This is a huge week for boy (and girl) bands. The former members of Fifth Harmony are killing it solo. Following in the wake of Camila Cabello‘s massively successful debut album, Normani and Lauren Jauregui both released some new solo tunes this week, and fully reassured fans that they have what it takes to make it solo, too. Perennial One Direction tour openers and pop-punk princes 5 Seconds Of Summer dared to cover “Killer Queen” for the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack, the gift that just keeps on giving. The biggest band in the world collabed with one of the biggest EDM artists in the world and dropped their first all-English single.
There were some excellent full-length releases this week, too. Robyn’s first album in eight years is earth-shattering and well worth the wait, Allie X dropped the last promotional single from her excellent new LP, and Kelsea Ballerini released a deluxe edition of her 2017 album with a new country-pop bop. Every Monday, Uproxx will round out the very best pop releases from the week. Listen to Robyn and dance your heartbreak away.
Normani, Feat. Calvin Harris, “Slow Down”
Formerly one fifth of Fifth Harmony, Normani released her follow-up to her first solo single, “Love Lies.” Maybe the song isn’t technically solo, because she shares it with Khalid — but “Love Lies” has been blowing up the charts since it was released earlier this year, and Normani is proving to be a pop powerhouse. Her mini-EP with super-producer Calvin Harris, released earlier this week, only adds to her star power. “Slow Down” is an R&B jam, with a sultry club beat that’s a perfect showcase for Normani’s excellent voice.
5 Seconds Of Summer, “Killer Queen”
I am not a rock purist. But as someone who has been needlessly questioned on my credentials enjoying a whole genre (“Oh? You like Radiohead? Name all of their songs in reverse chronological release order!”) and been stepped on or kicked by guys twice my size at DIY shows, I quickly learned that pop scenes tend to be more inclusive. Liking 5SOS’s pop-punk cover of “Killer Queen” is the kind of thing that would get me laughed out of my college paper newsroom, but hey, it’s good. Rock songs aren’t precious. Freddie Mercury is an icon, and the original “Killer Queen” is a favorite from the time I was a toddler in a car seat in the back of my dad’s car. The song is a classic, but anyone should be allowed to appreciate and play around with the song. It belongs to all of us. There’s reverence and love in 5SOS’s cover, and if you’re too uptight to hear it, I’m sorry for you.
Lauren Jauregui, “Expectations”
Hey, more solo Fifth Harmony! Not to make this about One Direction, but Jauregui was always the Zayn of Fifth Harmony. She has an incredible R&B voice, rich on harmonies and even more impressive solo. She’s got this raspy texture, a little bit Xtina, and makes the highest notes seem effortless. “Expectations” is her first solo single, and the guitar-driven R&B slow jam is a memorable first single for sure. Jauregui worked on the song with Kid Harpoon, who co-wrote most of the songs on Harry Styles‘ debut album (not to make this about One Direction again). Jauregui’s debut is impressive, and I can’t wait to hear whatever she has planned for her follow-up.