In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, this week brought us some massive, romantic new pop releases. Cardi B and Bruno Mars’ new single “Please Me” is love at first listen. Cardi is riding that Grammy win wave, and we’ve known for almost a decade now that no one can deliver a hook like Bruno Mars. Witness era can rest in peace, because pop queen Katy Perry is back with a classic banger, with help from her pal Zedd. If you don’t know Betty Who yet, her new album is can’t-miss indie pop. And Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You is shaping up to be one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2019.
Every week, Uproxx will round out the best new pop releases of the last seven days. These are songs worth falling in love with.
Zedd And Katy Perry, “365”
Don’t let the uneven Witness mar your opinion of Katy Perry. After a cute Christmas single and great (if slightly perplexing) tribute to Dolly Parton at the Grammys last week, Perry is back with the first single from her new era. “365” is a return to the brilliantly crafted pop that Perry has such a gift for, with a bit of the futuristic, electronic sound she’s been moving toward recently. Zedd is a master hit-maker, if a little too consistent with his sound. But “365” is full of unexpected sonic flourishes and a weird robot-in-love sound, like Perry and Zedd were each daring each other to the edges of their comfort zones.
Lizzo, “Cuz I Love You”
The title track from Lizzo‘s upcoming sophomore LP is a soulful, romantic ode to love. It’s no wonder Lizzo called the song “her favorite” — “Cuz I Love You” bursts with powerful, positive energy and pure catharsis. Lizzo is one of the buzziest “newcomers” of 2019. Although she’s been making music and building a fanbase for years, her promotion for Cuz I Love You is introducing Lizzo’s retro-inspired pop and hip-hop to even more listeners. Lizzo is a force of passion and happiness. Let her positivity warm up this never-ending winter forever.
Kehlani draws gorgeous metaphors in her soothing, mellow new single “Butterfly.” The singer compares opening up and getting to know another person to a chrysalis’ metamorphosis into a butterfly. It’s a slow process of change, and the song’s ambient melody matches it contemplative lyrics. As the relationship unfolds, Kehlani feels a “rush like I’m running late,” but her lover is more cautious with their heart. Kehlani channels her best Poet Astrologer in the song’s confessional outro: “Virgo moon, I’m so used to your dance / Tongue too swole to comprehend.”
Cardi B And Bruno Mars, “Please Me”
There’s nothing like the rush that comes when you first hear a song you know is going to be a massive hit. Bruno and Cardi did it with their remix of “Finesse” last year, and they’re back to shake up 2019 with another relentlessly fun banger. Like all the best duos, they don’t make a ton of sense on paper, but Bruno’s retro earnestness is a brilliant companion to Cardi’s contemporary attitude. “Please Me” is all old-school R&B, sexy and fun and bombastic. I could listen to Cardi’s ingenious delivery of the word “horchata” forever.
Bebe Rexha, “Last Hurrah”
Bebe Rexha may be done with the drinking, the smoking, the playing, the joking, the ladies, and the fellas — but she’s only getting started writing great, catchy pop. The Best New Artist nominee had a massive hit with 2017’s “Meant To Be,” and she’s following it up with the first new single from her upcoming sophomore studio album. “Last Hurrah” is a final night with all the demons Rexha knows are hurting her. Rexha indulges her guilty pleasures, acknowledging how good all those toxic things feel, but knowing that ending her habits is for the best. The song is a fantastic display of the excellent songwriting that earned her a Grammy nomination and the admiration of countless loyal fans. “Last Hurrah” is the beginning of an exciting album cycle.
Wet, “Old Bone”
“Old Bone” is a bedtime story of a song. Between the puzzling, metaphorically rich lyrics (singer Kelly Zutrau compares herself to “an old bone in the back of the fridge” and wonders why the trees want her to have a baby) and the gentle acoustic melody, “Old Bone” is instantly comforting. Wet’s album Still Run was one of the best pop releases of 2018, and the indie pop band’s two new singles are another treat. “Old Bone” is a mystifying, mystical fable, building and undoing itself in every brain-teasing lyric over sweet instrumentals.
PJ Morton, Feat. JoJo, “Say So”
Yes, that JoJo. Grammy-winning R&B artist (and Maroon 5 keyboardist) PJ Morton has a velvety smooth voice, and if JoJo’s voice was impressive in her teen pop star days, it’s only gotten more so as she’s matured as an artist. “Say So” is a gorgeous ballad, full of twinkling piano, a warm and insistent beat, and dreamy harmonies from Morton and JoJo.
Betty Who, “Language”
Betty, Betty Who (real name Jessica Newham)’s first album since parting ways with RCA in 2017, is an independent triumph. One of the album’s best tracks, “Language” is a hooky, sexy bop that makes a powerful argument for shutting up: “Don’t use your language / Just use your mouth.” Betty sees the singer exploring the depths of her sound as an independent artist, with everything from clubby synth-pop to guitar-driven, big-chorus catharsis. Betty Who is more confident than ever on her own — it’s our turn to shut up and listen.
Cardi B, Bruno Mars, and Lizzo are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music.