Best Songs We Heard This Week: Janet Jackson, Tinashe, Chris Cornell & More
Happy #NewMusicFriday! It's time once again to serve up a fresh batch of ear candy on this new, internationally-agreed-upon global release date. Let’s take time to spotlight through that sweet, sweet goodness with tracks the PopCrush Staff personally had on repeat in the last seven days.
Dig into this week’s round-up from our editors (in no particular order), and add your favorites to your weekend playlist. Speaking of playlists, Apple Music users now have another way to connect with PopCrush — you can stay up to date with all of our mixes here.
There’s no better way to usher in the approaching cold season than with “Weak," a dampened, desperate plea from Brooklyn newcomers Wet. With their super sleek production, Wet opts out of the more lo-fi sound plaguing indie-pop these days, and that’s just fine — all the better to hear every inflection in vocalist Kelly Zutrau’s aching, crackling delivery. When she begs, “Baby, baby, baby, please don’t leave me / You are all I ever need,” it’s equal parts heartbreaking and cathartic. You know they’re never going to stay because they never really do, but it doesn’t hurt to try. — Ali Szubiak
You better keep up, 'cause Tinashe's pushing the pedal down on her sophomore outing Joyride, and she's not holding back. Her icy, finger-snapping club cut is a solid transition from her "2 On" days, still serving it to the clubs while hitting harder with a more uptempo, radio-friendly beat and a surging chorus that just won't quit — one that will likely make for a sick dance breakdown once that video arrives. She got us all f--ked up. — Bradley Stern
Chris Cornell, “Through the Window"
As the front man for Soundgarden or Audioslave, Chris Cornell could have mooed into a microphone and still satisfied rock audiences--on his own, fans have taken a bit more convincing. But while 1999’s Euphoria Morning may have been melancholy, and 2009’s Scream could have seemed try-hard, Cornell’s latest, Higher Truth, is unlikely to find much finger-pointing, particularly on “Through the Window.” A voice like his has never needed gussying up, and here, it’s elegantly left alone. With only a guitar and bass as allies, Cornell delivers a subdued, new-age answer to Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love,” and proves there’s no need to yell (even though his sounds so good) to get his point across. — Matthew Donnelly
Janet Jackson, "Dammn Baby"
Pop icon Janet Jackson's Unbreakable is one spiritual and introspective set, but that doesn't mean she doesn't let herself have some fun. "Dammn Baby" blends in slick synths and DJ Mustard-esque beats for a solid, motivational groove and an ode to her own originality: "Can't nobody tell you what you can't do, shut that down automatic / And I guarantee they'll all fall in line," she encourages on the springy jam. With a "I Get Lonely" breakdown for the Janet lovers, there's something new and old fans alike to love. — Bradley Stern
Laura Stevenson, “Jellyfish”
If you were to ignore the lyrics entirely, “Jellyfish” would be an upbeat rock track with jangling guitars and pounding drums, just aggressive enough to fall into the ‘punk' category. But then you’d be missing out on Stevenson’s brilliant manipulation -- She manages to turn a song about self-loathing and self-deprecation into something you want to sing along to with warlike intensity. Kicking things off with the declarative statement, “I’m f—king hideous and spiteful / When I’m left to my own devices,” it’s a bold start to a track that maintains that same thread of near-invasive honesty throughout, without veering off too hard into Woe-Is-Me territory. You never really feel sorry for Stevenson, though; you relate to her: We’ve all been a piece of shit at some point, right? — Ali Szubiak
Sara Bareilles, “Wild Heart"
In an interview with Paper published yesterday (October 1), Jack Antonoff said he writes music — even that which he, himself, sings — with a female voice in his head. That considered, it’s no surprise the reinterpretation of Bleachers’ Strange Desires, titled Terrible Thrills Vol. 2, delivers like a UPS lifer. The album features Sia, Tinashe and more of pop’s most exciting women (and only women), and Sara Bareilles’ take on “Wild Heart” is a particular standout. Bareilles and Antonoff made “Brave” together, and their chemistry hasn’t waned since--featuring the Blessed Unrest singer’s signature vocal layering technique, her “Wild Heart” reduces the synthy, barefaced anthem to something a little more complex and bewildering. Lasers? Sure. Incessant 808? Why not. It could go the route of a six-year-old pawing at a brand new Casio keyboard, but it’s too good to dismiss.
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