Happy Ari week! Ariana Grande‘s highly anticipated fifth LP, Thank U, Next, was finally released on Friday. If you can manage to tear yourself away from “NASA” for a few minutes, this was also a great week for pop overall. Kim Petras closed out this era of singles with a trio of great new tracks, Charly Bliss announced their new record with an addictive new single, and Marina (minus The Diamonds) is back with her first new music in years, with the promise of more to come.
Every week, Uproxx will round out the best new pop releases of the last seven days. Pause Thank U, Next for just a couple minutes to catch these bops — I promise it’s worth it.
Kim Petras, Feat. Lil Aaron, “Homework”
Since the 2017 release of her debut single “I Don’t Want It At All,” German singer Kim Petras has made a name for herself as pop’s shiniest party princess. Petras makes music to light up the dance floor, neon-bright, synthy 2 AM euphoria. Petras’ proclaimed last singles of “this era” are a trio that would have rounded out an impeccable album, if she’d decided to release them that way. “Homework” is a melancholy ode to the hometown love who was there for her before the party started. It’s slower and sadder than we’re used to with Petras, but “Homework” showcases her versatility as an artist. This era may be over, but Petras is one of the most exciting voices in pop. I can’t wait for whatever she’s got next.
Ariana Grande, “Needy”
Grande’s latest album Thank U, Next is an outpouring of emotional acuity, intense and longing where Sweetener was satisfied and glossy. The songs, written amid the tumultuous few months since Grande released Sweetener, are sonically and lyrically diverse. The thread holding the whole album together is Grande’s expression of her desires on her own, and her journey as she figures out what she wants and how to get it. She turns “Needy” from a mean ex’s insult to a celebration for passion and expression. On an album of career highlights, this is one of the standouts.
Charly Bliss, “Capacity”
Charly Bliss’ 2017 debut Guppy was one of my favorite albums of 2017. The New York pop-punk band further evolve their elastic bubblegum grunge sound on their new single “Capacity.” It’s an immediately relatable song for every perfectionistic people-pleaser, describing that feeling of being on the edge of bursting giving so much of yourself to others. It’s poppier and more synth-y than any of CB’s music so far, but the craft of these beat and poetry of the lyrics make this song a compulsively listenable labyrinth. Every repeat play lets you discover a new corner of the instrumentals or Eva Hendricks’ expressive voice. And don’t miss out on the cinematic, Japanese Breakfast-directed video, either.
Marina, “Handmade Heaven”
English indie pop icon Marina (minus The Diamonds) is back with her first new solo music since 2015’s Froot. “Handmade Heaven” is a twinkling daydream of a song, reminiscent of Lorde or Dua Lipa in her careful contemplation and descriptive songwriting. Marina is the OG electro-pop poet of the 2010s, and her influence on the genre can be heard in countless new indie pop releases. “Handmade Heaven” is quiet and understated — maybe not the club anthem I was hoping for Marina’s first single of this era, but certainly a compelling preview of what’s to come.
Khalid, Feat. Disclosure, “Talk”
Khalid, R&B-pop king of melancholy bops, has collaborated with hit-makers Disclosure for an immaculately produced new single. “Talk” is the first single off Khalid’s upcoming sophomore album, and is a great showcase of his evolution as an artist. He takes the promise of his American Teen hits and doubles the gloss with snapping drums and ethereal synths. Disclosure’s instrumentation takes you to heaven, and Khalid’s calming, buttery voice keeps you grounded and down to earth. Get ready to hear this one everywhere.
Maren Morris, Feat. Brandi Carlile, “Common”
Combined, the two vocalists on this song were nominated for 11 Grammys this year — and you can hear that power on “Common.” Morris and Carlile sound otherworldly, echoing and singing over one another like they’re daring each other’s towering voices to climb even higher. “Common,” the second single from Morris’ upcoming sophomore studio album, demands that we stop arguing for a minute and just hear each other out. It’s a powerful message from two powerhouse singer-songwriters. When Morris and Carlile tell us to do something, we stop and listen.
Anna Of The North, “Leaning On Myself”
Norwegian singer-songwriter Anna Of The North has dropped the best independence bop since “Thank U, Next.” In the aftermath of a breakup, Anna sings about that complicated process of rebuilding your life without another person. It’s both exciting and incredibly lonely. There’s happiness in the lyrics, but also a feeling of loss, and of being lost. In lyrics like “Lately I’ve been fine, I’ve been filling up my free time / Wasting all my money, playing in the sunshine,” you can hear the paradoxical freedom and loneliness of being alone for the first time. “Leaning On Myself” is also catchy as hell. You’ll be humming the “awoo”s of the chorus all week long.