Best Songs We Heard This Week: Phoebe Ryan, Drake, AlunaGeorge + More
Happy Friday, PopCrush readers! We're back with another installment of the Best Songs We Heard This Week to keep your playlists updated with the freshest tunes just before the weekend.
The editors have rounded up their favorite selections on this #NewMusicFriday — check 'em all out below. And for more playlists from us, make sure to follow us on Apple Music.
Phoebe Ryan, "Chronic"
All emerald hair and infectious pop hooks, Phoebe Ryan slinked onto the scene in early 2015 when she dropped an inspired synth-pop cover/mashup of R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and Miguel’s “Do You…” Solidifying herself as one to watch mere weeks later, her glistening debut single “Mine” became the year’s low-key ode to having courage — a song I literally blasted on repeat while driving up and down the Miami coastline last spring in a rented (a.k.a. not-“Mine”) convertible. This week, the rising singer dropped the cute, tongue-in-cheek homecoming dance-themed video for “Chronic,” a saccharine follow-up single that’s equal measures feel-good ’80s electro-pop and “Your Love Is My Drug”-like anthem. The song wouldn’t sound out of place on Carly Rae Jepsen’s excellent EMOTION, but I’m so glad it belongs to Phoebe. – Erica Russell
Drake, “One Dance”
I kind of didn’t want to like this song. Drake’s been cashing in on the current dancehall/island fusion revival — his feature on Rihanna’s “Work” and this video of his affected patois are Exhibits A and B — and this Views From the 6 track’s timing feels almost too perfect, too on-trend. But as someone who considers 2003 a golden era of radio and wishes Lumidee’s “Never Leave You” and Wayne Wonder’s “No Letting Go” still played everywhere constantly, I can’t resist “One Dance.” And much as he did with iLoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday,” Drake hijacked— sorry, elevated the popularity of — Nigerian artist Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba" with his remix in 2015, so Wizkid’s guest appearance is, if anything, overdue. – Samantha Vincenty
AlunaGeorge, "I Remember"
AlunaGeorge, aside from breaking out in their own right, are one of the primary reasons Disclosure propelled to superstardom in 2013, thanks to "White Noise." Therefore, it felt almost destined that Aluna Francis' honeyed vocals would soon wind up on plenty of other producers' tracks. "I Remember," a collaboration with Flume, is the duo's next single and title track from their upcoming album, due out this spring. True to the signature sounds of both acts, it's a mixture of stretched and stuttering melodies ("I remember, I remember, I remember..."), atmospheric ambiance and wobbly beats. When done right, a collaboration should elevate both parties involved to the next level — this is a prime example. — Bradley Stern
A yet-to-be-released film that centers on wistful teenage romance just found the sound of its obligatory reunion scene. Cavalry, a five-piece indie group based in Liverpool, mix bittersweet Americana sentiment with slow, expanding voice and guitar progressions for Friday Night Lights-worthy nostalgia – at the climax of “Everything,” you can practically hear a football whooshing past Connie Britton’s bleacher seat. “Oh everything’s come back at me, what happens now?” the song laments in a moment of beautifully unresolved exposition. — Matthew Donnelly
Lauren Aquilina, "Kicks"
Maltese-British singer-songwriter Lauren Aquilina has been kicking around for some time: She released a trio of EPs called Fools, Sinners, and Liars across 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively, as well as a collection of diverse, moody singles in 2015. Now, the 20-year-old Island Records artist is back with a real gut punch on "Kicks," a twinkling, smokey synth-pop battle-cry. "Tell me where, where do you get your kicks? / Is it from kicking me around?" Lauren demands, her voice brimming with resolution. It's a call to arms for those who may have been beaten, but will never be broken — and that's the kicker. - Erica Russell
Terror Jr., “3 Strikes”
Whether mystery music project Terror Jr. is Kylie Jenner’s undercover foray into the pop realm or not doesn’t really matter at this point. “3 Strikes," their first and only release so far, is a mid-tempo synth-pop track with enough of an R&B lean to keep things firmly between genres. The nondescript vocals are modulated to hell and back again, rendering the lyrics largely unimportant. But that’s how pop’s current best — Ariana, Zayn, you know how it goes — are doing it, all nonsensical enunciation, garbage lyrics and slick beats. No matter, set fire to coherence forever if it results in noise as sterling as this. And pop girls, take note: If Kylie(’s team) is the mastermind behind Terror Jr., consider things forever shifted. The world should know better by now than to underestimate her reach. — Ali Szubiak
The Los Angeles-based indie-pop artist’s newest assumes the role of Wonka’s Three-Course Meal chewing gum: ostensibly simple and compact but host to hidden and resonant flavor profiles. Sunshiny piano clashes with trash can-percussion to tell the story of a new-age Romeo and Juliet. “To put it simply, ‘Babylon’ is a story about two souls defending their love in the face of adversity,” Jesiah told USA Today. Here’s hoping he steers clear of the apothecary… — Matthew Donnelly
Brooklyn-based trio Honey propelled themselves upward and out with their second single “MFLH." All distorted guitars, slurred vocals and chugging bass, each individual sonic aspect of the track converges in one boisterous mishmash of sound, culminating in a nearly indiscernible caterwaul. But while harsh, it's an amalgamation that works, creating a glorious, impenetrable cacophony. — Ali Szubiak
Mitski, “Your Best American Girl”
New York singer-songwriter Mitski’s brilliant new video puts an even finer point on the nuanced message of her Puberty 2 lead single. Starting as a hushed, gorgeous ode to her crush object, she soon explains why they’ll never be as the song explodes into grunge-y guitar fuzz in the chorus. It’s a classic and satisfying “why not me?” track with a culture-clash twist: “Your mother wouldn't approve of how my mother raised me, but I do, I think I do /And you're an All-American boy, I guess I couldn't help trying to be your best American girl,” the half-Japanese artist sings. A Lana Del Rey lookalike stands in as her beloved’s epitome of Best American Girl-ness in the clip, and the flower-crowned blonde gets her “Freak” on with the boy while Mitski is left to make out with her hand — oh, and shred on her guitar like a boss. Mitski’s the clear winner here in my book. – Samantha Vincenty