The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Ferras, Wrabel & Dillon Francis
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 circumvent that tragic scenario with a feature called The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Miguel’s new single “Come Through And Chill” and might have checked out the new track by June’s Diary (Kelly Rowland’s unfortunately-named but talented Chasing Destiny girl group). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a trio of male artists on the brink of very big things. After a two-year break, Wrabel returns with a new single called “11 Blocks.” The Kesha-approved singer is deep in his feelings on the punchy (and hugely relatable) pop anthem, struggling to come to grips with the end of a relationship. While he wrestles with the past, Ferras is very much concerned with the here and now on “Closer.” The sexy synth-pop anthem has a massive chorus and serious radio appeal. The same goes for Imad Royal’s “Bad 4 U.” Signed to Ricky Reed’s Nice Life label, the D.C. singer channels Bruno Mars by way of early Justin Timberlake (it reminds me of “Senorita”) on the summery, retro-tinged tune.
It’s a banner week for the boys, but pop’s leading ladies more than hold their own. Veteran duo Nina Sky (of “Move Ya Body” fame) make a welcome return with a summery ditty called “Champion Lover.” An infectious banger with a sing-along chorus, the first taste of their Brightest Gold LP is a winner. On the other end of the spectrum (experience-wise), newcomer Ofelia K continues to charm with offbeat pop anthem “I Love My Lawyer.” I’m not sure how relatable the subject matter is, but it certainly leaves an impression and “I love my lawyer, my angel in a black suit” is easily my favorite lyric of the week.
In an unexpected turn of events, former-lovebirds Austin Mahone and Becky G both release tracks today. The “Dirty Work” singer teams up with Jump Smokers for surprise collaboration “Deserve Better” (perhaps coincidentally, a fuck-you anthem about moving on), while Ms. Gomez gets back to her Latin roots on “Sola” — an incredibly catchy, Spanish-language bop with pleasant tropical production (courtesy of mentor Dr. Luke, I assume). The 19-year-old’s string of excellent singles remains very much alive, so what about that long-overdue debut album?
As usual, some of the week’s best new pop songs hail from Scandinavia. Swedish duo The Flights serve euphoric, loved-up pop on relentlessly cheerful single “You’re Always On My Mind.” This is the first track of theirs I’ve come across, but I definitely want to hear more. The same goes for Soleima. The Copenhagen-based diva dabbles in distorted electronica on future party staple “Wasted,” while fellow Danes Slowes make a great first impression with chillwave gem “I Need You” — a dreamy electro-lullaby that will inevitably go viral.
It was also a good week for Australia with Melbourne-based duo GL, who previously featured on The Drop with disco-tinged banger “Grip,” blessing Spotify with another beautifully-constructed electro-pop anthem. “Hallucinate” is every bit as cosmic and catchy as their previous single, which promises good things for their upcoming debut LP Touch (due July 15). If you’re after something a little more club-friendly, NERVO saves the day with “Did We Forget” — a soaring floorfiller featuring the vocals of local dance diva Amba Shepherd. It’s not as pop-centric as Kylie Minogue collab “The Other Boys,” for example, but it’s destined for serious love in clubland.
Speaking of the dance floor, Dillon Francis teams up with Snappy Jit for bone-rattling banger “Candy.” After experimenting with radio-friendly electro on debut LP Money Sucks, Friends Rule, the DJ returns to the nuclear-charged beats and minimalist approach of break-out hit “Get Low” to brilliant effect. If your ears (and joints) aren’t ready for that kind of aural assault, Matoma’s latest might be more up your alley. The Norwegian producer teams up with Becky Hill for tropical-tinged, emotionally-charged earworm “False Alarm,” while VARA’s debut single “Break Down The Walls” gets a winning Yacht Club remix.
Looking for something a little quieter and a lot more country? Britney Spears’ baby sister Jamie Lynn Spears unveiled “Sleepover” today and it’s a perfectly charming country-pop tune in the mold of early ’00s LeAnn Rimes. Which is ironic because she also has a new single out. The ’90s veteran delivers a worthy cover of Brandi Carlisle’s signature song, “The Story.” Only instead of following the original’s rock arrangement, she strips it back and turns it into a suitably haunting piano ballad. Listen to the comeback queen’s best release in a decade in my playlist below.