Weekly Bop Roundup feat. Allie X, Dawn Richard, Era Istrefi and LION BABE
I’m making up for failing to post about last week’s new music and additions by including it with this week’s update.
I just want to start by saying how proud I am of the women in music this year. We’re barely into 2016 and I am scalped to the point of permanent follicle damage. So many bops. Well done ladies! The singles from the past two weeks which have made their marks in iTunes in particular are Old Habits Die Hard by Allie X, Not Above That by Dawn Richard and Bonbon by Era Istrefi.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Allie X was the best pop girl I discovered in 2015. Smart lyrics, catchy melodies, slick production and wig snatching visuals – yes, she’s definitely a contender for Next Big Pop Girl. “Old Habits Die Hard” is an extension from COLLXTION1, in the sense that it’s a genius pop song showcasing just how talented this Canadian cutie is. “Yesterday I said “I’m done”/I swung back just like a pendulum” and “Even though they tell me I’ll be better alone/you’re in my muscle memory and you’re in my bones” she croons over a soothing dance beat and stuttering synths – she really gets how it feels to not be over somebody. Also, that chorus. I wasn’t expecting those melodies. Fuck me up and get me in my feelings queen!
Next up is my girl Dawn Richard, who dropped another taster for her upcoming bop collection REDEMPTION, and what a fabulous tasting one it is. The track continues in the same vein as “Dance”, fusing trap and dance to bring us a truly unique auditory expedition. “That’s why I call you up at 4 in the morning/Cause I’m not above that/That’s why we’re making love all night until dawning/Cause I’m not above that” she coos over an intense build up of hand claps and subtle sirens. And then – the drop. The fucking drop. Bouncing arp synths, massive bass kicks and Dawn’s trademark adlibs slickly come together to remind us why Dawn is one of the most visionary and exciting musicians of our time. This is why I love Dawn, she just unleashes these monster bops without any mercy or consideration for our weaves. I’m not even gonna bother fixing my weave until after REDEMPTION drops tbh, there’s not enough wig glue in the world to save me from that album!
“I’m Era and my time’s coming”, this Albanian diva declares in the intro of her viral bop “Bonbon”. Yes it is! The track has been making its rounds across all the big pop blogs and forums, and with good reason. It’s an incredibly catchy track, with deep bass drops, reversed piano notes and stab synths coming together to show us that Era and her pink fur-lined parka are coming for blood. The song was just added to iTunes and Spotify after huge demand from fans worldwide, and has already racked up over 200k Spotify streams. Hopefully Era has more bops coming soon, or even better – an English version of “Bonbon”. Come through queen!
So those are my fave three bops from the past 2 weeks. I have, however, been jamming to these bops in between the slayage of those three:
Cute synthy track with an explosive drumNbass chorus.
Sassy lyrics and a “Fancy”-esque bassline makes “IOU” a strong followup single from this London singer-songwriter.
Will Florriesus ever let me down? Magical track from this goddess.
Imagine the arpeggiated bass from “Dancing On My Own” over the beat from “Wrecking Ball”‘s chorus and you’ll realize why I’ve been bopping to this.
Haunting piano-driven ballad. Think Lana Del Rey with ~stronger~ vocals.
“Good For You”‘s broke bitch cousin. You’re not ready for the switch up @ 1:43.
Co-produced by Skrillex, I warned y’all K-pop kweens 4minute would come for blood with this! I can’t even describe the chorus, you have to hear it for yourself to understand the INSANITY of it.
Leave me bald queens!
Now, albums. Well. Album. It’s the debut one from LION BABE, Begin.
I’ve been checking for LION BABE since “Treat Me Like Fire” came out way back in November 2012 (yeah I’m one of those fans). I immediately bought it on iTunes and had it on repeat all over Christmas. I figured more music would come at some point in 2013 – it didn’t. I kept returning to the track throughout the year though. The beat kept me calm, and Jillian’s vocals were a breath of fresh air. It was simply like nothing I was listening to at the time (Madonna and K-pop), so soulful and soothing. But then, out of nowhere almost two years later, their followup “Jump Hi” dropped and then their debut EP – FINALLY. None of the new tracks captivated me as much as “Treat Me Like Fire” did, but it was enough to solidify my investment in them. 2015 was even better, and soon I was hearing Jillian’s soulful vocals on several high profile radio stations and reading about them in significant publications. A high profile collabo and tour support slot with Disclosure put them on the map and subsequently catapulted the duo to musical relevancy. You know why? Because talent always wins. And now, here I am, listening to their first full-length album! It’s been a really long journey for them to get here, and I’m thrilled for them.
Begin is a solid collection of bops, fronted by the singles “Wonder Woman”, “Impossible” and “Where Do We Go”. It is an aptly titled and cohesive body of work, pairing neo-soul and funk with modern R&B sounds and trendy vocal effects. Jillian Hervey is an exceptional vocalist and phenomenal performer, but that is to be expected when you are the daughter of
Wilhelmina Slater Vanessa Williams. The fact that “Treat Me Like Fire” still knocks after all this time, and slots in nicely among Astro Raw’s productions since then, demonstrates how consistent LION BABE are with their sound; they’ve succeeded in carving out a niche for themselves and mastering that. Highlights include “Satisfy My Love”, a bodyroll-inducing jam, the mellow tropical twerk anthem “Hold On” and gorgeously euphoric album closer “Little Dreamer”.
I’m also really getting into the new Sia collection, This Is Acting. A unique concept in that it is an album entirely of Sia tracks rejected by other artists, the singer ironically is not acting with the album; the songs are deeply personal and introspective, delivering that Sia feeling we’ve come to love.
Here’s the full list of new music I’ve been listening to these last two weeks. I don’t listen to bad music, so getting your ears to hear all of these songs should be a top priority.