Pop Shop Picks: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, AlunaGeorge, Mutya Keisha Siobhan & More

Dan Martensen
Best Bets Albums 2013, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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!

"Sacrilege" (3:51)

The first single from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' fourth album, "Mosquito," illustrates exactly why this band is fiercely beloved. The New York trio never ceases to surprise, and anyone who claims that they expected Karen O and company to return with a smoothly melodic pop tune that builds to the soul-stirring crescendo of a 24-voice choir is probably lying. "Sacrilege" makes forbidden love sound more like a celebration than a sin, with Karen O singing about hitting the feather bed with a guy who "fell down from the sky, halo 'round his head"-and that's about as specific as it gets. The sacrilege in question is vague, while the track itself builds from a gentle, spare start into an easygoing rhythm and finally into the controlled ecstasy of the gospel chorus. There's an element of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" here, but there's nothing particularly sacrilegious about that, either. -GARY GRAFF

"Attracting Flies" (3:09)
Island Records

The U.K. duo of Aluna Francis and George Reid has exhibited a knack for molding shards of cacophony into snappy song foundations, and with "Attracting Flies," their blend of unexpected audio elements sounds as crisp as ever. "Everything you exhale is attracting flies," Francis sings, delivering the line as the scorching putdown that it is. -JASON LIPSHUTZ

"Suit and Tie (Four Tet Remix)" (4:45)

Chopping up JT's feathery syllables and Jay-Z's "Uh!" over a relentless beat, electronica master Four Tet turns the stylish Top 5 hit into an unhinged collection of bite-sized sensory pleasures. The only problem with the self-released remix is that it doesn't last long enough -- at 4:45, it's nearly a minute shorter than Timberlake's slick original. - JASON LIPSHUTZ

"Paint a Smile" (3:25)
Mosci Music

Latin teen sensation Villegas' new single pairs hand claps with clipped guitars and synth flares, giving off a folk-tronica vibe as the singer waxes philosophical about "painting a smile on" during personal struggles. The breakup track is engaging thanks to Villegas' triumphant performance, as she proudly sings on the hook, "Tears won't last forever/Life only gets better." -KATHY IANDOLI

"Lay Down in Swimming Pools" (3:42)

Kendrick Lamar's hypnotic 2012 single "Swimming Pools (Drank)" morphs into a hazy R&B showcase by Mutya Buena, Kiesha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy, all founding members of the U.K. girl group the Sugababes. The tossed-off reinterpretation wisely grafts itself onto the original's subtly constructed verses while saving the hammer of a full-out chorus until the end of the track. - JASON LIPSHUTZ