It's Tuesday! Time for another round of "5 Must-Hear Pop Songs of the Week"!
And this time, it's another week of pure Brit-pop mania! Well, almost -- an American singer-songwriter snuck into the bunch, too. And an Aussie-born singer. Otherwise, we've got the hottest U.K. boy band around, an "X Factor" winner, and one of my favorite prima donna girls ever.
1.) Meiko, "Leave The Lights On"
Singer-songwriter Meiko, 30, first burst onto the music scene back in 2007 with the release of her eponymous debut. And since its release, each album track has found its way on just about every TV show, ever -- from "90210" to "Grey's Anatomy" to "One Tree Hill" to "Pretty Little Liars."
Having since holed up in the studio for about two years crafting a follow-up to her debut with the likes of Belgian producer Styrofoam and Jimmy Messer (of Kelly Clarkson's "Never Again" fame, among other songs), the singer is about to unveil her long-awaited sophomore record in May, The Bright Side. To kick off the campaign, Meiko unleashed the album's incredible lead single, "Leave The Lights On," last week. The song is an absolutely stunning mixture of melancholy guitar pop with Ellie Goulding-lite flights of folk-tronica fancy. "I know that it's a secret, and that I gotta keep it, but I want the lights on," she croons across the chorus. As it progresses, the song builds with an intensifying electro pulse, resulting in a major "brooding on the dance floor" anthem and one of the best songs of 2012 thus far!
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump!
2.) The Wanted, "Chasing The Sun"
We told you the British boy band invasion was coming... and it's here! After their lead single "Glad You Came" came surging in at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this year, U.K. heartthrobs The Wanted are back with a full U.S. EP, including U.K. smashes like "All Time Low" and "Lightning."
Along with past hits, the mini-collection also includes "Chasing The Sun," a brand-new track cut with British singer/rapper/producer extraordinaire Example. The surging new number sees the boys frolicking in Ibiza territory once more: "Until forever comes, you'll find us chasing the sun!" they declare. Throw a chant in the chorus that'd have Brit Brit positively beaming ( "Oo-oo-Oo-Oo-OOH-oh!"), and you've got one of The Wanted's most massive dance floor-ready anthems yet. Even more exciting? The upcoming video. I mean... Justin Bieber got a preview of the clip and called it "sick" on Twitter. King Bieber's seal of approval? Watch out, boys -- you know what he did for Carly Rae Jepsen. See you on top of the charts once again!
3.) Marina And The Diamonds, "Lies (Acoustic)"
The endlessly brilliant Miss Marina And The Diamonds is but mere days away from unleashing her sophomore record, Electra Heart. After releasing her ridiculously amazing lead single "Primadonna" in the U.K. yesterday, the chanteuse has just teased out an acoustic version of upcoming album track, "Lies."
Although the album version promises to be a much more power-pop production (it was crafted by Diplo, Cirkut AND Dr. Luke... HUGE!), the acoustic take on the track strips back the song to nothing but Marina's quivering croons and the kind of lyrics that'll have you crying in the corner of your shower. "I just wanted to be perfect," Marina sadly croons. Fair warning: It is thoroughly amazing, and you will absolutely cry.
4.) Darren Hayes, "Stupid Mistake"
After unleashing several storming singles -- "Talk Talk Talk," "Black Out The Sun" and "Bloodstained Heart" -- from his fourth studio album, Secret Codes and Battleships, former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes is back for yet another offering from his superb 2011 effort. Hayes grows pensive -- even angry -- on the fourth single from his latest record as he reflects on poor choices and bares his soul across a piano-led power=pop ballad: "I made a stupid mistake and my world crashed down all around me," Hayes croons on top of the dramatic strings of the chorus.
The clip for the track, directed by Hayes' partner Richard Cullen, finds the singer caking on makeup in front of a vanity (Annie Lennox "Why" style!) until finally revealing himself in full makeup as... The Joker! Just one question: Why so serious, Darren?
5.) Alexandra Burke, "Let It Go"
Earlier this year, 2008 "X Factor U.K." winner Alexandra Burke released the only slightly mental "Elephant," a bananas o'clock club thumper produced by Erick Morillo that felt like the musical equivalent of this. Nonetheless, it worked: Burke's banger charted at No. 3 in the U.K.
For her next single from the upcoming LP Heartbreak On Hold, Burke has once again opted to report to the dance floor with "Let It Go." The song, which wouldn't sound at all out of place sandwiched between Robin S.' "Show Me Love" and Snap's "Rhythm Is A Dancer," is a little bit of an "It Gets Better" anthem on top of familiar '90s club beats: "Time can be the perfect remedy/ Let love lead the way!" Burke sagely offers. The best part of all is obviously the chorus, which includes an unbelievably catchy stuttery bit at the very end: "Let it go-o-o-o-o-o!" It's all very '90s dance-inspired, which is no accident: The whole album's going to sound that way. Yes, please!
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 musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
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