Rina Sawayama broke through in 2020 on the strength of forward-thinking pop confections like “XS” and “Commes des Garcons (Like The Boys)”; “Lucid,” a new single that will appear on the deluxe edition of her Sawayama album, is perhaps her most immediate banger yet, a mesmerizing dreamscape that demonstrates her confidence while juggling multiple hooks.
Nicole Millar, “Boring!”
“It’s boring, it’s boring / And all I wanna do is take you home, until the morning,” indie-pop auteur Nicole Millar sings to open her new single, her gentle delivery quickly deepening to show that she means business. Whatever the specific “it” is that Millar is singing about, she convinces the listener pretty quickly to follow her down the rabbit hole.
Silver Sphere, “Football Game”
You don’t have to check the liner notes (do such things still exist?) to realize within a few seconds of Chicago native Silver Sphere (Sophie Cates)’s new single that it was created with Dylan Brady of 100 Gecs. “Football Game” is glitchy, slightly detached and enthralling in the same style that the producer has used to make a name for himself, all while Cates presents her engaging perspective.
Austin Mahone feat. Frut, “You Got Me”
After returning last month with the sensual “Summer Love,” Austin Mahone continues to set up his next proper era with “You Got Me,” a rhythmic, spacious single that’s marked by echoing vocals and takes its time to shimmy over to the dance floor. The subtleties shine through here, and keep up Mahone’s momentum.
Caro — a French-born, London-based singer/producer — has dropped a sparkling debut single, after previously starting the group Planet 1999 and signing as a solo artist to PC Music. “Hide Me Here” takes about 45 seconds to find its tempo, but when it fully blooms the result is dreamy and memorable.
Lights, “Deck The Halls”
Christmas classic “Deck the Halls” gets an angsty rock update courtesy of Lights. The singer-songwriter noted in a release that “this cover was originally for a Christmas movie soundtrack and they said it was too depressing and I said, ‘Sounds about right.’ Happy 2020 Xmas!”
Lil Yachty, Oliver Tree, “Asshole”
“Asshole,” an alternative-leaning highlight from Lil Yachty’s deluxe album Lil Boat 3.5, gets a lift from pop-rock prankster Oliver Tree. “Why you such an asshole?/ Why you gotta act up?” Ollie asks of the song’s spoiled brat subject. We all know that one person, right?
Is there life on Mars? Here’s hoping. On the impassioned track, Yungblud pays tribute to both David Bowie and a young trans woman the English singer-songwriter met during Warped Tour 2018. “She told me how her parents had come to the show with her, and how seeing our community helped them to understand that her coming out as trans wasn’t just a phase — this is who she really was,” he said in a release. “It made me cry to think that we could have that kind of impact and change people’s perceptions, just by being ourselves.”
Nathan Dawe & Little Mix, “No Time For Tears”
Just weeks after unleashing their delightful album Confetti, Little Mix have another treat for fans. The U.K.’s best active girl group sounds right at home alongside English producer Nathan Dawe’s infectious beats: “No time for tears I won’t be crying/ Don’t need you here, I’m doing fine yeah!”
Island Records trio Public (Ben Lapps, John Vaughn and Matthew Alvarado) previously made waves with their viral hit “Make You Mine,” and their latest is making a, er, “splash” in the pop pool, too. Summer sunshine vibes.
2021 Grammys: The Most Shocking Snubs | Billboard News