Pop Shop Picks: Lady Gaga, Romeo Santos, Banks & More

Lady Gaga - 'Applause'

Each Friday, Pop Shop will showcase a handful of tracks that have been burning up its speakers over the past week. These can include a brand-new song or a track that's been simmering for a minute; the only rule is that it's worth space in the Pop Shop!

LADY GAGA
"Applause" (3:33)
Producers: Lady Gaga, Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair
Streamline/Interscope

While the chorus of Lady Gaga's first "ARTPOP" single equates clapping with a pop star's life blood, the verses take aim at dismissive critics and discuss the relationship between pop culture and art. Highbrow concepts aside, Gaga still knows how to throttle a pristine dance hook, and "Applause" contains one of her best to date. - JASON LIPSHUTZ

THE BLOW
"Make It Up" (3:17)
Producers: Melissa Dyne, Khaela Maricich
Kanine Records

After a seven-year absence, cult indie duo the Blow returns with electro-pop perfection on "Make It Up." The sobering, languid lead performance from Khaela Maricich finds a hypnotic rhythm, and the co-dependent backing vocals from Melissa Dyne make the comeback single catnip for fans of the pair's excellent 2006 album, Paper Television. - NICK WILLIAMS

ROMEO SANTOS
"Propuesta Indecente" (3:55)
Producer: Anthony Santos
Sony Music Latin

Aventura alum Santos offers no shortage of sonic seduction on his latest hit, "Propuesta Indecente" (Indecent Proposal). Through ricocheting maracas and slick accordion keys, Santos tosses out some sexy scenarios, like fogging up car windows or getting drunk and making some intoxicatingly bad decisions. The beat, courtesy of Santos himself, is as smooth as his lyrical advances. - KATHY IANDOLI

TIM McGRAW
"Southern Girl" (4:15)
Producers: Byron Gallimore, Tim McGraw
Big Machine

For those curious about just what makes a Southern girl special, McGraw will gladly dish on the allure of a woman with "kisses sweeter than Tupelo honey" and who's a "little bit crazy, like New Orleans." The country star's latest single is rife with innuendo, but the strumming singalong is all in good fun-just don't tell the girls from out West. - JILL MENZE

BANKS
"Waiting Game" (3:28)
Producer: SOHN
Harvest Records/Good Years Recordings

We spotlighted Banks in June for her haunting pop tracks and for the fact that she gives fans her personal cell number, since she hates social media. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter must be brought up again due to "Waiting Game" -- released last week, the single is Banks' best offering to date, and her vocal performance is almost blindingly vulnerable. Immerse yourself in this affecting ballad before swaying along to it when Banks opens for the Weeknd this fall. - JASON LIPSHUTZ

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