after a particularly stressful week work-wise, the only thing keeping me going has been this selection of bops and bangers i'm about to share with you, so if you're also Going Thru It, i hope they bring you a vague semblance of joy.
by far my most played song these last few days, number one fan is the ~self love~ anthem i never knew i needed. though i'd like to believe the days of hating myself are far behind me now, i still have moments where i feel like a potato with hair who's incapable of real human connection and genuine happiness, so it's reassuring to know MUNA feel that way too. after a whirlwind few years releasing their incredible debut album about u and touring the world with harry styles, the trio were struggling to apply such empowering lyrics to their own lives, and after a period of self-reflection, number one fan was born. encouraging us to be our own biggest stans amid a glorious chorus of synths and a bridge wilson phillips would be proud of, i'm hoping their second album saves the world - due september 6th - will contain more of the same.
since appearing on fox's the four, newcomer VINCINT has been steadily releasing his own electro-pop bops; highlights include middle of love, remember me and please don't fall in love. however, his latest release say is his best yet as he pays homage to his family's gospel roots. i'm of the strong belief that a gospel choir can make any song ten thousand times better (see: like a prayer and if i believe you) but say also features the best key change we've seen in pop since ariana's greedy back in 2016, and i can't wait to see what he does next.
3. chlöe howl
it's been a while since i paid attention to chlöe howl, but her newest song in the middle (sad banger) deserves points for the name alone - Sad Bops have always been my favourite sub-genre (see: ABBA'S entire discography). put simply, this is what robyn's latest album missing u was in fact missing; that perfect blend of a Big Chorus and devastatingly sad lyrics about a relationship gone wrong. howl's career so far has been a series of hits and misses - when she's good, she's really good, but when she's bad, it's... this. following her departure from sony music, she's now an independent artist and i'm praying her future releases won't leave me disappointed.
4. swimming girls
the self-described "dark pop four piece" released their latest EP existenial fears earlier this month, bringing with it two new tracks, the moody synth-driven holy place, which pays homage to singer vanessa's spanish roots, and i don't wanna get to heaven, which i'd consider Classic Swimming Girls, along with 1 2 many, asking for it and beneath you. full to the brim with a series of heavenly (sorry) synths and a cure-esque guitar riff combined with lyrics about - you guessed it - "where we go when we die", it's what they do best, and i'm eagerly awaiting the day they return to manchester so i can yell every word at the top of my voice.
5. malou prytz
another slice of synth-pop excellence courtesy of popjustice, which is fast becoming one of my favourite music sites. the 16-year-old swede first caught their attention with her song left & right, which wouldn't have sounded out of place at this year's eurovision amongst its sea of sub-par tracks and choruses that never quite get off the ground. however, while listening to it on youtube, i saw the next recommended video was for another one of her songs, titled i do me. this one is far more upbeat and features a ridiculously catchy chorus that's been stuck in my head for weeks. here's hoping her career trajectory is more dagny than duncan lawrence.
6. tiesto/jonas blue/rita ora
sticking with the popjustice theme, i was surprised to see that its founder peter robinson described tiesto's new rita ora assisted track ritual as "her best ever single" when bops such as how we do, i will never let you down, doing it and anywhere exist, but it's definitely A Banger and i've been playing it pretty much non-stop since i first heard it. another career which has seen its fair share of ups and downs, ora endured a lengthy legal battle with former label roc nation before finally parting ways with them and releasing phoneix last year, which most definitely did not live up to my expectations. perhaps this is what makes ritual so good, standing out in a sea of Sad Piano Ballads and desperate attempts to cling to whatever spotify's new music friday playlist deems relevant. rita's at her best when she bucks the trends, so if she decides to go in a more dance oriented direction on her next album, i definitely won't have any complaints.
7. BANKS/francis and the lights
after the huge success of comeback single gimme, fans of BANKS seem divided by look what you're doing to me, her collaboration with francis and the lights, arguing that she sounds overproduced and lost in a sea of autotune. however i've been a fan of francis and the lights since january last year, and i also love a bit of autotune - i wrote about both of these things here - so naturally, i love the track and how refreshingly different it is from gimme. the latter is BANKS in her element, all moody synths and distorted vocals, and yes it Fucking Slaps, but i'm here for her genre-defying sound and the eventual Autotune Renaissance, spearheaded by charli xcx (who i got tickets to see in october!!!).
ever since i saw the australian singer live at yes last thursday, i've had all her songs playing non stop. much like swimming girls and pale waves, she takes inspiration from the cure and cocteau twins to create a blend of nostalgic pop that still sounds fresh. picking a favourite is hard but the song i first fell in love with was without a blush. i'd also highly recommend her newest single obsessed, adored, stay with me, sleep and try.
following her appearance on season 11 of rupaul's drag race, soju - who first found fame on youtube - is the latest queen to release a single and it certainly doesn't disappoint. as soon as i found out fall in love again was produced by socialchair - responsible for bops including speed and tension - i knew it was going to be good. put simply, it's an Absolute Bop that pays homage to her love of k-pop bands and i'm definitely going to be requesting it next time i go out.
10. king princess/mark ronson
i have to admit, the last few releases from mark ronson's upcoming album late night feelings were distinctly underwhelming. as i mentioned earlier, i love a Sad Banger, but for some reason i just couldn't get into his collaborations with miley cyrus, camila cabello and lykke li. though there were faint shimmers of a disco-inspired bassline and a smattering of classic 80s synths, they failed to reach any kind of crescendo, lacking The Drama all good pop songs require for me to feel any type of way about them.
similarly, the last few offerings from king princess post-pussy is god (i mean, could she ever really top that?) didn't thrill me either, so combining her silky smooth vocals with the aforementioned disco sound ronson has been enjoying lately was an excellent decision, culminating in pieces of us. while still a more low-key affair compared to the type of disco i usually favour, this song is perfect for that part of the night where everyone is slightly too drunk and In Their Feelings but not quite ready to leave the dancefloor.