It’s September, y’all! And you know what that means: It’s the beginning of a new season! A time to grow. A time to change. A time to… break up with people apparently! As a result, most of the songs from this week’s “Must-Hear” list are brand-new breakup anthems and empowerment jams. Well, except for the Jordin Sparks banger — that one’s not new. That song just “gets” me.
Oh, well, and then there’s the Grace Jones track about the perils of the corporate world, which in hindsight doesn’t actually have anything to do with this whole “turning over a new leaf” theme. That one’s just because Grace Jones is a LEGEND.
Right then: So there’s no actual theme this week. Still: enjoy!
1.) JoJo, “Disaster”
It’s been a minute since Queen JoJo last graced the radio airwaves, but on Sept. 6, Boston’s baddest babe since Donna Summer is back, better and more bitter than ever on her latest (soon-to-be) radio smash “Disaster,” the lead single from her upcoming third studio album, Jumping Trains.
“The walls burned up and our love fell down/And it turned into whatever, now we’re saying never,” JoJo soulfully croons on top of the song’s defiant pop-rock stomp, which recalls the rallying battle cry of Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield” (who we’ll get to a little later on — fear not.)
“Disaster” is essentially the long-awaited 2011 sequel to 2006’s “Too Little, Too Late” with even more impressive, matured vocals and scathing lyricism from the 20-year-old talent, proving two already known Pop Truths: JoJo will forever be flawless, and boys will forever suck. + LISTEN TO JOJO, “DISASTER.”
2.) Kelly Clarkson, “Mr. Know It All”
Still mad? Okay, perfect! Never one to settle for a sugary-sweet love song, America’s first “Idol” Kelly Clarkson just premiered “Mr. Know It All,” the lead single from her upcoming album, Stronger, last week during an adorkable livestream for fans. (Don’t watch that stream unless you have zero qualms about cooing and gleefully shouting out loud “She’s so cute!” to no one in particular.)
But if were expecting a “Since U Been Gone” rager or a “My Life Would Suck Without You” anthem, you thought wrong (KELLY REFERENCE): Unlike her usual lead singles, Kelly’s holding back on the Yelly on her latest release to serve up some beautifully crooned melodies.
Sure, Clarkson’s still serving us Alanis Morrissette realness with the lyrics (“Ohm you think that you know me/That’s why I’m leaving you lonely”), but without all the crashing guitars and throaty howls, “Mr. Know It All” almost plays as sweetly as Bruno Mars’ sugary-sweet radio smash, “Just The Way You Are.” Except for the fact that, you know, she totally hates you. + LISTEN TO KELLY CLARKSON, “MR. KNOW IT ALL.”
+ Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump!
3.) Grace Jones, “Corporate Cannibal”
Hurricane Irene’s got nothing on the legendary Miss Grace Jones. After almost four years since its initial release overseas, the iconic singer, actress and model’s 10th studio album, Hurricane, is finally being released stateside on Sept. 6. To celebrate, I’ve selected one of the nine tracks from the record: “Corporate Cannibal.”
Like a gritty heavy metal update to her classic haunts (“Walking In The Rain,” “Warm Leatherette”), “Corporate Cannibal” the most spine-tingly creepy spoken-word number I’ve heard since that one time my Pandora station somehow unexpectedly switched over from Cassie to William Shatner. (I don’t want to talk about it.)
“I’ll consume my consumers with no sense of humor,” the larger-than-life chanteuse damningly declares. Don’t even think of questioning a single word on this minimal six-minute masterpiece. Why? Because she’s Grace Jones, and she will not hesitate to eat you alive. THAT’S WHY. + LISTEN TO GRACE JONES, “CORPORATE CANNIBAL.”
4.) NERVO featuring Afrojack and Steve Aoki, “We’re All No One”
After penning such colossal radio mega-smashes including Kelly Rowland & David Guetta’s “When Love Takes Over” and Kylie Minogue’s “Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love),” as well as spending the summer DJing on Britney’s “Femme Fatale” tour, the gorgeous Aussie-born Nervo sisters are finally beginning to step out from the recording studio and onto the stage as a solo act in their own right.
As a result of the song’s super-producer mix-’n’-match, the club thumper is a real production gumbo, stirring together some strange broken tube sounds, scorching synthesizers, howling indie vocals and thought-provoking lyricism: “We’re all no one till someone thinks that we’re someone,” the girls chant.
And with a slew of remixes about to be serviced to clubs nationwide, it’ll be no surprise if Liv and Mim Nervo find themselves with a lot more people thinking that they’re someone after this song’s release. + LISTEN TO NERVO FEATURING AFROJACK AND STEVE AOKI, “WE’RE ALL NO ONE.”
5.) Jordin Sparks, “Walking On Snow”
Stop, because I already know what you’re thinking: Brad, please: Why is this even here? We already know everything Jordin Sparks does is amazing. And I agree with you, but I wanted to touch upon one of the Season 6 “Idol” winner’s finest, most underappreciated moments: “Walking On Snow,” the gorgeously tender opening track from her 2009 record, Battlefield. Why? I don’t know…um, because it’s still AMAZING?!
Produced by Swedish mastermind Lucas Secon (of Kylie Minogue’s fierce and flaw-free “Get Outta My Way,” among other pop gems), the lusciously dignified album track is a truly excellent moment in songcraft: “It’s like I’m walking on snow without leaving a trace/And all that you’ve said never carried no weight,” Sparks triumphantly croons above a skipping synth beat and a gentle guitar strum straight out of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” (Who knew Sparks was such an industry trailblazer?)
But really, “Walking on Snow” is 100 percent objectively perfect: There’s such a fluttery, life-giving feel about the song! It’s so liberating! Like, that bursting-out-from-a-giant-door-while-doves-fly-out-and-dancers-triumphantly-spin-around-you kind of feeling. You know that one? No? Just me then? Oh. + LISTEN TO JORDIN SPARKS, “WALKING ON SNOW.”
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order, eating sleeves of Oreos, lip-synching to Whitney Houston in his underwear at night, and plotting the various ways in which he will bring down Katy Perry to become Rihanna’s best friend. But most of all, he spends his time musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.