It’s Tuesday! Time for another round of “5 Must-Hear Pop Songs of the Week!”
This week’s roundup features some amazing Swede-pop, K-Pop kweens dominating the South Korean scene, and a Top 40 pop smash that never was, courtesy of a newly emancipated singer-songwriter with plenty still to offer.
1.) Tove Lo, “Not On Drugs”
First of all, it’s pronounced: “Too-veh Loo.” (Didn’t see that coming either.) Second of all, Tove Lo’s debut EP, Truth Serum — due out this week — is one of the best slices of Swedish pop you’ll hear this year (so far, anyway).
From the 2013 breakout blog smash “Habits” to “Out Of Mind,” this singer-songbird has managed to find a way to make drugs, crippling heartbreak, and binge-partying sound like catchy Top 40 pop. (Do not try this at home, kids.)
The trippy “Not On Drugs” is one of the best new songs of the collection. Armed with a massive swell of a chorus and almighty background chants, the track’s about as perfect as Swede-pop gets. “Baby, listen please… I’m not on drugs, I’m just in love!” she begs. I’ll have what she’s having.
+ Listen to TOVE LO’S “NOT ON DRUGS.”
2.) 2NE1, “Crush”
After their fellow K-Pop krew Girls’ Generation debuted their brand new EP, Mr.Mr., last week (NO FIGHTING, FANBASES), the fashion-forward, futuristic South Korean sensations known as 2NE1 have returned to do the same with Crush, their second studio album.
In usual form, the album’s a genre-twisting blur of electro-pop and R&B gems, kicking off with the wickedly fierce “Crush.” The searing electronic brag attack is a major comeback statement: “They love me ’cause I’m hot, they love me ’cause I’m cold/They love me ’cause I’m real, they love me ’cause I kill!” the “Come Back Home” singers confidently speak-sing above the nasty synth pulse and a big fat bass. Um, you want a piece of ’em?
+ Listen to 2NE1’S CRUSH.”
3.) Christina Perri, “Human (Tracy Young Radio Edit)”
But, what happens when it gets a little boost from some robot sound? The best of both worlds: DJ Tracy Young has just converted Miss Perri’s big ballad into an EDM, dance-floor smash, providing sparkling synthesizers and surging beats to the original vocal-led production.
+ Listen to CHRISTINA PERRI’S “HUMAN (TRACY YOUNG RADIO EDIT).
4.) Cady Groves, “Temperamental”
Record labels, amirite? Singer-songwriter Cady Groves has certainly been “going through it” for some time now, having recently made the decision to leave her label and start anew as an independent artist. To cleanse herself on her new journey and raise funds, she’s been dropping tracks that didn’t make the cut of her scrapped album, including the Matt Squire-produced “Temperamental.”
And — OOF! — what a missed opportunity this was: The song is basically a nonstop series of insanely catchy, pure pop hooks and angst-riddled lyrics from start to finish. (“You know you’re a psychooooo!“) Like, I defy you to get this one out of your head. It’s the radio smash that never was — and proof that Cady’s got plenty to offer, thank you very much.
+ Listen to CADY GROVES’ “TEMPERAMENTAL.”
5.) Erik Hassle & Tinashe, “Innocence Lost”
Erik Hassle, singer-songwriter and Swedish prince. Tinashe, rising queen of R&B. Together? Royal perfection. Ever since Erik decided to go the #SomethingMoreUrban route and dive headfirst into alt-R&B textures for his new EP, Somebody’s Party, it was only a matter of time before the two would hit the studio together and craft a moody tale.
Vibing on top of a tripping electronic pulse and the blare of a lone trumpet, Tinashe’s velvety-smooth delivery blends together seamlessly with Erik’s aching vocals, resulting in one sensuous collaboration that fits in snugly somewhere between The Weeknd, Massive Attack, and Prince.
+ Listen to ERIK HASSLE & TINASHE’S “INNOCENCE LOST.”
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 musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
Photo credit: YG Entertainment, Atlantic, RCA, Record Company TEN AB, Universal Music AB