This week’s roundup features a legendary U.K. girl group’s Stateside studio sessions, a brilliant Janet reinterpretation, futuristic R&B, and a celebration of the ultimate disco diva. Come and get it!
1.) MKS, “Lay Down in Swimming Pools”
Ah, MKS: the greatest girl group to never debut…yet. For the past year, the original members of the iconic British girl group Sugababes have been holed up in studios across the U.K. and America carving out what will be an inevitably immaculate (re-)debut — their first together since 2000′s One Touch. And at long last, we got a taste of something new last week: “Lay Down In Swimming Pools,” an interpolation of Kendrick Lamar‘s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” produced by Solange‘s BFF, Dev Hynes. Harmonizing above a faded, blurry R&B beat, the girls po’ it, po’ it up together. It’s a refreshing sound, and all the girls sound fantastic (especially Siobhan’s moment toward the end!) For a group that hasn’t made new music in more than a decade, they’ve never sounded quite so fresh.
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump!
2.) Jarell Perry, “Win”
We already introduced you to Jarell Perry back in February as one of our “Buzz On” up-and-comers. Now, one of our newest faves has dropped his debut LP, Simple Things, this week, and he doesn’t disappoint in the least. Armed with a set of pipes that rival Miguel and Usher‘s soulful crooning, the talented singer works his way through a solid set of murky alt-R&B sounds à la Frank Ocean and Dawn Richard, flirting with drum and bass and dubstep along the way. “Win,” the lead track from the record, is a solid representation of the record as a whole. “If I lose it all, then I don’t want it back,” Perry croons. Slip on a pair of headphones and get lost.
3.) MNEK, “That’s The Way Love Goes (Re-Fix)”
At 18 years old, MNEK already has two Top 5 hits to his name: The Saturdays‘ massive “All Fired Up” and Little Mix‘s No. 1 debut, “Wings.” But when he’s not carving out smashes in the studios for some of the most vibrant talent across the pond, the British wunderkind is busy playing around and creating re-fixes of classic tracks. His latest, a take on Miss Janet‘s “That’s The Way Love Goes,” gives the track an entirely new feel, peeling away the warm ‘n’ slinky production of the original and morphing it into a hypnotic slow burn filled with rich, soulful vocals (and xylophone sounds). It’s a completely new take (thus, the beauty of a re-fix) but, as Miss Jackson would want, it’s just as sexy. Get nasty!
4.) Bridgit Mendler, “Hurricane”
After making a splash with her debut solo single “Ready Or Not” (which just recently earned her a Top 10 charting over in the U.K.), Hollywood Records songstress Bridgit Mendler is prepping the next single off of her 2012 debut, Hello My Name Is. “Hurricane,” a catchy slice of breezy pop styling, relies on a healthy amount of rap-singing in the verses (not unlike Cher Lloyd or Karmin), but the chorus offers a fresh burst of melodic croonage. “Everything is fine when you’re standing in the eye of the hurricane,” she sings. As for the whole rapping bit? It’s the kind of flow that’ll either come across as cute and endearing, or just hugely irritating. Either way, good luck getting this one out of your brain for the next few days!
5.) Dannii Minogue, “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling”
This week is a holy one in pop: It’s the 10-year anniversary of Dannii Minogue‘s Neon Nights! The Queen of Clubs’ stellar 2003 set saw the Aussie pop princess wrapping her dirty hands around a flaw-free collection of flirty electro-pop anthems, including “Put The Needle On It,” “I Begin To Wonder,” and “Vibe On,” an ode to, well, you can figure that one out for yourself. “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling,” a Top 5 hit in the U.K. (and a Top 10 in the U.S.!), is one of the album’s most representative tracks — a funky, sparkling dance floor gem that finds the disco diva gleefully moaning and groaning around a funky bass line. “Give me some more,” she urges. Ten years later, and truer words have never been spoken. Come back to us, Queen D!
Bradley Stern is a writer living in New York. 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 Images/Jarell Perry