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 Monsta X, The New Pornographers, Leony and JW Francis 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.
Monsta X, “Beautiful Liar”
The members of Monsta X have always been adept at synthesizing different genres into a fun, immediate product, and on “Beautiful Liar,” the standout track from new mini-album Reason, the K-pop stars mash up funk, hair metal, dance-pop and hip-hop in a manner that doesn’t sound overstuffed or lose its foundation. Plenty of Monsta X singles possess interesting tidbits in their margins, but “Beautiful Liar” keeps its ambition front and center. – Jason Lipshutz
India Thieriot, “Montage”
Ever scroll New Music Friday and hear a pop song so self-assured and satisfying that it stops you in your tracks? That effect undoubtedly happened to anyone lucky enough to stumble upon singer-songwriter India Thieriot’s “Montage,” a heartfelt and ornately produced track that possessed the quality of a breakthrough. Thieriot’s vocal warmth wraps around the synths here, presenting observations and memories with a gravity that invites the listener closer. – J.L.
Leony, “Somewhere in Between”
Now this is how you do a pre-chorus: on “Somewhere in Between,” the new single from Leony, the German pop artist’s voice keeps creeping upward, inching toward higher octaves, before the hook kicks in and the listener feels a rush of speed and danger. Best of all, “Somewhere in Between” matches its construction with a tale of self-confidence (“Got clarity inside of me, I know who I am / No matter what you saw, I know my heart always stayed the same,” Leony sings), so that the payoff feels earned. – J.L.
Debby Friday, “So Hard To Tell”
Debby Friday’s backstory is fascinating enough to fill a novel — the Nigerian-born artist grew up hopscotching across Canada, attending all-night raves, quitting DJ’ing due to personal issues, then picking up the pieces as a singer-songwriter through YouTube tutorials. Even a context-free listen to new single “So Hard To Tell,” however, reveals one of the young year’s most audacious bangers, a daring and cacophonous piece of pop that wants to entrance (or maybe pummel) its listener with its percussion. – J.L.
The New Pornographers, “Really Really Light”
The New Pornographers have been slinging pristine indie-pop hooks for over two decades now, and new single “Really Really Light,” from just-announced album Continue as a Guest, reminds the world of the combined power of A.C. Newman, Dan Bejar and Neko Case as singers, songwriters and complementary pieces in a group setting. “Really Really Light” is at once big and driving, but also reserved and a little clouded, as if the New Pornos want to make their pop sheen slightly askew here. – J.L.
Violet Saturn, “Love U Madly”
Looking to re-create some Warped Tour memories… or at least the time you scream-shouted “good 4 u” with your friends? Siblings Lauren and Spencer Carr Reed have you covered with this enjoyable pop-punk offering from their group Violet Saturn — just don’t headbang too hard to miss the sly time-signature change on “Love U Madly,” where the phrase “My heart stops” literally causes the tempo to rearrange. – J.L.
Neriah, “Puppet on a String”
Los Angeles newcomer Neriah’s latest single successfully see-saws between her airy vocals and some punchier production as the song builds toward a sticky chorus. Though on the shorter side — the track clocks in at two minutes — “Puppet on a String” has just enough for fans to trust where Neriah is headed. – Lyndsey Havens
Singer-songwriter MyKey (a moniker inspired by his real name, Mikey… get it?) blissfully blends acoustic riffs with folk-inspired pop melodies, creating contemplative, consuming songs like “Bender.” With its bare-bones production, the single’s power is in its subtlety, but MyKey pulls off a rare feat here. – L.H.
JW Francis, “Going Home to a Party”
With a style reminiscent of the 2000s indie-rock heyday, “Going Home to a Party” could help usher back in a renaissance of rollicking riffs and whimsical production. Courtesy of bedroom pop artist JW Francis, the single is a strong coming attraction of his upcoming album Dream House, out Jan. 27. – L.H.
Suriel Hess, “Wasted”
There’s a refreshing immediacy to “Wasted” that comes from Suriel Hess’ lyrics rather than any grabbing melody. Supported by an acoustic guitar, he sings, “It could be easier, to sit back and just observe, but my mind races.” It’s a perfect lay-up for what follows, as he chronicles what exactly is running sprints through his mind (spoiler alert: it’s a girl). – L.H.