The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Alesso & Mabel
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 Mark Ronson’s mashup of Michael Jackson hits, “Diamonds Are Invincible,” and possibly checked out The Struts’ killer remix of “Body Talks” featuring the one and only Kesha. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of bangers. Alesso has been drip feeding us new songs from his sophomore LP for a while now, landing a top 40 hit with the Hailee Steinfeld-assisted “Let Me Go” in 2017. He returns to the New Music Friday lineup today with “Remedy,” a dreamy floorfiller about love and loneliness featuring Conor Maynard. (Yes, of “Vegas Girl” fame). It sounds like a smash. Less saccharine, but just as hopeful is San Holo and Bipolar Sunshine’s “Brighter Days.” It’s a compelling reminder that there’s usually light at the end of the tunnel. This could be a big song.
Next up is a New Music Friday first — at least that I’m aware of! Breakout UK star Mabel and her mom, the legendary Neneh Cherry, both have new songs out this week. Let’s start with the Next Gen. Since breaking big with “Finders Keepers,” the 22-year-old has revisited the UK top 20 with bangers like “Fine Line” and “Ring Ring.” That trend should continue with “One Shot,” a soulful bop about knowing your worth. As for Neneh, well she goes even harder on the brazenly experimental “Shot Gun Shack.” Is there a cooler 54-year-old on planet earth?
If you’re looking for a blast of pure-pop, Cody Simpson puts down the guitar (at least for a minute) on the surprisingly clubby “Don’t Let Me Go.” As much as I love the Aussie’s surf rock fare, it’s nice to hear him return to the upbeat pop of “Wish U Were Here” and “Pretty Brown Eyes” — albeit with a breezy, organic twist. Another Australian artist undergoing something of a sonic overhaul is Havana Brown. The legendary diva behind “Big Banana” embraces trap beats on the urban-leaning “Glimpse” featuring Rich The Kid. I’m here for it.
How about a little indie pop/rock? The Wombats tease an impending reissue of Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life with a new single called “Bee-Sting.” Like the still-brilliant “Turn,” which was recently remixed by ayokay and Dagny, this is a blast of pure serotonin with a quirky lyrics and a crashing chorus. Play it loud. That also applies to The Faim’s “A Million Stars.” With a handful of streaming hits to their credit, the Perth outfit is due for a commercial breakthrough and this stadium-ready anthem could be it.
One of the best things about 2018 is the so-called Latin craze. We haven’t heard this much Spanish-language pop on the radio since the turn of the millennium when Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Shakira burst onto the scene. Speaking of the Colombian queen, her favorite collaborator (AKA Maluma) blesses New Music Friday with a new bop. He teams up with Mexican trio Reik for the slinky, sexy “Amigos Con Derechos.” Another star on the rise is Alvaro Soler. He follows up mega-hit “La Cintura” with “Puebla,” a tantalizing taste of his upcoming sophomore LP.
I have covered an eclectic mix of genres in The Drop this week, so I feel like it’s my duty to throw in a little country. Carrie Underwood unleashes the next single from Cry Pretty and it’s a power ballad called “Love Wins.” Obviously a response of sorts to America burning down around us, this is a timely call for peace, kindness and unity. Smaller in scope, but every bit is powerful is Jillian Jacqueline’s “Sad Girls.” This is the kind of stripped-back country anthem that gently slides a knife into your heart with its brutally honest lyrics. She is going to have a big year.
Let’s wind up with a couple of cover versions. The Night Game (Martin Johnson’s artist project) has already dropped one of my favorite singles of the year with “The Outfield” and now he tackles one of my all-time favorites — REM’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” I’m not sure if it needed an update, but this is suitably respectful. That also goes for Angie McMahon’s impressive take on “Helpless.” K.D. Lang’s version of Neil Young’s 1970 classic will always be the gold standard for me, but this shows off the “Slow Mover” singer’s beautiful voice to stunning effect. Check it out in my playlist below.