Best Songs We Heard This Week: Rebecca Black, The Pretty Reckless, Ofelia K + More
Happy Tuesday, PopCrush readers.
Just as we do every week, the PopCrush editors have selected their favorite new songs for your listening pleasure from #NewMusicFriday and beyond, ranging from up-and-comers to tried-and-true superstars.
We hope that you all have a happy rest of your week! And for more playlists, be sure to follow us on Apple Music.
Rebecca Black, "The Great Divide"
How do you make the transformation from viral YouTube personality/laughingstock to proper pop star-in-the-making, exactly? Most might say, "You don't"—but if you ask Rebecca Black, the answer is more likely to be "Never say never." Five years after the singer obtained a sort of digital infamy with her much laughed-about and parodied tune, "Friday" (yeah, you know the one), Black has released "The Great Divide," an EDM pop banger of triumphant proportions—and one which wouldn't sound remotely out of place on Top 40 radio. Gone are the AutoTune and trite lyrics pondering which seat she can take, and in their place stands a confident, talented young star feeling her vocals oats and making a statement about overcoming the challenges, bullying and detractors she's faced since going viral so long ago. Now, she's crossed the great divide, and she's leaving the haters behind. - Erica Russell
Regina Spektor, “Black and White"
Fittingly, Spektor’s “Black and White” is stark, unfettered beauty — there is nothing to unpack or translate; no gray area through which to sort. The latest from forthcoming Remember Us To Life is tear-stained catharsis, and chronicles the release of letting go through unrushed production and whimpery falsetto. “You will always start to cry / Why should I wait for tomorrow?” Spektor poses across the ballad, no doubt the soundtrack to many sullen film montages to come. — Matthew Donnelly
Röyksopp featuring Susanne Sundfor, "Never Ever"
Robyn might be busy bopping festival to festival with a bundle of remixes of her old classics, but Röyksopp's coming through with what should have been her big smash of 2016. Armed with the capable chops of fellow Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfor, the prolific electro-duo unexpectedly supplies one of the most instant, earnest pleas on the dance floor in the form of "Never Ever," an '80s-leaning bout of needy robo-club revelry. Watch out for that stuttering beat breakdown — and don't cry. Just dance. — Bradley Stern
The Pretty Reckless, “Oh My God”
Taylor Momsen is a far better musician than she is an actress, and music lovers everywhere should consider themselves fortunate she realized this for herself early on — a truth made especially clear on The Pretty Reckless’ latest “Oh My God." Harkening back to the days when rock ruled radio, Momsen roars onto the track harder and faster than even its grittiest guitars (and they exist in droves here). Whether or not her growl — she's currently sporting a particularly throaty affectation -- is the result of excess cigarette smoking or simply reflects the endless stresses of adulthood, is entirely unconcerning. Her rage is believable, even if she can’t quite identify why it exists in the first place. — Ali Szubiak
Janelle Kroll, “24 Hrs”
To sound ‘over it’ without crossing into ‘jaded’ is a fine line, but “24 Hrs” walks it right from its incisive (and funny) opening line: “There’s too much real-estate coke at this party / do you need a reason to talk to somebody?” Kroll soulful vocals are backed by Penguin Prison and Andy Seltzer’s equally soulful electro-tinged production, as she plays somebody whose genuine interest in a party companion bumps up against mild disappointment in them, before fixing on their potential again. “And when no one's around, you're gonna come back down / We've been up twenty-four hours, still can't figure you out.” A lot can happen in one night. – Samantha Vincenty
Ofelia K, “Another World"
Twelve years ago, Ofelia K’s latest could have found a comfortable home on the Garden State soundtrack. Where new EP Chaos Cave is elsewhere sly (“Cinco”) and often tongue-in-cheek (“I Love my Lawyer”), “Another World” delivers a type of malady you’d expect from The Shins. Sparse, upward-swinging piano trills and unbroken guitar plucks collect in the form of swishy rain clouds that quietly break at the chorus, where the singer-songwriter celebrates finally having seen the light. “I feel you move me to another world,” she asserts, having shed the song’s first skin. — Matthew Donnelly
The Magnettes, “Hollywood”
Tongue-in-cheek tracks about the magnetic appeal of Hollywood’s glitz and glamour are tired at best, but The Magnettes breathe new life into the wide-eyed appeal of Tinseltown with their latest, “Hollywood." With its glittery, sparkling production and peppy synths, the track is reflective of all that shiny, projected magic, with some deceptively dirty lyrics thrown in (“All alone inside my room / I always come too soon / Each time I dream of you”) to highlight all that subtle duplicity. — Ali Szubiak
D.R.A.M., “Cash Machine”
From the “Hotline Bling”-influencing “Cha Cha” to summer hit “Broccoli” to his “D.R.A.M. Sings Special” feature on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, I always feel a little lighter after listening to one of the singer-rapper’s songs. “Cash Machine” makes me feel lighter and richer; the only thing more irresistible than that piano line is his ATM distribution sound effect. – Samantha Vincenty
Lady Gaga, "Perfect Illusion"
You know when you wait months for a movie to come out, and when you finally get your tickets and see the damn thing, you've hyped it up so much in your head that it ends up sucking? Yeah. We tend to do this with music, too. Fortunately, I kept an open mind—and left my exceptions at home—while waiting for Lady Gaga's highly (highly, highly, highly...) anticipated new single, "Perfect Illusion"... and I'm glad I did. While it's no "Bad Romance," I think that's part of the point: Lady Gaga has proved her pop star chops time and time again, so why can't we just let her be as free as her hair? And if that means allowing her to rock out (and shift keys, Broadway-style) on a synth-rock banger that sounds like a weird mashup of Bonnie Tyler, Madonna, Meatloaf and Pat Benatar, then so be it. - Erica Russell
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