This week’s roundup features two of the U.K.’s most promising soulful male crooners, some spacey R&B, a bangin’ pop remix, and one particularly Spearitual offering from a certain living legend.
1.) Sam Smith, “Money On My Mind”
Sam Smith is about to burst in a big, big way. Not only has the British singer-songwriter just been listed on the BBC’s coveted Sound Of 2014 list, but he’s been positively killin’ it with his features lately — from Disclosure‘s “Latch” to Naughty Boy‘s “La La La.”
Now Smith’s on a mission to break in his own right, beginning with “Money On My Mind.” To no one’s surprise, his soulful vocals are positively bananas. “I don’t have money on my mind,” he yelps, “I do it for the love.” The message is as refreshing as the smoothly crooned tune.
+ Listen to SAM SMITH’S “MONEY ON MY MIND.”
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump.
2.) Britney Spears, “Hold On Tight”
Feeling particularly Spearitual today? That would be because today is the hallowed Feast of Saint Britney Jean — aka the release date of Britney Spears‘ eighth studio album! So, how is the living legend’s new record? Well, it’s a little more personal, super sweet, and… yes, a little more Religiousney.
“Hold On Tight” is one of the four deluxe edition tracks from the record, and it sounds like a straight-up ballad from the Britney/ In The Zone era. Those vocals? C’mon, y’all, it’s like we’re right back in 2003! “I just want to fall into his arms tonight,” she cries out. Raise your arms high and look to the light — The Holy Spearit will see you through.
+ Listen to BRITNEY SPEARS’ “HOLD ON TIGHT.”
3.) John Newman, “Losing Sleep”
If you haven’t hopped aboard the John Newman Express (I don’t know, just go with it), you’ll need to do so right about… NOW. The U.K.-based soul-pop crooner is on a roll, riding high off a No. 1 debut record, Tribute, and a No. 1 solo single, “Love Me Again.”
This December, he returns to the scene with “Losing Sleep” — and it’s MAYJAH. Seriously, think Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep,” as sung by a 23-year-old man in 2013. That heartbreaking chorus? Those pipes? Nuh uh. He’s something special. Along with Sam Smith, it looks like we’re about to see a whole new wave of ’60s soul revival coming out of the U.K.
+ Listen to JOHN NEWMAN’S “LOSING SLEEP.”
4.) Sevyn Streeter, “Shattered”
Now the former RichGirl member steps forth on her solo journey with her debut solo EP, Call Me Crazy, But… The eclectic set jumps around between frantic electro-R&B cuts and slinky bedroom jams. “Shattered” carries along on as similarly chill a vibe as “It Won’t Stop,” albeit a much more emotionally conflicted one. “It’s like we’re throwing stones at a glass house and it shatters,” she purrs on repeat over the tripping beats and sparse ambient electronica.
+ Listen to SEVYN STREETER’S “SHATTERED.”
5.) Betty Who, “Somebody Loves You (Starsmith Remix)”
Without a doubt, Betty Who‘s debut single, “Somebody Loves You,” will go down as one of 2013′s most euphoric pop gems. And ever since it took off thanks to that viral Home Depot proposal video (note to future husband: never do that to me), it’s only been getting bigger.
Starsmith is the latest producer to put his magic touch on the track, converting the jam into a slightly crunchier, synth-ier concoction. But despite the tougher electro edges, it’s just as lovey-dovey and swoon-filled as ever. We’re still in love, Miss Who!
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 Records, RCA Records, Island Def Jam, Atlantic Recording