Best Songs We Heard This Week: Jeremih, The 1975, Alan Walker + More
Happy #NewMusicFriday! Err, Saturday. (Okay, we're off by a day.) While the year is almost over, that doesn't mean new music isn't continuing to pour out each day. We've sorted through the latest releases and selected some of our favorites. Check out our picks in honor of the internationally-agreed-upon global release date of Friday, hand-picked by the PopCrush editors for your ears!
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.
And now, on to your new favorite songs…
Paperwhite, “Get Away”
Sibling rivalry is of no concern to Paperwhite, a Brooklyn-based brother-and-sister duo who’ve got a single goal between them: define the sound of “future tribalism.” Whether “Get Away,” their first offering in a year, achieves that will take a more studied archaeologist to say for sure, but it’s worth a listen either way. The song begins as delicately as the season’s inaugural snowfall, but by the first chorus’ pass, has advanced into a crackling hail storm, delivering slick sheets of synth and thick icicles ripe for shattering. Planning a great escape? Here's your corresponding soundtrack. — Matthew Donnelly
It's a good time in pop for new singers and songs named "Touch": After rising superstar Pia Mia dropped her perfect Blood Pop-helmed production, Scottish newcomer KLOE has come in with her very own kind of dramatic, smoky touch above a creeping pulse and atmospheric textures. "It's a love song, but it kind of takes the piss out of how much we, as teenagers, exaggerate and over-analyze every single thing about it," the 19-year-old singer told FADER. As someone who has (frequently) polled my family regarding the intended meaning behind an emoji at the end a text message, I totally get it. — Bradley Stern
Litany, “Work This Out”
If only all couples’ arguments played out as smoothly as “Work This Out,” Litany’s funked-up ode to smartphone-specific jealousy and reconciliation… The electro-R&B duo, a pair of 21-year-olds from the United Kingdom, take the lightness of Betty Who and pair it with a more prominent bass line: a pleasant convergence of airy breaths anchored by deep tones that could shake neighborhoods. Be wary of the song’s inviting charm, though—it’ll just as quickly tell you off. — Matthew Donnelly
Alan Walker, "Faded"
There is, objectively, no better genre of dance music than Sad Disco, and budding Norwegian producer Alan Walker's struck that emotional chord at a very early age (18 years old!) with the help of female vocalist Iselin Solheim. After dropping an instrumental called "Fade" last year, the young rising star has returned this year with a newly revamped, vocalized version — and it's absolutely stunning. Those lonesome trance pulsations. The ghostly cries of "Where are you now?" Justin Bieber's Jack Ü tune has a lonesome sibling on the dance floor. — Bradley Stern
The 1975, "UGH!"
If the lead single off The 1975’s upcoming sophomore album was a burst of color planted firmly in the ‘80s, consider their second single a significantly muted return to form. An ode to cocaine addiction masterfully shrouded in funk-infused guitars and a deceptively biting vocal melody, “UGH!” is something of an exercise in ostentation. There’s inexplicable charm in lead singer Matt Healy's particular brand of self-indulgence, helped along by a keen sensibility for a deeply catchy pop hook that perfectly straddles the line between familiar and new. -- Ali Szubiak
Ariana Grande, "Santa Tell Me"
As a former retail associate, I realize it’s considered sacrilege to admit a certain fondness for Christmas music. But my specific store didn’t indulge in your typical holiday fare, so the magic of all things seasonal has yet to dissipate for me. So it is that I’ve had Ariana Grande’s year-old Christmas song “Santa Tell Me” on repeat this week. With its sugary sweet chorus, warm vocals and ear-worm sensibility, “Santa Tell Me” is catchy, bubblegum pop at its finest, and as good a pop song as Grande’s ever put out. -- Ali Szubiak
Jeremih’s 2012 Late Nights soundtracked the first six months of my current relationship, which was long distance at the time and found me taking 11 p.m. Friday night flights from New York to the singer’s native Chicago. The mixtape’s songs matched the neon-lit clubs and 4 a.m. drives that were my weekend norm back then, when music and liquor and love’s honeymoon phase kept me up, well, late. I never expected to like his long-delayed album of the same name, which Jeremih finally dropped out of nowhere on December 4, half us much as its predecessor. And yet Late Nights: The Album builds on its predecessor’s strengths and adds some sweetness, as with “oui.” The track panders to ‘90s R&B fans with a Shai reference around the 2:50 mark, and appeals to the lover in all of us from start to finish. – Samantha Vincenty
Frances, “Borrowed Time”
The British singer-songwriter has yet to gain the same traction as her contemporaries Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith, though with just two EPs under her belt she’s only getting started. “Borrowed Time” gives Frances a bouncier backdrop than most of her earlier songs, produced by Disclosure’s Howard Lawrence. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Disclosure’s Caracal; in fact that album may have been all the better for it. – Samantha Vincenty
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