This week in pop music saw exciting comebacks and big breakouts. Tove Lo released her highly anticipated record, Sunshine Kitty, One Direction’s Liam Payne made his triumphant return with a catchy tune, and Maroon 5 proved they are still relevant after many years as a band.
Caroline Polachek — “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”
Caroline Polachek, formerly of Chairlift, comes into her own with her first solo project under her own name. The new single is a nod to Chairlift’s indie-pop heyday while incorporating elements of ’80s style synths and modern production. If “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” is any indication, Caroline Polacheck is on her way to becoming a household name.
Tove-Lo — “Equally Lost” Feat. Doja Cat
The Swedish Grammy-nominated pop star releases her fourth LP in five years with Sunshine Kitty. While the record is packed with thumping singles and moody lyrics, “Equally Lost” stands out as some of Tove Lo’s most refined work. The singer melts a heavy percussion section together to form a clapping beat while Doja Cat‘s verse offers a refreshing tonal shift.
Maroon 5 — “Memories”
Maroon 5 have been producing hits and selling out stadium tours for over two decades and “Memories” is their ode to their lengthy and dynamic career. Opening with a cheering crowd, the song crafts nostalgia with Adam Levine‘s voice over a single keyboard.
Hailee Steinfeld — “Afterlife”
Hailee Steinfeld proves herself a convincing songstress as well as a talented actress with “Afterlife.” Steinfeld reflects on mortality in her new single slated to appear in conjunction with her upcoming role on Apple TV’s series Dickinson. The haunting yet effervescent tune showcases Steinfeld’s impressive pitch.
Liam Payne — “Stack It Up” Feat A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
One Direction’s Liam Payne proves his singing career isn’t over after the boy band parted ways. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, the catchy tune jumps around on “Stack It Up,” crafting a distinctly buoyant hook. Singing mostly about money, the single is Payne’s anthem to working hard and achieving his dreams.
Slayyyter — “BFF” Feat Ayesha Erotica
Slayyyter began as a Soundcloud musician but her significant fan base pushed her music into the mainstream. The singer is now coming into her own with her self-titled debut mixtape. Calling upon Britney-era pop, Slayyyter’s “BFF” is crafted with a maxed-out bassline, a clapping beat, and bubblegum vocals.
Labrinth — “Something’s Gotta Give”
Following his breakout with supergroup LSD (a collaborative effort of Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo), Labrinth delivers the triumphant ballad “Something’s Gotta Give.” While the single has many layers, a pumping bass lends anticipation to a driving electric guitar at the song’s bridge.
Sasha Sloan — “Smiling When I Die”
Sasha Sloan is an accomplished writer whose resume boasts credits on music from the likes of Charli XCX, Camila Cabello, Steve Aoki, and Odesza. But Sloan is now pivoting to her solo career. Reflective, Sloan sings of life’s milestones and yearning to cross things off her buck list before life passes her by. Though the lyrics are on the heavier side, Sloan keeps the song light with a resounding guitar and drowned-out snare drums.
Sabrina Claudio — “Truth Is”
The stripped-down, empowering ballad leaves room to position Sabrina Claudio‘s breathy voice at the song’s focal point. Co-written by Julia Michaels, Claudio is emotionally vulnerable and sings of confronting one’s own true tenderness.
Ally Brooke — “Higher” Feat Matoma
After departing from pop group Fifth Harmony with several accolades, Ally Brooke stands out as a solo artist with “Higher.” Brooke’s thumping club single features her distinctly sharp vocals with a touch of falsetto. The beat, fading in and out of clarity, pulls inspiration from early house music with complex layers of simple instrumentation.
Some artists mentioned are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music.