The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Regina Spektor, Colbie Caillat & LOLO
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 Major Lazer and Justin Bieber’s iTunes-conquering “Cold Water” and possibly bopped along to Cher Lloyd’s new single, “Activated.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In a curiously underwhelming week for party anthems, a couple of bops rise to the top. Pitbull hits a bullseye with the sixth (!!) single from Climate Change. Featuring fellow Miami heavyweights Flo Rida and LunchMoney Lewis, “Greenlight” is a hook-filled extravaganza with a mean horn sample that’s destined for heavy rotation as the weather warms up. The same goes for Manuel Riva’s “Mhm Mhm” — a club monster from Romania that falls somewhere between Alan Walker’s “Faded” and Major Lazer’s “Lean On.” Don’t be surprised if this explodes out of nowhere. Less accessible but every bit as catchy is “Call Out,” the latest from Australian electronic duo Go Freek. This is an odd hybrid of gutter tech and dance-pop, but it absolutely works for me.
The rest of the week’s pop product is decidedly mid-tempo. When I interviewed Skylar Grey in May, she told me that acoustic ballad “Moving Mountains” wasn’t reflective of her upcoming LP and she didn’t lie. New track “Off Road” finds the singer/songwriter embracing synths — I could do without the tropical flourishes, however — in a way that still sounds authentic to her sparse, rural aesthetic. The Drop regular Huntar also dabbles in mid-tempo electro on “Blindspot.” This pushes the Brit’s loopy brand of future R&B to its very limits. (Pay close attention to the gnarly outro). Indie-pop duo Lewis Del Mar, who are generating serious heat with “Loud(y),” also avoid easy categorization. New track “Painting (Masterpiece)” sounds like a cross between Jack Johnson and The Temper Trap, which turns out to be a surprisingly good thing.
How about something more introspective? Nobody does offbeat singer/songwriter fare better than Regina Spektor. The Soviet Kitsch singer veers surprisingly close to radio-friendly pop on “Bleeding Heart,” the lead single from 7th LP Remember Us To Life. It’s a whimsical earworm with quirky lyrics and a dainty little chorus that gives way to an unexpected breakdown at the end. Equally charming is Colbie Caillat’s “Goldmine.” This is summery pop with a feel-good quotient high enough to raise your serotonin levels. If you’d rather marinate in your own misery, let me introduce you to LOLO. The New York chanteuse channels Aimee Mann on delightfully depressing single “The Devil’s Gone To Dinner.” It’s bleak, brutal and beautiful. Bring on her amazingly-titled debut LP, In Loving Memory Of When I Gave A Shit.
As for the guys? Well, Fences flies the flag (try saying that out loud) with “Buffalo Feet” — a typically sweet and whimsical folk-pop tune. The track comes from Christopher Mansfield’s (his real name) upcoming EP To the Tall Trembling Trees. That leaves us with Jake Owen’s “American Love.” You might be wondering what a country crooner is doing in my pop round-up. I’d argue that the lines between the genres have been irrevocably been blurred by Sam Hunt’s crossover success and Keith Urban’s brazenly pop Ripcord album. Regardless, Jake’s latest is a corny delight. Check it out in my playlist below.