The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Poppy & Amanda Tenfjord
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 Bad Bunny and Drake’s iTunes-conquering “Mia” and possibly checked out Little Mix and Nicki Minaj’s empowering “Woman Like Me.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of Norwegian pop stars with global potential. Astrid S needs no introduction at this point, winning a large (and ever-growing) international following with synth-pop gems like “Breathe” and “Such A Boy.” She mixes it up on new mid-tempo, “Emotion,” tapping into something more intimate and soulful. It is her best single to date. That description also applies to Amanda Tenfjord’s “Let Me Think.” The breakout star came out swinging earlier this year with the scathing “First Impression” and ups the ante even further with this relatable bop about needing a second to collect your thoughts every once in a while.
While we’re on the topic of Scandinavian excellence, it would be remiss of me not to remind you that ALMA dropped a new single this week. The Finnish singer leaves the electro-pop of “Dye My Hair” and “Chasing Highs” behind on the bold and brave, “Cowboy.” She is finally coming out of her shell and taking on the music world on her own terms. I’m pretty sure that FRANKIE can relate to that. The LA-based pop star recently parted ways with RCA and now joins the New Music Friday lineup as an independent artist. She stands her ground on “When I’m Ready,” an applause-worthy response to well-intentioned encouragement to get back on the horse after a dating disaster. The best is yet to come for her.
How about a little electro-pop to usher in the weekend? Earlier this week, I was excited to premiere Somme’s “Broken Hearted Lovers” and it stands up as one of the week’s best releases. The “Long Time” singer embraces the post-breakup rebound on a banger that is both instantly catchy and unusually artful. She is definitely One To Watch. Further along in her career (this queen basically owns the internet), Poppy continues to evolve and improve as a pop star. I loved her apocalyptic “Time Is Up” and her latest, “Fashion After All,” is a high-camp dance anthem that reminds me of The Ones’ iconic 2001 club anthem “Flawless.” High praise, indeed.
Let’s take the tempo down a notch or two with a pair of contemplative singles from two of my favorite singer/songwriters. Everything Maggie Rogers touches turns to gold (see “Alaska” and “Fallingwater” for proof), but “Light On” is simultaneously her most instant and personal song to date. On it, she opens up about almost quitting when fame came at her a little too quick. Meg Mac also has something to get off her chest on “Give Me My Name Back,” an empowering anthem for women in a post #MeToo world. It’s her first new song since wowing us with debut LP, Low Blows, in 2017. It’s a powerful and important song.
While female artists dominated New Music Friday (as usual), a couple of fellas held their own. Hudson Thames has steadily built a following over the last couple of years with a cut on the Sing Street soundtrack and a viral hit called “How I Want Ya.” The LA-based singer is about to take it to the whole next level with “Last Call,” an anthemic, (early) Billy Joel-channeling piano ditty produced by Stephan Moccio. This could be a big. The same goes for James Hersey and filous’ “Let Go.” The long-time collaborators have has serious success in the past (their “Coming Over” remix garnered more than 50 million Spotify alone) and this evocative, intricately arranged earworm is equally appealing.
How about some (rather premature) Christmas music? I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for seasonal fare and John Legend’s festive opus, A Legendary Christmas, is shaping up to be a delight. Today, the R&B crooner unleashes a cute cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and a feel-good original called “Bring Me Love.” I’m obsessed. Next up, is a song that I can’t believe exists. Rock icons Def Leppard bless the New Music Friday lineup with a guitar ballad called “We All Need Christmas.” I’m not sure how this fits into the rest of their discography, but I’m very much on board.
I might as well wind up with some more easy-listening. Michael Bublé’s Love album is destined to be the year’s ultimate stocking filler. After wooing old ladies (and me) with a cover of “When I Fall In Love,” the Canadian heartthrob returns with an original. Written by Charlie Puth and produced by David Foster, “Love You Anymore” could be the “Haven’t Met You Yet” (i.e. breakout hit) of this era. Last, but definitely not least, is living legend Barbra Streisand. After snatching 45’s toupee with “Don’t Lie To Me,” the vocal goddess blesses our ears with an achingly beautiful mashup of “Imagine” and “What A Wonderful World.” Check it out in my playlist below.