Since morphing from a quintet to a trio, Hey Violet has continued to craft winning alt-pop tracks thanks to the songwriting skill of sisters Rena and Mia Lovelis. “Problems” slyly captures the fits and starts of romantic frustration; the lines in each verse are stammered, then lead to the conditional statement: “If you keep looking at me like that?/ Problems.”
Charli Adams, “Cheer Captain”
The single artwork for Charli Adams’ “Cheer Captain” is a close-up of the singer-songwriter mid-scream, as if all the “people pleaser” behavior she describes in this engrossing self-examination has finally boiled over into a cathartic wail. Adams operates over a jangly indie pop arrangement that fans of Clairo and Beabadoobee will enjoy, but each lyric is marked by personal experience, as if only Adams could deliver these memories herself.
Maia Wright, “Break Her Heart”
On “Break Her Heart,” Swedish pop star Maia Wright fully admits that the other woman in her love triangle is pretty awesome: “Her kiss is electric, body magnetic,” she sings. Yet Wright is ready to compete with pristine vocals, a kicky pre-chorus and a hook that fits in nicely on any singalong pop playlist.
LoveLeo feat. Blackwinterwells, “Buzzcut”
A press release champions “Buzzcut” as a “new hyperpop bop” from LoveLeo and Blackwinterwells… and within five seconds, through all the chattering beats and the swirling melody that emerges from them, one has to admit that it’s an apt description. There’s a lot going on in the two minutes and change of “Buzzcut,” but between the alluring lyrics and dueling voices, LoveLeo’s ambitions remain compelling.
Matilda Mann, “Doomsday”
Think of Matilda Mann’s new single “Doomsday” as apocalyptic wedding music: the gentle guitar strums and the British singer-songwriter’s lilting voice make for ideal slow-dance fodder, but of course, “Doomsday” is about just that, spending the final hours of existence with a cherished other. Mann’s relaxed vocal take sells the concept — time is running out for all of us, but her voice makes the situation feel more appreciated than urgent.
BabyJake, “Do I Fit In Your Shoes?”
In the riveting video for the genre-defying “Do I Fit In Your Shoes?,” BabyJake attends a dinner party, but is forced to sit by and watch as the other attendees stuff themselves. The Florida artist has explained that the visual represents music industry gatekeepers’ greed and gluttony — as well as him demanding a seat at the table.
Julian Lamadrid, “15 Minutes”
Mexican singer and multi-instrumentalist Julian Lamadrid unleashes his catchiest synth-pop creation yet while listing all he plans to accomplish in a mere 15 minutes: “I want the first five minutes to find the groovе/ I need the next five minutеs to try and get loose/ Give me the last five minutes to show my moves.” Okay, we’ll bite. Clock starts… now!
Jawny, “Best Thing”
Los Angeles’ Jawny can damn well write a chorus, and “Best Thing” is another chapter in his handbook. “Girl, you refresh me like ice cold Cola/ My heart is requesting for you to come over/ I know I’m obsessing about this being over/ ‘Cause you are the best thing, you are the best thing,” he pleads over a dizzying, summery beat.
Grace VanderWaal, “Repeat”
Seventeen-year-old Grace VanderWaal’s recent edgy makeover has been accompanied by two respectable rock tracks so far — the latest being “Repeat,” which proves young VanderWaal has been brushing up on her KT Tunstall. “Flip the switch and I’m in the mode, but I’m in control,” she sings, asserting that these changes are entirely her own choice.
Charlotte OC, “Bad B–ch”
Consider knocking back a Negroni or three with Charlotte OC, who oscillates between owning her choices and succumbing to her insecurities on “Bad B–ch.” Ultimately, the British singer-songwriter determines that she decides “what’s wrong or right/ ‘Cause I’m a true motherf–ker/ There ain’t no other/ Don’t tell me how to live my life.” When you’re done marveling over her badassery, look ahead to Charlotte’s album Here Comes Trouble, due in October.