Best Songs We Heard This Week: ALMA, Shawn Mendes, Zella Day + More
Happy Friday, PopCrush readers!
Before we head into the weekend, it's time once again to sort through the latest new releases on this beautiful #NewMusicFriday. As always, the PopCrush editors have gathered up their favorites from over the past week, providing the perfect additions to your weekend playlists. You ready for some new music? Check out our picks below — and for more, be sure to follow us on Apple Music.
Shawn Mendes, “Treat You Better”
Despite its initial clips sounding like a rip of Justin Bieber’s cutting “Love Yourself,” Shawn Mendes’ latest trades in the bitterness for desperation — and it’s a pretty convincing plea. “Treat You Better” pairs Mendes’ signature plucky guitars with an undercutting percussive beat before exploding into a huge chorus. If this track doesn't convince his unnamed love interest to dump her dud of a boyfriend and go out with Mendes instead, nothing ever will. — Ali Szubiak
There must be something in the glacier water, but there's nothing quite as irresistible as Nordic pop. One song in and I'm already hooked in ALMA, the neon-haired Finnish singer and songwriter based in Heksinki. On June 3, the former The Voice Finland contestant released her debut single "Karma," and it goes hard. "I bring the karma to your game / You better run, run / Yeah, that b***h don't play," ALMA sings huskily over the would-be club jam, a kinetic fusion of frosty synthpop, electro-R&B and deep house. And if what goes around comes around, I'm ready to hit replay. - Erica Russell
Morgxn, "Love You With The Lights On"
For every uptempo, sun-filled smash released this summer, there's an equal and opposite bedroom sizzler just waiting to be discovered in the shadows. Morgxn is a promising new addition to the roster of melodic crooners making solid, sexy downtempo mood music — think everyone from BANKS to Zayn Malik to The Weeknd. It's one sensual, slow-burning plea: "This could be simple, but baby, you love a riddle." Go ahead and work out that puzzle between the sheets. — Bradley Stern
Hamilton OBC, “Wait For It”
At this point in time, Hamilton is new to no one with even the faintest awareness of pop culture. But with the show’s impending sweep at the upcoming Tony Awards mere days away, it feels appropriate to give the cast recording yet another spin in preparation. And while Hamilton deserves a full listen each time you dive in, “Wait For It” is, arguably, the album’s most radio-friendly track — it’s certainly one of the most sustaining. And with an album chock full of musical brilliance, that’s no small feat. With its dancehall-lite sound and cacophonous build, “Wait For It" expertly casts the show’s villain Aaron Burr in a sympathetic light, exploring the complexities behind his reluctance to ever take a sure stance on anything. Props are, obviously, awarded to show creator and all-around genius Lin-Manuel Miranda for his inimitable skill as a writer and composer, but performer Leslie Odom Jr. does the real heavy lifting here. When his vocals dutifully follow the track’s key change — shifting from restrained and steady to a passionate, booming roar — you get a real sense of Burr’s inner monologue and conflict. Burr may be remembered by history as the guy who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton, but the musical has successfully reworked that narrative in the way only a game-changer like Hamilton could. — Ali Szubiak
Sleigh Bells, “Rule Number One"
“Pop rocks and coke make your head explode,” Alexis Krauss wails in a completely telling glimpse at Sleigh Bells’ latest. “Rule Number One,” a Frankenstein noisepop experiment that mixes throaty agita with Hitchcockian strings, signals a frenzied new direction for the Brooklyn-based duo, whose last single landed in 2014. “I don't want to use the word breakthrough, it's a little corny, but it was a moment for us, where we realized that we kind of found this new thing,” Krauss told Zane Lowe. “This song is very manic, and I think the vocal reflects that sort of flux, the sweetness but also the sort of chaos of the instrumental. — Matthew Donnelly
Zella Day, "Mustang Kids"
Zella Day's music is the sonic equivalent of finding a lush oasis of cool springs and shade in the middle of a dusty desert. And it's no wonder: The Arizona-bred songwriter's debut album, Kicker, was very much inspired by her Southwestern roots, with lyrical references to ghost towns, outlaws and American boys. Her new music video for "Mustang Kids" — a black and white mini-Western built around the pop enchantress's psychedelic, electro-Americana anthem — furthers that narrative, she joining a band of misfits to ride off into the sunset. It's a fleeting glimpse into the big town dreams of small town youth; Zella makes that restlessness feel and sound so liberating. - Erica Russell
CHVRCHES featuring Hayley Williams, “Bury It"
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix – do, however, remix it to include Hayley Williams and bug-zap basslines. First recorded for 2015 LP Every Open Eye, the Scottish synthpop trio’s second pass on “Bury It” is a burn-it-to-the-ground reclamation spilling over with good juju. “I never promised you / Anything I couldn’t do / We try to bury it and rise above,” Williams insists in the song, which will likely find its way to the Bonnaroo stages this weekend. — Matthew Donnelly