This week’s roundup is going ’round the world, including some club-pop from a Swedish pop prince, spook-hop from a U.K. pop princess, a disco strut from an “American Idol” alum, and a promising debut by an Aussie synth star in the making.
Neon Hitch, Leah LaBelle, and more in 5 Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week.
1.) Neon Hitch, “Midnight Sun”
Sure, you might know Neon Hitch best for her sweetly sung, naughty-minded club anthems such as “Bad Dog” and “Love U Betta” (or her feature of Gym Class Heroes‘ “Ass Back Home“), but she’s about to prove that she can get vulnerable, too. On her brand-new Happy Neon EP, the U.K. songstress strips down the production alongside Frank Ocean collaborator Happy Perez and dives into moody, contemplative territory. “Midnight Sun” is perhaps the most gorgeous track of the bunch. It’s a bleary-eyed ballad that sees the songstress belting out in agony atop an eerie spook-hop beat, à la The Weeknd. “You never say that you love me/ You always turn over when we’re done,” she tenderly coos above the echoing drums, her vibrato triggering full body chills. This is Neon shining in a whole new light — and the ultimate 3 a.m. sobfest.
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump.
2.) Leah LaBelle, “Lolita”
It’s been nearly a decade since Season 3 of “American Idol” ended, and that particular year is still churning out superstars: After providing us with her slinky throwback R&B jam “Sexify” last summer, soulful songstress and Top 12 finalist Leah LaBelle has returned in 2013 with a Pharrell-produced slice of strut-friendly goodness. “Lolita” is as fierce as it is funky, as a confident LaBelle teases her way around Pharrell’s dirty disco bass plucks and spacey synthesizers. “Leave your pinstripes and your 9 to 5 in my lolita eyes tonight/ Come on, let’s dirty up your mind,” LaBelle seduces. It’s a fresh, obsessively repeat-friendly cut, and Nabokov would totally approve. (Lit reference!)
3.) Wanderhouse, “Sugar”
Collaboration is a beautiful thing: Wanderhouse is the pairing of producer/remix extraordinaire Doctor Rosen Rosen and folk songbird Marie Moreshead. Together, the two produce luscious dream pop, as heard with last year’s incredibly tender reinterpretation of Ellie Goulding‘s “Lights.” Their brand-new original track, “Sugar,” sees the songstress wrapping her delicate, whispered vocals around heavy piano chords and a numbed, soldiering beat. “I’ll be like sugar, call me/ Tell me how you like it, tell me stories,” she coos above the slow-striding chorus. It’s desolate and endlessly romantic, sort of like Lana Del Rey meets Late Night Alumni. By the time the song ends, it feels like we’ve just been let in on a safely guarded, sweetly sung secret.
4.) Darin, “Playing With Fire”
“Swedish Idol” finalist Darin has had a string of Top 10 records ever since his major-label debut in 2005. And now, he’s about to return with one of his most blazin’ dance floor smashes yet. Produced by Jim Beanz (he of Britney Spears‘ Blackout fame among other pop masterpieces), “Playing With Fire” is the first taste of the Swede-pop cutie’s 6th studio album Exit, which was crafted here in America. “Is it me or is it getting hot in here?/ You keep touching on me, but I don’t care,” Darin ponders on the fiery club-pop cut, diving headfirst into a massive, stuttering stomper of a chorus. (“You keep playing with…fire!”) Trust us, we’re more than happy to get burned.
5.) Nick Pes, “I Remember”
Nick Pes is a Sydney-based singer-songwriter who is already wowing us with his potential. On his debut single “I Remember,” Pes waxes nostalgic aboard a New Wave synth-pop sound that recalls fellow Aussie acts such as Empire Of The Sun, Cut Copy, and Garcon Garcon (with whom he plays guitar during their live performances). “We’re in your car, driving down the PCH/ And we count the stars together,” Pes fondly reminisces across the slick, dreamy beats. It’s a solid start and a great indication of things to come from the burgeoning synth-pop star (who, for the record, is totally not hard to look at either).
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and writing impassioned letters to Congress urging that Madonnalogy be taught in all public schools. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
Photo credit: Getty/UMG/Twitter/Garcon Garcon