The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Andrew McMahon & Kiiara
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 Selena Gomez’s emotional “Back To You” and possibly checked out Rita Ora’s sexy collaboration with Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX, “Girls.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Another pop diva leaving her mark on New Music Friday is Meghan Trainor. She contributes two feel-good bops, “Let You Be Right” and “Can’t Dance.” This isn’t a case of quantity over quality. They’re both great, but I’m currently leaning towards the latter. It evokes the bouncy pop of the ’90s in a way that feels utterly sincere. Speaking of retro sounds, Aussie pop star Delta Goodrem takes it all the way back to the ’80s on “Physical” — a cover of Olivia Newton-John’s chart-topping classic. I’m not sure why this exists, but I don’t hate it.
Pop music’s defining decade (i.e. the ’80s) also informs A Great Big World’s new single. The duo is still best-known for their mega-selling collaboration with Christina Aguilera, “Say Something,” and I have to admit to still thinking of them as balladeers. However, they spread their wings on “Younger” — a nostalgic synth-pop anthem with a cute, catchy chorus. That description also applies to Lemaitre’s “Rocket Girl.” An exuberant banger featuring the always-amazing Betty Who, this should find a lot of love on Spotify.
Next up is a pair of alt-leaning singers with an interesting (and somewhat depressing) perspective on modern relationships. After losing her mojo with a string of watered-down pop songs, Kiiara is back to her best on “Messy” — a demented banger about ending things before they have a chance to begin. More of this, please! Jaira Burns, on the other hand, at least gave her man a chance to fuck up. which, of course, he did. The rising star gets everything off her chest on the admirably angry “Sugarcoat.”
Looking for the next wave? 17-year-old Charlotte Lawrence has generated serious buzz with self-released singles “Just The Same” and “Sleep Talking,” but she could find a much bigger audience with “Keep Me Up” — a deceptively deep track about anxiety disguised as a love song. Much less dark, is Lo’s impossibly upbeat “Drumline.” The Nashville-based artist/producer, who made waves last year with “Good Good,” is a proud purveyor of bubblegum perfectly suited to pep rallies. If the video doesn’t feature at least one cheerleader, somebody fucked up.
It’s not all bangers and bops. Christina Aguilera blesses New Music Friday with “Twice,” the second cut from her much-anticipated Liberation album. A stripped-back ballad written and produced by Kirby, this is basically the polar opposite of “Accelerate.” There are no bleeps and beeps or rap features. Just a beautiful song with an incredible vocal delivery. Equally affecting is Lori McKenna’s “People Get Old.” Country music’s go-to songwriter aims that golden pen at father time on her latest, emotionally devastating anthem. Start engraving the woman’s Grammy and bring on The Tree (out July 20).
Another veteran with a great new track is John Mayer. The singer/songwriter loosens up somewhat on “New Light,” a breezy love song that doesn’t try to be profound or particularly meaningful. It’s content to be fun and catchy. This is the 40-year-old’s most joyous pop offering in a while. Ok, I have to get something off my chest. I will never not to happy to get new music from Dave Matthews Band. The curiously-titled “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)” was always going to be one of my favorite songs of the week and the sweeping rock anthem doesn’t disappoint.
Goodbyes and new beginnings are the topic of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ wildly nostalgic “Ohio.” The singer/songwriter documents a family’s journey from the midwest to California in a station wagon. Starting over has never sounded so sad. With any luck, this should find as much love at radio as the similarly heartstrings-yanking “Cecilia and the Satellite.” While we’re on the topic of melancholy music, it would be remiss not to mention James Bay’s “Slide.” The Brit’s sophomore LP has been a mixed bag (in the best possible way), but this raw breakup song is my favorite cut to date.
Let’s wind up with a pair of (mercifully) feel-good duets. Like Netflix and Chill, Diplo and MØ just belong together. They team up for the umpteenth time on “Stay Open,” a loved-up club anthem with a wonderfully mellow drop. They should make a joint album. Equally romantic is Noah Cyrus and MAX’s “Team.” The acoustic-pop ditty was inspired by the rising pop star’s grandparents and is a must-listen for anyone currently boo’d up. Listen to it in my playlist below.