The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Thelma Plum & Allie X
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 avoid that tragic scenario with The Drop — a cheat sheet of sorts to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you have probably heard Twenty One Pilots’ sprawling “Jumpsuit” and possibly bopped along to Ariana Grande’s slinky “God Is A Woman.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of super producers getting their ‘pop’ on. Benny Blanco launched his artist project earlier this week with a certified banger called “Eastside.” Featuring the vocal talents of Halsey and Khalid, this is a nostalgic bop about young love that should find love across multiple radio formats. While Benny is just at the beginning of his artist journey, Diplo helped pioneer the leap from producer to pop star. He teams up with muse/long-time collaborator MØ for “Sun In Our Eyes,” yet another gem in the Dane’s consistently excellent discography.
Speaking of flawless pop divas, Allie X blesses New Music Friday with the satirical “Not So Bad In LA.” A tribute (of sorts) to the City of Angels, this is the “Paper Love” diva’s Lana Del Rey moment. Only instead of romanticizing the Hollywood experience, the electro-pop sees it for what it is — an occasionally amusing, generally horrifying necessity. If you’re in the mood for another banger, Terror Jr returns with “Heaven Wasn’t Made For Me” and it’s a defiant, inclusive anthem with typically demented production. More bad-ass pop (/rock) comes from Russo. The rising four-piece band has a hit on their hands with the summery “Loudmouth.”
Looking for something more subdued? You might remember Jocelyn Alice as one half of duo Canadian duo Jocelyn & Lisa or possibly from 2015 hit “Jackpot.” After an extended break, she is back with “Still Wondering,” an acoustic-laced synth-pop concoction about the eternal search for closure. Another artist returning from hiatus is Australia’s Thelma Plum. The Indigenous singer/songwriter, who made huge waves with songs like “How Much Does Your Love Cost?” and “Young In Love,” picks up where she left off on blissful pop moment “Clumsy Love.” She’s definitely One To Watch.
Next up is a pair of R&B-infused pop anthems. After several setbacks (I’m just pretending the whole Joyride era never happened), Tinashe is back in the winners’ circle with a mellow bop called “Like I Used To.” This silky single finds the sweet spot between R&B and pop, delivering a radio-friendly sound without sacrificing her credibility. More of this, please! Speaking of divas in the zone, Sophia Black follows up viral hits “Real Shit” and “Blessed” with “Fire,” the waviest cut from her new project to date.
I have already covered electro-pop and R&B, so I guess it’s time to sprinkle in a little country. Cam landed a crossover hit with “Burning House” in 2015 and kicked off her sophomore era last year with the brilliant “Diane” (think of it as a response of sorts to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”). She continues to get it very right on the introspective, uplifting “Road To Happiness.” Ruston Kelly is another rising star from Nashville. He caught everyone’s attention with Halloween, his debut EP, earlier this year and is now rolling out an album called Dying Star. If the bittersweet Americana of “Mockingbird” is any indication, it’s going to be a must-listen.
Let’s wind up with a pair of (very, very good) cover versions. Spotify really put in some work this week, inviting Swedish duo First Aid Kit and the resurgent Lord Huron into their studios. The Söderberg sisters tackle Kate Bush’s ’80s classic “Running Up That Hill” and their stripped-back cover is as haunting as you would expect. Equally impressive is Lord Huron’s take on Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” The folk band, who found a whole new audience with “The Night We Met,” delivers an achingly beautiful arrangement. Check it out in my playlist below.