This was a great week for big pop releases. Khalid, who hasn’t loosened his grip on the Top 40 since his debut album was released in 2017, reached a new career peak on his new album Free Spirit. Ariana Grande should be busy on tour and promoting her no. 1 single, but God is a woman who gets no sleep. Her new song with Victoria Monet, “Monopoly,” is a gift to fans and a celebration of all the success the two have already achieved this year. The Jonas Brothers are continuing their comeback with another future chart-topper, and Marina surprised us with an early drop for the first half of her double album.
Every week, Uproxx will round out the best new pop releases of the last seven days. Listen up.
Khalid is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet right now, and Free Spirit proves why. He’s a genre chameleon, dabbling in everything from dance-pop, smooth R&B, country, and soft rock with enviable confidence. If the morose, intricate “Heaven” sounds a little bit like a Father John Misty song, that’s because Josh Tillman co-wrote and produced the song. Khalid is often contemplative and honest in his songwriting, but “Heaven” is stunningly dark. “Heaven, make me an offer / Lord, there’s nothing left for me out here” almost sounds like a battle cry over the grandiose instrumentals, until you sit with that a minute and realize he’s singing about burning out and chasing death. But damn, can Khalid find the heavenly beauty in even the darkest of landscapes.
On the romantic “Paradise,” Lebanese-American singer-songwriter Bazzi imagines a utopic paradise that exists outside time and space. Over a glittering, nostalgic beat, Bazzi dreams up a place where distance can’t keep love from growing, and every night out with friends makes history. Previous singles “Mine” and “Beautiful” were big radio hits, but “Paradise” is his best track to date. Listen now before it soundtracks this summer’s biggest and most memorable moments.
Jonas Brothers, “Cool”
Speaking of nostalgia, “Cool” proves that the Jonas Brothers‘ comeback isn’t just a one-off. After the brilliantly catchy “Sucker,” The Jo Bros followed it up with an even more infectious pop anthem. In their years apart, the brothers have grown as singers and songwriters. Joe’s falsetto is more impressive than ever, and “Cool” is playfully self-aware and confident. The song sparkles with dreamy, sunny energy — they haven’t officially announced an album or tour yet, but “Cool” is a summer anthem if I’ve ever heard one.