It’s Tuesday! Time for another round of “5 Must-Hear Pop Songs of the Week”!
This week’s roundup features a Swedish-Australian dream-pop sister act, a U.K. goth-pop princess, and a New Zealand singer-songwriter who wrote Christina Aguilera a solid smash for “Lotus.” Read on!
1.) Say Lou Lou, “Julian”
Say Lou Lou isn’t just a fun name to say out loud — it’s also the name of an incredible dream-pop duo! The rising sister act (twin sisters, in fact) grew up shuttling in between Australia and Sweden, and now they make gloriously moody and luscious tunes tailored for 4 a.m. cry sessions and pensive night drives. On their latest single, “Julian,” the girls vow to get their beloved Julian past the border: “You know I’ll keep your secret/ I’ve locked it up inside/ As long as we are moving/ I know it’d be all right,” they promise above the dreamy synthesizers. It’s a bit like Bat For Lashes mixed with some Sally Shapiro — a perfect soundscape if we’ve ever heard one. Godspeed, Julian!
2.) Ginny Blackmore, “Bones”
Ginny Blackmore is one of the more thrilling names coming up on the pop radar at the moment. She already wrote “Sing For Me” (a diva-size vocal humblebrag, which Christina Aguilera later recorded for Lotus — rise up, lotus, rise!) and Adam Lambert’s “By The Rules”; now the New Zealand-bred singer-songwriter’s signed to Epic Records. As she prepares to release her debut, Blackmore’s dropped a track in the U.S. It’s called “Bones,” a jagged, bitter ballad dedicated to her thoroughly clueless lover. “All I’ve ever wanted was for your damn arms to wrap themselves around me/ And say, ’Hey girl, you’re the prettiest thing I ever seen,'” she laments. Similar to Skylar Grey’s broody output, Blackmore manages to make crippling vulnerability sound lovely.
3.) Charli XCX featuring Danny Brown, “What I Like”
“What I Like” is just one of the many gritty alt-pop shimmering gems off of Brit-pop chanteuse Charli XCX’s phenomenal new debut record, True Romance, and this week, it’s getting a special remix. Part flirt-filled seduction, part floaty acid trip, the song wanders through spacey vibrations, weird echoes, and Auto-Tune overload as Charli seals the deal in her haze-filled bedroom. Danny Brown arrives to the party almost two-thirds of the way in, providing some truly spitfire, urgent bars. “Let me tell you what I like/ Look at you, you just my type!” he yaps. He’s quite excited to be here with Charli. Then again, aren’t we all?
4.) Jess Mills, “Pixelated People (Wilkinson Remix)”
Heaven-sent U.K. songbird Jess Mills is slowly but surely crafting her sure-to-be immaculate debut record, but in the meantime, she’s satiating our desires with a new track. Last month, she dropped the luscious, Anita Baker-interpolating “Sweet Love,” and this week we got a brand-new remix EP to play featuring four mixed ’n’ mashed cuts from her steadily growing catalog. “Pixelated People” has always been a standout, and the accompanying Wilkinson Remix is no different, as Mills’ honey-soaked voice bounces off of ominous synthesizers, icy electronica, and a roaring whirring sound that cuts through the speakers like a sonic drag race (of the non-RuPaul variety).
5.) Livvi Franc, “Ballerina”
As part of her “Franc Fridays” campaign, singer-songwriter Livvi Franc’s been churning out solo tunes on SoundCloud as a way of mixing up her creative flow and allowing herself to shine. Last week, the talented “Now I’m That B****” chanteuse premiered “Ballerina,” a track crafted entirely by her own vocals. The result is a gorgeous, Imogen Heap-esque organic effort: “I watch the world speed up/ I am a ballerina/ Spinning around, I am unraveling,” she croons across layered yelps and coos, proving that a good pop tune only needs a solid melody.
Bradley Stern is a writer from New York. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and writing impassioned letters to Congress urging that Madonnalogy be taught in all public schools. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting and musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
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