Rising French artist Poupie released her debut album, Enfant Roi (slowplay/Capitol), on Friday. The project features songs in French, Spanish and English while exploring trap, pop and more of her wide-ranging influences. "Mucha Labia" stands out not only for featuring Puerto Rican rapper Guaynaa, but for its breezy structure and inviting vocals that together create the perfect farewell to summer.
Amy Allen, "A Woman's World"
Having worked with everyone from Selena Gomez to Halsey to Harry Styles, songwriter to the stars Amy Allen is back with more solo material. With an opening line like "Can you imagine, tits on Mount Rushmore," it's clear from the start this song packs a punch, but when veiled by Allen's slow and soothing vocals, the song's message seems to resonate even more -- lingering for minutes after it's ended.
JESSIA, "First Call"
Pop newcomer JESSIA broke out with "I'm Not Pretty" earlier this year, and is now proving her staying power with latest single "First Call," a pulsing alt-pop track that grows with each second until the production explodes near the end, rocketing the singer's soft-spoken vocals to new heights.
Wrabel, "Wish You Well"
Los-Angeles singer-songwriter (and Kesha BFF) Wrabel released his long-anticipated debut album, These Words Are All For You, on Friday. Standout track "Wish You Well" arrives with an all-too-relatable message of wishing the best to those you loved before, but it's the supporting string section and Wrabel's inviting sincereity that send this pop ballad soaring.
Ekkstacy, "It Only Gets Worse, I Promise"
Emerging Vancouver teen Ekkstacy's latest indie-pop track, "It Only Gets Worse, I Promise," surges ahead with a rallying drumbeat that helps guide his echoing, intentionally lo-fi sounding vocals along -- a smart technique that captures the dejected emotion baked into his lyrics.
Portugal. The Man and Cherry Glazerr, "Steal My Sunshine"
Alt-rockers Portugal. The Man tapped fellow rockers Cherry Glazerr for this upfliting, psychedelic take on Len's 1999 smash "Steal My Sunshine." It arrived as a two-pack, also featuring Portugal. The Man's rendition of another '90s alternative hit in Eels' "Novocaine For the Soul," alongside Sir Chloe.
Karol G, "Sejodioto"
Come for the plinking production that draws listeners in from the start, stay for the booming beat that kicks in shortly after. "Sejodioto" is the latest in a string of hits from Karol G, and continues to illustrate just how well her silky smooth vocals sail over a variety of sonic structures -- none of which rush along, and all of which allow the artist time to really dig her heels (just like the ones seen on the song's cover art) into a track.
Nina Nesbitt, “Life’s a Bitch (L.A.B.)”
One type of winning pop song lets the vocalist unleash rapid-fire, world-clutter verses before pulling back into a succinct chorus; think Savage Garden’s “I Want You." Nina Nesbitt and the spectacularly named Swedish production duo Jack & Coke embrace the formula on the whimsical synth-pop single “Life’s a Bitch,” on which Nesbitt offers stream-of-consciousness relationship observations before concluding on the hook, “I’m with you, through these lows and highs.” -- JASON LIPSHUTZ
Boys Noize & ABRA, “Affection”
One day before Boys Noize released his collaboration-focused new album +/-, the project’s strongest track, a breathless dance workout featuring rising R&B star ABRA, was unveiled. ABRA impressed earlier this year alongside Playboi Carti on “Unlock It,” and “Affection” lets her operate successfully over Boys Noize’s rubbery beats and intricate programming. -- J.L.
Emilia Anastazja, “Take a Look”
On new single “Take a Look,” Polish-Swiss singer-songwriter Emilia Anastazja is able to inject soulful R&B into a production veering toward electro-pop, recalling some of Robyn’s oeuvre in the process. The post-chorus beats jamboree at the 1:14 mark is the subtle joy you need at the start of another work week. -- J.L.