The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring The Wombats & Le Youth
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 already heard Camila Cabello’s “Never Be The Same” and possibly checked out Charli XCX’s collaboration with Tove Lo and ALMA, “Out Of My Head.” But that’s still just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of songs with a movie connection. The Greatest Showman is a new musical about P.T. Barnum starring Hugh Jackman. It doesn’t open until December 20, but the soundtrack dropped today and it features a syrupy duet between co-stars Zac Efron and Zendaya called “Rewrite The Stars.” Fans of High School Musical (i.e. everyone) will gag. Less saccharine is Sufjan Stevens’ ode to Tonya Harding. The folk singer submitted the track for just-released biopic I, Tonya, but it was rejected. It’s a mystery because this is devastating and moving in equal measure.
Looking for something a little more upbeat? Club kings Axwell /\ Ingrosso (two thirds of Swedish House Mafia) cap off another massive year with “Dreamer.” The “More Than You Know” hitmakers don’t fuck with the mid-tempo, emo electronica currently dominating the charts. They make hands-in-the-air bangers and this is no exception. More pop, but equally euphoric is Matisse & Sadko’s “Into You” (not an Ariana Grande cover). After making waves with a series of collaborations with Martin Garrix, the Russian duo come into their own with this loved-up floorfiller featuring rising Norwegian vocalist Hanne Mjøen.
While we’re on the topic of bops, Le Youth graces New Music Friday with a new track called “I Could Always.” Featuring MNDR, this is something of a switch up for the nü disco producer. For starters, it skewers towards the alt side of the music spectrum and evokes the ’90s with its fuzzy beats. Another tune worthy of your attention is Wingtip’s “Space For Us.” A collaboration with fellow viral sensation Youngr, the Brooklyn-based DJ proves that “Rewind” was no fluke with this instantly hummable earworm.
One of the most surprising (but welcome) stories of 2017 has been the reemergence of Aaron Carter. He came out of nowhere to land a viral hit with “Sooner Or Later” and backed it up with “Fool’s Good.” The comeback kid now drops, “(Don’t) Say Goodbye,” the lead single from his first album in 15 years — and it’s a mellow electro-pop anthem with a memorable drop. Speaking of which, Mat Kearney unexpectedly employs one on “Face To Face” — an otherwise earnest love song with peppered with acoustic instruments. It’s a bold juxtaposition, but it works. More traditional production-wise is Greyson Chance’s “Low,” a brutally honest and relatable tune about figuring out relationships.
Where’s the new music from female artists? The always-brilliant Liv Dawson comes through with “Hush.” Produced by Jimmy Napes (the man behind most of Sam Smith’s hits), this is lush, multi-layered R&B with a massive chorus. 2018 could be her year. That also applies to a couple of complete newcomers. Delaney Jane makes a great first impression with “Howl,” an evocative pop anthem filled with yearning and vocal hooks. Equally notable is India Sweeney’s “Fly.” The Aussie singer’s debut single is a dreamy bop with lashings of sax.
How about a pick-me-up for the weekend? The Wombats return with “Turn,” the lead single from their intriguingly-titled 4th LP, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. From the anthemic chorus to the quirky lyrics about listening to Drake in swimming pools, this is electro-tinged, jangly pop/rock at its best. Not quite as feel-good is Tom Thum & Ruel’s cover of Rag N Bone Man’s “Human.” Believe it or not, there are no instruments on this track. Every drum beat and horn blast comes from the mouth of beatboxer extraordinaire Thum, while his teenage collaborator shows off the vocal chops that landed him a deal with RCA.
Let’s wind up with a couple of dance-pop songs that deserved to find a bigger audience. Australian producers DNA dropped their debut single, “Only Wanna Love You,” earlier this year and it didn’t quite click. They might have more luck with a new remix that packs a hefty punch without losing the pop sensibility of the original. Equally slept-on is Dagny’s “Love You Like That.” I’m not sure how long the Norwegian diva has to drop flawless bops before everyone wakes up. Listen to the stellar Mark McCabe remix in my playlist below.