Best Songs We Heard This Week: Fantasia, Lola Coca, White Sea + More
Happy Friday, PopCrush readers.
It's time for another installment of #NewMusicFriday, where the PopCrush editors dig through all the releases from pop superstars and on-the-rise hopefuls alike, picking out the best tunes for your playlists.
Take a look at all of our picks below, and for more playlists, keep up with us on Apple Music.
Fantasia, “So Blue"
While country-experiment “Ugly” unexpectedly fit Fantasia like a utility glove, she steps away from the grain silo and toward a soul train on “So Blue,” a new track from her forthcoming The Definition Of… The song, a lamenting of a cheating ex (and admission that she, too, has fooled around), pairs cinematic string arrangements with slam poetry percussion for a modern take on ‘70s stylings. It sort of sounds like what Foxy Brown would play while revising her grocery list at the kitchen counter, and has somehow generated even more intrigue around Fantasia’s fifth LP. — Matthew Donnelly
Liana Bank$, "LVLUP"
It’s refreshing to hear a debut single as confident and focused as “LVLUP,” the hazy, sensual trip-pop jam from R&B newcomer Liana Bank$. The New York City-based artist clearly knows who she is and where she stands, as evidenced by self-possessed lyrics that speak to the lime-haired songwriter’s refusal to dim her shine for anybody: “They told us to turn our swag down, down, down / So we made it even more loud, loud, loud.” Funny, that’s what I did after I hit play. – Erica Russell
Broiler featuring Ina Wroldsen, "Lay It On Me"
Let it be known: Ina Wroldsen is one of pop's most important penners. She wrote "He About to Lose Me" for Britney, for God(ney)'s sake! She's also got incredibly distinctive pipes of her own — even when she goes uncredited. ("How Deep Is Your Love," anyone?) Mercifully for us, she's kept the collaborations coming, this time in the form of "Lay It On Me" with Norwegian DJ duo Broiler. The result is beautifully stirring, similar to her criminally overlooked Ask Embla project, with the kind of urgency that makes you legitimately feel like the whole world's about to end. — Bradley Stern
Hudson Thames, “Drive it Like You Stole It"
Ostensibly, John Carney’s Sing Street – released last Friday (April 15) – tells the story of a 1980s Dublin teenager who starts a rock band to impress a girl. The narrative quickly expands to underscore more affecting themes of freedom and expression, though, and “Drive it Like You Stole It,” one of the soundtrack’s original seven songs, is the cassette-shaped star. Written by Carney and Gary Clark, the poppy rock track, played by the movie’s titular band at a high school dance, fits seamlessly between samplings from Duran Duran and The Cure elsewhere on the album. It could incite restless legs in a cadaver, and proves that, while usually futile, naïve hope is at least pretty fun. — Matthew Donnelly
LOOP, “Looking at You”
A subtle blend of R&B, pop and electronica, newcomer LOOP’s ear worm-worthy “Looking at You” is tough to categorize, but quick to take to. There’s a measured level of hysteria here, with its pulsing synths, staccato percussion and crisp vocals coming together with a heightened energy, before bursting forth on the track’s enormous chorus. Not much is known about the London-based singer-songwriter yet, but she’s one to watch for sure. — Ali Szubiak
White Sea, "Bloodline"
You're likely already acquainted with White Sea (Morgan Kibby) for a variety of reasons: her collaborations with M83 (including "Kim & Jessie"), her 2014 debut In Cold Blood, or perhaps her myriad remixes for the likes of Demi and Britney. She's doing things differently this year: Stream of consciousness! "If I write something that I like, I’m putting it out! No EPs, no albums…just songs from me to you that I want you to hear," she wrote as part of her ongoing Postcards from Nowhere project. The creative free-flow approach appears to be working: her latest release "Bloodline" is a real beaut, playing something like a synth-y, Goldfrapp-ish take on a HIAM track. Creative freedom is liberating. — Bradley Stern
Lola Coca, "GQ"
It’s difficult not to make a comparison to Lily Allen the moment Lola Coca’s “GQ” begins to play. From the bouncy, tropical hip-hop beat to the artist’s unaffected British singsong, the track wouldn’t sound a bit out of place on Alright, Still, Allen’s 2006 debut. Thankfully, it’s a welcome return to the bratty pop sound that basically defined my junior year of high school. The London-based songwriter’s latest punchy single is a contagious anti-dudebro anthem that lampoons a very specific breed of suitor, Coca declaring, “That rock n’ roll don’t really move my soul / You’re a budget Elvis Costello… / Even on the cover of GQ / I am never going home with you!” Girl, same — well, unless it’s Oscar Isaac. – Erica Russell
Enrique Iglesias, “Duele El Corazon”
The temperatures have risen since “Duele El Corazon” dropped earlier this week, at least in New York City, and I don’t believe in coincidence. No, there’s this supernatural, Pavlovian response to Enrique’s material — the catchier the track, the closer we are to summer’s impending heat and oppressive humidity, even the weather gods have deemed it so. And, all right, “Duele El Corazon” isn’t the most original track in his arsenal, and yeah, maaaaaybe those guitars are mildly reminiscent of Juanes’ “La Camisa Negra,” but whatever! The track’s hypnotic rhythm and irresistible melody make it more than worthy of repeat listens, all summer long. — Ali Szubiak