The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring City Girls & JENNIE
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 surely succumbed to the masterpiece that is Mariah Carey’s Caution album and hopefully checked out Jennifer Lopez’s soaring, Sia-penned “Limitless.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of bops from the next generation of female artists. Maggie Lindemann landed a global hit in 2016 with “Pretty Girl” and she should find similar success with “Would I.” A moody mid-tempo about emotional trauma (relatable), this is a deceptively catchy and beautifully-produced anthem. Hannah Diamond, on the other hand, doesn’t really do introspection. The Queen of PC Music makes bangers and “True,” her first release in two years, is every bit as weird and wonderful as you would expect. Bring on the Brit’s debut album!
Loren Gray is another One To Watch. She is the latest social media sensation to try her hand at pop, but the 16-year-old has obviously learned from other people’s mistakes. The teen has been refining her sound over the last couple of years, and that dedication shows off on the feisty “Kick You Out.” Loren has serious pop star potential — a quality that JENNIE has in spades. The BLACKPINK diva made her solo debut with, appropriately enough, “SOLO” and it’s a bone-rattling anthem that sounds more like Rihanna than your standard K-Pop fare. I’m impressed.
Next up is one of the biggest breakout stars of 2018. Since arriving with the deceptively complicated “Bad,” Lennon Stella has impressed with quirky tunes like “Breakaway” and “Fortress.” The 19-year-old’s debut EP, Love, Me, arrives today and it contains an earworm called “La Di Da.” This needs to be a single. Further along in her pop journey is Julia Michaels. The divine singer/songwriter blesses New Music Friday with a surprising dark (it’s on a Disney soundtrack) banger called “In This Place.” Now, where is her album?
When it comes to the title of pop’s most prolific diva, Becky G has got to be contender. In the last month, she has dropped multiple Latin bangers, a country duet (!) and now, a Motown cover. The “Sin Pijama” hitmaker tackles Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In Life” for Motown Magic, an animated Netflix series, and she does a really good job. Is there any genre she can’t master? Rita Ora is feeling similarly soulful on “Velvet Rope.” (Not a Janet Jackson cover). The latest buzz track from Phoenix showcases the Brit’s underrated vocals and musicality. Maybe I’ve been a DL Ritabot all along.
How about a little hip-hop? City Girls is part of the sex-positive rap wave taking over music. After building a cult following with instructional anthems like “I’ll Take Your Man” and “Millionaire Dick,” the Miami duo is headed for the big time with “Twerk” — an insanely catchy collaboration with Cardi B. Another female rapper on the brink of big things is Raja Kumari. After penning hits for the likes of Iggy Azalea and Gwen Stefani, the Indian superstar could land one of her own with the fast and furious “Shook.” I was.
As usual, some of the week’s best pop hails from Australia. After taking five years off to create a web-based variety show, Laura Imbruglia returns with her best song since “When It All Falls Apart (And It Will).” “Diptych” finds the auteur channeling Cocteau Twins over fuzzy, shoegaze-inducing production. I can’t get enough. That same goes for the debut single from Seaforth. They are a new Australian duo from Sydney’s Northern Beaches with a penchant for country music. “Talk To Me” was recorded in Nashville and it’s a breezy, hook-filled tune that hints at much bigger things to come.
Anything Australia can do, New Zealand can… too. BROODS reemerged earlier this year as an independent act and delivered their best single to date. They return to New Music Friday with another quirky, indie-pop gem called “Everything Goes (Wow).” It doesn’t quite reach the same glorious heights as “Peach,” but it comes close. If you prefer things a little more stripped-back, Brooke Fraser’s “Circles And Squares” is the song for you. One of many gems contained on the Kiwi singer/songwriter’s just-released collection of B-Sides, this is better than most lead singles I’ve heard this year.
Let’s wind up with a couple of bangers. (It is Friday). LA-based producer Le Youth always comes at club music from a fresh perspective and “Stay,” a gorgeous collaboration with Karen Harding, is no exception. This is one of those rare gems that can be enjoyed at the gym, on the way to work or grinding away on the dancefloor. Germany’s Robin Schulz is another one of EDM’s most consistent performers. He teams up with rising Finnish singer Erika Sirola for a bittersweet bop called “Speechless.” Check it out in my playlist below.