The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Morgan Saint & 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 Mariah Carey’s feisty comeback single, “GTFO,” and hopefully checked out Dolly Parton & Sia’s flawless update of “Here I Am.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with two of my favorite pop stars. Ciara returned with a vengeance in July with “Level Up.” She followed up that atomic-powered banger with an afrobeat experiment called “Freak Me,” but now retreats to more familiar territory on the instantly catchy “Dose.” This is peak CiCi. Speaking of women at the top of their game, Bebe Rexha has been on fire since conquering the charts with “Meant To Be.” The blonde bombshell joins the New Music Friday lineup courtesy of a feature on David Guetta and J. Balvin’s “Say My Name” and, as expected, it’s a bop.
Next up is a pair of (relative) newcomers with very different sounds, but equally complicated love lives. Morgan Saint’s 17 HERO was one of my favorite EPs of 2017 and she picks up where she left off on “On Fire.” The rising star’s minimal, alt-adjacent approach to pop is the perfect vehicle for this blistering recap of a fucked-up romance. Bring on her ALIEN EP (out October 5)! Lennon Stella is also deep in her feelings on the Busbee-produced “Bad.” The 19-year-old finds herself in a slightly different predicament to Morgan, in that her ex was actually too nice. (Can’t relate). “I wish you would have treated me bad, truth is you couldn’t have loved me better,” the Nashville star laments. “Now I’m left feeling twice as sad.” She is One To Watch.
While we’re on the topic of budding superstars, Charlotte Lawrence is a definite contender. The 18-year-old has already landed viral hits with “Sleep Talking” and “Just The Same,” but she’s on the brink of something much bigger. A slightly extreme kiss-off song (grand larceny is usually not a good idea), “Stole Your Car” burns with youthful rebellion and swagger. Play it loud. GIRLI has been churning out top-notch bangers for the last couple of years — “Girls Get Angry Too” is still that song — and “Young” is no exception. This is the mouthy Brit’s most pop-centric offering to date and it should grow her audience significantly.
As usual, some of the week’s best new pop hails from Australia. Mackay’s Tia Gostelow is one of the many great artists to emerge from Triple J’s Unearthed competition and the talented teen instantly caught my attention with gems like “Strangers” and “Hunger.” Her breezy indie-pop aesthetic is showcased perfectly on “Phone Me,” another tantalizing glimpse of debut LP, Thick Skin (due September 21). Keep an eye on her. Jess Kent first made waves back in 2016 with viral hit, “Get Down,” and has been chipping away at her debut album ever since. The breakout star has another big song on her hands with “Girl,” a sharp commentary on double standards and stereotypes. The track was co-written by human hit-machine Justin Tranter and produced by CJ Baran and Phil Lever.
In the mood for something more introspective? Billie Marten makes a welcome return to the (folk-) pop scene this week. The 19-year-old, who first appeared on my radar in 2016 with exquisitely-wrought tunes like “Milk & Honey” and “Lionhearted,” shows off her beautiful voice and knack for razor-sharp lyrics on the captivating “Mice.” It should also be noted that Sweden’s First Aid Kit dropped a new EP today and the title track, “Tender Offerings,” is a gorgeous, country-adjacent ditty that demands your attention. They just get better and better. Striking a more somber note is Ryn Weaver’s bruising “Reasons Not To Die.” This old demo, which has been dusted off for a Neon Gold retrospective, is a potent reminder of the “OctaHate” hitmaker’s unique brilliance. I live in eternal hope that we’ll get a followup to The Fool one of these days.
While pop’s leading ladies dominated New Music Friday, a couple of fellas made their presence felt. Khalid’s golden run continues with “Better,” the latest in a seemingly endless stream of immaculate singles. At this point, he can do no wrong. I fully expect this song to be huge. The same goes for Mike Posner’s “Song About You.” Produced by Ricky Reed, this brutally honest breakup anthem dissects the end of a relationship in painstaking details without skimping on hooks and a catchy chorus. It promises good things for his third LP.
LANY is becoming something of a regular on The Drop. Every song from their upcoming sophomore LP, Malibu Nights, has been better than the last and that trend continues with the synth-driven “Thick And Thin” — a track that finds the right balance between their emo-leanings and newfound pop sensibility. Equally impressive is Mansionair’s dreamy “Falling.” The Australian trio came out of nowhere to land a Grammy nomination for their contribution to ODESZA’s “Line Of Sight” and it can’t be too long before they get another one if they keep releasing blissed-out bops like this.
Let’s wind up with a couple of bangers. Belgium’s Lost Frequencies broke big in 2015 with “Are You With Me.” He has been churning out club bangers ever since, but the producer might have another radio hit on his hands with “Like I Love You” — an earworm voiced by LA duo The NGHBRS. Last but certainly not least is Martin Garrix. The Dutch hitmaker knows his way around a dance-pop crossover better than most (see “In The Name Of Love,” “Scared To Be Lonely” etc.) and this moody collaboration with Justin Mylo and Dewain Whitmore is another huge song. Check it out in my playlist below.