The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Hayley Kiyoko, Jake Miller & Galantis
Fridays can be overwhelming for pop fans. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. I’m hoping to circumvent that tragic scenario with a feature called The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard DJ Snake and Justin Bieber’s “Let Me Love You,” which is currently sitting at number one on iTunes, and possibly bopped along to Tove Lo’s new single, “Cool Girl.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of alt-leaning, oft-ethereal pop divas. After releasing a string of independent EPs, Hayley Kiyoko recently signed with Atlantic Records and wasted no time dropping major label debut single, “Gravel To Tempo.” It packs a heavier punch than breezy synth-gems like “This Side Of Paradise,” but it stays true to her slightly off-kilter, DIY pop sound. Next up is Lisa Mitchell. Whether she’s dreaming of love affairs in laundromats or touring churches with a yoga-inspired anthem, the Australian singer has a decidedly offbeat approach to pop. Which shines through on dreamy, ’80s-inspired new single, “The Boys.” This is essential listening.
As usual, some of the week’s best new tunes hail from the UK. JONES made quite a splash with 2015 EP Indulge and continues to impress with gloriously smooth R&B/pop concoctions like the Honne-produced gem, “Melt.” Her streak of flawless releases continues with “Air,” a light and fragile ditty that veers closer to ambient electro than we’ve heard before. London-based singer/songwriter Alex Maxwell also made a great first impression last year with noirish electro-anthem “Drive.” The first artist signed to Hollywood Records UK ups the tempo on “Letting You Know” — an atmospheric tune with a vaguely retro sheen that evokes Wild Heart-era Stevie Nicks.
While the ladies lead the way this week, a couple of guys hold their own. (I could have worded that better). Jake Miller has been on the verge of a commercial breakthrough for a while now, but hasn’t found the right song. Until now. A summery urban-pop track with a slight tropical twist, “Overnight” sounds like a cross between Justin Bieber and Jason Derulo. Which is obviously a very good thing. Like Jake, SoMo spends a lot of time at the gym (see the cover of his new single), but that’s where the similarities end. The crooner opts for sexy R&B on “First” — a languid bedroom anthem in the mold of 2014 hit “Ride.” This will do nicely while we wait for Robin Thicke to get over his mid-life crisis.
If you’re after something a little more relaxing, look no further than Norah Jones’ new single. After taking an alt-pop detour on 2012’s extremely underrated …Little Broken Hearts LP, the mega-selling chanteuse returns to her jazzy roots on “Carry On.” It’s light and airy background music, which sets the mood without demanding your full attention. That might sound shady, but the first taste of Day Breaks is the ultimate palate cleanser between eardrum-busting pop songs. The same goes for Lenny’s “My Love.” I don’t know anything about this Czech diva (she has a minimal online presence), but her second single — debut track “Hell.O” was also pretty good — is a breathtakingly beautiful piano ballad. I want to hear more.
That leaves us with a couple of bangers. Galantis has been on a tear of late — dropping club-conquering anthems at will. The Swedes follow up international smash “No Money” (it recently became their first entry on the Billboard Hot 100) with another retro-tinged electro monster called “Make Me Feel.” A collaboration with Dutch production duo East & Young, this soaring, pop-friendly tune comes from the soundtrack of Netflix original movie XOXO. Last but not least is Dutch dance maestro Afrojack. He teams up with Ty Dolla $ign for crossover-friendly gem, “Gone.” Take a listen in my playlist below.