The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring ALMA & G Flip
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 to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Beyonce’s song-stealing verse on DJ Khaled’s star-studded “Top Off” and possibly checked out Meghan Trainor’s feisty “No Excuses.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with two of my favorite buzz acts. Every song on ALMA’s just-released Heavy Rules mixtape is worthy of a spot on The Drop, but the standout is probably “Good Vibes” — a bittersweet (pre-) breakup anthem that features the ever-brilliant Tove Styrke. If you’re looking for a stone cold bop give this a spin. Speaking of flawless dance anthems, CYN comes through with a soft and feathery floorfiller called “Alright.” There’s something so intimate and effortless about her brand of synth-pop.
While we’re on the subject of bangers, Aussie duo Flight Facilities bless New Music Friday with “Need You.” After collaborating with the likes of Kylie Minogue and Emma Louise on their debut LP, the producers call on NZ newcomer NÏKA for the first taste of their second. She recently featured on The Drop with a retro-pop track called “Future Lover,” but sounds just as good floating over layers of synths. Samantha Jade is also aiming for dancefloor glory with her new single. “Roller Skates” is one of two original tracks on her upcoming disco album and it’s appropriately glittery and camp.
There’s more to the Australian pop scene than bangers, however. G Flip went viral when she submitted “About You” to Triple J’s Unearthed, the competition for unsigned talent that gave us Alex The Astronaut, Meg Mac and Montaigne. A couple of days after posting the song, she was being featured on Pitchfork and had a showcase booked at SXSW. It takes approximately 0.1 seconds to see what the fuss is about. Another Aussie surfing a wave of buzz is Jack River. “Fault Line” was one of my favorite songs of 2017, but I think her latest, the crunchy, rock-adjacent “Ballroom,” might be even better.
Female artists dominated this New Music Friday but a couple of fellas held their own. The stars really aligned for Fergus James (yet another Aussie). His debut single only arrived today, but the 18-year-old has already received praise from Justin Timberlake and landed a support slot on Ed Sheeran’s Oz tour. One listen to the catchy, pleasingly era-less “Golden Age” and you can see the appeal. He is definitely One To Watch. On the other end of the spectrum, George Ezra has already conquered the music game with hits like “Budapest” and “Blame It On Me.” The Brit could well have another one with the instantly catchy “Pretty Shining People.”
UK balladeer Calum Scott makes a welcome return to The Drop with “What I Miss Most.” The latest single from his debut LP, Only Human (due March 9), is a soaring mid-tempo about homesickness. It’s his most propulsive and (pop) radio-friendly song to date. Think of it as a companion piece to Ed Sheeran’s “Castle On The Hill.” Another Brit showing out on New Music Friday is MNEK. The artist/producer, who has penned bops for Madonna and Zara Larsson, displays the full extent of his pop mastery on the slinky “Tongue.”
Let’s wind up with a couple of Latin bops. Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato’s “Échame La Culpa” has been a huge hit around the world, topping the iTunes download chart in 59 countries and racking up more than 260 million streams. With numbers like that, an English version was sure to follow and “Not On You” dutifully arrives today. Another collaboration destined to be massive is Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s “X.” When two of the hottest Latin artists on the planet come together you know it’s going to be fire and they don’t disappoint. Listen to it in my playlist below.