The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Bleachers & Marnie
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 The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Calvin Harris’ star-studded “Heatstroke” and bopped along to Demi Lovato and Cheat Codes’ sunny “No Promises.” But that’s still just the tip of the pop iceberg.
Let’s start with two glorious, ’80s-inspired synth-anthems. Jack Antonoff’s side-project Bleachers returns with “Don’t Take The Money.” There are two notable things about this track. (Well, apart from the fact that it’s really, really good). Namely, it was co-written by Lorde and wouldn’t sound out of place on a John Hughes movie soundtrack. I loved Strange Desire and this sounds like more of the same. If you’re into “Don’t Take The Money,” chances are you’ll also fall for Moment’s “Indigo.” The Swedish trio also throws it way, way back on this soaring pop song that evokes A-ha.
Next up is a pair of reworked tracks. Singer/songwriter Lauv has a Spotify smash on his hands with “The Other” (50 million streams and counting) — a gem he now transforms into a beautiful, stripped-back ballad. I’m not sure which version I prefer. Taking the opposite approach is Wrabel. The “11 Blocks” singer turns to Galantis for a remix of “Bloodstain.” The original was already a change of pace from the piano-pop of his last single, but this is a nuclear-powered banger and it works superbly.
What about the ladies? Well, it’s a banner week for slightly left-field/alternative queens. Billie Eilish is something of a regular on The Drop at this point. She contributes “Bored” to the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack and is possibly the most relatable track you’ll hear this week. Looking for something more uptempo and menacing? I suggest you check out Marnie’s “Lost Maps.” The Ladytron lead vocalist blesses us with the kind of bold, dream-pop that has made her band an enduring favorite.
If chill vibes are more your thing, then Amber Coffman’s “No Coffee” is the song for you. The singer/songwriter, who made waves with “All To Myself” in 2016, delivers a breezy guitar-pop ditty with a sweet chorus and soulful approach. It reminds me a little of Sheryl Crow’s lighter moments. I was interested before, but now I need more. The same goes for Marlene. She hails from Sweden, has the voice of an angel and just released a killer bop called “Next To Me.”
How about something for those quieter, contemplative moments? Look no further than Niia’s “Sideline.” I was a little turned off when I read her bio and saw the words “future-jazz vocalist,” but this is pop/R&B-centric in a Sade kind of way. She fires off shots at her non-committal boyfriend over a bluesy arrangement with the odd electronic flourish. The real attraction is her voice, which glides effortlessly from the jaunty verses to soaring chorus. Every bit as enchanting is New Zealand chanteuse Janine. She covers similar ground, at least thematically, on ” but resides in a slinky, alt-R&B soundscape.
The following tracks are what you would call pop-adjacent. Thomas Rhett is one of those new-country singers, who liberally borrow elements from pop. (Think of him as a less brooding Sam Hunt). He teams up with Maren Morris on “Craving You,” a crossover-friendly anthem that’s only slightly less catchy that Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood’s “The Fighter.” ZZ Ward returned a couple of weeks ago with “The Deep,” a track that heralded a return to the bluesy rock of her debut LP. “Help Me Mama” is similarly true to her roots, albeit with a raw and raucous twist.
Let’s wind this marvelous New Music Friday up with a couple of bangers. Detroit producer ayokay landed one of the biggest viral hits of 2016 with “King Of Summer,” a sunny earworm that racked up more than 50 million streams on Spotify. He makes his major label debut with Chelsea Cutler-assisted dance anthem, “The Shine.” This is all about the shimmering drop. A more pop-centric offering is Audien and MAX’s “One More Weekend.” This is a good, old party jam with a soaring chorus and, you guessed it, a massive drop. Listen to it in my playlist below.