It's Tuesday! Time for another round of 5 Must-Hear Pop Songs for the Week!
If you live anywhere near the New England area, you'd know that all hell truly broke loose this Halloween weekend: It snowed! Like, a lot. And suddenly everything got really cold, and all the pumpkins froze, and everything was just such a terrible mess. It was one of the weirdest Halloween celebrations I can ever remember.
To celebrate (or more appropriately, to mourn), I put together a list of must-hear pop tracks that have to do with the cold! And changing seasons. And then a song about being hotter than fire, which is really kind of the opposite effect I was going for, so...let's just go with it.
Here we go!
Credit: Getty Images
1.) Charli XCX, "Nuclear Seasons"
Haven't heard of Charli XCX yet? You will soon.
The young chanteuse has slowly made a splash overseas as a club kid in the London underground scene, forming some friendships in high places (acclaimed photographer Rankin considers her as a muse) and landing a spot opening for some cooler-than-cool acts including Peaches and Robyn. In June, Charli XCX dropped the stunning "Stay Away"--a goth-pop track set atop grinding, industrial synthesizers with all the pomp of a funeral procession. The song quickly became a favorite of music bloggers everywhere (and one of the year's best singles by far.)
Now, the 19-year-old goth-pop princess returns with "Nuclear Seasons," due for release later this November. "When you go, please don't leave your love in the sun/My heart will melt away," the young London-bred crooner drones in the opening lines of the hazy synth-pop gem, bringing to mind Gwen Stefani's fresh '80s-inflected solo pop. It's a lighter number than her damning lead single, but the heavy beats -- mixed with Charli's warbling vocals -- still hit a little harder than the bulk of today's radio pop.
Armed with an unexpected frankness and that undeniable "It Girl" factor, this Brit-pop enfant terrible's upcoming debut is rapidly becoming one of the most anticipated releases of 2012. + LISTEN TO CHARLI XCX, "NUCLEAR SEASONS"
2.) Florence + The Machine, "Spectrum"
Just in time to ring in the Witching Hour, everyone's favorite goddess/songstress Florence Welch has returned with her highly anticipated second studio album, Ceremonials, released on Nov. 1. Much like her debut, Lungs, the album is a triumph of epic proportions (if not even more so), chock-full of witchy cries and damning instrumentation.
"Say my name and every color illuminates/We are shining, and we will never be afraid again," Welch (and a hefty backing choir) bellows during the chorus of "Spectrum," one of the album's brightest highlights. Add in all the spooky bells and whistles (and damning howls--don't forget the damning howls) that made Welch's first attempt so spectacular, and you've got "Spectrum" -- a song that'll either make you want to throw your hands up in praise or cower under the covers in fear. Either way, it works like a charm. + LISTEN TO FLORENCE + THE MACHINE, "SPECTRUM"
+ Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump!
3.) Kaskade and Dada Life featuring Dan Black, "Ice"
Last week, one of today's most celebrated DJs, Kaskade, released his seventh studio album, Fire & Ice, a double album that cleverly includes both hot (Fire) and slightly chillier (Ice) remixes of its 10 original songs. The album's also packed with tons of features, including dubstep producer Skrillex, "Invisible" singer-songwriter Skylar Grey and Swedish DJ/pop act Rebecca & Fiona.
"Ice," which was co-produced by Swedish electro-House duo Dada Life, features a vocal assist by indie electro-pop sensation Dan Black, is just one of the many genius cuts from the album. The song finds the lead singer catching some rather lonesome feelings: "I’m ice/There’s nothing in my eyes," Black sings above the throbbing, hypnotizing beat. But don't let the chilly subject matter fool you: "Ice" is a scorching little house number guaranteed to burn a hole through the dance floor. + LISTEN TO KASKADE AND DADA LIFE FEATURING DANCE BLACK, "ICE"
4.) Eric Saade featuring Dev, "Hotter Than Fire"
Swede-pop cutie pie Eric Saade has seen plenty of success in the past year following his run during 2011's Eurovision (for those unaware of the international song contest, it's like the "American Idol" for all of Europe). And only a few months after unleashing his album Saade Vol. 1 earlier this summer, the singer is already coming back with the follow-up: Saade Vol. 2, kicking off the campaign with his killer new single, "Hotter Than Fire."
To conjure just the right amount of heat, Saade enlisted everyone's favorite "Bass Down Low" booty-dropper Dev to come add a little spice to the Swede-pop club smash, resulting in a dance floor banger that rages as hard as the latest from Usher or Taio Cruz.
5.) Gwen Stefani, "Early Winter"
While I spent the bulk of my Halloween weekend shivering and fantasizing about moving to Fiji, I was reminded of a fitting song for the past weekend that I cherish ever so dearly: "Early Winter," the ice-encrusted gem found on No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani's oft-overlooked second solo album from 2006: The Sweet Escape.
Co-penned with Keane pianist Tim Rice-Oxley and produced by Nellee Hooper, "Early Winter" is an astonishingly emotional, '80s-inspired piano-pop ballad. The song, which was originally released as a single in January 2008, follows Stefani as her relationship comes slowly crashing to an end: "I always was one for crying, I always was one for tears," she sadly mourns above the chilling synthesizers and tender piano chords as she braces for impact.
And although the songstress all but confirmed that she will never enter the studio again as a solo artist (which we are most definitely NOT going to talk about right now because it's so upsetting), we'll always have "Early Winter--her final solo single, and one of her most tender, heart-wrenching numbers to date -- to remember what once was the brilliance of Solo Stefani. + LISTEN TO GWEN STEFANI, "EARLY WINTER"
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order 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 tweeting and musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.