Best Songs We Heard This Week: Tinashe, Banks, Allie X + 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.
Allie X, "That's So Us"
You know how you and your friends are on the same wavelength about life, and you've got those inside jokes where you tag each other in Instagram memes and you're all like, "same" or "us"? That's the main plot behind "That's So Us," yet another killer addition to Allie X's steadily growing series of solid COLLXTION II singles and demos. (Note: she hasn't fumbled once, still!) From Allie's signature theatrical delivery style to the thumping, slightly 80's-pop edged production, the Leland co-penned ode to an annoying, can't-live-without-'em bestie is an instant earworm. And really, is there anything as charmingly grim as the line "you make me not want to die"? That's so me, that's so us. — Bradley Stern
As much as I enjoyed “Superlove,” Tinashe’s sugary musical descendant of Ghost Town DJ’s “My Boo,” it didn’t fully measure up to previous Tinashe songs I’ve been obsessed with, like “Ride of Your Life” or the woozy production and unapologetically messy sentiment of “Party Favors.” The singer blessedly returns to that vibe on the bass-jacked-up “Company,” written and co-produced by The-Dream. “Babe, you’re just my little siiiide thing / Just a little sweet fling,” Tinashe whisper-sings with a lilt, giving me the type of sexy O.G. Kush anthem I love from her the most (now if we can just get a Joyride release date…). – Samantha Vincenty
Utada Hikaru, "Michi"
The international music industry has undoubtedly been missing the effervescent presence of Utada Hikaru, Japan's reigning queen of pop (a title backed up by her illustrious, record-breaking Oricon chart performance), ever since she announced her hiatus in 2010. On "Michi," one of the newly-released songs off the artist's forthcoming album, Fantôme (September 28), Utada gets her groove back. As a light house beat throbs, we find the J-pop icon dancing her heartache away with an infectious track that is at once celebratory and devastatingly personal, the artist promising us that despite the despair (her mother tragically took her own life in 2013), she's "not alone." Yet with any Utada Hikaru song, it's her angelic voice which rises up as the most integral sonic element, a magic instrument that, language barrier be damned, beckons with its inimitable warmth, range and honesty. Along with songs like "Hikari," "Final Distance" and "Passion," "Michi" stands out as one of Hikki-chan's most unexpected and best career offerings to date—clean and simple. — Erica Russell
LOOP, “Losing My Mind”
LOOP's latest, “Losing My Mind” is a methodical, mid-tempo track that errs on the side of indie pop, but contains just enough R&B influence and electronic affectation to avoid true genre pigeonholing — surely a positive for a relative unknown. LOOP’s heady vocals wrap like tendrils around the track’s persistent, underlying percussion, making for an intoxicating listen, worthy of a repeat listen. — Ali Szubiak
JoJo, "Mad Love"
Speaking in terms of pop-astronomy, JoJo’s latest takes the like-minded “Moonlight” by Ariana Grande and drowns it out in velvety shadow. An early glimpse into a forthcoming eponymous comeback album, “Mad Love.” is the runs-reliant chorister at her soulful best. She rips through delicate, tiptoeing falsetto-swoops with booming, full-voiced declarations as a full band applies a fine, swaying sheen to her yearning. “F--- Apologies” came first, but its follow-up is where JoJo is deservedly unrepentant. — Matthew Donnelly
Banks, "To The Hilt"
Her moody debut Goddess presented a more mysterious and seductive side of Banks. But if "To The Hilt" is any indication, The Altar is shaping up to be a vastly more vulnerable affair. The sorrowful, sparse piano ballad finds the singer-songwriter missing the one who left; her quivering voice painfully, intimately peeling back each layer of hurt. "Hated for you for leaving me / You were my muse for so long / Now I'm drained creatively," she weakly utters, as if singing the words to only herself, bleary-eyed and defeated, on the bathroom floor. — Bradley Stern
The rapper-singer and co-host of MTV’s Wonderland’s latest is a radical departure from her best known song to date — feel-good anthem “Good As Hell” from the Barbershop 3 soundtrack — though “Phone” might be even more addictive. As the (excellent) video demonstrates, it’s a vogue ballroom-ready banger about a night’s unsightly end at last call o’clock, when a lady’s feet are tired of being squished into their dancing shoes and her bar-side interactions feel disappointing in retrospect, AND her phone’s gone missing. Lizzo’s delivery fuses humor with glamour over the thumping, minimal production; stay tuned for the all-too-relatable punchline at the very end. – Samantha Vincenty
Norwegian newcomer Dagny incorporates pounding drums and real guitars (what a novelty!) on “Ultraviolet,” a cut off her similarly titled debut EP. With its uptempo urgency and insistent percussion, the track errs on the rockier side of pop, offering an energetic, brisk mirror of the type of immediate (if also painfully unsteady and unsure) love connection that becomes both exhilarating and consuming, all at once. Where do you put down all that electricity, you know? — Ali Szubiak
Dawes, “Roll With The Punches"
Cross Tom Petty with The Black Keys, rinse it in something pop-soluble and you’ll get the latest from the Laurel Canyon folk-rock outfit; it’s an “I Won’t Back Down” for the Taylor Swift crowd. A standout from new LP We’re All Gonna Die, “Roll With The Punches” could come across as a Neil Young ripoff, but offers a sense of novelty across vivid, cheery harmonies you might have last heard on Grease: Live. Still, it’s not confused; in fact, it’s new-age vintage figured out. — Matthew Donnelly
Keke Palmer, "Reverse Psychology"
Keke Palmer stuns on her new single "Reverse Psychology," a gorgeous track with sonic nods to the early 2000s: the era of emotive R&B-pop a la Aaliyah, Brandy and Ashanti. Over smokey, slow-tempo beats and melodic flourishes of acoustic guitar (a concoction that sounds comfortingly reminiscent of JoJo's 2006 breakup anthem, "Too Little Too Late"), the performer sings about the destruction infidelity causes, and challenges would-be cheaters to empathize. "What if I told you that I loved you so but these h--- I can't let go? / Could you handle all the things that you told me? / How 'bout some reverse psychology?" Keke wonders on the emotional track. File next to Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy" and Ciara's "Like A Boy." — Erica Russell
Best Albums From the First Half of 2016: