Looking for some motivation to help power you through the start of another work week? We feel you, and with some stellar new pop tunes, we’ve got you covered.
These 10 tracks from artists including The Japanese House, Donna Missal, Amaarae, FLO and more will get you energized to take on the week. Pop any of these gems into your personal playlists — or scroll to the end of the post for a custom playlist of all 10.
The Japanese House, “Boyhood”
The Japanese House (aka Amber Bain) returns with the provoking and expectedly gorgeous “Boyhood, the artist’s first taste of new music this year. Arriving as the first single since Bain’s 2020 EP Chewing Cotton Wool (which featured Justin Vernon), “Boyhood” dives in deep, exploring childhood trauma and learned identity — all of which, of course, Bain sings with the utmost delicacy. – Lyndsey Havens
Amelia Moore & jxdn, “FUMD”
The latest from alt-pop artist Amelia Moore is a metallic and rattling track on which she yells (veiled in industrial, distorted production) to an ex, “I think of you when I sleep / You can’t just leave me alone / You gotta fuck up my dreams.” Jxdn perfectly fills in the blanks, offering the other side of the story — while echoing the exact same feelings. The catharsis is palpable. – L.H.
There’s an intimate awareness that accompanies sibling harmonies — and Softcult, the grungy, dream-pop duo of twins Mercedes and Phoenix — is no exception. “Spoiled” takes listeners on a trip through two extremes: downtempo, tender moments lead to the more assertive and surging summit. The song is a standout on the Canadian DIY act’s latest EP, See You In the Dark, of which the siblings say: “We finally see ourselves as we currently are, not who we want to be.” – L.H.
Donna Missal, “Flicker”
It’s immediately clear that “Flicker” was a song Donna Missal had to make — it sounds like the dance-pop equivalent of a long-awaited sob, as if it just spilled right out all over the studio floor. Arriving as the first single since Missal was released from her label last year, “Flicker” has an undeniable shine, and Missal herself sounds stronger — and more empowered — than ever. – L.H.
Harriette, “bc I love you”
Texas singer-songwriter Harriette may have written “bc I love you” one day after she suffered a devastating breakup, but the light, sprightly single looks back on failed romance with reason and tempo. The result is a track that feels like a productive catch-up with a confiding friend, moving briskly until it reaches a conclusion and begs for a follow-up hang session. – Jason Lipshutz
Amaarae, “Reckless & Sweet”
“Reckless & Sweet” possesses the type of ringing hook that beckons whoever is listening to the dance floor — and that’s before the wind-swept rhythms kick in and Amaarae arrives, asserting the world around her with coos and commands. The rest of “Reckless & Sweet” lives up to the second half of the song title, but Amaarae’s latest gem is carefully orchestrated, a sense of purpose within each smooth motion. – J. Lipshutz
Titling a song “Driving” suggests that it will make for a sublime open-road soundtrack, and when it comes to the new track from California indie-pop duo DWLLRS, mission accomplished: the wispy guitars, extended syllables and rolling percussion synch up to passing mile markers and open-window exhalations quite nicely. Sure, you could listen to “Driving” on headphones, but you’d be missing a bit of the spark. – J. Lipshutz
Jam City feat. Aidan, “Times Square”
British producer Jam City is adept at concocting shoulder-wiggling dance tracks, and “Times Square,” a disco bumper with guest vocals from Aidan, an Omar S sample racing across its runt time and a love of hip-hop at its heart, marks one of his sleekest hits to date. “Times Square” clocks in at four-and-a-half minutes but begs for an extended remix — we could groove to this for twice as long. – J. Lipshutz
VV Brown, “Black British”
After a six-year hiatus, VV Brown — one of the most strikingly ambitious pop artists of the 2010s — is back with “Black British,” an incisive look at race relations in the modern U.K. that nods to influences ranging from Erykah Badu to James Baldwin. Brown can rap, belt, construct pop melodies and weave harmonies into thoughtful criticism; her talent bowls over everything in its path, and its return with “Black British” is very welcome. – J. Lipshutz
FLO feat. Missy Elliott, “Fly Girl”
British girl group FLO pick the clock up flip it and reverse it to 2002 with “Fly Girl,” a smooth R&B ride with some impressive vocal runs, none of which veer into ostentation. The chorus, naturally, draws on Missy Elliott’s 2002 classic “Work It” — and Misdemeanor herself even stops by for a joyous guest verse. – Joe Lynch