Best Songs We Heard This Week: Tegan & Sara, Christine & The Queens, Chelsea Lankes + More
Happy Friday, PopCrush readers! Sorry we trolled you with last week's Best Songs We Heard This Week, but it was April Fool's Day, and we had to do something. (Besides, half of those songs legitimately are smashes, so we're not even really apologizing.)
Anyway, we're back with another surefire stream of new smashes to celebrate this #NewMusicFriday from some of our favorite tried-and-true acts, as well as exciting up-and-comers. Make sure to check out all of the PopCrush editorial staff's picks below — and for more playlists, check us out on Apple Music.
Chelsea Lankes, "Paralyzed"
After enchanting listeners with the soothing synths and electronic ballads of her 2012 Ringing Bell EP, Texas-bred artist Chelsea Lankes turned her sights towards a more polished pop sound on 2015’s “Down For Whatever” and “Too Young To Fall In Love.” The transition came full circle earlier this year with the release of “Bullet,” an upbeat Friday night pop jam with sunny Carly Rae Jepsen vibes. Now, Lankes is back with a fresh self-titled EP and even more deliciously sweet synth-pop candy, including “Paralyzed,” a melodic dollop of moody mid-tempo electro-pop. Elevated by the singer-songwriter’s romantic, crystalline vocals, the emotional track is a perfect precursor for summer lovin’ to come. – Erica Russell
Breakbot, “My Toy”
Producer Breakbot released Still Waters, his second studio album, a month ago —but if you haven’t listened, let the android and aerobics kitsch-filled new video for the effervescent “My Toy” serve as your introduction. “You know you’re such a good boy, good boy, I wanna make you my toy, my toy,” sings London-based DJ and singer Yasmin, in a lighthearted ode to male objectification. The synthy-sexy track feels like a direct descendant of fellow Frenchies Daft Punk’s “Digital Love,” and I’ve got it on repeat until the weather gets as warm and sunny as this song sounds. – Samantha Vincenty
White Lung, “Kiss Me When I Bleed”
White Lung’s latest, the feverish “Kiss Me When I Bleed,” paints the type of codependent, all-encompassing infatuation that served Nirvana so well with their 1991 track “Drain You.” The parallels between the two songs are overt — sure, love can be soft and sweet, but there’s something about that crushing, intense passion that’s sickly appealing in its envelopment. Lead singer Mish Way paints a vividly reliant (and graphic!) picture when she declares over shredding guitars, “But he’ll chew through the lies for me / He’ll suck out your eyes for me / And I do the same.” It’s a high-energy blitzkrieg of a track and one that echoes the kind of sweeping tunnel vision that persists when you just can’t see beyond the person in front of you. — Ali Szubiak
Tegan & Sara, "Boyfriend"
Boy problems, who's got 'em? Answer: Tegan & Sara, the other reliably incredible pop act out of Canada back at it again with their upcoming album, Love You To Death. "Boyfriend," much like their last album's lead single "Closer," is a joyous explosion of Greg Kurstin-produced beats and undeniable melodies, all shaped around the tale of a girl still tip-toeing out of the closet and into her first lesbian relationship: "You treat me like your boyfriend and trust me like a very best friend...but I don't wanna be your secret anymore." The song already gets some points for being so unabashed in terms of subject matter, but the fact that they haven't missed a beat since Heartthrob thoroughly seals the deal. — Bradley Stern
It wasn’t until Carrie Underwood won American Idol in 2005 that the show found a proper country representative, but Fantasia, who claimed the preceding season’s title, is ready to crowd the “Heartbeat” singer’s lane. “Ugly,” the second offering from the typically soul-inclined crooner’s forthcoming fifth LP, experiments with acoustic guitar and harmonica puffs as ‘Tasia chronicles the tale of a woman with personal agency to reclaim. Rather unexpectedly, tractors and Tennessee whiskey prove to fit her like a glove: “Ugly” is the best Fantasia’s sounded in years, and a grand, choir-backed lead-out will give any nostalgic Idol fan something magical to chew on now that the series has ended. — Matthew Donnelly
Puro Instinct, "Tell Me"
On the cusp of releasing their sophomore album Autodrama in June, Puro Instinct have immersed themselves once more into the wistful lo-fi pop they became known for on their underrated 2011 debut LP, Headbangers in Ecstasy. On “Tell Me,” the Los Angeles dream-pop duo resurrect the emotionally-charged spirit of mid-‘80s Madonna with feathery vocals, moody synths, and dreamy melodies, while the glittery track chronicles the impossible quest for authenticity and love in Hollywood. This is bedroom haze-pop at its finest and most poignant. – Erica Russell
Christine and the Queens, “Tilted” (MS MR Remix)
“Tilted” was a Best Songs pick of mine last fall, but Tilted Remixes EP out today has made me fall further in love with it. Accompanying edits from Clock Opera and Bayonne also mine new dancefloor-ready dimensions from Héloïse Letissier’s original (she’s both the titular Christine AND the Queens), but electro-pop duo MS MR’s inject their stomper with warmth, transforming it into something else entirely. – Samantha Vincenty
The Civil Wars, “Dust to Dust”
Have you ever collapsed to the floor of a New York City subway car, shuddering beneath the full-bodied, violent weight of a sadness so intense the idea of lingering puke and piss particles no longer registers as an instinctive avoidance? If you answered “No” to that, you likely haven’t found the right soundtrack to publicly pour yourself out to yet. No matter, that’s a wrong that can and should be righted, so long as you’re willing to open up to the now-defunct duo The Civil Wars, and let them do the emotional heavy-lifting for you. The disarmingly intimate “Dust to Dust” is a particular standout amidst a discography that is especially graphic in its anguish. Joy Williams and John Paul White meld their voices together just so, resulting in a masterful duet that exhibits the kind of searing, delicate entanglement that ultimately ends with the resignation of a reluctant farewell. It’s true that parting is such sweet sorrow sometimes, that there is no real way to get through something without fully going through it — public meltdown and all. — Ali Szubiak
Donna Missal, "Sick"
If “Keep Lying” established what New York-based singer Donna Missal sounds like when she’s on fire; “Sick” is her pleasant, smoky reduction to coal. Peculiar, aloof and a little sinister, the song pairs chill ‘90s festival bass plucks with quick, tongue-twisting verses to land the track somewhere between Lolla and late-night club sets. And Missal told The Fader that type of gray area is exactly where she was hoping to land. “’Sick’ feels like it lives in this strange place between genres, which is what interests me about music and art today,” she noted. Because a little nausea never hurt anybody… — Matthew Donnelly