The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Dagny & Gallant
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 Christina Aguilera’s sexy “Accelerate” and hopefully checked out Julia Michaels’ brilliant bop, “Jump.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a pair of vocalists. Celine Dion officially joins the Marvel universe (take a minute to wrap your head around that) by dropping the theme song to Deadpool 2. And it’s something else. “Ashes” is a throwback to the soaring power ballads of the ’90s with big, bold hooks and herculean vocal runs. They don’t call her the soundtrack queen for nothing! Another diva with devastating range is Jennifer Hudson. She returns to New Music Friday with “I’ll Fight,” the kind of gospel-tinged belter that comforts and inspires in equal measure.
While we’re on the subject of ladies with powerful pipes, Florence + The Machine joins the New Music Friday mix with “Hunger,” the lead single from High As Hope (due June 29). As usual, Ms Welch delivers an emotional gut punch with a deeply personal yet universally relatable song about love and longing. If the group is ever going to nab a major US radio hit, this is it. Another Brit with a brilliant new track is Jess Glynne. She is perhaps best-known for her flawless club features, but “I’ll Be There” is a moving mid-tempo that showcases her voice.
Looking for something a little edgier? Dawn Richard (now known simply as DAWN) makes a welcome return to the music scene with “Guardian Angel,” a collaboration with UK producer Mumdance. This is a typically experimental effort that blends strings with electronica to stunning effect. Jessie Reyez also marches to the beat of her own drum, bouncing between major pop moments (she co-wrote Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss”) and alt-R&B bops. Her latest, “Body Count,” is an unapologetic throwback to breakthrough hit “Figures.” Expect her star to rise even further in 2018.
Next up is a pair of Scandinavian pop heavyweights. Dagny is no stranger to The Drop (or Idolator), having released a string of perfect pop songs stretching all the way back to 2016’s impeccable “Backbeat.” The Norwegian diva can do no wrong in my eyes — a state of affairs that isn’t going to change with the arrival of “That Feeling When.” Equally consistent is the astounding Tove Styrke. The Swede’s sophomore LP, Sway, dropped today and it’s brilliant from beginning to end. The title track, in particular, showcases her unique approach to pop.
While female artists dominated New Music Friday, a couple of fellas held their own. Charlie Puth’s Voicenotes era has been rather eclectic thus far with a disco-tinged lead single, a funky collaboration with Kehlani and a protest song (among other releases). The hitmaker now comes through with a catchy ’80s-influenced earworm called “The Way I Am” — a song that should send him back to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Similarly retro and genre-bending is Gallant’s “Doesn’t Matter.” This is a staggeringly good blend of R&B and pop, and could be a well-deserved smash for the rising star.
BANNERS has been on my radar since 2015’s “Shine A Light” and the Brit has unleashed a steady stream of quality indie-pop/rock anthems including “Start A Riot” and “Someone To You.” He now returns with “Let Go,” a synth-rock concoction with a swelling chorus and emotional lyrics. He debut LP is long-overdue at this point. Speaking of albums, Mat Kearney’s Crazytalk arrived today and it’s jam-packed with singer/songwriter bops with an electronic twist. An easy standout for me is “Changes,” his collaboration with Austrian producer filous.
Let’s wind up with some breezy indie-pop anthems. Now, Now is on one hell of a winning streak. Since returning from a five-year hiatus with “SGL,” the duo hasn’t put a foot wrong — impressing with “Yours” and “AZ.” The latest single is a cute, sing-along tribute to Michael Jackson called “MJ.” I’m counting down the days until their Saved album drops on May 18! Last but not least is Swedish synth-pop outfit Lines. They team up with noise-rock quartet Dolores Haze for the jarring, upbeat and simultaneously (when you pay attention to the lyrics) rather depressing “We Will Never Rule The World.” Check it out in my playlist below.