The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Dean Lewis & UPSAHL
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 Ariana Grande’s trap-infused “7 Rings” and possibly bopped along to Becky G’s fierce and fucks-free “LBD.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of Aussies on the brink of very big things. Dean Lewis struck gold with “Be Alright” in 2018. The breakup song has been streamed a whopping 330 million times on Spotify alone and recently went top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lightning could strike twice with “7 Minutes,” an equally emo but slightly more upbeat anthem about, you guessed it, the end of a relationship. Melbourne’s G Flip hasn’t reached the same chart heights (yet), but her time is coming. “Drink Too Much” is the title track of the breakout star’s debut EP and it’s a raucous, beer-soaked romp about letting your hair down. She’s going to have a big 2019.
That also applies to Minke. After catching everyone’s attention with viral hits “Gold Angel” and “Maybe 25,” the Brit returns to New Music Friday with the deliciously petty “Too Late” — a synth-driven summation of an ex-boyfriend’s failings. Keep an eye/ear out for her upcoming EP, The Tearoom, on March 8. I’m already on board. Another rising star with a relatable anthem is UPSAHL. The Phoenix native, who made a splash with “The Other Team” in 2018, is now on the hunt for “Drugs.” She says the lyrics aren’t to be taken literally (the song is about avoiding other people’s bullshit and having a good time), but it works on both levels for me.
As usual some of the week’s best pop comes from Scandinavia. Sigrid has proven to be one of the genre’s most consistent performers, dropping gem after gem with songs like “Strangers,” “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “High Five.” The Norwegian star adds to that list with “Don’t Feel Like Crying.” It’s a song about putting off a post-breakup meltdown and will probably strike a chord with anyone who steadfastly avoids feelings. Sweden’s LOVA is no stranger to The Drop. She follows up bops like “You Me And The Silence” and “Insecurities” with another winner called “My Name Isn’t.” Her star will only continue to rise.
How about some chill vibes? The Japanese House specializes in downtempo, ambient synth-pop and her unique skillset is on full display on “Maybe You’re The Reason.” Just don’t be deceived by the mellow soundscape and breezy chorus, the latest cut from Good At Falling is about coming to terms with depression. Equally evocative is James Blake’s “Barefoot In The Park.” One of the many highlights on the Brit’s just-released Assume Form album, this is a haunting collaboration with Spanish star ROSALÍA that lingers in the mind long after the song ends.
Next up is a pair of boy bands from very different generations. The Backstreet Boys revival is in full swing with 2018 hit “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” up for a Grammy award. That song features on their imminent 10th LP, DNA, which drops on January 25. It’s shaping up to be one of the group’s best given the quality of subsequent buzz tracks “No Place” and today’s “Breathe.” Joining BSB in the New Music Friday lineup is Why Don’t We. “Big Plans” is the quintet’s catchiest single to date and could well be the commercial breakthrough they have waiting for.
If you’re looking for a quick trip down memory lane, I’ve got you. The Killers prove that the fire still burns brightly on “Land Of The Free,” a moving, gospel-tinged ballad released in protest of President Trump’s proposed wall. It finds them in full Springsteen mode, which is fine with me. Equally affecting is the eerily-titled “All Over Now.” The first taste of The Cranberries 8th and final album, In The End, its release coincides with the one-year anniversary of Delores O’Riordan’s death and ranks as one of the Irish band’s best singles in decades. She is so missed.
Let’s wind up with a couple of bangers. Aussie production duo Peking Duk knows their way around a pop/club crossover, landing radio hits with “High,” “Take Me Over” and “Stranger.” The Canberra DJs could have another one on their hands with “Sugar,” an instantly addictive collaboration with Jack River. Less commercial, but every bit as captivating is Mansionair’s “Shadows.” The Sydney trio takes it to the next level on the dreamy “Shadows,” the latest cut from debut LP Shadowboxing (due March 1). Check it out in my playlist below.