The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring BROODS & Loren Gray
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 avoid that tragic scenario with The Drop — a cheat sheet of sorts to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you have probably heard Ciara and Tekno’s afro-beat excursion, “Freak Me,” and possibly checked out Labrinth, Sia and Diplo’s “Thunderclouds.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with two bad-ass women who delight in defying expectations and breaking the rules. Cher has nothing left to prove, but she’s out here dropping bangers at 72. The pop icon returned this week with a cover of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” and it’s every bit as glitzy, camp and ridiculous as you would expect. Another rebel in the New Music Friday lineup is Elle King. The raspy-voiced, fucks-free rocker is back with a new single called “Shame” and it’s every bit as captivating as breakout hit “Ex’s & Oh’s.”
Next up is a pair of budding pop superstars. Loren Gray is hoping to make the leap from social media sensation (13 million people follow her every move on Instagram) to chart force and she gets off to a flying start with “My Story.” Produced by Sky Adam’s (Kylie Minogue’s “Dancing”), this is a breezy summer anthem with an instantly catchy chorus. The guys of Why Don’t We are a little further along in their journey. They leveraged a massive YouTube following to find an instant (and very wide) audience for their music. “8 Letters” is their best single yet.
Looking for something a little more alt-leaning? New Zealand duo BROODS makes a welcome return to the pop scene with “Peach.” The Nott siblings really let their hair down on this eccentric bop, which bounces around from synth-pop to fuzzy indie-pop with abandon. It took a couple of listens to click, but now I’m obsessed. Across the Tasman in Australia, Troye Sivan continues churning out increasingly-sexy gems from sophomore LP, Bloom. “Animal” is so blissed-out that it’s guaranteed to have you deep in your feelings.
Chelsea Jade is another mega-talent from the southern hemisphere. Personal Best, the NZ singer/songwriter’s debut album, is jam-packed with dream-pop delights and that uncanny ear for melody and atmosphere is on full display on Jai Wolf’s shimmery, ’80s-evoking “Lost.” This could be a big song for them. That also applies to Louis The Child’s new collaboration with MAX. “Dear Sense” finds the sweet spot between club beats and radio-friendly pop courtesy of slick production, a crazy chorus and the “Lights Down Low” singer’s smooth vocal.
The bangers continue with “Do You Think About Me.” Captain Cuts kicked off their artist project in 2016 with pure-pop anthem, “Love Like We Used To.” The super-producers now switch things up, taking us straight to the dance floor — with a little help from Zookëper and singer/songwriter Georgia Ku, who also handles vocals. Play it loud. And while you’re at it, give One Bit’s “Between You And Me” a spin. The production duo follows up the Noah Cyrus-assisted “My Way” with another collaboration, this time featuring budding UK starlet Louisa.
How about a little international flavor? Colombian superstar Maluma blesses New Music Friday with “Mala Mia,” the first taste of his fourth LP. As usual, it’s slinky, sexy and boasts a soft-porn video. His mind. Also making waves this week is Red Velvet. The K-Pop quintet unleashed new EP, Summer Magic, earlier this week and it contains their first English-language track, “Bad Boy.” Needless to say, it’s a bop. That also applies to Lykke Li’s cover of “U Got It Bad.” The Swede puts her own quirky spin on Usher’s 2001 chart-topper.
Let’s wind up with a couple of remixes. PRETTYMUCH’s breezy “Summer On You” gets the club treatment from CADE. Occasionally a remix feels more “now” (at least, chart-wise) than the original and that’s the case with this streaming-friendly overhaul. Considerably wackier is Riton’s deconstruction of Selena Gomez’s “Back To You.” Not only has the tempo keen kicked up a few notches, but it now features a killer verse from Kah-Lo. It just works. Check it out in my playlist below.