Looking for some motivation to help power you through the start of another work week? We feel you, and with some stellar new pop tunes, we’ve got you covered.
These 10 tracks from artists including Jorja Smith, Passion Pit, Jessie Ware, Dawn Richard, Lauren Spencer-Smith, GAYLE & Em Beihold and more will get you energized to take on the week. Pop any of these gems into your personal playlists — or scroll to the end of the post for a custom playlist of all 10.
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Shy Martin, “Glued to the Floor”
Shy Martin’s “Glued to the Floor” is a song about antidepressants that hails from an album (late night thoughts, May 19) written entirely in a bedroom. Naturally, it’s gonna feel introspective, but there’s a guileless warmth to the Swedish musician’s delivery here that makes the interiority of her world feel every bit as immediate as the one beneath your feet. – Joe Lynch
Khamari, “Right My Wrongs”
The gentle, sweet ache in Khamari’s voice is earning him understandable comparisons to Frank Ocean, but the Boston-born, L.A.-based singer-songwriter’s discography, while limited, demonstrates a musical range and creative perspective all his own. New single “Right My Wrongs” is a velvety, laid-back slice of R&B with retro soul and bedroom indie-pop vibes. Don’t be surprised if Khamari is the next big thing. – J. Lynch
Jessie Ware, “Begin Again”
Ware’s upcoming album is called That! Feels Good! (April 28), and latest single “Begin Again” is certainly as excitable as the exclamation point-happy title. Inspired by dreams of a Brazilian escape during the doldrums of lockdown, “Begin Again” melds Ware’s soulful disco with shades of samba-like syncopation, adding up to five-minutes of celebratory bliss. – J. Lynch
King Krule, “Seaforth”
Three years and a whole pandemic have passed since King Krule geared up to release an album, and new track “Seaforth” shows that Archy Marshall has changed for the better. Where some of his previous work explored his more melancholic side (“Dum Surfer”), “Seaforth” — the first look at Krule’s next album, Space Heavy — sees him sweetly embracing the little joys that fatherhood has to offer, from recognizing himself in his daughter’s eyes to taking walks together in a mall (“Now walk through shop centers together/ Our love dissolves this universe”). — Starr Bowenbank
Passion Pit, “American Blood”
What’s old is officially new again for Passion Pit, as singer Michael Angelakos has formally released “American Blood,” a deep cut from their 2012 critically acclaimed album, Gossamer, that only ever appeared on its iTunes deluxe version. Cloaked behind its upbeat synth instrumental is a darker reality, as Angelakos grapples with his past, and wonders if he can turn back the hands of time. — S.B.
Jorja Smith, “Try Me”
Jorja Smith released an EP in 2021 titled Be Right Back, and now that the R&B star (and former best new artist nominee) is indeed back, early returns on her sophomore LP sound extremely promising. “Try Me” drips elegance in its spaces of incredulity — “Nothin’ is ever enough / I don’t have to tell you what I’ve changed,” Smith sings with exasperation on the chorus — and reads as both complex in its rhythmic palette and straightforward in its pop presence, a line that Smith walks well. – Jason Lipshutz
Dawn Richard, “Bubblegum”
After Dawn Richard teamed up with composer-producer Spencer Zahn for last year’s experimental, gorgeous LP Pigments, she’s back with a rhythmic pop single that will delight fans of her avant-R&B solo work and her radio-friendly Danity Kane fare. “Bubblegum” pops with sexual innuendo and tempo increases, as Richard, continuing a period of circling through several stylistic approaches with ease, sounds as confident as ever. – J. Lipshutz
Lauren Spencer Smith with GAYLE & Em Beihold, “Fantasy”
Between “Fingers Crossed,” “ABCDEFU” and “Numb Little Bug,” Lauren Spencer Smith, GAYLE and Em Beihold have watched songs go unexpectedly viral over the past year and change, rack up millions of streams and unlock previously unfathomable professional opportunities. “Fantasy,” a strength-in-numbers kiss-off in which the three rising artists decimate the lamest type of ex, makes room for all of their respective styles, finding cohesion around a lovely piano line and the type of clouds-high chorus that the three artists have previously mastered on their own. – J. Lipshutz
Girl Ray, “Hold Tight”
The new single from London trio Girl Ray contains the power to make mundane activities feel thrilling — witness how the group traipses around a farm in the “Hold Tight” music video, high-kicking while pushing identical wheelbarrows, and you’ll get an idea. An endearing pop-rock love song, “Hold Tight” offers carbonated goodness without overselling its appeal, and as they prepare new album Prestige, Girl Ray have delivered a single that will be a blast to hear, and perform, live. – J. Lipshutz
Speedy Ortiz, “Scabs”
Wry vocal hooks, liner-notes-ready wordplay and guitar riffs twisting around time changes are all hallmarks of Speedy Ortiz, who return with a song decrying hollow activism as their first new single in five years. Yet “Scabs” possesses a tenacity that sounds fresh and hard-earned: credit goes to the solidified band lineup (longtime touring bassist Audrey Zee Whitesides and drummer Joey Doubek have joined singer-songwriter-guitarist Sadie Dupuis and guitarist Andy Molholt) as well as Sarah Tudzin, the Illuminati Hotties mastermind who co-produced “Scabs” and helps provide space for the band to roam. – J. Lipshutz
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