The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Jack River & Poo Bear
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 have probably already dived into Tove Lo’s brilliant Blue Lips album and possibly checked out Sia’s seasonal opus. But that’s still just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s stark with a trio of moody electro-pop singles. Maggie Lindemann struck gold with the Cheat Codes remix of “Pretty Girl,” racking up more than 300 million streams on Spotify. She could find similar success with the follow-up. A feisty kiss-off with a catchy chorus, “Obsessed” cements the 19-year-old’s status as one of 2017’s breakout artists. Next up is 7Chariot, who previously released (great) music as Clairity. The Nashville native has a new moniker, and a new sound, as evidenced by the hooky-heavy “Ricochet” — a relatable anthem about sabotaging an otherwise healthy relationship. Tove Lo explores a similar theme on “Cycles,” the highlight of her aforementioned new LP.
If you like your synth-pop with a retro twist, Aly & AJ come through with “Promises” — one of the four perfect pop songs of their Ten Years EP. After dabbling in folk-pop under the name 78violet, the “Potential Breakup Song” legends detoured into dark and dreamy, ’80s-tinged electronica and found their true calling. New Zealand’s Gin Wigmore takes it back even further on “Cabrona” — a rollicking, ’70s-inspired anthem that showcases the hitmaker’s raspy vocals as well as a newfound pop sensibility. Her 4th LP, Ivory, is shaping up to be something special.
How about some bangers to kick off the weekend? Lauren Jauregui is quietly carving out a solo identity away from Fifth Harmony with impressive features on Halsey’s “Strangers” and Ty Dolla $ign’s “In My Phone.” Her winning streak continues with “All Night,” a massive dance anthem produced by Steve Aoki. This sounds like a hit. The same applies to Noah Cyrus and Matoma’s “Slow.” The thinking man’s Cyrus has had a blockbuster year and this is the cherry on top.
The club collaborations continue with Diplo and MØ’s “Get It Right.” The high priest and priestess of dance-pop always deliver fire and this is no exception. More raw and organic than previous outings, the duo’s latest takes a mean twist after the chorus with a concussion-inducing chorus. Play it loud. That’s also good advice for the next song. Basenji is on a roll. After taking an extended break, the Australian producer returned with “Don’t Let Go” a couple of months ago and now drops an even bigger song called “Mistakes.” Featuring Adelaide rapper/vocalist Tkay Maidza, this hits the sweet spot between shimmery pop and club beats.
It was also a banner week for Aussie alt-pop. Jack River, a singer/songwriter from Sydney, landed a viral hit earlier this year with “Fool’s Gold.” She ups the ante even further with “Fault Line,” a regret-soaked pop song about living life on the sidelines. Loner-pop has never sounded more anthemic. Another rising star is Hatchie. The Brisbane newcomer made a great first impression with debut single “Try” and backs it up with “Sure,” a gorgeous burst of dream-pop with a shoegaze twist. Both of these women need to be one your pop radar.
How about the guys? Lauv’s ascent to the top of the pop world continues with “Paris In The Rain.” The 23-year-old currently has two songs wreaking havoc at pop radio with “I Like Me Better” and DJ Snake collaboration “A Different Way,” but that hasn’t stopped him from randomly dropping a stripped-back, wildly romantic tune. This is a different kind of emo. Similarly loved-up is Flawes’ “This Could Be Real.” The UK group switches it up with an uptempo track without losing any of the impact of their haunting slow jams. Their debut LP is going to be something else.
While we’re on the topic of feelings, Dashboard Confessional returns with the lead single from their first album in almost a decade. It’s not as easy as it seems to pick up where you left off (see Fergie’s Double Dutchess for proof), but “We Fight” wouldn’t sound out of place on any of the band’s seminal mid-’00s albums. Bring on Crooked Shadows (due Feb 9)! Wallows caught my attention with hazy, indie-pop anthem “Uncomfortable” and maintain it with “Pulling Leaves Off Trees” — a welcome dose of grungy pop/rock with razor-sharp lyrics.
Let’s wind up with a trio of Latin-pop anthems. Maluma is angling for a US crossover with “Hola,” a catchy collaboration with the ever-reliable Flo Rida. It’s not going to win any Grammys, but the banger will soundtrack more than its fair share of parties. Another tune with serious chart prospects is Demi Lovato and Luis Fonsi’s “Echame La Culpa.” If anything can follow in the footsteps of “Despacito” and crossover, it’s this. That takes us to Poo Bear and Juanes’ mellow “All We Can Do.” This bilingual anthem is exquisitely produced, wafting along like a summer breeze. Listen to the gem in my playlist below.