This week includes a comeback from the Queen of K-Pop, a new offering from one of my favorite icy disco divas and a dirty Danish electro groove. Plus, a lil’ show of celebration for a certain newly announced “American Idol” judge. Let’s get festive!
1.) BoA, “Only One”
Even if K-Pop isn’t really your thing, there’s a strong chance you’ve already heard of BoA. Not only has the über-talented songstress dominated her homeland in South Korea for well over a decade, but she’s tackled Japan and China — she even released an English studio album in America three years ago. The artist often introduced as “The Korean Britney Spears” to Western listeners (if that’s any testament to her iconic pop status) has finally returned with her first Korean single in more than two years, “Only One.”
And rather than falling into the oh-so-au courant trend of glitchy, high-energy electro-pop, BoA’s opted to leave the synths in the studio, instead crooning her melancholy midtempo tune atop a heartbreaking piano melody and a striding R&B beat. And if you think the song’s special, the accompanying video is an absolute must, as she flaunts her superior dancing skills in a dazzlingly choreographed street routine — once again securing BoA’s place on the throne as the true Queen of K-Pop.
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump!
2.) Mathieu Bouthier featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor, “Beautiful”
There’s nothing quite closer to divinity than the icy vocals of English disco diva, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. And being the prolific chanteuse she is, you never can quite guess when she’s going to pop up next on a new club cut — like “Beautiful,” which was released last week. Produced by French house DJ Mathieu Bouthier, “Beautiful” is just the latest evidence of Ms. Ellis-Bextor’s brilliance, as the lovely songstress croons “So come on, take my hand/ let’s run towards the light/Something real, something good/ something beautiful tonight,” above the surging synthesizers. As instant and club-friendly as fellow French arena-filler David Guetta‘s hits, the song’s certainly got the potential to gain traction in the U.S. club scene. It’s murder on the dance floor, as some might say.
3.) Tulisa featuring Tyga, “Live It Up”
After unleashing her smash debut single, “Young,” earlier this summer, “X Factor UK” judge and N-Dubz songstress Tulisa is back again with another anthem devoted to seizing the day… or, drink with “Live It Up.” Produced by Rico Love and penned by Kelly Rowland, the scorching, summer-ready second offering from her upcoming debut sees shots being poured around the room above a blazing beat. “We should live it up/ Put something in your cup/ too much is not enough,” she advises. Throw in a super smooth verse by Tyga toward the end, and there you have it: a straight-up, fiya-hot banga. Just remember to listen to Tulisa responsibly.
4.) The Storm, “Raver”
Here’s the thing about Scandinavians: They love their dancing. So much so, in fact, that they wish they can be dancing always. Like a raver, more specifically. For example, take Danish electro-rock troupe The Storm and their new single “Raver.” The melody is pure Robyn-esque sad disco with an added punch of searing guitar, and the chorus is quite straightforward, really: “‘Cause I should be dancing like a raver,” lead singer Pernille Rosendahl declares on repeat above the synth-rock beat. It’s proof of two almighty pop truths: Life is better when you’re dancing, and the Scandinavians simply do it better.
5.) Mariah Carey, “Betcha Gon Know”
It’s time to get festive! In case you didn’t hear the news yesterday, Mariah Carey is joining the ranks of “American Idol” this fall! And while we eagerly await what will surely be a season of insane diva antics and probable plugs for her HSN fashion line, there’s nothing to do but fall back on Mimi’s entire discography to pass the time. And while there’s about a billion tracks in her collection to celebrate this moment, I’ve opted for Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel‘s prologue “Betcha Gon Know.” Why? Because it’s amazing, mainly. Also, the way she says “Mmm, I’m alright” is legendary. Mimi’s a sweetheart, but she knows talent. So if some tragic case steps into the audition room, betcha gon’ know exactly how she feels. Let’s hope she doesn’t l-l-l-laugh right in their face!
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and arguing with basics regarding the cultural importance of Dannii Minogue. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
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