Best Songs We Heard This Week: Kimbra, Solange, Banks + More
Happy Tuesday, PopCrush readers.
Just as we do every week, the PopCrush editors have selected their favorite new songs for your listening pleasure from #NewMusicFriday and beyond, ranging from up-and-comers to tried-and-true superstars.
We hope that you all have a happy rest of your week! And for more playlists, be sure to follow us on Apple Music.
Kimbra, "Sweet Relief"
On 2014's underrated The Golden Echo, she declared her love for "90s Music," but on "Sweet Relief," Kimbra finds herself grooving to a decidedly more '80s beat. Like the lovechild of Janet Jackson, Prince and Oingo Boingo, "Sweet Relief" is a warped, weird science-y fusion of '80s R&B, dance and new wave sounds. A thick, gooey bass-line thwomps while sticky-sweet synths ooze across the track, driving the lush, mid-tempo jam forward with funky conviction as Kimbra expresses her desire for a little "skin to skin." It's a truly bizarre, sensual throwback affair, but it feels so good when she gives me that sonic sweet relief. — Erica Russell
DNCE, “Body Moves"
Having so far remained unmoved by DNCE’s brand of skillfully constructed pander-pop, a catalog that so far sounds like it was conceived at a sad accountant’s wedding reception, I concede that “Body Moves” is just fun. Cole Whittle’s bassline charges a chorus that registers like a sugar-rushed “Can’t Feel My Face,” and were it not for Joe Jonas’ vacant attempts at relentless Michael Jackson-howling, I might recommend it to friends at parties. May DNCE figure this thing out before the release of their self-titled, debut LP in November… — Matthew Donnelly
Emma Ruth Rundle, “Protection”
“Protection” announces itself with a thundering drumbeat before Emma Ruth Rundle’s agonized vocals swell and sigh while singing with bracing honesty about a poisonous love: “you are colder in your heart, I am worthless in your arms / but you offer this protection no one else has given me.” Like the rest of the songs on Rundle’s just-released Marked For Death, “Protection” is a gorgeously smoldering, guitars-heavy rumination. – Samantha Vincenty
King Deco, "Read My Lips"
With each release, steadily rising Jordanian-born singer King Deco continues to make a convincing bid for pop radio superstardom. Her latest, "Read My Lips," is a synth-y bid for some serious understanding, dedicated to a dude that just doesn't seem to get it. "Don't worry it's you, not me / I just say it how it is," she brushes him off above the infectious bounce. Still not getting it? Just hush and let King Deco do the talking. Muah! — Bradley Stern
Regina Spektor, “Older and Taller”
Barring the more radio-friendly pop hits that first thrust her into the spotlight, Regina Spektor has never appealed much to the truly weird-averse. And while I’d typically say good riddance to all those fair-weather fans anyway, it’s true that Spektor is at her finest when she balances quirk with catchy melodies and full-fledged storytelling. No where is that union exhibited better than on “Older and Taller,” — a bouncy, piano-driven pop gem off her latest release Remember Us to Life that deftly explores the concept of youth’s impending end with Spektor’s signature playful tone. “‘Enjoy your youth' sounds like a threat,” she sings, before ultimately conceding to what we already know, “But I will anyway.” — Ali Szubiak
The Pretty Reckless, “Prisoner"
Given the probability that cigarettes are responsible, I feel a bit imprudent championing Taylor Momsen’s mutated tone, which has descended from the days of “My Medicine” like a sinking stone. But damn does she sound good. “Prisoner,” the latest from The Pretty Reckless’ forthcoming Who You Selling For, is rock purism, and succeeds for a barefaced rejection of anything superfluous. Here, a tambourine, drum set and guitar carve out an exacted path for Momsen’s voice at rest. Considering the singer’s penchant for wailing on past tracks, her restraint here is all the more impressive. — Matthew Donnelly
Banks, "This Is Not About Us"
I'm so sorry to all other artists this week, but I can't wander out more than two or three songs deep before I'm right back worshipping at The Altar. It's so good! These five are essential, but there's more, including "This Is Not About Us," one of the bouncier, but no less damning, tracks from the singer's second LP. Aside from an irresistible chorus with just the right demonic undertones, the song's armed with one of the album's best bridges: "I found out that you were weak and you never stood up / All the times I tried to prove to you!" Look: it's not me, it's definitely you. — Bradley Stern
HONNE featuring Kill J, “FHKD”
London-based electronic duo HONNE’s original “FKHD,” which appears on 2016’s Warm on a Cold Night, was already a slick and dance floor-friendly gem. But the rework adds Danish singer Kill J’s vocals, a controlled yet emotive warble, injecting a new sweetness to the track. The new “FHKD” is — to borrow from the band’s album title, warmer — a dynamic back-and-forth where it was once vocalist Andy’s plea to an unheard-from partner. The result is pure romance. – Samantha Vincenty
Solange, "Cranes in the Sky"
Solange's "Cranes in the Sky" is a blissful, emotive soul tune that plays in muted, jazzy hues. As the poetic singer-songwriter grapples with depression and isolation—"Thought a new dress would make it better / I tried to work it away / But that just made me even sadder"—you can feel a sense of catharsis, both in sonic flourish and lyric. Sweeping and lush, the A Seat at the Table single is a warm, soothing invitation to an otherwise solitary offering of art that allows the artist to explore incredibly personal and nuanced spaces. And we're lucky to be invited in. — Erica Russell
LIV, "Wings of Love"
Swedish supergroup LIV — comprised of musical heavyweights Lykke Li, Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt and Pontus Winnberg and Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn & John — released their debut track “Wings of Love,” to little fanfare, and it's a shame. The song is a dreamy pop throwback that melds lilting, shimmering vocals with psychedelic '70s guitars, making for one hell of a musical introduction. More, please. -- Ali Szubiak