The Drop: Your Guide To Friday’s New Releases (Including Bat For Lashes, MKTO, Rostam, Birdy & Gazzo)
Fridays can be overwhelming for pop aficionados. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. That’s why I’ve come up with The Drop — a form guide (of sorts) to help you navigate the week’s new releases. Let’s get started. By now you’ve probably checked out Ariana Grande’s tribute to The Weeknd, otherwise known as “Dangerous Woman,” and possibly hummed along to Gwen Stefani’s counterintuitively perky “Misery.” But there’s a lot more where that came from!
Where to start? How about with the brooding lead single of Bat For Lashes’ fourth LP The Bride (due July 1). “In God’s House” finds the British alt-pop siren musing about love, life and relationships over sinister synths. While not quite as accessible as 2009 gem “Daniel” (a perfect pop song by any measure), it’s a lot easier to digest than anything on her overwhelmingly bleak The Haunted Man LP. Another notable pop happening is the arrival of Rostam Batmanglij’s first solo tune since parting ways with Vampire Weekend.
He changes lanes dramatically with sparse electro-anthem “Gravity Don’t Pull Me,” which is a weird and wonderful four-minute listening experience. Less offbeat, but just as captivating, is the third taste of Birdy’s Beautiful Lies LP. “Wild Horses” finds a comfortable middle ground between the surprisingly upbeat “Keeping Your Head Up” and stripped-back title track. If you haven’t checked out Birdy 2.0 yet, this is as good a place as any to start.
While most of the artists mentioned in this post are exploring new sounds, New Zealand’s Ladyhawke comes full circle with “Sweet Fascination.” She revisits the retro-infused synth-pop of her immaculate debut — a wise move after misfiring with gloomy sophomore effort Anxiety. It’s great to have her back. A sentiment that extends to pop duo MKTO, who return with two-part (fancy!) single “Hands Off My Heart/Places You Go.” They’re definitely heading in a more credible direction.
If you’re looking for something a little less cheerful, there are plenty of options. Rising Dallas singer/songwriter Johnny Stimson hits all the right notes on stripped-back ballad “Bright Side,” while Laurel evokes Florence + The Machine, by way of Beth Orton, on the excellent “Life Worth Living.” Another alt-pop diva with new music up her sleeve is Alex Maxwell. She proves that Lana Del Rey-tastic debut single “Drive” was no fluke with “No Flight.”
Craving something more soulful? Look no further than Lizzo’s serotonin-raising contribution to the Barbershop: The Next Cut soundtrack. “Good As Hell” lives up to its title with a chorus that takes residence in your head after the first listen. That leaves us with the week’s new dance anthems. Avicii teams up with Aussie crooner Conrad Sewell for “Taste The Feeling,” while Martin Garrix aims for another crossover hit with “Now That I’ve Found You.” The best of the batch, however, is Gazzo’s “What You Waiting For” — a winning, pop radio-ready collaboration with New York alt-pop duo Sugarwhiskey.