The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Feat. Sabina Ddumba & Kylie
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 Iggy Azalea’s meme-spawning “Started” and hopefully bopped along to BANKS’ very good “Gimme.” But that’s still just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a complete of certified pop legends. Madonna blesses New Music Friday with a politically-charged (and unusually vulnerable) ballad called “I Rise.” It couldn’t be more different than “Medellín,” but Madame X is a multi-faceted being. In addition to being a reggaeton-loving cougar, she’s also woke. Joining Madonna in this week’s lineup is fellow pop deity Kylie Minogue. After dabbling in country, the fabulous 50-year-old returns to the dance floor on the very cute and very campy “New York City.”
The next generation of pop queens is also on fire this week. Argentina’s TINI has been on the brink of a crossover hit for a while now. Happily, it looks like her time has finally come. She joins forces with Colombia’s Greeicy on an impossibly catchy, cumbia-flavored banger called “22.” Sabrina Carpenter is TINI’s label-mate at Hollywood Records, but that’s where the similarities end. Instead of dropping a party-starting bop, the 19-year-old opens up about her struggle for creative freedom on the somber and impressive “Exhale.”
Another teenager joining the New Music Friday lineup is Chlo Subia. The 18-year-old newcomer exudes positivity and hopefulness on the instantly catchy “Blessings At Night.” And get your mind out of the gutter, it’s about expressing gratitude for the good things in life. Kim Petras, on the other hand, has dick on the brain. The breakout pop star, who seemingly rolls out another impeccable banger every week, opens up about her desires on the perky “Got My Number.” A sex-positive icon. We really don’t deserve her!
As usual, some of the week’s best pop hails from Sweden. Sabina Ddumba has been on my radar since dropping her (excellent) debut LP in 2016, but she’s ready to take it to the next level with the summery, radio-friendly “Blow My Mind.” Co-written with MNEK, the breezy bop effortlessly combines pop, R&B and African rhythms that reflect the rising star’s Ugandan heritage. She’s One To Watch. That also goes for Molly Hammar. She brightens up New Music Friday with a heady dose of Scandipop called “Words.”
While female artists led the way, a couple of fellaas held their own. (So to speak). JP Cooper is probably best known for his stripped-back singer/songwriter fare, but the Brit switches it up on the surprisingly upbeat “Sing It With Me” featuring Norway’s Astrid S. It’s an absolute earworm with serious chart potential. A description that obviously applies to Shawn Mendes’ iTunes-topping “If I Can’t Have You.” This is one the Canadian pop star’s catchiest lead singles to date. Also joining the usually-emo-but-not-this-time club is Bastile. “Joy” is arguably their most instant track since “Pompeii.”
How about a couple of bangers? Germany’s Robin Schulz churns out club anthems at an alarming rate, teaming up with an eclectic array of collaborators like Nick Jonas and James Blunt. He now joins forces with singer/songwriter Harloe for a massive tune called “All This Love.” It has serious crossover potential. Less commercial, but every bit as good is Hayden James’ “Nowhere To Go.” The Aussie producer’s latest banger features LA-based duo NAATIONS and boasts a killer chorus (and an equally lethal bass line). This is an essential addition to any party playlist.
While I’m on the topic of bangers, it should also be noted that NOTD is back with a massive track called “I Miss Myself.” The production duo teams up with UK pop star HRVY to deliver their most accessible single since the Bea Miller-assisted “I Wanna Know.” Expect this to generate serious heat on Spotify in the coming weeks. If you prefer to get down to a remix, Dutch DJ Joe Stone works his magic on Dido’s “Take You Home.” The result is the kind of big-room remix that reigned supreme in the early ’00s. I’m into it.
Let’s wind up with some mood (or moody) music. FINNEAS is probably best known for co-piloting Billie Eilish’s rise to the pinnacle of pop, but his own tunes are every bit as good as his sister’s. Listen to the wonderfully gloomy “I Lost A Friend” for proof. Christina Perri has been MIA for a while now, but she’s back with one of her trademark, stripped-back piano ballads and everything is ok in the world again. “tiny victories” is actually a rather large one. That leaves us with Old Dominion. The country band’s “Some People Do” is a heartfelt reminder that change is possible (if unlikely and hard won). Check it out in my playlist below.