Best Songs We Heard This Week: Wrabel, Angel Olsen, Rihanna + More
Happy #NewMusicFriday — and a very happy Fourth of July weekend, for our fellow US readers! We hope that you're all doing something fabulously patriotic, like listening to our patriotic playlist for the Fourth of July.
Just as we do every week, the PopCrush editors rounded up our favorite new tunes of the week for your playlist curation delight. Take a peek through all of our high quality picks, and for more playlists, make sure to keep up with us on Apple Music.
Wrabel, "11 Blocks"
Who needs a FitBit? Wrabel's counting every single step he takes on his aching new track "11 Blocks," the first taste of new material from the singer-songwriter since his Sideways EP in 2014. (You might already know him from his gigantic hit with Afrojack, "Ten Feet Tall.") His tender voice is something like a cross between Owl City and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard — at least until the chorus, when he unleashes with a surprising soulful burst of agony: "My mind won't stop, it's just fourteen blocks / I know that you're home / 'Cause it's Friday night and you're not that type." Dating is hard as hell in this city (and every city, let's be real) — and Wrabel certainly gets it. (Besides, Kesha approves, so like...you have no excuse not to listen now.) — Bradley Stern
In the event the USS Enterprise’s systems fail, Rihanna’s latest will vault its passengers into the far reaches of the galaxy. The Sia-penned Star Trek Beyond theme, replete with stratosphere-piercing lifts and twilight minor chords, is a springboard into the beyond, climaxing as Rih fearlessly shouts “I hit a wall!” in a series of wails that sound awfully familiar to the “Chandelier” singer’s. Rihanna can tell you about putting in work; here, she just does it. — Matthew Donnelly
You might have already seen him pop up on Katy Perry's Instagram. or Kesha's. The point is: You don't need our endorsement to know that Ferras' new single "Closer" is the business. The first signee to Perry's Metamorphosis Music has come through with an undeniable pop hit in the making this summer, marking his first release since his self-titled EP in 2014. That rush of a chorus is every bit as instant and melodic as a Nick Jonas smash — and by all means, it should be charting just as high. — Bradley Stern
Angel Olsen, “Shut Up Kiss Me”
I’ve been following Angel Olsen’s career since I first saw her perform in a near-empty Chicago dive bar in 2011, and while I’m partial to the hushed, melancholy folk of Strange Cacti and Half Way Home, her more recent rock turn has wowed me with new facets of her talent. On “Shut Up Kiss Me,” the second song (and self-directed video) from her new album era, Olsen’s elastic voice tries on an almost Martha-Davis-of-the-Motels-esque pout as she implores a lover to just come back to her already. “Shut up kiss me hold me tight / Stop your crying it’s all right,” she sings as the drums and guitar kick into gear on the chorus, with just a hint of menace. – Samantha Vincenty
Jarryd James featuring Broods, “1000x"
It’s decided: Jarryd James is the master of making listeners willfully despondent. “1000x,” a collaboration with New Zealand electropop act Broods, is a slow, dreary slog through relationship bog-water, but the path is so desolate, it’s beautiful. The second verse’s undulating, crisscrossing harmonies are other-worldly beautiful, but the serenity’s ephemeral, because you suddenly remember that it’s all a hopeless plea: “Tell me that love is enough / The seas will be parted for us / Tell me that love is enough.” — Matthew Donnelly
Petite Meller, “Milk Bath”
While one pop queen was busy comparing your milk money to her MILF money this week, across the pond a rising pop princess was soaking in a relaxing “Milk Bath” instead. French singer-songwriter Petite Meller’s latest tune is a bouncy ode to the sustenance of life and true to form, it’s completely infectious and charming. Synthy flourishes and sparkly ukulele riffs intertwine on the nu-tropical bop, the artist chirping, “Body in the heat of the hour / My love should have expired!” It’s pop au lait and it tastes so, so sweet. – Erica Russell
Problem featuring 2 Chainz, “My Squad”
Compton-bred rapper Problem’s “My Squad” just became a late entry on my personal summer anthems playlist, not least for the track’s infectious and brilliant sample choice, Black Box’s 1990 hit “Everybody Everybody.” Given mainstream hip hop’s strict adherence to rigid concepts of masculinity, an interpolation of an Italo-house dance club hit is somewhat…unexpected — more importantly, it sounds great. This song cured my bad mood, my tennis elbow and my desperate need for a new song to play at an unreasonable volume. – Samantha Vincenty
Bishop Briggs, “The Way I Do”
The accompaniment on “The Way I Do” Is minimal at best, making way for artist Bishop Briggs’ stellar vocals to claim front-and-center — as they should. Equal parts haunting and robust, Briggs’ injects each syllable with the kind of full-bodied emotion you might expect from a more seasoned singer — or at least an older one. But she channels the most fervent of gospel choirs when she unleashes on “The Way I Do,” and it feels a hell of a lot like penitence. — Ali Szubiak
Stooshe, "Let It Go"
Girl groups are in mighty short supply, so it's only too thrilling to see that Stooshe are still around — and thriving, it seems! After making a major debut in 2012 with UK chart-toppers like "Love Me" and "Black Heart," as well as their Top 10 debut London with the Lights On, the British trio is back with the JuNGLeboi and Dan Leary-produced "Let It Go," a joyous, drum 'n' bass-infused track meant to inject some (much needed) joy onto the music scene for the summer. "Live for the moment right now / We can't let this energy just die down," they urge. As it turns out, Stooshe haven't let it go at all — and we're all the better for it. — Bradley Stern
Dotter, “Creatures of the Sun”
This week, mysterious Swedish singer Dotter released her third single, her first new music since 2015. A sweeping electro-folk anthem that’s equal parts Kerli, Lana del Rey and Oh Land, “Creatures of the Sun” sounds like a shower of golden sunrays trickling through a leafy canopy, illuminating the shadowed space below. The artist’s warm, earthy voice glides over a melodic soundscape of glistening electronics and tribal beats as she ponders human nature: “Keeping the balance / Finding the courage / Did we forget about our instincts? / Creatures of the sun / Out of water onto the ground / Are we here by chance?” And the video is just as mesmerizing and glittery, with the redheaded siren cradling a conch shell and dancing in a kaleidoscopic burst of colors and nature imagery. – Erica Russell