The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Parcels, Elohim & CYN
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 Jason Mraz’s serotonin-raising “Have It All” and possibly checked out Jennifer Lopez’s bone-rattling banger, “El Anillo.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a double dose of Poo. The producer launched his artist project today (April 27) and Poo Bear Presents: Bearthday Music is a streaming-friendly collection of genre-hopping tunes. Every cut is a highlight, but J.Lo’s contribution (she had a busy week!) is an early favorite. “Put Your Lovin Where Your Mouth Is” is a slinky mid-tempo that burrows a little deeper into your brain with each listen. The same goes for the Zara Larsson-voiced “Either.” It’s her best song since “Never Forget You.”
Another artist releasing a very good album this week is Elohim. The Los Angeles-based artist/producer has been dropping electro-pop gems for years, which means her self-titled debut set is long overdue. Again, when the quality is this high, it’s hard to single out individual songs, but “Half Love” is a blissfully catchy bop. Speaking of which, Anne-Marie has one of her own with “Can I Get Your Number” — a less saccharine, more assertive iteration of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” It’s one of the many flawless bangers on her debut LP, also out today.
Next up is a pair of rising stars. Australia’s Ivy Adara has been slowly building a loyal Spotify following for the last couple of years. However, she catches lightning in a bottle with “Currency” — a legitimate anthem for millennials. Produced by Jon Hume, it’s the kind of song that could explode with a little push. CYN, one of two artists signed to Katy Perry’s Unsub Records, is no stranger to buzz. She has been testing the market with a string of low-key releases, but “Believer” feels like a much bigger record. It’s an instantly catchy and (understandably) wary love song.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more alt, may I recommend Parcels’ staggeringly good “Tieduprightnow.” The Australian five-piece, which is based in Berlin, became indie darlings last year when Daft Punk stepped in to produce “Overnight.” They now bless New Music Friday with another intricately-layered, disco-tinged ditty. Another act generating an outpouring of blog love is Becky and the Birds. “Holding On” ranks as one of the best debut singles of the year, but the Swedish singer’s latest is even better. She blends jazz, pop and hip-hop elements on “Concept Store,” a song devoted to that heinous torture known as love. More specifically, trying to figure out what the fuck he/she/they is thinking.
Let’s switch it up with a little country. After all, the genre has all but fused with pop at this point. One of the artists at the forefront of that movement is Keith Urban. His last album, Ripcord, was a favorite of mine and I can’t wait to get stuck into the just-released Graffiti U. All of the singles have been great (particularly the lovely “Parallel Line”), but “Horses” is the best cut I’ve heard yet. This finds that elusive sweet spot between pop, rock and country. From a veteran to a complete newcomer. Walmart yodeler Mason Ramsey is already a viral sensation and his debut single, “Famous,” suggests that he could leverage that fame into a lasting music career.
In the mood for something that will make you hips swing and eyes water? Phoebe Ryan teams up with the legendary Kaskade for an emotional banger called “Almost Back.” The green-haired pop diva is no stranger to club anthems, having featured on tracks by The Chainsmokers, Tritonal and Danny L Harle, but this is my favorite by far. Lost Frequencies also knows how to play with our emotions and he really goes to town on “Melody” — a song voiced by “You’re Beautiful” crooner/Twitter legend James Blunt. This has all the elements of a radio hit.
If you want you want to dance without being emotionally distraught, FRENSHIP’s “MI Amore” is my recommendation. The Los Angeles-based duo hits streaming gold with 2016 hit “Capsize” and the guys have become more interesting and adventurous with each subsequent release. Their latest is a vaguely ’80s-tinged pop song with a spitfire chorus. Play it loud. The same goes for Sam Feldt and LVNDSCAPE’s “Know You Better.” This is top-shelf commercial club music, featuring a pitched vocal from Tessa. Add this to your workout and party playlists.
Let’s wind up with a cover. Lo-fi, shoe-gazing pop is making a comeback thanks to artists like Hatchie and Japanese Breakfast. The latter generated serious heat with 2017 LP, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, and delivered one of my favorite sets at Coachella this year. A highlight of her stint in the Gobi Tent was a beautiful cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” an interpretation she recently performed for Spotify. Listen to it in my playlist below.