New this week: Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Blake Shelton, and more


Searching for something to listen to this weekend? Yahoo Music has you covered with a rundown of some of this week’s biggest and buzzing releases, including Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Blake Shelton, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.

Sam Smith: The Thrill of it All (Capitol). Smith knew well that his fans were rabid for this release, having teased them with a tweet months ago: “The wait is so nearly over. Something is coming very very very very soon. I am scared & excited at the same time. I’ve poured my soul and heart into this record.” Indeed, the set overflows with emotion and deep personal revelations, enough to make it the most lovelorn release of the year.

Maroon 5: Red Pill Blues (222/Interscope). Superstars Maroon 5, led by Voice coach Adam Levine and his twirly, flexible vocals, hardly need any celeb power to boost a new release — but this one packs Kendrick Lamar, Future, SZA, A$AP Rocky, LunchMoney Lewis, and Julia Michaels into the guest list.

Blake Shelton: Texoma Shore (Warner). Voice coach Shelton is also releasing an album this week (along with Adam Levine’s Maroon 5). This set is devoted to his native Oklahoma, and finds the country powerhouse going deep traditional — a bit of a change from the poppier leanings he’s had of late.

Kid Rock: Sweet Southern Sugar (Top Dog/BMG Rights Management). On his latest, the Michigan native goes whole hog with the country/southern rock influences he’s danced around with for most of his career. He’s always been remarkably flexible with the country audience, so there’s little doubt he’ll be successful courting them with this record.

Meghan Linsey: Bold Like a Lion (Bold Music Group). Linsey, who famously alienated her country audience by taking a knee after singing the national anthem at a Tennessee Titans game, soldiers on with her latest record — which goes in the pop direction and features appearances from Aloe Blacc and the B-52s’ Fred Schneider.

Shamir: Revelations (Father/Daughter). The 22-year-old artist underwent a series of personal and professional crises over the past two years, emerging on top with this experimental and inventive self-produced set which brims with assurance and daring.

Shawn Mendes: MTV Unplugged (Island). This set was recorded in Downtown Los Angeles at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, comprising Mendes’s slate of hits. The show aired on Sept. 8 nationwide and served as the premiere episode for the newly revived series.

Kelsea Ballerini: Unapologetically (Black River Entertainment). The rising country starlet had an unexpected smash debut in 2014; this is her eagerly anticipated follow-up which she says she had more time and space to experiment on. Clearly, she worked considerably on her evolution, allowing a more developed nuance to permeate her already charming style.

Stereophonics: Scream Above the Sounds (Parlophone). The band’s 10th studio album continues with their focus on good melodies and careful songcraft, adding just a touch of experimentation to make the set progress.

Grace Vanderwaal: Just the Beginning (Columbia). The full-length debut album from the America’s Got Talent season 11 champion is packed with solid collaborators including Ido Zmishlany, Kinetics & One Love, Greg Wells, Gregg Wattenberg, and Sean Douglas.

Lee Brice: Lee Brice (Curb). It’s a heavy week for country albums, and Brice — a stunningly talented songwriter who’s penned hits for other artists as well as himself — is a contender for the best out of them with yet another solid set of well-crafted tunes. Warren Hayes and Edwin McCain make special appearances.

Lalah Hathaway: Honestly (Hathaway Entertainment). The R&B singer is fresh off two Grammy wins as well as an all-star collaboration with Pharrell Williams on the Hidden Figures soundtrack earlier this year, so she’s in fine form on this intimate and revealin album as well. Guests include Lecrae and Tiffany Gouché.

a-ha: MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice (Swinglong/UMe). The famed ’80s Norwegian recruits some colleagues such as Alison Moyet, Ian McCulloch, Lissie, and Ingrid Helene Håvik to jam on vintage instruments for a sweet live set.

Kansas: Leftoverture Live & Beyond (InsideOutMusic). This 2-CD set contains 19 songs that were recorded last spring during the classic band’s Leftoverture 40th anniversary tour.