The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Lykke Li & Mazzy Star
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 Taylor Swift & Sugarland’s perky “Babe” and hopefully checked out Kylie Minogue’s Spanglish remix of “Stop Me From Falling” featuring Gente De Zona. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of jangly indie-pop songs. Pete Yorn reunites with Scarlett Johansson on “Bad Dreams,” the first single from a joint EP called Apart — the sequel to their 2009 LP, Break Up. “Worried I’m getting older,” the singer/actress growls at the beginning of the catchy and refreshingly adult anthem. On the other end of the age spectrum, Kansas City’s The Greeting Committee exudes youthful abandon on the shimmery, sun-dappled “17.” This band needs to be on your radar.
As usual, some of the week’s best pop comes from Scandinavia. Lykke Li makes a welcome return with two new songs — “Hard Rain” and “Deep End.” They both promise great things for her 4th LP, so sad so sexy (due June 8), but my favorite has to be “Deep End,” which sounds like something from Nelly Furtado’s Whoa Nelly! — albeit through a much darker lens. Norway’s AURORA also bounces back with another gem. “Queendom” is her anthem for the disenfranchised and takes approximately 1.3 seconds to get stuck in your head.
Another Norwegian in the New Music Friday mix is Amanda Tenfjord. Her debut single, the appropriately-titled “First Impression,” is a ruthless kiss-off about a superficial ex. This heady mix of hooks and spiky lyrics heralds the Trondheim-based singer as One To Watch. Odette is another newcomer worthy of your immediate attention. The Australian artist is in an equally feisty mood on “Take It To The Heart.” Only instead of projecting her energy outward, this is more of an internal pep-talk. Her debut LP, To A Stranger, drops July 6.
How about a couple of moody collaborations? Jeremy Zucker has been quietly building a following with emo, self-produced songs like “Talk Is Overrated” and “IDK Love.” The 21-year-old now takes it to the next level on “Better Off,” a finely-wrought duet with fellow Next Big Thing Chelsea Cutler. This is disarmingly pretty. The same goes for Billie Eilish and Khalid’s “Lovely.” Any song beginning with strings is an outlier in 2018. One that puts atmosphere and tone about streaming-friendly hooks is a true rarity.
If Latin rhythms are more your speed, may I suggest Becky G and Natti Natasha’s sexy “Sin Pijama.” Since focussing on Spanish-language music, the “Shower” singer (still a legendary bop) has gone from strength to strength with “Mayores” racking up a whopping 1.1 billion views on YouTube alone. Her latest could be just as big. Next up is Poo Bear’s “Perdido.” The super-producer calls on J Balvin, who is also featured on Liam Payne’s new single, for the slinky bop. His first artist project, Poo Bear Presents: Bearthday Music, is going to be epic.
I guess it’s about time we moved on to bangers. LunchMoney Lewis returns to New Music Friday with “Who’s Up?” — an instantly catchy party anthem produced by the all-star team of Axident, Gladius and Ben Billions. Its inclusion on the soundtrack could be the only good thing about Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty movie. If you’re looking for a ferocious floorfiller, Sean Paul teams up with Major Lazer for the dancehall-infused “Tip Pon It.” The Jamaican has been experiencing something of a revival of late and this can only help his cause.
Let’s wind up with the week’s most satisfying comeback single. Mazzy Star will always be revered for “Fade Into You” and its parent LP, So Tonight That I Might See, but there’s more to the iconic duo than ’90s dream-pop. They are back with “Quiet, The Winter Harbor,” a sparse, sprawling acoustic poem that is perfect late-night listening. Check it out in my playlist below.