It's Tuesday! Time for another round of "5 Must-Hear Pop Songs of the Week!"
This week's roundup features silky-smooth nu-soul from East London, a modern reinterpretation of a JT classic, and the official anthem for your next break-up.
1.) Lykke Li, "Gunshot"
General warning: If you're going through, are about to go through, or have ever gone through a breakup, avoid Lykke Li's new LP at all cost. Well, don't really because it's actually perfect -- but you WILL cry, guaranteed.
The Swedish indie-pop songbird's third studio album, I Never Learn, dropped this week, and it's a whole bunch of sad, wrapped up in sorrow, with some impeccably crafted, classic-sounding pop balladry sprinkled on top.
"Gunshot," one of the set's most immediate punches to the gut, whooshes into the speakers like a lingering ghost from a '70s Fleetwood Mac session: "And the shot goes through my head and back/ Gun shot, can't take it back," Lykke mourns, conjuring Stevie Nicks at her most depressed. It sounds like a classic from the very first play, and it'll linger in your brain for weeks after.
+ Listen to Lykke Li's "Gunshot."
2.) SLK, "Call"
East London-bred singer-songwriter SLK (pronounced "silk") is one of the newest faces -- err, voices on the scene of down-tempo divas, but she's already gettin' buzz. Having already released a few tracks that caught the ear of BBC Radio, the soulful singer just dropped her latest mesmerizing cut, "Call."
Produced by Embody, the moody, shape-shifting number drizzles SLK's silky-smooth (a-HA!) vocals atop a rollicking beat, not entirely unlike Adele's 21.
But then, it gets unhinged -- in comes a chorus of ghostly chants, stomping beats, and frantic piano-playing. It's a weird and wonderfully textured production. We can't wait to hear her full debut EP, Form, due out in late May.
+ Listen to SLK's "Call."
3.) JES, Cold Blue and Dennis Sheperd, "Runaway"
If you're at all involved in the EDM world, then you probably already recognize the name JES. The singer-songwriter's become a constant fixture on the Trance scene, supplying her succulent vocals to tracks by the likes of Gabriel & Dresden, BT, and ATB.
"If we just runaway, could you meet me halfway," JES ponders above sparkling electronic beats, dreamily sighing as the track surges into a massive beat breakdown. Yeah, we'd definitely be down to get out of town with JES.
+ Listen to JES, Cold Blue & Dennis Sheperd's "Runaway."
4. Thief, "Cry Me A River" (Justin Timberlake Cover)
After Hoodlem dropped a TOTALLY #TBT-friendly cover of *NSYNC's "Girlfriend" on us, rising Aussie alt-pop producer Thief has come through with his own take on Justin Timberlake's signature heartbreak anthem, "Cry Me A River" -- and it's SO good.
The reinterpretation strips out Justin's signature funky flow entirely, supplying minimal electronica and claps instead. It's a much spacier, more bare-bones take on the track, but that earworm of a melody remains fully intact.
We don't entirely know what's in the water lately to make everybody so nostalgic for all things *NSYNC-related, but we NEVER WANT IT TO STOP.
5.) Rebecca & Fiona, "Holler"
Three years after debuting with I Love You, Man, DJ duo Rebecca & Fiona are back with a second serving of electronic Swedish dance deliciousness called Beauty Is Pain. (Preach, mamas.)
The record is full of synth-pop splendor that is as inspiring as it is entirely danceable. "Holler," one of the glittery cuts from the collection -- sadly, NOT a Spice Girls cover -- is a rave anthem that sees the girls cheekily flirting on the dance floor: "Holler at me boy, don't be shy/Before I was even born you were mine," they longingly coo. It's the stuff of Swede-pop dreams, basically.
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: WMG, Ultra Records, Harvest Records, Prism, Magik Muzik