This week in the best new pop music saw some exciting album previews. Olivia Rodrigo dropped a pop punk-inspired anthem, Tones And I shared her first new song of the year, and Jorja Smith released an anticipated project.
Each week, Uproxx rounds up the best new pop releases. Listen up.
Olivia Rodrigo — “Good 4 U”
Olivia Rodrigo is just a few days away from releasing her highly-anticipated debut album Sour. Ahead of her appearance on SNL last Saturday, Rodrigo shared another look at her varied songwriting with the pop punk-inspired track “Good 4 U.” The song is somewhat of a departure from her previous releases, trading in tender ballads for an energetic kiss-off tune, and points to the singer’s multifaceted talent.
Tones And I — “Won’t Sleep”
With her first new single of the year, Australian musician Tones And I leans into a dark pop sound with her eerie track “Won’t Sleep.” The song showcases the singer’s whimsical approach to songwriting, imagining a nightmarish soirée attended by monsters to draw inspiration for the hypnotizing track. But despite the spooky vibe, the song is really about her quarantine experience. “I loved writing this song and playing around with the production, the bass, and the drums,” she said. “It’s a song about me and my friends staying home and partying through lockdown.”
Jorja Smith — “Bussdown” Feat. Shaybo
This week saw the release of Jorja Smith’s Be Right Back EP, her first-released project since the singer’s breakout debut effort Lost & Found. The project arrived with the effortlessly smooth number “Bussdown” featuring UK rapper Shaybo. Leaning on pared down production, the song finds Smith sings of working hard to enjoy the finer things in life.
Skrillex — “Too Bizarre” Feat. Swae Lee and Siiickbrain
Skrillex is making a lively return. The famed EDM producer dropped not one, but two separate tracks this week, which included the snappy tune “Too Bizarre.” Proving he’s more relevant than ever, the guitar-leaning track moves away from the DJ’s signature dubstep sound into radio-ready territory.
Alaina Castillo — “Pocket Locket”
Pop up-and-comer Alaina Castillo released part one of her debut album, Parallel Universe, after teasing the swooning effort with a handful of singles. Album opener “Pocket Locket” offers a preview of the album’s sound, showcasing the singer’s saccharine vocals and confident flow over a skittering beat.
Cautious Clay — “Wildfire”
Continuing to gear up for the release of his album Deadpan Love, Cautious Clay offers another genre-bending tune. “Wildfire” is a contrast to Clay’s previous groove-driven releases. It’s a stripped-down guitar ballad featuring sparse production that leaves room for Clay’s tender vocal delivery. “‘Wildfire’ explores the fact that people’s intentions sometimes get lost in translation,” he said of the single. “Good intention is not always enough to prevent people’s emotions and insecurities from spiraling. Subtle signals or cues can unintentionally ignite emotions—like a brush fire.”
Daya — “The Difference”
Grammy Award-winning singer Daya returns to share The Difference EP, her first proper project since her debut album five years ago. It opens with thumping and club-ready track “The Difference,” which contrasts lovelorn lyrics with an addictive and up-tempo beat. About the EP, Daya says she wanted to capture all the “fleeting moments of regret, desire, loneliness, and sadness while spending more time with myself than I ever have before at home during quarantine.”
Audrey Nuna — “Blossom”
22-year-old musician Audrey Nuna has made a name for herself with music that switches between captivating raps and soaring refrains. Her new single “Blossom” is no different. Officially announcing her upcoming 10-track project Liquid Breakfast, “Blossom” opens with her quick-tempoed flow before showcasing her fluttering vocals. Under the surface, the song has a personal meaning and even features a snippet of her grandmother’s voice.
Renforshort — “Fall Apart” Feat. Glaive
Singer-songwriter Renforshort teamed up with recent hyperpop breakout star Glaive for the fiery tune “Fall Apart.” Marking Renforshort’s first production credit, the pop punk-leaning tune features stormy synths, dissonant guitars, and tongue-in-cheek lyrics about picking yourself up after a broken heart.
Ellise — “Chaotic”
After honing her sound and vampiric aesthetic for several years, alt pop singer Ellise shares her debut album Chaotic. The project’s title track offers a fitting preview of the effort. It’s both gloomy and vulnerable, melting together Y2K influences with a modern twist and contrasting her bubbly vocals with lyrics about a chaotic relationship.
Some of the artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.