A new era is upon us! No, not Taylor Swift (we’ve covered that already). Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes just dropped his first new single of 2019, the fantastic “If I Can’t Have You.” Mendes is still touring his third album through the rest of 2019, but he just might pull a Thank U, Next and drop a whole new record before the year is even done.
But apart from Mendes, we also had some other triumphant returns. Electro-pop singer-songwriter Banks is back with her first new music since 2017, and Kim Petras is building hype for a new era of her own with another new single. Mid-aughts Disney Channel queen Ashley Tisdale has returned with a really solid indie pop record, and post “Happier,” Bastille are ready to conquer the charts again with their new one.
Every week, Uproxx will round out the best new pop releases of the last seven days. Listen up.
Shawn Mendes, “If I Can’t Have You”
Shawn Mendes is the king of love songs. His sensitive songwriting and tender voice make every song sound romantic, even if the lyrics are more heartbroken. Technically, the subject of “If I Can’t Have You” doesn’t feel the same way about Mendes as he does about them. But the song sparkles with his’ open-hearted spirit, and the joyful, bursting chorus is a showcase for the singer’s impeccable vocals. If “If I Can’t Have You” is any indication, Mendes’ next album will be packed with catharsis, falsetto, and god-tier love songs.
Before Billie Eilish was brooding over electronic beats, singer-songwriter Banks (real name Jillian Banks) made a career of being the moodiest rebel in pop. Her 2014 debut was an indie smash, and although “Gimme” is her first single in two years, she’s as confident as if no time has passed. If her electronic, hip-hop-influenced sound was prophetic back in 2014, it’s totally fresh now. “Gimme” is confident and glitchy, sultry and witchy. She knows what she wants, and she’s here to take it.
Sabrina Carpenter, “Exhale”
Sabrina Carpenter is known for her pop bops, but her new single “Exhale” is strikingly delicate. Over a minimalist, keys-driven melody, Carpenter wishes for a minute to breathe, and for everything to slow down. The song itself is an exhale — it’s cathartic in its restraint and quiet beauty. Carpenter’s star is rising fast, and her next album Singular: Part II is expected sometime this year.
Finneas, “I Lost A Friend”
Singer-songwriter Finneas is perhaps best known for being Billie Eilish’s writing partner and sole collaborator, but he’s got a striking, singular voice of his own. On the piano-driven “I Lost A Friend,” Finneas riffs on loneliness. The lyrics are a labyrinth, as Finneas wonders how much of his feeling of loss is in his own head, and how much of the relationship was actually based in reality. The electronic beat ramps up as the vocals get more desperate and intense, and quiets down as he settles back down alone.
Kim Petras, “Got My Number”
German pop singer Kim Petras‘ new single “Got My Number” is the confident club anthem of the summer. Over a breezy electro-pop beat, Petras teases a lover, reminding him that if he wants to make a move, the ball is in his court. “I don’t wanna be a good girl tonight / I just wanna be your bad girl, alright,” Petras sings, increasingly un-subtle and delightful as she dances around a potential hookup. “Got My Number” is Petras’ second new single in as many weeks — she hasn’t announced a new album yet officially, but with all the buzz around these singles and her upcoming tour, a new era might be upon us in her realm, too.
Ashley Tisdale, “Feeling So Good”
One of the standouts from her new album Symptoms, “Feeling So Good” is a top-tier pop bop. Symptoms is Tisdale’s first album since 2009, and while she’s embracing a more electro-pop sound in line with today’s predominant pop sounds, it’s a natural evolution for Tisdale. She’s a pro at making music to boost your mood and confidence, and “Feeling So Good” is a danceable, optimistic blast of serotonin.
Lewis Capaldi, “Hold Me While You Wait”
Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has a strikingly unique voice, buttery and sensitive when he’s soft and powerfully cathartic when he’s brooding. The piano-driven, anthemic “Hold Me While You Wait” perfectly captures the uncertainty of relationships and not knowing exactly how another person feels. Capaldi sings every devastating lyric with intensely felt emotion — he can scream and howl and make every ugly feeling sound beautiful.
The biggest hit of Bastille’s career so far, 2018’s “Happier” is a deceptively melancholy song. The Marshmello-produced track is a downbeat breakup song — catchy and fun despite its moodiness, but moody nonetheless. The British pop group’s new single, “Joy,” has the melody and lyrics to match its optimistic title. “Joy” is about the beauty of being loved unconditionally and the “sweet relief” of having a support system who can “set [your] mind free.” If you take the lyrics literally, it might also be about a phone call that wakes you up from a brutal hangover. Sweet and uplifting either way, though.