The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Lord Huron & Shamir
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 prevent that tragic scenario with The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Normani’s slinky collaboration with Khalid, “Love Lies,” and possibly checked out Tinashe and Future’s very good “Faded Love.” But that’s still just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of artists on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Los Angeles-based folk band Lord Huron benefitted from the perfect sync when 2015 single “The Night We Met” soundtracked a key moment in 13 Reasons Why. The darkly dreamy song became a belated hit, setting up their new album perfectly. They introduce Vide Noir (due April 20) with the gorgeous “Wait By The River.” Press play and drift away. Shamir has built similar buzz since debuting 2015’s Ratchet. He now blesses New Music Friday with “Room,” an impossibly catchy and relatable lo-fi anthem about social anxiety and missed opportunities.
Next up is Kitten, a much-loved quartet that delivers their best single to date. The Chloe Chaidez-fronted band dives even deeper into New Wave on “I Did It!,” a track that documents her musical journey. It sounds very British and wouldn’t sound out of place on an episode of Top Of The Pops circa 1984. The same goes for ONR’s “American Gods.” The Scottish singer, who has already won the approval of Bastille, sounds like a cross between Duran Duran and A-ha, which is obviously a very good thing.
If you like your pop rooted in the here and now, Bloodboy’s “Sex Crime” (not a Eurythmics cover) is the song for you. The LA-based singer’s latest tackles an interesting topic. “[It’s] about a woman in her early 20s who is pursued by a young man in his late teens, and while she can’t deny she feels a certain attraction to him, she ultimately decides he’s too young,” she explains. It’s certainly the catchiest song about this topic that I can think of. Less thought-provoking, but equally addictive is Computer Magic’s “Perfect Game,” a widescreen synth-pop anthem that oozes atmosphere. It’s another very good reason to pre-order the New York artist’s sophomore LP, DANZ, which drops February 23.
As usual, European artists deliver some of the week’s best pop. Let’s start with Tove Styrke, who can do no wrong in my eyes. (She even improved a Lorde song!) The Swede returns this week with a feature on Stockholm-based trio VAX’s “Endless.” They previously remixed “Mistakes” and clearly know how to weave her voice into their soundscape. This is crisp and catchy dance-pop with a monster drop. Kim Petras is also on fire at the moment, bouncing effortlessly from druggy bops to upbeat bangers. “Heart To Break” is one of the latter and sets the German diva up for a massive 2018.
It was also a good week for the Aussies. JOY. made serious waves (and won the support of Zane Lowe) with 2017 single “Smoke Too Much.” Now signed to Columbia Records, the 20-year-old returns with “Change,” a dreamy blend of piano keys and sleepy synths that showcases her sublime voice and songwriting. She is definitely One To Watch. Next up is Vance Joy, who is a weekly guest in The Drop at this point. It’s not my fault that every buzz track from Nation Of Two (due February 23) is better than the last. After the airy romance of “Saturday Sun” and “Lay It On Me,” the curly-haired crooner makes an emo detour on “Call If You Need Me.”
The Kiwis also punch above their weight this week, blessing New Music Friday with two epic electro-pop anthems. October has been on my radar since dropping “Cherry Cola” in 2016. The dark-pop diva has dropped a handful of singles since then, but the grimy “1000 Eyes” is easily her best. NÏKA, on the other hand, debuted last year with “Real Fake Love” and the NZ-based singer/songwriter continues to impress with “Future Lover,” an instantly addictive anthem that evokes the retro-pop of Ladyhawke’s debut album.
Let’s wind things up with a pair of genre-blending anthems. Mexican diva Sofia Reyes calls on Jason Derulo and De La Ghetto for bilingual bop “1, 2, 3.” Latin-pop is scorching hot right now, which is making this kind of collaboration increasingly common. And I’m fine with that. Sean Paul, David Guetta and Becky G is another unexpected combination of talents. They come together for “Mad Love,” which sounds like a no-brainer hit to me. Listen to it in my playlist below.