The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Zedd & LANY
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 Billie Eilish’s menacing “you should see me in a crown” and possibly checked out to ZAYN’s rock experiment, “Sour Diesel.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of dance-pop collaborations. Zedd has mastered the art of tailoring club beats for pop radio, but he can also slow down the tempo when it suits him. Which is the case with “Happy Now,” a bittersweet breakup anthem featuring Elley Duhé. Don’t be surprised if this is as big as “The Middle.” Lost Kings are also no strangers to radio-friendly bangers. They team up with Tove Styrke for the quirky “Stuck.” The Swedish diva’s oddball approach has definitely rubbed off on them (in the best possible way).
Speaking of flawless pop stars, Meghan Trainor hasn’t put a foot wrong this era. “No Excuses” was a bop, while “Let You Be Right” valiantly attempted to revive disco. And let’s not forget “All The Ways,” which is positively Carly Rae Jepsen-esque. She retreats to more familiar soul-pop territory on “Treat Myself,” but it’s another very good song. That description also applies to Ciara’s “Level Up.” It took a couple of listens, but CiCi’s comeback track is stuck in my head. Let’s hope the stars have finally aligned for the queen of crunk.
How about a little indie-pop? LANY is back with a brand new sound. “Thru These Tears” finds the LA-based trio embracing synths and bigger, bolder hooks. It’s a risk that pays dividends. The first taste of Malibu Nights, the band’s much-anticipated sophomore LP, is the emo summer anthem we’ve been waiting for. The Candescents take a mellower approach on “Chinese New Year.” The Columbus, Ohio buzz band generated serious hype with “Boyfriend,” but this breezy, ’90s college rock-evoking tune is even better. Their debut EP arrives later this year via Dirty Hit.
If your taste is a little more exotic, may I recommend Willy William’s latest. While J Balvin has reaped most of the glory from “Mi Gente,” it should be noted that his chart-conquering version is actually a remix. Willy came up with the distinctive hook and that creativity is also displayed on “La La La.” My only complaint is the jarring verse mid-song. I would have preferred an instrumental. Another global hitmaker blessing New Music Friday with a bop is Anitta. The Brazilian bombshell can do no wrong as “Medicina” proves.
While on the topic of international pop, Australia churns out buzz-worthy artists with alarming regularity. Take Melbourne’s Sam Bluer. After testing the waters with viral hit “Shift,” the newcomer rolls out his official debut single and it’s a strikingly good electro-pop moment. Hooking up with your ex has never sounded more tempting! Alex The Astronaut is a little further along in her musical journey, but the singer/songwriter’s star continues to rise. She lets her hair down on “Waste Of Time,” which is something of a bop by her subdued standards.
Let’s wind things up with some bangers. Silk City is a duo comprised of Diplo and Mark Ronson. With that kind of pedigree, “Feel About You” was always going to be held to a higher standard than your average club release. Which probably explains some of the indifference. The Mapei-assisted floorfiller isn’t game-changing, but it is an absolute delight for lovers of old-school house. If you’re looking for something a little more soulful and blissed out, Regular Marcus and Felix Snow come together for “Ride.” Check it out in my playlist below.