The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Bishop Briggs & Dagny
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 might have heard Daya’s thumping “New” single and possibly bopped along to Kris Wu’s iTunes-conquering “Deserve.” But that’s still just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of raw, soulful anthems (it’s been that kind of week/year). Bishop Briggs grabbed everyone’s attention with “River,” a searing ball of emotion that took over alt radio for most of 2016. It set the bar incredibly high for a new artist, but she sails right over it with “Dream.” Co-written with Dan Wilson, her new single is a bold anthem about embracing your fears — complete with a huge chorus and unexpected pop sensibility. Another song that stopped me in my tracks is Angie McMahon’s “Slow Mover.” The Australian singer/songwriter’s voice drips honey as she wrestles with the uncertainty of a relationship. She is definitely One To Watch.
Looking for something a little more upbeat? Dagny has the song for you. The Norwegian pop star, who dropped one of the best EPs of 2016 with Ultraviolet, has a knack for understated but utterly compelling electro-pop and “Love You Like That” is no exception. I liked (recent single) “Wearing Nothing,” but this is the song. One listen and you’re hooked. The same goes for Stine Bramson’s latest. The Alphabeat alum hits the sweet spot between power-pop and hip-hop minimalism on outrageously catchy new single, “L.A.C.K..” More, please!
If you like your pop a little left-of-center, I can’t recommend Morgan Saint’s 17 Hero EP (out today) highly enough. The New York singer made huge waves with dreamy single “You” and the rest of her debut set is equally lush and poetic. It’s hard to pick a fave, but the whimsical synths and relatable lyrics of “Just Friends” are hard to beat. After dropping a string of bangers, Kiiara also finds herself in a wistful mood on “Wishlist.” This is ambient electro-pop at its very best.
Next up is a pair of buzzworthy newcomers. Australia’s Mallrat has been generating all kinds of heat with razor-sharp singles “For Real” and “Uninvited.” The 19-year-old continues to impress with bittersweet bop “Better,” which sounds warm and loved-up on the first listen. However, like all good alt-pop songs, there’s despair lurking just beneath the surface. The amazingly-named Kailee Morgue, also 19, went viral in 2016 when she posted a snippet of “Medusa” on Twitter. The full version of the CJ Baran-produced track finally arrives today and it was well worth the wait. Add her to your pop radar.
While it was a banner week for female artists, a couple of guys held their own. Mikky Ekko is (unfairly) best known for writing and featuring on Rihanna’s “Stay.” But that might change with “Blood On The Surface,” a drowsy rock anthem that introduces his sophomore LP. This takes a couple of listens to click, but once it does there’s no going back. That also applies to Tom Walker’s “Leave A Light On.” Produced by Steve Mac (currently responsible for every song on the radio), the Brit’s latest showcases his gritty vocals and raw storytelling while nudging him a tiny bit closer to radio fodder.
That leaves us with a raft of bangers to brighten up your weekend. Leading the pack is Peking Duk’s “Let You Down.” An instantly hummable collaboration with Swedish duo Icona Pop, this has all the ingredients of a crossover pop hit. Namely, a massive chorus, fiery lyrics and a head-nodding drop. Those characteristics are also on display on Lost Kings’ “First Love.” (Perhaps, not the fiery lyrics — this takes a more romantic approach). I’ve already written about Anitta and Alesso’s “Is That For Me” and The Vamps and Maggie Lindemann’s “Personal,” but if you need an instant shot of serotonin, choose one.
Prefer your bangers with a male vocalist? Jonas Blue extends his winning streak by teaming up with afrobeats artist MoeLogo. If this doesn’t get your hips swinging you might need to see a doctor. The same applies to Dillon Francis’ ruthlessly catchy “Hello There.” Featuring Yung Pinch, the unstoppable anthem is the producer’s most instant since “Get Low.” That takes up to Cheat Codes’ “Feels Great.” The trio follows up their breakthrough smash “No Promises” with a nostalgic bop featuring Fetty Wap. Stream it in my playlist below.