The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Hatchie & LOVA
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 Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss” and possibly checked out Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion Of Privacy (my favorite is “I Like It”). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
As usual, some of the week’s best pop comes from Scandinavia. First up is Tove Styrke. Her winning streak continues with “On The Low.” Not as instant as “Say My Name” or “Mistakes,” the latest single from Sway (due May 4) takes a couple of listens to worm its way under your skin. But once it does, there’s no escaping it. Another Swede making quirky, alt-adjacent pop is LOVA. She made a great impression earlier this year with debut single “You Me And The Silence,” but really comes into her on the infinitely relatable “Insecurities.”
While Sweden leads the charge this week, Norway isn’t too far behind. Dagny teams up with EDM producers Seeb (probably best known for their chart-conquering remix of Mike Posner’s “I Took A Pill In Ibiza”) for “Drink About.” This is unusually emo by the “Backbeat” diva’s standards, but a little gloom suits her. Australia is another hotbed for pop right now and Hatchie is at the forefront with her shimmery, shoe-gazing sound. As much as I loved “Try” and “Sure” (and i love them a lot), “Sugar & Spice” is her best single yet. This is a sun-dappled ’90s daydream of song that promises big things from her similarly-titled EP (out May 25).
On the home front, Justin Bieber returns to New Music Friday with a feature on Poo Bear’s “Hard 2 Face Reality” alongside Jay Electronica. A demo of this has been doing the rounds online for years, but you can see why the super producer held onto it for his debut LP, Poo Bear Presents Bearthday Music. It’s a potent fusion of R&B and dance. The same goes for John Legend and BloodPop’s “A Good Night.” There’s a tendency for critics to roll their eyes when the crooner strays too far away from his piano, but I’ve always enjoyed his club detours and this is absolutely hate-proof.
Next up is Kesha’s cover of Big Brother And The Holding Company’s 1968 classic “I Need A Man To Love.” She transforms the song, which Janis Joplin also famously covered, into “I Need A Woman To Love.” Why? It’s one of six songs on Universal Love — an EP of LGBT-friendly wedding anthems. I love the former K$ in rock goddess mode almost as much as I love Florence + The Machine belting out a pop classic. Ms Welch & Co. tackle “Tiny Dancer” for Elton John tribute album, Revamp, and it takes on a soaring, semi-orchestral quality that makes it an instant standout on the compilation.
Interestingly, Revamp wasn’t the only Elton John tribute album released this week. Country music’s biggest artists also take the living legend’s discography to Nashville for Restoration. It’s not easy to pick a highlight, but Maren Morris’ version of “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” is hard to beat. (However, the best cover of this song will always belong to Mandy Moore). I can’t talk country-pop fusions without including something from Kylie Minogue’s just-released Golden. I’m still digesting the very-good album, but “Sincerely Yours” is an early favorite.
Let’s wind up with a couple of bangers. Dutch DJ R3HAB is best-known for his bone-rattling bangers, but he switches things up with the mellow, loved-up “We Do.” On the other end of the emotional spectrum, AOBeats & Annabel Jones’ “About You” seethes with discontent. The duo previously collaborated on a remix of “Magnetic” (the best unreleased song of 2014, 2015 and 2016) and the chemistry is still there. Succumb to the ambient beats and razor-sharp lyrics in my playlist below.