Kelly Clarkson, Samantha Jade, Kiiara + More: Best Songs We Heard This Week
Happy #NewMusicFriday! Adele really stole the show this week with 25, but hey, since the album's not streaming right now, we can't really find a way to play you the songs we love the mostest. So! We're going to go ahead and pick eight other great songs we heard this week! Check out some of the best releases on this 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…
Kelly Clarkson, “Piece By Piece (Radio Mix)"
A few months ago, in the thick of an eighth headlining tour, Kelly Clarkson broke down while singing “Piece By Piece” at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and it wasn’t the first time. The song, an incongruous reflection of her father’s abandonment and improbable, subsequent faith in her husband’s parenting, was the audio-equivalent to her very own menthol stick, and Kelly found herself routinely apologizing to crowds for failing to get through. Does the new radio mix—which she released earlier this week—evoke emotion as powerfully? No, but that’s sort of the point. Featuring a more radio-friendly tempo and palatable, pleasing beat, Option B scrubs the song of its tear-jerking capacity without sterilizing it altogether. Here, Kelly wants to share the joy of motherhood with her fans (watch the video for additional proof), not suffer through her love’s more painful roots alone. This could mean a complete live version is just around the corner… — Matthew Donnelly
Samantha Jade, "Show Me Love"
At long last, the album we've all been waiting for! 25 who? Aussie X Factor winner Samantha Jade has finally rolled out her long-awaited Nine, the follow-up to her 2012 self-titled debut. The collection is a hit-and-miss mix of big personal balladry and even bigger, bouncy uptempo bop pops. "Show Me Love" is a bit of an out-in-left-field surprise for the otherwise sparkly pop princess, supplying a Tinashe/Danity Kane-like, finger-snapping slice of urban slickness. The album's not available in America (yet!), but you can hear a taste of the brilliance — and all the other songs, too! — in the album teaser. — Bradley Stern
Cage the Elephant, “Trouble”
"Trouble” sees Cage the Elephant pay tribute to its breakthrough single as frontman Matt Shultz sings, “You know what they say / The wicked get no rest.” But the band has come a long way since its 2008 hit, and their latest single is expert proof. With its wistful melodies, plucky guitars and soft backing vocals, “Trouble” sees the band fit comfortably in ‘90s territory, recalling the Pixies at their most radio-friendly -- resentful resignation and all. — Ali Szubiak
Fans of Selena Gomez’s breathy “Good For You” may appreciate another song that came out within the same week: Kiiara’s “Gold.” The Felix Snow-produced track shares a similar sultry vibe, though this one’s is a bit wilder (it’s tough to imagine Selena singing the lyric “but your brother was a good substitute for you”) Tough and tender, “Gold” is the Illinois native’s first from her upcoming Meet Me in the Cornfield EP and I look forward to hearing more. – Samantha Vincenty
Borneland,"Eyes (feat. Line Gøttsche)"
Borneland's name has been bouncing around for a while, starting with their still-incredible re-fix of Destiny's Child's "Bug A Boo," which now has nearly a million plays on Soundcloud. This month, however, the brothers made their solo debut with "Eyes," a gorgeous, thoughtfully crafted production that provides a perfect chill for the season with tender beats, wisps of breathy vocals from Line Gøttsche and a subtle flare of violin. Put on your headphones and close your eyes. — Bradley Stern
Natural Selection, “Do Anything”
I loved this 1991 hit when I’d hear it in my mom’s car as a kid; a friend reminded me of its existence this week and now it’s stuck on repeat. I have a weakness for songs that sound like Prince, but aren’t Prince (see also: Ready For the World’s “Oh Sheila”). I also enjoy any ‘90s track with an endearingly mediocre rap that refers to the band’s name: “…and make me your natural selection.” It’s been many years, but “Do Anything” still takes me for a funky ride. – Samantha Vincenty
Ra Ra Riot & Rostam, “Water"
Nirvana, once thought to be achievable only through the death of ego, has found an additional point of entry: “Water.” The song, a sort of updated “Hard Day’s Night,” speaks to the restorative effect of a lengthy swim after a tough shift, and soars on the wings of airy, baptismal tones. The first single from the forthcoming Need Your Light, “Water” continues Ra Ra Riot’s recent commitment to synthpop, and in an interview with Beats 1, Ra Ra Riot member Wes Miles and collaborator Rostam said the song found unlikely inspiration from U2’s Achtung Baby. We’re not sure if we hear any of Bono or “One,” but it’s damn good, nonetheless. — Matthew Donnelly
Wet, “It’s All in Vain”
Like Wet's past singles “Weak” and “Deadwater,” the trio's new track “It’s All in Vain” is a melancholic blend of soft drums, warm vocals and light synths. But rather than sound like a rehashing of what’s already proven to work well for them, “It’s All in Vain” further demonstrates just how good the band is at impactful subtleties. There are no sweeping strings or huge musical moments here, because they don’t need them. The song begins and ends with a whisper and only allows for the slightest flourish in between, making for a powerful exercise in restraint. — Ali Szubiak