The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Liv Dawson & Wet
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 prevent that tragic scenario with The Drop — a cheat sheet to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Years & Years’ blistering “Sanctify” and possibly checked out the A Wrinkle In Time soundtrack (featuring Sade’s sublime “Flower Of The Universe”). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a trio of Brits. Despite voicing a handful of UK chart-toppers, John Newman is still one of those artists that feels underrated. Hopefully that changes with “Fire In Me,” a soaring anthem that delivers feel-good lyrics, driving horns and a killer vocal. Liv Dawson has been on my radar since 2016, but hasn’t quite delivered the massive pop song she’s clearly capable of. That is until now. “Talk” feels big. Last but not least, George Ezra rolls out “Hold My Girl” as the latest buzz track from his sophomore LP and it’s an achingly lovely, stripped-back ballad.
The Aussies also had a good week. Kylie Minogue releases “Stop Me From Falling” as the second single from her upcoming Golden LP and it’s a country-pop hybrid in the mold of “Dancing.” I admit to being skeptical when I heard the dance-pop diva was swapping her hot pants for cowboy boots, but her new sound radiates joy to such an extent that it’s impossible not to be swept along. Jessica Mauboy, the likely successor to Kylie’s pop throne in Australia, also releases new music this week. “We Got Love” is the nation’s Eurovision entry and it’s a major dance-pop moment.
Vera Blue is another rising star from the land Down Under. Her debut, Perennial, was one of my favorite albums of 2017 and “Lady Powers” always stood out. The quirky banger finally gets the single treatment this week — complete with a feature from rising Atlanta rapper Kodie Shane. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the cultural revolution being led by women around the world. Actually, so is Gin Wigmore’s “Girl Gang.” The Kiwi cuts loose on the rollicking track, urging women to reclaim their power. It’s timely and also happens to be catchy as fuck. Her 4th LP, Ivory, drops April 6.
A little closer to home, New York band Wet returns with “There’s A Reason.” The first taste of their sophomore LP is a light and airy dream-pop song that evokes the less-is-more approach of the ’90s. It takes a lot of confidence (and skill) to create something that sounds this effortless and easy. The Aces throw it back even further with “Just Like That,” the latest buzz track from debut LP When My Heart Felt Volcanic (due April 6). This is their most enchanting slice of ’80s synth-pop since “Physical.”
More concerned with the here and now is rising pop duo Loote. As well as being gun songwriters (they co-wrote Cheat Codes & Demi Lovato’s “No Promises”), Emma Lov and Jackson Foote are building a fan base with bops like “Out Of My Head” and “High Without Your Love.” They take it to the next level with “Your Side Of The Bed” — a feisty fuck-you to an ex that is as catchy as it is relatable. The same goes for Sofi Tukker’s “Baby I’m A Queen,” which is the duo’s most accessible single to date. I miss the mayhem of “Drinkee,” but this should build on the audience they found with breakout hit “Best Friend.”
How about new music from a pair of rising stars? Jaira Burns impressed everyone with debut single “Ugly” and continued to build buzz with subsequent singles “Burn Slow” and “High Rollin.” She now blesses New Music Friday with “OKOKOK!,” an upbeat pop song built on hip-hop beats. It sounds like a hit. Doja Cat has been listed as One To Watch since dropping her Purrr! EP way back in 2014. It has taken her a while to complete her debut LP, but “Go To Town” — a rowdy ode to the joys of (receiving) head — indicates that it will be worth the wait.
Let’s wind things about with a couple of Latin bops. Maluma would seem to be the next in line as far as crossover attempts go and new single “El Préstamo” can only help his case. I want to hear the English-language tracks he has been working on, but this will do for now. Bring on F.A.M.E.! Equally catchy is Abraham Mateo’s “Se Acabó El Amor.” The 19-year-old Spaniard calls on Yandel and Jennifer Lopez to bring the song to life and it’s a hip-swinging banger. Listen to it in my playlist below.