This week’s roundup features a soldiering theme beamed in straight from District 12, some feel-good bubblegum pop by one of the best girl groups in the U.S., and a slice of dream-pop by a Swedish-Aussie twin sister act on the rise.
1.) Of Monsters And Men, “Silhouettes”
Katniss, Peeta, and Gale might have a pretty dire situation at hand (what with the whole fighting to the death between districts and all), but boy, they sure do know how to pick a good song! Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing more and more selections from the ever-promising The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and this latest addition is no exception.
Of Monsters And Men‘s “Silhouettes” soldiers on with a tense, staggered drumbeat and atmospheric guitars. “A thousand silhouettes dancing on my chest/ No matter where I sleep, you are haunting me,” lead songstress Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir quivers. Between Christina Aguilera‘s “We Remain,” Sia and The Weeknd‘s “Elastic Heart,” and now this, could the “Catching Fire” soundtrack triumph as one of the top pop records of the year? May the odds be ever in its favor.
+ Listen to OF MONSTERS AND MEN’S “SILHOUETTES.”
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump.
2.) Fifth Harmony, “Don’t Wanna Dance Alone”
If “The X Factor” U.S. alums of Fifth Harmony have taught us anything over the past year, it’s that music sounds better together (and also that ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN). Today, the fabulous fivesome dropped their all-around amazing debut EP, Better Together, which is full of frothy bubblegum pop fun like “Miss Movin’ On” and “Me & My Girls.”
“Don’t Wanna Dance Alone” is one of the newest cuts from the bunch, and it knocks. Seriously. The track is like the baby sister to Whitney Houston‘s iconic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” full of throwback Mariah Carey-esque ’90s feel-good grooves and endlessly catchy hooks. Grab your giant hair bows and get on the floor — or at least to tune in to their “Live From MTV” special today at 3:30 p.m. ET on MTV.com!
+ Listen to FIFTH HARMONY’S “DON’T WANNA DANCE ALONE.”
3.) Katy Perry, “Legendary Lovers”
In case you haven’t been letting the light in (or haven’t seen a massive golden 18-wheeler driving by recently), Katy Perry‘s got a glittery new album out today. Prism is full of light and airy pop tracks, all celebrating her newfound sense of self (and newfound love in life, Mr. John Mayer).
“Legendary Lovers” is one of the more interesting standouts from the bunch. “Under a silver moon, tropical temperature, I feel my lotus bloom,” she coos above tribal strings — an obvious allusion to Christina Aguilera’s game-changing 2012 record, Lotus, no doubt. The global folk feel of the production, coupled with the almighty howl of the chorus (“Legendary lovers!”), makes this one of the most mystical, listenable productions of the bunch.
+ Listen to KATY PERRY’S “LEGENDARY LOVERS.”
4.) Rebecca Ferguson, “I Hope”
Rebecca Ferguson is one of the most distinguishable, talented voices to come out of “The X Factor” U.K. ever — and she’s back for another round this year. The soulful songstress just premiered the first track from her upcoming sophomore record, Freedom, and it’s a seriously stunning (and bitter!) adult contemporary breakup number.
“After time, I realized that for me to grow, I’ve got to let go,” she pledges across a stomping beat and a somber piano melody — similar to Adele‘s stomping, stony-faced 21 classics, à la “Rolling In The Deep.” Will this do the trick to break Rebecca into American Top 40 radio? Well, I hope, I hope, I hope…
+ Listen to REBECCA FERGUSON’S “I HOPE.”
5.) Say Lou Lou, “Better In The Dark”
This December, the twosome will drop their Columbia Records debut, “Better In The Dark” — and it just might be their most accessible, radio-friendly offering to date. “It feels better in the dark/ I feel closer to your heart, nothing can come between us,” the two croon on the anthemic chorus above a gorgeous, propulsive pulse, colored by distant choirs and crashing drums. And the best part? The track feels good both in the dark and in broad daylight.
+ Listen to SAY LOU LOU’S “BETTER IN THE DARK.”
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.
Photo credit: Capitol, Republic, Epic, Sony Music Entertainment U.K., Andreas Öhlund for The Lab Magazine