Best Songs We Heard This Week: Alessia Cara, Frankie + More
Happy #NewMusicFriday! It's time for another dose of new tunes from the music world, and there is no shortage of excellence coming from both Top 40 heavyweights and promising pop up-and-comers at the moment. Let's explore nine tracks that the PopCrush editors have been loving over the last seven days.
Head below to check out this week’s round-up from our editors (in no particular order) before you start putting together your playlist for the weekend. And 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.
Now, meet your new favorites for the week!
Little May, “Seven Hours"
Apples or bread can cut through a complex meal’s flavor profiles; Little May’s latest will do the same for discordant radio play. The Australian group’s “Seven Hours” is restrained but powerful; melancholy but hopeful and features hypnotic harmonies from the three-piece Australian group. If this is a sign of where forthcoming album, For the Company, is headed, consider any invitation formally accepted. — Matthew Donnelly
Grace Mitchell, "Bae (feat. S.Pri Noir)"
Grace Mitchell isn't playing at this point: With her Raceday EP, the rapidly rising young singer-songwriter is on the fast track to becoming the Next Big Thing, sort of like the American answer to Lorde — but with some added swagger. It's already amazing enough that this song is called "Bae," but there's so much more to it! That Darude-like techno intro out of nowhere. The French rap feature. The dark, seductive production. This song is, quite literally, bae. — Bradley Stern
Alessia Cara, “Outlaws”
I fell in love with Alessia Cara’s viral, Isaac Hayes-sampling “Here” earlier this year, and it’s tough to pick a favorite from her excellent new Four Pink Walls EP. But the wistful, doo wop-tinged “Outlaws” is what’s currently racking up the most replays, and it showcases Cara’s considerable vocal talent. – Samantha Vincenty
The Arcs, “Put a Flower in Your Pocket"
Take The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, pair his garage rock sensibilities with an all-female mariachi band and you’ll get “Put a Flower in Your Pocket.” The song, a third release from the singer’s new The Arcs project, fashions a baseball stadium’s between-innings organ into the star of a no-frills club show, and features backing vocals befitting of Neil Young or The Rolling Stones. If Turn Blue was a descent into depression, “Flower” is Auerbach’s reconstruction of charm. — Matthew Donnelly
Zak Abel, "Say Sumthin"
Zak Abel’s barely 20 years old, but the London singer’s voice has the depth of a much more seasoned man — and it’s well suited to the highly-danceable “Say Sumthin.” The track was made with Kaytranada, one of my favorite producers working today, who’s consistently demonstrated a love of R&B and pop he’s too young to actually remember. This song would already be an instant hit if a higher-profile artist like John Legend had released it, and Abel is certainly just as worthy. - Samantha Vincenty
Frankie, "Problems Problems"
Inspired by '70's songwriters and 90's pop acts, Oakland-bred singer-songwriter Frankie is another key player on the One To Watch list this year. The doo wop-tinged "Problems Problems" off of her newly released Dreamstate EP marries tripping hip-hop beats to classic melodies made modern, and the result is sweet — and super sing-along friendly. — Bradley Stern
Alessia Cara, “Seventeen"
To say the 19-year-old is a placeholder for a between-albums Lorde would be a reduction of her talents. “Seventeen,” the poppy lead track on Cara’s five-piece EP, explores a typical teen’s identity crisis with impressively mature finesse; where others her age wonder if they’ll be okay, Cara — in spite of her concerns — seems sure of it. It’s foresight and nostalgia wrapped into one panicked dance party, but one you’ll feel compelled to join. — Matthew Donnelly
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, “S.O.B.”
The video for “S.O.B.” takes place in a prison (of the old-timey and mostly white “Cool Hand Luke” variety), and the song sounds like it was recorded in a similarly large, echo-y space. “S.O.B.” boasts bluesy folk-pop production that’s not of this era, and the fact that Rateliff’s signed to legendary Memphis label Stax Records is unsurprising: His musical forebear Elvis Presley recorded three albums at the original Stax studio. This one’s a literal foot stomper. – Samantha Vincenty
Justin Bieber, "What Do You Mean?"
What do you mean Justin Bieber's gone Tropical House? It's true! Riding high on the wave of island-infused club sounds as of late (see Kygo and Felix Jaehn), as well as his recent foray onto the dance floor with Jack Ü ("Where Are Ü Now?"), the Biebs makes his comeback at last in the form of a chill, subdued groove dedicated to a lady who just can't figure out what she wants. It's the epitome of an end-of-summer smash. Just don't stop asking questions, Justin. — Bradley Stern
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