date, and it’s gotten critical acclaim, earning the Best New Music designation from Pitchfork. And although Ten Fold has no issue with individual tracks inching closer to 1 million streams on Spotify (songs like “chasing the bus” are climbing well beyond 800k streams), Yaya is still finding audiences in other digital spaces, like on SoundCloud where she has experienced a 79% increase in streams within the past month. 

Chief Keef Proves His Omnipotence With Almighty So 2

Any way you look at it, folks love Sosa, and he keeps giving them good reason to. A follow-up to its 11-year-old predecessor, Almighty So, Almighty So 2 is essentially an action blockbuster in rap form, with Keef’s pummeling beats and hooks playing out like a series of explosions. This is Keef at his most visceral — and he’s pretty dynamic with it. On “Neph Nem” with Ballout and G Herbo, he’s at his most convincingly menacing, with his snarling bars blending in perfectly with the hellish soundscape. Keef’s new project’s been streaming well, too, with the delirious “Tony Montana Flow” collecting nearly 35 million Spotify streams. Almighty So 2 also sold pretty well for an independent release, moving 23k equivalent album units in its first week. 

Tommy Richman Explodes With "MILLION DOLLAR BABY"

Grafting his lithe falsetto onto a jittery funk soundscape, Tommy Richman created an anthem that’s at once retro and contemporary. “MILLION DOLLAR BABY” is a lot of things, including the rare instance where an empty adjective like, “a whole vibe” feels totally appropriate. Tommy Richman immediately established his breakout artist of the year candidacy with “MILLION DOLLAR BABY,” a track that’s collected over 288 million Spotify streams to date. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it’s remained in the top 3 since its release. On their own, those numbers say Tommy’s winning big. But, the fact that his Spotify monthly listeners total jumped to over 27 million tells you he might be on his way to the championship.

Visualizations by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of May 31, 2024.