Honestly, it’s hard to calm down when this week’s pop releases are so good.
Taylor Swift has officially announced her seventh studio album, Lover, with the empowerment anthem “You Need To Calm Down.” BTS released a lush collab with up-and-coming pop princess Zara Larsson, and Little Mix are “bouncing back” with their first new single of 2019. Kim Petras continues to outdo herself every week, and her new one “Personal Hell” features some of her most impressive vocals to date.
Every week, Uproxx will round out the best new pop releases of the last seven days. Listen up.
Taylor Swift, “You Need To Calm Down”
In “You Need To Calm Down,” Taylor Swift fights back at her detractors. Melodically and thematically, this is all territory she’s covered before. “You Need To Calm Down” sounds like the optimistic sister of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” and you can just imagine Swift singing the line “you’re takin’ shots at me like it’s Patrón” in the black sequin catsuits of her Reputation era. But “You Need To Calm Down” sees Swift’s fury directed at the people who really deserve it — folks preaching hate and bigotry. Swift is more politically active than ever, and “You Need To Calm Down” glows with that ignited passion.
BTS, Feat. Zara Larsson, “A Brand New Day”
BTS have followed up the vibrant “Dream Glow” with another pop collaboration for the soundtrack of their BTS World mobile game. This time, BTS’ J-Hope and V have paired up with Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson for a song about perseverance in accomplishing your goals. “A Brand New Day” has a really interesting, dynamic sound. Producer Mura Masa contributed to the track, which features the traditional Korean instrument daegeum alongside an infectious EDM-pop beat.
Little Mix, “Bounce Back”
Little Mix‘s first new single of 2019 is a serious throwback jam. On the bass-heavy track, the English girl group sound like the best of the ’90s and ’00s — a little bit Spice Girls, a little bit Destiny’s Child. The song interpolates Soul II Soul’s 1989 track “Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)” throughout, but LM make the tune all their own. “Bounce Back” was also co-written by former Fifth Harmony member Normani. Normani knows how to bring out the best in a girl group, and “Bounce Back” is the beginning of a thrilling new chapter for Little Mix.
Ashley O, “On A Roll”
Who would’ve guessed that Miley Cyrus‘ Nine Inch Nails covers on Black Mirror would be better than anything on her own new EP? Cyrus played a pop star in a new episode of the Netflix anthology horror series, and the most shocking part of the episode is how great the music is. Against all odds, Trent Reznor‘s industrial rock translates perfectly into bubbly dance-pop. “On A Roll” remakes NIN’s “Head Like A Hole” into an empowerment anthem. Cyrus’ voice sounds great, and the song is guaranteed to be stuck in your head for days.
Kelsea Ballerini, “Better Luck Next Time”
On the NBC series Songland, participants each week team up with an award-winning songwriting crew to write the next big hit for one of music’s biggest superstars. “Better Luck Next Time” was the winning song of the episode featuring country-pop singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini. The biggest compliment I can give this song is that it actually sounds like the next big hit from a pop star, not a song written for a reality television show. Ballerini’s voice is big and emphatic as she sings about getting over an ex, and the powerhouse chorus hits hard.
King Princess, “Useless Phrases”
Since she released her debut single “1950” last spring, fans have been clamoring to hear King Princess‘ finished debut LP. She still hasn’t announced a release date, but singer-songwriter Mikaela Straus has shared another taste of the album to come. “Useless Phrases” is more of an interlude than a song, only one minute long. But despite its brevity, Straus still showcases the tenderness of her voice.
Finneas’ latest single, “Angel,” is sweetly romantic. The singer-songwriter is perhaps most famous for being Billie Eilish‘s brother and sole collaborator, but Finneas’ solo work is just as intricate and intensely felt, just in a different way. “Angel” is sincere and lovely, as Finneas sings about a love so otherworldly she must be “pretending to be human.” Finneas left the synths and bass back with Billie, and “Angel” has a gorgeous, simply strummed melody.
Kim Petras, “Personal Hell”
On “Personal Hell,” her eighth single in as many weeks, Kim Petras sings about a love so good she believes it’s her savior. Over a fuzzy, bass-heavy beat, the German pop singer drops religious references like they’re Kim Petras singles, begging her love to set her free. Petras finally announced the culmination of all these singles this week — an album, Clarity, coming on June 27. We’ve heard all but four of the songs on it, but it’s impossible to have too much of a good thing. The bass of “Personal Hell” will rattle your bones. Whatever else she has in store for us on Clarity is sure to be just as legendary.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.