Best Songs We Heard This Week: Wonder Girls, Erik Hassle, Kacey Musgraves & More
It's Global Release Day — AKA New Music Fridays! (Yeah, uh...we're still getting used to it, too.)
Since there are plenty of new tunes out there to choose from, we're taking today as an opportunity to present some of our favorite finds from this past week, ranging from Swede-pop superstars to kick-ass rock-pop queens in the making to the Biggest Boy Band In The World.
Dig into this week's round-up by our editors (in no particular order) and find yourself some new faves!
Seinabo Sey, "Pretend"
“Pretend” won me over immediately with a beat slightly reminiscent of ’90s girl group Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away," and then stone-cold hypnotized me with Swedish artist Sey’s giant voice. Oh, and the video has some really cool, vogueing-adjacent dance moves in it. What’s not to love? — Samantha Vincenty
Erik Hassle, "No Words (The Knocks Remix)"
Swede-pop sensation Erik Hassle's earnest live-in-the-moment anthem provided plenty of summer vibes as is, but the emotional track's just got a major kick in the pants by a series of remixers this month, including NYC electro duo The Knocks, who never seem to churn out a production anything less than pristine. The track knocks (eh heh), resulting in a most necessary addition to the #TurnUp playlist before a night out. — Bradley Stern
Courtney Barnett, "Pedestrian at Best"
With thrashing guitars and disaffected vocals, "Pedestrian at Best" recalls a pre-Nevermind Nirvana, before the gloss of good production left them with a candy-coated, slick rock record. The track shouldn’t work as well as it does — any song channeling Bleach-era Nirvana should sound dated and tired — but Barnett breathes new life into an otherwise stagnant genre with honest, clever lyrics and speak-sing vocal stylings. She even makes it look easy, a deceptively hard thing to do. — Ali Szubiak
Meg Myers, "Lemon Eyes"
This pop song came to rock, and rock it does. “Lemon Eyes” sounds exactly like the title’s fruit reference would suggest: An electric guitar tempers Myer’s sweet vocals as she sings of a loved one’s sour thoughts, and the result is a flawless appetizer for the singer-songwriter’s Sorry full-length, out on Atlantic this September. Her impassioned “Sorry” title track is well worth a listen, too. - Samantha Vincenty
Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique, "Got To Work It Out"
Robyn's been gingerly tip-toeing back into the music scene over the past few years with the help of a few friends: Last year, she hooked up with Röyksopp for their art-tronica Do It Again EP. And this year, she's paying tribute to the sounds of early '90s House and '00's pop music with tour keyboardist Markus Jägerstedt and constant collaborator, the late Christian Falk. "Got To Work It Out" is one of the mini-album's best moments, as Robyn robotically grooves and speak-sings her way through synth pulsations: "Shake it like you're losing your faith." The result is joyous and somewhat bittersweet — a perfect encapsulation of this release. — Bradley Stern
Kacey Musgraves, "Fine"
An ode to the illusion of contentment, “Fine” is a masterful study in denial. With its reverent, carousel-like melody and wistful lyrics, the song explores the subtleties of heartbreak when you don’t have the option (or the will) to confront it head-on. When Musgraves sings, “I reach for the phone just to make sure it’s on / and I’m fine,” you know she’s anything but. — Ali Szubiak
Lion Babe, "Impossible"
Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman have been building internet buzz since 2012’s “Treat Me Like Fire,” and Hervey’s voice has drawn comparisons to Erykah Badu and Vanessa Williams (though it’s likely that the latter is due to the fact that Williams is her mom). We recently raved about their cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Love Is a Losing Game,” and their latest neo-soul stomper is…what are we up to…Exhibit E? in the case for why you should love them too. — Samantha Vincenty
Wonder Girls, "Candle (feat. Paloalto)"
The Wonder Girls, one of K-Pop's most internationally successful girl group exports, have returned this week after a three year hiatus with their new album REBOOT, an '80s-themed record that actually sounds like the '80s. (Sorry, 1989.) Their lead single "I Feel You" is a vintage breeze, but the girls do it better deeper into the record with their freestyle jam "Candle," which has something to do with, uh, being a candle. Sure! It sounds like it should be sandwiched between Shannon and Stacey Q. Big yes. — Bradley Stern
One Direction, "Drag Me Down"
You never really expect a boyband to channel classic rock quite so overtly, but One Direction have made a career out of it at this point. With its reggae-lite guitar riffs, “Drag Me Down” is a knock-off Police song trying to appeal to a wider audience and it almost gets it right. The song never quite gets to where it’s going, but it’s a welcome extension of their current exploration of a less sugary-sweet type of pop. And sure, Zayn probably could’ve hit those end-notes a little easier, but Harry clearly wants it more. - Ali Szubiak
Got a song you think we'd love? Leave it in the comments below.