Got your passport handy this time around? Good, because we’re doing a lil’ hop-stop around the world. This week’s wrap-up features not one, but two appearances by UK rap phenomenon Tinie Tempah, a generally amazing song by an American Disney pop princess, and a surefire club smash from one of Sweden’s finest.
Music: It’s a global village, y’all!
1.) Florence + The Machine, “Shake It Out”
The leaves are starting to brown and wither away, the temperature’s dropping steadily and the wind’s beginning to howl. You know what that means: It’s the return of the delightfully witchy and whimsical Miss Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine!
While the sophomore slump is a dreaded pitfall for any blossoming musician, Mizz Florence has nimbly tiptoed across that treacherous ravine with “Shake It Out,” yet another unbelievable offering from the fiery chanteuse. Crafted alongside acclaimed UK producer Paul Epworth, the song builds on the winning sound that first catapulted the UK songstress to stardom with her 2009 debut, Lungs. “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” Welch encourages before unleashing a series of her legendary howls above tambourines and crashing drums.
Sure, cutting out your own heart and dancing off devils from your back to revitalize yourself aren’t exactly the lyrical stuff of your typical Katy Perry feel-good anthem, but hey… it totally works. + LISTEN TO FLORENCE + THE MACHINE, “SHAKE IT OUT.”
2.) Demi Lovato, “Unbroken”
For her third studio outing, Disney pop princess Demi Lovato‘s sidestepped her usual pop-rock sound, choosing to venture into all sorts of previously uncharted territory, including swagga-riffic collabos with radio-friendly R&B acts such as Iyaz and Jason Derulo.
But in between all the Timbaland beats and heartbreaking balladry lies an almighty dance-pop gem that would send Disney BFFL Selena Gomez straight into a tizzy: “Unbroken,” the title track of the record, which doubles as the album’s strongest offering (apart from the devastating lead single, “Skyscraper.”)
“I’m going to love you like I’ve never been broken/I’m going to say it like it’s never been spoken!” Lovato yelps with all her angst-ridden might above the song’s surging electro-pop pulsations, searing with all the intensity of The Veronicas covering Brit Brit‘s “Hold It Against Me.”
If this one’s ever released as a single (as it should be — get on it, Lovatics!), could this be Demi’s first major club hit? Let’s see: All-or-nothing lovey lyricism, flawless vocals and a ridiculously sick beat. You do the math. + LISTEN TO DEMI LOVATO, “UNBROKEN.”
+ Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump!
3.) Labrinth featuring Tinie Tempah, “Earthquake”
Songwriter/producer Labrinth and rapper Tinie Tempah (“Written In The Stars”) are one hell of a musical force to be reckoned with. Together, the duo crafted two of last year’s top selling hip-hop smashes in the UK: “Pass Out” and “Frisky.”
On Oct. 23, the British-born boys are back for more with their latest collaboration, “Earthquake,” an utterly immense tune that stays quite true to its name. “I predict an earthquake up in here!” Labrinth shouts on top of his slapping track, a grime-filled mixture of slapping arena-size beats and whiny synthesizers. And while Labrinth’s beats bang with all their might across the speakers, it’s Tempah who goes even harder: “This one’s feeling like a straight 10 on the Richter scale,” he mutters before going in on his rude ‘n’ rowdy verse.
Labrinth’s latest is a massive tune, and while I don’t have the power to predict earthquakes (although like Karen of “Mean Girls,” I, too, can predict whether or not its raining with my breasts), I do have the ability to predict a hit… and I’m sensing something big on my radar coming this October. + LISTEN TO LABRINTH FEATURING TINIE TEMPAH, “EARTHQUAKE.”
4.) Agnes, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
Agnes, the gorgeous 23-year-old winner of “Swedish Idol” (Season 2), is yet another example of the flawlessness that flows from the land of IKEA and kronor. Back in 2009, the chanteuse unleashed her shimmering dance-pop gem “Release Me” around the world, an almighty dance-floor anthem that managed to hit Top 10 in basically every country ever (and No. 1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Songs Billboard chart).
A few singles later and a few years wiser, the beautiful chanteuse is set to debut a brand-new club smash this week in Sweden: “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Co-penned by Agnes, her boyfriend Vincent Pontare and Magnus Lidehäll (the Swedish scribe partly responsible for Britney’s “How I Roll” and Kylie Minogue‘s “Cupid Boy,” among other pop smashes), her new tune finds Agnes still stuck in a thoroughly dance-pop state of mind, gorgeously crooning above massive club synthesizers: “I can’t stop this now, no/’Cause my world revolves ’round you!” she sings.
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” is an instantly infectious, hands-aloft club affair, and if her label’s smart enough to release this one worldwide, Agnes could easily be headed ’round the world for another go of international chart-topping success. + LISTEN TO AGNES, “DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART.”
5.) Tinie Tempah featuring Ester Dean, “Love Suicide”
Two Tinie tracks in just one week, you say? Why, yes! Last year, an Ester Dean track called “Love Suicide” (featuring verses rapped by Chris Brown) leaked onto the net. It was an instant favorite of mine from the prolific pop songwriter, although nothing ever came of the song — at least, not in its original state. Flash-forward to a year later, and the song now finds itself tucked into the track listing of UK rapper Tinie Tempah’s U.S. debut, Disc-Overy.
As the charming UK rapper told the audience during ArjanWrites’ ARTIST #TALK event with the superstar last Wednesday, “Love Suicide” will be Tempah’s newest single in the United States. An excellent decision!
In the same way that Rihanna and Eminem‘s searing 2010 song “Love The Way You Lie” was all shades of brilliant, so too is Tempah’s collaboration with Ester Dean, featuring one agonizing hook of a chorus: “Tell me the reason why you commit a love suicide/I think you want our love to die,” Dean painfully croons between Tempah’s frustrated verses. Oof! I don’t mean to relish in your anguish Miss Dean, but heartache has simply never sounded quite so catchy. + LISTEN TO TINIE TEMPAH FEATURING ESTER DEAN, “LOVE SUICIDE.”
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.