This week’s roundup features some brooding crooning from an up-and-coming twin sister act, some summertime sadness from a Malaysian beauty, and a truly cross-cultural EDM experience. Let’s go!
1.) Megan & Liz, “In The Shadows Tonight”
Megan & Liz, our favorite li’l YouTube darlings-turned-bona fide pop starlets, are back! After dropping “Release You,” their catchy, Max Martin-produced #BANGER earlier this summer (“Goodbyeeeee!“), the girls have decided to slow down the tempo and delve into darkness. “In The Shadows Tonight,” which was co-penned by the sister act and produced by frequent Disney pop act producer John Fields, finds the girls slipping away into the shadows of their minds — all the while pumping massive, arena-size ’80s power-pop ballad hooks throughout. It’s probably their most mature moment yet, and it’s a nice place to find some solace.
+ Listen to MEGAN & LIZ, “IN THE SHADOWS TONIGHT”
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump.
2.) BT, “City Life” featuring Fractal & Bada
BT is arguably one of the most progressive, innovative electronic producers of our time. With his latest studio album, A Song Across Wires, the skilled producer collaborated with tons of solid, if not semi-unexpected, acts. Perhaps the best surprise is “City Life,” a collaboration with producer-DJ Fractal and K-Pop sensation (and former lead of the girl group S.E.S.), Bada. The almighty 6-minute track — sung entirely in Korean — builds gorgeously across tons of vocal layers, stuttering beats, and rich, ambient textures. It’s a fantastic blend of world sound — from K-Pop to progressive House — making for one thrilling aural trip.
+ Listen to BT FEATURING FRACTAL AND BADA, “CITY LIFE”
3.) Yuna, “Falling”
We’ve been buzzing about the honey-voiced Malaysian crooner Yuna for years now (remember her “Live Your Life” with Theophilus London?), and every time we check back in, she’s doing cooler and cooler things.(#ItGetsCooler) For her new single, “Falling,” the songstress worked with Robin Hannibal, who hails from Quadron and Rhye. The result is a breakup ode wrapped around a misleadingly bright production, shaking up our senses and getting our tears dropping all over the floor. “I wanna forget all this burden in my past/ I want to fall asleep so I don’t have to remember,” she coos. It’s like the saddest Sade song, mixed with some perky Oh Land. We love it — even if we have no idea how to feel.
+ Listen to YUNA, “FALLING”
4.) Johnny Stimson, “Daddy’s Money”
Earlier this summer, Johnny Stimson was battling cyborgs above funky disco beats in the “Run Lola Run”-esque video for “Human Man.” Now, the crooner’s back for more — but don’t worry, no robots were harmed in the making of this song. On his equally toe-tap happy, glitchy new ’80s-tinged track, “Daddy’s Money,” Johnny’s dishing out all his dollars on a pretty girl who wants only the finest things in life. “Get you everything you want/ But everything is never enough!” he croons. It’s a superslick stomper suited for lavish shopping sprees on your sweetheart. It’s so infectious, in fact, that you’ll almost forget that you’re up to your eyeballs in debt.
+ Listen to JOHNNY STIMSON, “DADDY’S MONEY”
5.) Gabriel & Dresden, “Tomorrow Comes” featuring Neil Ormandy
Electronic duo Gabriel & Dresden‘s been pumping out solid, emotion-laced electronica for years. (Remember 2006′s still-amazing “Tracking Treasure Down”?) Next month, they’re going to service a brand-new slice of pulsating tranced-out bliss: “Tomorrow Comes,” featuring vocals from singer-songwriter Neil Ormandy. The uplifting club anthem slowly builds across eight-plus minutes of soaring vocals and shimmering synthesizers. “I dream of a better place/ Tomorrow comes,” Ormandy pensively croons before an almighty liftoff. Remember: Tomorrow’s just a day away.
Bradley Stern is a writer from 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 and musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
Video Music Award 2013 winners, red carpet photos, and the full VMA show free on demand at VMA.MTV.com.