Best Songs We Heard This Week: The Weeknd, JoJo, Nick Jonas + More
Happy #NewMusicFriday! This week brings a fresh batch of ear candy on the new, internationally-agreed-upon global release date — but before we sift through that rich bounty, let’s take time to spotlight eight tracks the PopCrush Staff 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. 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.
And now, on to your new favorite songs…
Lana Del Rey & The Weeknd, "Prisoner"
This pairing was sort of fated, right? Two worldweary drifters hopelessly indulging in the excess of fame and fortune across slow, tripping beats? Yes, "Prisoner" was destined to be from the start, and the song itself certainly sounds exactly like what you'd expect. Here's a game: Who sang the lyric "I don't mean to come off selfish, but I want it all"? Trick question: They both do! Two wonderfully woe-filled peas in a pod. - Bradley Stern
Jamie Woon, "Sharpness"
Soulful British singer-songwriter-producer Jamie Woon hasn't quite attained the same stateside success as his peers (Sam Smith and James Blake, to name just two examples). That all may change with his tentatively-titled Making Time, the followup to 2011's Mirrorwriting — and his first new single, "Sharpness," is a butter-smooth bit of funk that deserves repeat listens. More like Jamie CROON. - Samantha Vincenty
Becky G, "Break A Sweat"
Becky G’s "Break A Sweat” one-ups her last smash summer hit -- 2014’s undeniable ear worm “Shower” -- and then some. With its pulsating beat, ridiculously catchy chorus and deliciously naughty lyrics (Give me lovin’ til I just can’t take it / Take it anymore), “Break A Sweat” is an insistent pop masterpiece, and your latest gym anthem. When Becky demands, “If you wanna get my body / Better blow my mind,” it’s clear that she knows what she wants, and she’s not about to settle for less. - Ali Szubiak
JoJo, "Save My Soul"
Thank God for Jo, and thank God for tringles. After years of legal entanglements and shady label dealings, the powerhouse performer is finally free to release music again, and the fruits of her labor were more than worth the wait! Of the three new singles, "Save My Soul" is perhaps the most major. JoJo's vocals have always been bananas, but the way she delivers that heartbreaking chorus is actually soul-saving. Praise! - Bradley Stern
Lana Del Rey - "Terrence Loves You"
From the opening notes of the latest Honeymoon track, it's evident we're in for a classic Lana slow burn. "Terrence Loves You" takes its time, but it's far from a dirge: Like the downtempo "Cruel World" and "Shades of Cool" from Ultraviolence, "Terrence Loves You" crackles with life. "Hollywood legends will never grow old," she opines, and later references David Bowie's junkie astronaut anti-hero Major Tom. Once again Lana manages to mine quality material from her favored themes — and that saxophone, so unexpected! - Samantha Vincenty
Melanie Martinez, "Pity Party"
With her hypnotic vocals and arresting visuals, Melanie Martinez is best described as American Horror Story meets Lana Del Rey, minus the Xanax. She serves up some perfectly crafted, brooding electro-pop on her debut album Cry Baby, but the deceptively dark “Pity Party” might be her most magnetic track. Expertly sampling Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party,” Martinez puts a dark, demented spin on the ‘60s classic while maintaining the song’s party-of-one theme. With her bizarre, infantilizing vocal affectations, Martinez catches the listener off-guard — she may sound like a victim full of sugar-sweet naiveté, but those subtle background screams indicate she knows exactly what she’s doing. When she laments, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to / Cry if I want to / I’ll cry until the candles burn down this place / I’ll cry until my pity party’s in flames,” it’s no wonder nobody showed up. - Ali Szubiak
Nick Jonas, "Levels"
If anyone's still doubting the former JoBro member's success in the world of grown-folks pop music, they haven't heard his funk-bop "Levels" yet. People are comparing this to a Michael Jackson song, but it more reminds me of Usher (who's obviously an MJ devotee, himself). As Jonas sings, "Levels" will have you "walking up on the ceiling / dancin' up on the wall" or, at the very least, wiggling in your chair. - Samantha Vincenty
Leona Lewis, "Another Love Song"
Surprise! By the sound of "Thunder" and "Fire Under My Feet," you might have thought Leona Lewis was just doing a straight-up UK soul-pop record. Wrong! Mercifully, the full-bodied vocalist supplies a tropical summer-sounding anthem for the dance floor in "Another Love Song," which proves once and for all that she needs to accept that she needs to fully embrace her role as a dance floor diva. - Bradley Stern
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