This week’s roundup features the long, long, LONG-awaited debut of one of indie-pop’s most intriguing “It girls,” a festive offering from the original queen of “American Idol,” and the return of a Swedish male pop superstar.
1.) Sky Ferreira, “24 Hours”
It’s real, it’s actual, and it’s finally here: After more than 5 years of label deals, album delays, and legal strife, Sky Ferreira‘s debut LP, Night Time, My Time, has arrived. After so many years, the gritty, grungy collection of tracks feels less like an introduction and more like an exhausted sigh of relief — and one hell of an album experience.
It’s not always the most accessible record, but there are a few gems that still sparkle with a pop sensibility. One of these is “24 Hours” — which BTW is available on iTunes this week! The fuzzy, ’80s-tinged track sees Sky and her soulmate making the best of the time they’ve still got together (24 hours, to be exact) above bright bells and hazy beats. “I wish these 24 hours would never end,” she laments on the gorgeous, romantic tune. It’s almost like a darker take on “Teenage Dream,” but with an expiration date. Carpe diem, Sky.
+ Listen to SKY FERREIRA’S “24 HOURS.”
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump.
2.) Kelly Clarkson, “Just For Now”
Kelly Clarkson — born Kellegendary Clarkslay — has recorded a Christmas album. Perhaps you’ve heard its already iconic new holiday anthem, “Underneath The Tree“? Yes, well, it’s stupendous, allowing the O.G. “American Idol” to show off her flaw-free pipes in the most #festive of ways.
One of the biggest surprises? A cover of none other than Imogen Heap‘s “Just For Now,” a soaring track from her 2005 masterpiece, Speak For Yourself — a.k.a., the best holiday surprise EVER. As with everything else, Kelly puts her melodic spin on the indie track and makes hectic holiday get-togethers sound so, so beautiful. Basically, Kelly sleighs.
+ Listen to KELLY CLARKSON’S “JUST FOR NOW.”
3.) Erik Hassle, “Talk About It”
Praise be to the Pop Gods: Erik Hassle has returned. For those unfamiliar, the 25-year-old Swedish singer-songwriter is responsible for churning out some of the most gorgeous, mesmerizingly beautiful tunes in pop over the past few years, including “Hurtful,” “Don’t Bring Flowers,” and “Are You Leaving.” He’s finally returned to the scene this month with a brand new track — and this time, he’s incorporated a rich, alt-R&B-inflected sound.
The first taste of his upcoming 2014 record, “Talk About It” glides across a slow-tripping pulse and drum machine loops. The melodies are just as catchy as always, and the vocals just as soulful, but there’s a darker sensibility to the tunes this time around à la The Weeknd (and perhaps a bit of Prince) — and that’s quite a promising development.
+ Listen to ERIK HASSLE’s “TALK ABOUT IT.”
4.) Manou, “Sadie”
Here’s what we know about this 16-year-old singer-songstress so far: Manou lives in Germany, she performs sometimes at small clubs in London (chaperoned by her manager, ’cause she’s 16 and all), and, judging by her debut single “Sadie,” she’s got an incredibly promising pop career ahead of her.
The P-Nut-produced track bounces between shimmering Scandinavian vibrations (think Lykke Li) and a groove reminiscent of new jack swing. The production is intriguingly left-of-center and the lyrics are more mature than you might expect, proving that — as with Lorde — teen pop doesn’t have to be fluffy stuff.
+ Listen to MANOU’S “SADIE.”
5.) Cash Cash, “Here & Now (feat. Kerli)”
New Jersey-based EDM troupe Cash Cash got their first major taste of success this year with “Take Me Home,” a slamming collaboration with the singer-songwriter behind Eminem and Rihanna‘s “The Monster,” Bebe Rexha.
Now, they’ve enlisted another pop princess to carry their bursting dance tunes into another dimension: Estonian pop goddess/ space cadet, Kerli. “Here & Now” sees the songstress blasting off across almighty synthesizers, anthemic chants, and nasty beat breakdowns. “Let’s get lost in time,” Kerli declares before the track morphs into a Daft Punk-like glitch-fest. Congratulations, you’ve just found your newest dance floor fixation.
+ Listen to CASH CASH’S “HERE & NOW (FEAT. KERLI).”
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, RCA, Universal Republic, Theo PR, Big Beat Records, Inc.