After a slow start to the new year, this week in pop music saw a revival in energy. Selena Gomez released her hotly anticipated third record, Rare, Halsey gave fans one more taste of her upcoming LP, and Conan Gray showcased his talent in a stripped-down ballad.
Every week, Uproxx rounds up the week’s best new pop releases. Listen up.
Selena Gomez — “Vulnerable”
Selena Gomez’s “Vulnerable” perfectly encapsulates all her record, Rare, stands for. The singer is breaking down her walls, opting for introspective and unguarded songwriting. The track itself boasts deep production with the beat slowly churning until it finally drops, bright and shimmering, at the chorus.
Halsey — “You Should Be Sad”
“You Should Be Sad” is Halsey’s version of the ultimate country-twinged break-up track. While she sings of being sad, her lyrical delivery implies the opposite — Halsey is confident and sure-minded in her decision to end the relationship. The instrumentals reflect a similar sentiment, with gentle strumming leading into a cathartic electric guitar solo.
Conan Gray — “The Story”
Conan Gray‘s “The Story” came in conjunction with the announcement of his long-awaited debut record, Kid Krow. While the singer’s previously-released singles boast wonky synths and punchy beats, “The Story” is Gray’s acoustic number. Gray said the inspiration for the track came from the trials and tribulations of his high school experience. “There were times growing up that I thought life would never get better,” he said. “That life would always be that painful. But I promise, it’s never the end of the story.”
Mura Masa — “Teenage Headache Dreams” Feat Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice
Grammy-winning producer, songwriter and vocalist Mura Masa debuted his collaboration with Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice. “Teenage Headache Dreams” explores nostalgia, memory, youth, hope, as track’s powerful production works as a reflection of the themes. “Teenage Headache Dreams” is a sonic reproduction of the feeling of escapism, and as Mura Masa said in a statement, “A little bit of escapism is healthy.”
Quinn XCII — “Two 10’s”
Quinn XCII offers the first taste of his upcoming record with “Two 10’s.” Experimenting with new sounds and textures, the track is, according to a statement from Quinn XCII, “about asking your parents for $20 as a kid to go hang with friends, and feeling like you were rich and could do anything with it.”
BTS — “Interlude: Shadow”
K-pop group BTS have quickly grown into an international sensation. On the heels of announcing their forthcoming project, Map of the Soul: 7, the group unveiled “Interlude: Shadow” through a trailer. Distorted and hard-hitting, BTS member Suga is at the track’s forefront, singing of his wish to become a rock star while also confronting his responsibilities as a global sensation.
Georgia — “Till I Own It”
Georgia’s sophomore record Seeking Thrills debuted this week, and with it came a slew of feel-good numbers. But “Till I Own It” stands out. Opening with disorienting synths, the track’s inviting beat drops shortly after. With a dutifully layered production, Georgia comes into her own as a singer, delivering each line with self-assurance only complimented by the track’s decisive, popping backbeat.
Eden — “Isohel”
Singer/songwriter Eden debuted the reflective track “Isohel.” With an expansive soundscape, the track evokes nostalgia and yearning. “Isohels are lines on a weather map that connect all the areas that receive equal sunlight,” Eden explained in a statement. “Light and sunlight have been an odd obsession for me since I was a teenager; I’ve always felt like I was moving toward some unreachable horizon. The song ‘isohel’ is about wishing the best for the people you’ve left behind but knowing that you’re probably better off where you are now.”
Connor Bvrns — “Anthem” Feat. Bonn
19-year-old rising producer Connor Bvrns released his debut single “Anthem” this week. The dance-ready single features a prominent beat drop and is a promising debut from the young musician, who draws inspiration from his synesthesia diagnosis. The singer’s impressive vocal range is magnified by the track’s swelling production.
Celeste — “Stop This Flame”
Fresh off the heels of her award for BBC Music Sound Of 2020, Celeste debuted the disco-twinged track “Stop This Flame.” The certified groove is layered with Celeste’s bellowing vocals, influenced by a childhood of listening to soul icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Otis Redding, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.