The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Galantis & Diana Gordon
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 Pharrell and Camila Cabello’s summery “Sangria Wine” and possibly sang along to Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato’s emotional “Fall In Line.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Speaking of Demi, “Fall In Line” isn’t her only contribution to New Music Friday. The pop star also lends her pipes to Clean Bandit’s “Solo.” At first, I was a little shocked that they distorted that golden voice with digital effects, but those clucking sounds on the chorus are fire. I love it. The same goes for Galantis and Uffie’s “Spaceship.” The Swedish super-producers can do no wrong in my eyes and it’s great to hear the “Pop The Glock” iconoclast on a big song. Let the Uffie revival begin!
The collaborations continue with Jennifer Lopez’s star-studded “Dinero.” She teams up with DJ Khaled and Cardi B on the feisty banger, which falls somewhere between Jenny’s hip-hop past and Latin present. It takes a couple of listens to click, but once it does you’re in danger. After taking a break from her artist project to pen songs for other artists including Beyoncé (“Sorry”) and, funnily enough, J.Lo (the very underrated “Starting Over”), Diana Gordon is back with new music. “Kool Aid” not only showcases her brilliant songwriting, but also the magical voice that I’ve missed so much.
How about a couple of rule breakers? Bella Thorne reinvents herself as a rapper on new singles, “Bitch I’m Bella Thorne” and “GOAT.” They are both incredibly messy in the best possible way, but I’m leaning towards the self-satire of the former. Bhad Bhabie must be shook. Jessie Saint John also has a habit of flying in the face of convention. After reviving Queercore with “Move,” he delves a little deeper with “FAKE IT” — a song that tackles the shallowness of modern life.
It was a banner week for out artists in general. Christine And The Queens (real name Héloïse Letissier) made a welcome return with “Girlfriend.” The French pop star plays around with gender roles on the G Funk-inspired anthem and makes an interesting statement on the policing of female sexuality. Her approach is a little avant-garde, but the song is undeniable. Australia’s G Flip got everyone talking with debut single “About You,” but I actually prefer “Wasting My Time” — a track inspired by an ex-girlfriend that was a little too high maintenance.
What would New Music Friday be without a little Swedish pop? GRANT generated serious buzz with singles “Wicked” and “Waterline,” but she takes it to the next level on “Catcher In The Rye.” This hits the sweet spot between mainstream and alt-pop with its big chorus and unexpected horns. Keep an eye/ear out for her debut LP, In Bloom (due June 1). A little further along in her career is Lykke Li. She has been rolling out songs from 4th LP, so sad so sexy (due June 8), and they have been uniformly great. The dark-pop goddess mixes it up with tender ballad “Utopia,” and it’s an instant favorite.
Next up is a pair of (relative) newcomers. If you have clicked on YouTube in the last year, chances are you have at least seen Lia Marie Johnson — a content creator and star of mega-successful web series, REACT. With all due respect, don’t let that put you off her music. The 21-year-old has a beautiful voice and she puts it to good use on the moody, lushly-produced “Champagne.” She is definitely One To Watch. The same goes for Carlie Hanson. This time last year, she was working at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Wisconsin, now she’s slaying Spotify with viral hits like “Only One” and “Us.” You can add New Music Friday highlight “Mood” to that list. Teenage boredom has never sounded cooler.
Looking for something a little more upbeat? Unless you’re completely dead inside, Sophia Black and LunchMoney Lewis’ “Blessed” will make you smile. The collaborators list the things they are grateful for over a minimal beat, which makes it a very different kind of bop. Chelsea Cutler recently appeared on The Drop as the featured artist on Jeremy Zucker’s “Better Off.” The rising singer/songwriter returns with serotonin-boosting ditty “The Reason,” which boasts an unexpected post-tropical drop.
Believe it or not, a couple of male artists released new music this week too! Among them is Conrad Sewell, who returns with two new songs after an extended break. It turns out the “Firestone” hitmaker was battling personal demons, which he lays out in “Come Clean.” It’s raw and honest, but “Healing Hands” showcases the songwriting and vocal chops that made “Start Again” one of the best ballads in recent years. Welcome back. Equally emotional is Passenger’s new single, “Hell Or High Water.” After breaking big with “Let Her Go,” the prolific Brit has been steadily churning out quality albums with scant regard for radio hits. The singer/songwriter might have another one with this, however, if he likes it or not.
Let’s wind up with a couple of retro-pop anthems. Pale Waves has already released one of my favorite EPs of 2018 with All the Things I Never Said, but the Manchester quartet is already moving on to their next project with a joyous, new wave-inspired anthem called “Kiss.” This wouldn’t sound out of place on a John Hughes movie soundtrack. Actually, neither would Backstreet Boys’ “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Against all odds, the man band recapture that old magic on this ’80s-inspired synth-pop anthem. Listen the iTunes-topping bop in my playlist below.