This week, many artists issued releases in celebration of Juneteenth that rank among the best new pop music of the week. HER shared the poignant single “I Can’t Breathe,” John Legend released his inspiring album, Bigger Love, with some big-name features, and Victoria Monet teamed up with Khalid for the passionate number “Experience.”
Each week, Uproxx rounds up the best new pop releases. Listen up.
John Legend — “U Move, I Move” Feat. Jhene Aiko
John Legend debuted his triumphant record Bigger Love this week and with it arrived the best new pop contender “U Move, I Move” with Jhene Aiko. In a statement alongside the album, Legend said he hopes it inspires: “During these painful times, some of us may wonder if it’s ok to laugh or dance or be romantic. Lately, the images of black people in the media have been showing us with knees on our necks, in mourning, or expressing our collective outrage. We feel all those emotions. But It’s important for us to continue to show the world the fullness of what it is to be black and human. Through our art, we are able to do that. This album is a celebration of love, joy, sensuality, hope, and resilience, the things that make our culture so beautiful and influential.”
HER — “I Can’t Breathe”
In light of the movement protesting George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, HER shared the touching ballad “I Can’t Breathe.” Over a subdued beat, HER takes an aim at contemporary politics. “All the corruption, injustice, the same crimes / Always a problem if we do or don’t fight / And we die, we don’t have the same right,” she sings.
Victoria Monet — “Experience” Feat. Khalid, SG Lewis
Victoria Monet teamed up with Khalid and producer SG Lewis for the shimmering number “Experience.” In a message shared to Instagram, Monet wrote that she decided to push the song back “because of the disgusting and confusing state of the world.” Monet added: “We hope this brings some solace and joy to you. We hope the double-ended message of this song is heard: based on experience, we want change! We matter, we always have. Here’s to making changes and celebrating US the best ways we know how.”
Justine Skye — “Bulletproof”
Opening with jaunty marimba, Justine Skye’s “Bulletproof” arrives on her highly-anticipated sophomore album Bare With Me. “The new songs on there mean so much to me,” Justine wrote on Instagram. “I’ve been writing my lil heart out so go dive into it. Let me know how you feel.”
ENZI — “Retrograde”
Nashville-based rising singer ENZI expands her catalog with the room-filling number “Retrograde.” In a statement, ENZI describes the inspiration behind the track: “I was roaming around some audio sample websites when I found a voicemail of a guy asking someone, ‘when the hell does mercury get out of retrograde because this is driving me batshit?’ I thought it was hilarious and I started thinking about what it meant when mercury goes into retrograde. I’m not an astrology expert, but the belief is retrograde throws everyone out of whack and makes people really impulsive and prone to mistakes.”
BTS — “Stay Gold”
Continuing to hone their global audience, K-pop supergroup BTS announced they are reworking some of their songs to be in Japanese. “Stay Gold” arrives as a preview to their new project, Map Of The Soul: Journey, which features two new songs alongside their revised music.
Callaghan Belle — “Sleepwalking”
Callaghan Belle got her start working behind-the-scenes as a songwriter and producer for the likes of JoJo and Colbie Caillat. But now, the musician aims to break into her own with “Sleepwalking.” In a statement, Belle explains, “‘Sleepwalking’ is about the denial phase of heartbreak. That moment when you first wake up in the morning and you don’t remember you broke up. The song is metaphorically extending that brief moment of blissful ignorance. It’s trying to live there for as long as possible. For me, the lyrics depict wandering through a ghost town of memories, going through the motions of an old relationship.”
Lydia Ford — “Overrated”
Irish alt-pop singer Lydia Ford shares her triumphant single “Overrated” this week. Over buoyant instrumentals, Ford gets real with a toxic relationship. “It’s not my job to be your therapist,” she sharply quips at the bridge.
Elenoir — “Wrong Party”
Boundary-pushing Italian art-pop singer Elenoir released the bewitching track “Wrong Party” as a catchy ballad. Alongside the track, the singer shared a stanza from Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Our is Mind is the Kingdom we have to rule the most, forgive its tricks. The World is the most enchanting place we are gifted to live in, take your own sweet chance to dissimulate, but don’t give up on yourself, ever. Dance when it seems to be the worst moment.”
Pink Sweats — “Not Alright”
“Not Alright” heralds Pink Sweats’ upcoming album The Prelude. The song was originally supposed to arrive on the record, but, in light of the protests happening across the country, the singer opted to share the track early. “‘Not Alright’ is a song I wrote about the wide range of feelings you experience being Black in America,” Pink Sweats wrote in a statement.
Some of the artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.