The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Astrid S & LP
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 hopefully had a spiritual awakening while listening to Michelle Williams’ “Fearless” or at least bopped along to Seeb and Bastille’s bone-rattling “Grip.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of fellas. ZAYN’s sophomore era has been something of a mixed bag thus far, with a couple of tracks completely missing the mark. Happily, “Good Years” isn’t one of them. The 25-year-old strips it right back on this delicate, largely-acoustic breakup anthem. His voice has never sounded better and suddenly I’m excited for Icarus Falls again. Equally impressive is Stephen Puth’s “Sexual Vibe.” The newcomer shows off his rich baritone and love of real instruments on this very impressive debut single.
As usual, some of the week’s best pop comes from Scandinavia. Astrid S can do no wrong in my eyes, raising the bar for brittle, bare-bones synth-pop a little higher with each new release. The trend continues with “Closer,” a deceptively outrageous track that finds the Norwegian delighting in being The Other Woman. Funnily enough, SHY Martin began her career writing songs for Astrid (“Bloodstream”). The Swede launched her artist project earlier this year and finally got around to releasing her debut EP, Overthinking, today. Every song is well worth your attention, but the emotional “Just A Little Longer” is particularly noteworthy.
Another Swedish pop star blessing New Music Friday a gut-wrenching tune is Clara Mae. She has the audacity to cover Robyn’s seminal “Call Your Girlfriend,” which turns out to be a very good thing. The “I Forgot” diva transforms the banger into a sparse piano ballad and it works breathtakingly well. A little closer to home, LA-based newcomer Shaylen returns with a feisty anthem called “Isn’t You.” I was impressed by her debut single, “El Dorado,” but this biting kiss-off is even better. Keep an eye on her in 2019.
Next up is LP. The singer/songwriter earned a well-deserved commercial breakthrough in 2016/2017 with “Lost On You” and promptly dropped a similarly-titled album. She would be forgiven for dishing up more of the same on the followup, but Laura doesn’t believe in repeating herself. I haven’t had a chance to fully immerse myself in Heart To Mouth yet, but “When I’m Over You” stands out as an instant highlight. As close to dance-pop as LP is ever likely to come, this reeks of quality. The second half of that sentence also applies to Charlotte Gainsbourg’s “Such A Remarkable Day.” I’m still obsessed with the Frenchwoman’s Rest LP, so this is something of an unexpected delight.
If LP and Charlotte represent the old guard, Sody is part of the new wave. The 18-year-old first popped up on my radar with a quirky tune called “Wasted Youth” back in 2016 and she has continued to impress ever since. The Brit rejoins the New Music Friday lineup this week with a ballad called “Let You Know” and it is essential listening. Ella Vos is another star on the rise. The LA-based singer/songwriter shows off her full range on the vast, atmospheric “Ocean,” a track that belongs on every chill out playlist.
How about a couple of bangers to usher in the weekend? Brillz is in the midst of a creative rebirth with LSDREAM. The producer’s new side-project is inspired by his spiritual journey and there’s a new-age (for want of a better description) quality that surges through “Shadow Self.” It’s a mind-opening banger that unfolds a little more with each listen. More accessible is R3HAB’s “All Into Nothing.” Voiced by Nashville’s Mokita, this is a mellow, radio-friendly acoustic/EDM hybrid with serious hit potential.
Let’s wind up with a couple of remixes. MKTO has been out of action for a while, but the “Classic” duo is back with a streaming hit called “How Can I Forget.” The catchy tune could find a whole new audience courtesy of a remix by Australian DJ Ryan Riback. His remix of Starley’s “Call On Me” has more than 600 million streams and lightning has been known to strike twice. Equally addictive is Deepend’s club-centric overhaul of Alle Farben and ILIRA’s “Fading.” I love the original, but takes the song in an exciting new direction. Check it out in my playlist below.