Saturday 24 May 2014

New Pop Roundup

Rejoice!  Summer is nearly here!  Which means you want to know what songs you'll be listening to over the next few months, right?

La Roux - Let Me Down Gently

Now this has been a long time coming - since 2009 in fact.  Thankfully Let Me Down Gently doesn't disappoint.  As with previous singles In For The Kill, Bulletproof and I'm Not Your Toy, this is another synthpop gem, yet there's a greater degree of emotional weight here.  "When you let me down gently, it still feels hard" singer Elly Jackson yearningly laments over evocative, pulsing production, "let me in for a minute, you're not my life but I want you in it".  And just when you think it's over, it comes crashing back with its layered production, mournful songwriting and a sax solo.  Elly, it's good to have you back.


Listen: Let Me Down Gently is available now, with the forthcoming album 'Trouble In Paradise' released on July 7th.

Nicki Minaj - Pills N Potions

It's fair to say that Pills N Potions isn't the comeback single that fans were expecting.  The last thing you expect from a rapper who spits out rapid fire rhymes like a machine gun is a ballad.  And even though Minaj has frequently courted the mainstream with the likes of Superbass and Starships, this new track is a major change of pace.  That's not to say the Dr Luke produced track is bad, it's just far less exciting than her previous material and her biggest new rival: Iggy Azalea.


Listen: Pills N Potions is taken from Minaj's forthcoming album 'The Pink Print' due later in the year.

Tove Styrke - Even If I'm Loud It Doesn't Mean I'm Talking To You

Tove Lo isn't the only Swedish Tove with new songs.  And where Lo is ballsy for her sincerity, Styrke is ballsy for her brash, punky attitude.  Far from the electro of her previous album, this track is all Ting Tings-esque guitars and drums layered up with weird electronics and clipped vocals.  The Swedish Idol finalist mixes this fire with bubblegum appeal for a track that could well take over the summer.


Listen: Even If I'm Loud It Doesn't Mean I'm Talking To You is available now.

Chris Malinchak feat. Mikky Ekko - Stranger

And here's another summer banger.  Following on from last year's So Good To Me, Stranger is a complete change of pace for Malinchak: funk guitars, squelching bass and Mikky Ekko doing a great Michael Jackson impression.  Perfect for some sun-kissed grooving.


Listen: Stranger is released 

Will.I.Am - Birthday

Sadly this isn't a cover of Katy Perry's latest single.  Yet if you forget about the fact it's Will.I.Am, this track is actually pretty palatable.  Its host of producers includes DJ Ammo (Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul), Keith Harris (Robin Thicke, Madonna) and A.R.Rahman of all people, and features vocals from Cody Wise.  It's Rahman whose influence is strongest though, Birthday sampling this track from the Bollywood film Kadhalan that he scored, lending the track a welcome Bhangra flavour.  Though the full song is yet to be released, you can hear a snippet below.


Listen: Birthday is released on July 6th.

Danity Kane - Lemonade

Yet another band making a comeback, this time minus founding member Aundrea Fimbres.  Still, Shannon Bex, Aubrey O'Day and Dawn Richard (whose album 'Goldenheart' released last year is brilliant) are still on board, releasing this dirty, percussive R&B jam featuring a rap from Tyga.  The band, who formed on MTV's 'Making The Band' in 2005, have never reached a huge audience in the UK but this could finally be the track to bring them overseas success.  Thirsty?


Listen: Lemonade is released soon.

2NE1 - Gotta Be You

Few things in life are as vibrant and catchy as K-Pop.  And few K-Pop artists are as vibrant and catchy as top girl band 2NE1.  A sort of halfway point between the sheer exuberance of most J-Pop artists and Western hip-hop, only the video can match the song for colourful character.  Don't let Psy put you off - K-Pop is here to stay and 2NE1 are at the forefront.


Listen: Gotta Be You is available now (in Korea at least).

Austra - Habitat

"I want you, I need you" vocalist Katie Stelmanist chants over hypnotic dance production.  Habitat, the title track of the Canadian band's new EP, is a clear continuation of the melancholic disco of their underrated 2013 album 'Olympia'.  Its sound is perhaps more straightforward than on their quirky album, but Stelmanist's unique voice ensures this is pure Austra - and that's no bad thing at all.


Listen: The full 'Habitat' EP is released on June 17th.

Jess Glynne - Right Here

Clean Bandit vocalist in 'song that sounds like Clean Bandit' shocker.  Glynne lent her vocals to the Cambridge band's massive hit Rather Be and is now releasing solo material.  Right Here follows on from that track, but without the classical inflections that have made Clean Bandit such a success.  Vocally Glynne is as soulful as ever, but this track lacks distinction.


Listen: Right Here is released on July 16th.

Pitbull - We Are One (Ole Ola)

Yep, this track (featuring Jennfier Lopez and Claudia Leitte) is the official anthem to the FIFA World Cup 2014.  I mean, who else could create such catchy and annoying rubbish?


Listen: We Are One (Ole Ola) is available now.