Best Songs We Heard This Week: MNEK, Chance the Rapper, CAPPA + More
Happy Friday, PopCrush readers — and a very happy #NewMusicFriday to you as well.
Luckily, the May streak of solid pop songs continues today, on this oh-so-auspicious Friday the 13th. As always, the PopCrush editors have gone through all the best new releases of the moment and rounded up their personal faves, prime for the picking for your cardio/cruising/crying on a Friday night playlists.
Have a look through our selections below, and for more playlists, keep up with us by subscribing on Apple Music.
MNEK, "At Night (I Think About You)"
Over the past few years, MNEK has quickly established himself as one of the UK's most important musical exports, from chart-topping collaborations with Zara Larsson and Gorgon City and songwriting credits and production for the likes of everyone from Little Mix to Madonna to Beyoncé — oh, and he's only just turned 21 in November. (Rude.) While his solo stuff has taken longer to cook, MNEK's newest release is further evidence of the musical multihyphenate's versatile vocal skills and his masterful ability to squeezes dozens of melodies and sonic switch-ups into one song. Go ahead and listen to it on repeat all day: you'll still be hearing new things late at night. — Bradley Stern
CAPPA, "I'm Good"
She may hail from Nashville, but CAPPA's no country crooner. The PopCrush Presents-profiled songwriter is much more synth-pop princess than cowgirl, and her airy new single, "I'm Good," confirms that description. A rhythmic slice of chilly, melodic indie-pop, the track is equal parts Tegan & Sara and Allie X, all icy vocals and spacious electronic production that boils over during the chorus. Both expressive and detached at once, the track appropriately reflects the emotionally-muted conversational auto-response by which it was titled after. - Erica Russell
Chance the Rapper, “All Night”
In a time when Top 40 audiences can’t get enough of dreary hip hop and R&B — The Weeknd seducing (?) with “I just f---cked two bitches ‘fore I saw you,” Future’s dark pill-pop anthems and Drake’s in-his-feelings-and-in-his-cups musings about friends and women who’ve disappointed him — it’s wonderful to see Twitter collectively freaking out about a joyful, sonically-gorgeous rap release today: Chance the Rapper’s new Coloring Book mixtape. Fans of Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” (which Chance and Kelly Price stole) will love the album’s many gospel-influenced tracks, and the appearances from mentor Kanye and gospel artist Kirk Franklin. I love them too, but — as with Kanye’s T.L.O.P. closer “Fade” — I’m also delighted by “All Night” for its house music roots. Of the many homages to Chance’s native Chicago on Coloring Book (including “Angels” and its accompanying video, which is so loving it puts a lump in my throat) a tribute to the genre the city gave birth to was the one I least expected. And it’s produced by previous Best Songs pick Kaytranada! – Samantha Vincenty
Allie X, "Too Much To Dream"
Allie X needs your help: her upcoming release Collxtion II, is a 10-track collection. The only problem is...she doesn't know which songs to pick. To solve this crisis, the promising pop oddball's launched a collaborative project, where fans will weigh in on everything from "finished songs to demos to voice memos." This ought to be a fun journey, not only because Collxtion I is still on heavy repeat (and remains one of the strongest pop debuts of the past few years), but because "Too Much To Dream," the newest release (option?) from her second set, is every bit as tantalizing. "Anyone can see that I've had too much to dream," she sings on the instantly catchy tune. Don't worry, Allie: we'll happily be your editors. — Bradley Stern
Prince Fox featuring Hailee Steinfeld, "Fragile"
It could vivify July’s brightest sun, but the synth-pop “Fragile” wasn’t originally conceived to be a summertime hit. In fact, DJ/producer Prince Fox began recording just after a family death in the thick of winter, and that his late grandfather and featured singer Hailee Steinfeld shared a birthday seemed like a sign that things were meant to be. The song offers hints of familiarity – measured percussion and tech effects you last heard from a traveling boom box – with elements that might leave you scratching your head. This, Prince Fox told Billboard, is his signature brand of “future pop.” “I'm trying to make pop music that has a familiar sound in the sense that its structured like a conventional song but is produced in a way that has aspects of 'oh, what is this? This is cool, this is new. I haven't hear this done before,’” he said. — Matthew Donnelly
Ariana Grande, “Into You”
Grande’s promo strategy for her forthcoming LP Dangerous Woman has been underwhelming to say the least. It’s a shame, really, because the tracks released thus far are good. But none is as stellar as the massive “Into You,” a return to the club-worthy hits that elevated Grande beyond mere Nickelodeon actor and straight into pop stardom. With its infectious chorus, pounding bass, self-assured vocals and lyrical appeal to voyeurs everywhere ("Got everyone watching us / So baby let’s keep it secret”), “Into You” deserves, if nothing else, to be a top contender for Song of the Summer — the perfect soundtrack for a raucous evening out, from its sober beginning to its three-tequila end. — Ali Szubiak
Jessy Lanza, “Never Enough”
As pop editors we listen to slickly-produced music all day — at times, a track’s sound is so slick you can’t grab even hold of its purported sentiment. Jessy Lanza’s music takes an opposite, intentionally-low-fi approach to dance pop on both 2013’s Pull My Hair Back and her excellent new Oh No, co-produced with her partner Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys. The tracks’ immaculately-crafted layers at least sound like they were made with a light touch, effectively highlighting Lanza’s unique voice. Minimal electro-bop “Never Enough” moves between dreamy and urgent, filled with synth-y breakdowns as Lanza sings and issues spoken assurances-slash-commands. Perfect for the house party or the dance-alone-in-your-bedroom party. -Samantha Vincenty
Frankie, "New Obsession"
PopCrush Presents alum Frankie's debut, Dreamstate, technically dropped last year, but she's been my "New Obsession" ever since — her saccharine EP on repeat on interstate bus rides and international flights ever since, keeping me energized (and awake) with its bright, candy-colored pop. This week, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter dropped the dreamy '90s inspired video for her latest spunky single. Featuring zippy electro-pop production and a euphorically shouty chorus, the addictive track is like a spiked punch bowl at the homecoming dance: It's a sweet, neon pink sugar rush until the booze kicks in, making you dance like a reckless maniac...which is exactly what I do when I listen to this song. - Erica Russell
Bedlam’s latest release “Predator” is a hypnotic, musical study in how best to incite anxiety with the help of some deliberately placed looping drums, staccato vocal effects and vaguely threatening lyrics. When the track’s unidentified female vocalist sings, “Now I’m a stalker and you’re the prey / I’m like a lion out of its cage,” it sounds very much like a warning of coming revenge. — Ali Szubiak
Few Bits, "Summer Sun"
It won’t send a house party into overtime or rally beachgoers around a convertible’s radio, but Belgian singer/songwriter Karoilen Van Ransbeeck’s “Few Bits” captures summer all the same. Instead of midday heat, it builds from a sunset’s waning rays, coupling lazy fireside guitar strums with soft, inviting drums. “The summer sun’s shining through / And I’m no longer waiting on you,” she croons across dream pop that could cure chronic insomnia. It might seem like dime-a-dozen sentiment, but she told Stereogum every note and word is hers. “A song doesn’t just have to sound good, it also has to express exactly what I feel,” she said. “Otherwise I’d rather throw it away.” — Matthew Donnelly