The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Juanes & The Aces
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 The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Harry Styles’ iTunes-conquering “Sign Of The Times” and bopped along to Shakira’s perky, new single “Me Enamoré.” But that’s still just the tip of the pop iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of foreign bops that demolish the language barrier. Colombian superstar Juanes rolls out the third single from his 7th LP and it’s something of a surprise. “Angel” sounds like peak Maroon 5 with a splash of Empire Of The Sun. This is essential summer listening. The same goes for Yelle’s “Interpassion.” The French band returns with their first offering since 2014’s Complètement Fou (the album Dr. Luke produced) and it’s a quirky, synth-pop delight with an uplifting message of love and togetherness.
Closer to home, The Aces make a welcome return with “Physical.” The all-girl band generated serious buzz with debut single “Stuck,” which effortlessly captured the retro-synth magic of ’70s and ’80s. There’s still a vintage element to their latest, but it has one foot firmly planted in the present. Exploring a similar soundscape is Grace Mitchell. The 19-year-old, who promises to be one of the must-watch artists at Coachella, rocks out on the ’80s-tinged “Now.” It has a monster chorus and could prove to be a well-deserved commercial breakthrough.
LA-based trio LANY is becoming something of a regular on The Drop. They generated huge buzz with “ILYSB” and backed it up with “Good Girls,” an infectious sing-along anthem that I, perhaps prematurely, heralded as a Song Of The Summer contender. They bounce back today with a hazy, ditty called “It Was Love.” This is a brutal burst of shoe-gazing nostalgia with a sax (or sax-like synth) solo. What more could you ask for? MYBADD’s takes a more accessible route on “Party On A Weekday.” It features the heavenly vocals of Olivia Holt, who is currently enjoying a Spotify smash with “History,” and is every bit as cute and irreverent as the title suggests.
Looking for something a little quieter? I’ve got you! JP Cooper is hiding high on the success of “September Song,” a track that racked up 113 million streams on Spotify and sold 1.6 million copies around the world. The Brit should have even more success with “Passport Home.” This gospel-tinged ballad shamelessly tugs at your heartstrings without being cynical. Jaymes Young’s “Stoned On You” is more alt-leaning than JP’s mega-ballad but it’s equally romantic. He lives up to the promise of 2013’s excellent Dark Star EP. Welcome back.
That takes us to a couple of German DJs. I’ve written about Alle Farben on the site several times in the past. (Here’s an interview I did in 2016). He blended acoustic and electronic elements to brilliant effect on international hits “She Moves (Far Away)” and “Please Tell Rosie,” but “Little Hollywood” might be his best track yet. It’s sad, sweet and very catchy. SAINT WKND also has a crossover hit on his hands. The 22-year-old Munich producer follows up viral hit “Golden” with “Make You Mine,” a vibey club banger with R&B undertones. It’s smooth, soulful and makes you want to move.
It was also a good week for the Norwegians. Producer Madden is something of a Spotify phenomenon courtesy of streaming hits “Golden Light” and “Alive,” but “Echo” has the kind of soaring pop chorus that could help him transition to radio. Pay special attention to the wild and wonderful drop. Decidedly less upbeat, but equally captivating is The Fjords’ beautiful “Alchemy.” This is a vast, cinematic anthem filled with sharp lashings of strings and shimmery synths. It’s all held together by Petter Vagån’s powerful baritone. Check it out in my playlist below.