It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another round of Must-Hear Pop Songs!
This week’s wrap-up celebrates the upcoming return of two underappreciated pop princesses, as well as singles by three equally promising new talents. I’m now accepting nominations for the Pulitzer Prize for Vaguery in Journalism, thank you.
Read on to hear all the sweet treats!
1.) Tinashe, “Artificial People”
As the former front of short-lived girl group The Stunners, 18-year-old cutie Tinashe has already been hard at work paving her way into the industry. (That is, when she’s not busy jumping out of her car during traffic to dance to some Brit Brit.)
Now the young singer’s busting out as a solo pop star in her own right, providing vocals on “Artificial People,” a rowdy club banger produced by Orange Factory Music (OFM) — the same hitmakers behind Jay Sean‘s “Down” and “2012 (feat. Nicki Minaj).
The sassy dance floor thumper finds Tinashe lashing out against some “synthesized” undesirables trying to take over: “We’re living in Technicolor/Why you still in black and white?” But what does it sound like? Take the filthy beats of Afrojack’s “Take Over Control (feat. Eva Simons),” add in a healthy handful of Dev‘s bossy taunts à la “Dancing In The Dark,” and sprinkle on some “Oh, oh, oh!” chant-y bits from Britney‘s “Till The World Ends.” Sounds like a smash hit smorgasbord, right? That’s because it is. + LISTEN TO TINASHE, “ARTIFICIAL PEOPLE.”
2.) Cassie, “Skydiver”
In case you’re not up on your mixtapes, you might have missed P. Diddy’s (P. Daddy’s, Puff Dizzle’s, P–ugh’s, I don’t know, Sean Combs’) latest free release a few weeks ago: “Bad Boy: The Preview.” It’s an introduction to some of the label’s up-and-coming acts, including one of my very favorites, icy electro-R&B princess Cassie.
The über-cool crooner behind 2006′s baddest cuts, “Me & U” and “Long Way 2 Go,” (“baddest” as in “goodest”), has been dealt a few bad hands over the past few years, including album push-backs and more than a bucketful of song leaks. Luckily, it seems Cassie’s finally hit her stride. During the outro of his mixtape, Diddy announced that the songstress’ official comeback single, “King of Hearts,” will be out shortly.
Since only a small (but very good!) snippet of the song has been released so far, I’ve selected one of my favorite unreleased Cassie jams as a placeholder/reminder of her utter flawlessness: “Skydiver,” a spine-tingling, smooth-grinding electro-R&B ode to that all-or-nothing kind of love. “My skydiver…I’ll fall if you say fall,” the singer croons on repeat above the dreamy Chris N Teeb-produced beat. Feel free to parachute down to safety as soon as possible, my Princess — we need you now more than ever! + LISTEN TO CASSIE, “SKYDIVER.”
+ Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump!
3.) Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans
Lana Del Rey is one of the most intriguing new talents on the pop horizon, blessed with a throwback set of vintage pipes, a hip-hop sensibility and the drop-dead gorgeous Hollywood bombshell looks of Brigitte Bardot (including a set of pouty lips that’d have sent Maddox down to the nearest Sephora to fetch Mommy some Lip Venom immediately).
Last week, the stunning chanteuse — who describes herself as the “gangster Nancy Sinatra” in interviews — unveiled “Blue Jeans,” the B-side to her debut single, “Video Games.” A slow-swaggering mixture of yesteryear pop crooning, modern lyricism (“you’re so fresh to death and sick as cancer”) and an eerie country twang, “Blue Jeans” is another example of the refreshing new sound Del Rey’s bringing to the table. Oh, and a perfect candidate for inclusion on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s latest spaghetti western. + LISTEN TO LANA DEL REY, “BLUE JEANS.”
4.) Penguin Prison, “Don’t F*** With My Money”
Fact: Penguin Prison is neither penguin nor a prison. Penguin Prison, né Chris Glover, is an electro-pop maestro from New York. After releasing a few singles through NYC hip-pop indie label Neon Gold Records (the launching pad of Marina and the Diamonds and Ellie Goulding to name a few recent grads), the talented artist was signed to Downtown Records in 2011 and will now be releasing his self-titled debut on Oct. 18.
If you loved the disco sheen of the Scissor Sisters‘ incredible 2010 release Night Work, or perhaps the too-cool-for-school funk of a classic Prince track, you’ll love Glover’s latest throwback-gone-modern single: “You f*** with my money, and you’ll be sorry,” Mr. Prison cautions across the song’s sauntering bass line and irresistibly groovy beats. After several seconds of primal yelping about three-fourths into the song…you’d have to be out of your damn mind to f*** with his money. Seriously. + LISTEN TO PENGUIN PRISON, “DON’T F*** WITH MY MONEY.”
5.) Paris Hilton, “Nothing In This World”
Paris Hilton: Socialite. Songstress. Small dog enthusiast. As reported weeks ago, the O.G. Famous-For-Being-Famous heiress has been skipping the daily runs to Starbucks to jet overseas and record with some of the world’s dance floor titans, including Afrojack and DJ Chuckie, for a new House-inspired studio album due out next year.
To mentally prepare for Hilton’s grand return, we must return to where the magic began: 2006′s Paris, a record that legitimately stands as one of the better pop offerings of the last decade.
Before Britney was begging us to hold it against her or Katy Perry was off having teenage dreams, it was Ms. Hilton who was already trailblazing with Top 40 pop hit-machine Dr. Luke on her third and final single off of Paris, “Nothing In This World.” As with everything else the Swedish pop mastermind has ever crafted, the song is nothing short of a smash–packed with killer pop hooks and an infectious guitar strum. “I can do what she can do so much better!” Hilton breezily urges.
Say what you will about the socialite’s baby babble vocal skills, legendary dance skills or questionable artistic input, but the song remains a classic to this day. Now that’s hot. Or is it huge? It’s hot huge. + LISTEN TO PARIS HILTON, “NOTHING IN THIS WORLD.”
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and plotting the various ways in which he will bring down Katy Perry to become Rihanna’s best friend. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting and musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.