Happy Saturday, and welcome to another edition of Weekend Replay. With the weather heating up and summer just around the corner, the coming weeks are likely to see a flurry of new pop songs, all vying for the (trite) title of “Song of the Summer.” But for now, let’s take a look at what came out this week.
Following up recent singles “In My Blood” and “Lost In Japan,” Shawn Mendes released “Youth” last Thursday. Featuring Khalid, the song is one of quiet determination. Mendes and Khalid alternate verses, trading off tales of feeling hopeless when devastating headlines appear on the news, but under it all is an underlying message of carrying on and staying strong: “Pain, but I won’t let it turn into hate / No, I won’t let it change me / Never losing sight of the one I keep inside.”
Troye Sivan‘s first album, Blue Neighborhood, had an overall melancholy tone when it was released in 2015. But his single “Bloom” is the the latest in a series of releases from this year that seem to signal a new era for the Australian pop singer. Trading the mixed emotions for pure exuberance (and not-so-subtle sexual overtones), “Bloom” is about the excitement that comes with finding someone to love. Thematically it recalls Marina and The Diamonds‘ “Froot,” with lyrics referencing a garden: “Take a trip into my garden / I’ve got so much to show you / The fountains and the waters / Are begging just to know you.” This is a Sivan who’s in a happy place, and it’s infectious.
Lake Street Dive‘s blend of jazz, pop, and soul has given them a fascinatingly timeless sound. The second track off the group’s new album Free Yourself Up, “Good Kisser” is a showcase of everything Lake Street Dive is as a band: lead singer Rachael Price’s vocals shimmer with power and heart, and the backing instrumentation feels free and unrestrained. These are musicians so comfortable and connected with the material that it feels improvised, in the best way. Jaunty and sassy, it’s a literal kiss-off to an ex-lover, asking the leaving party, “If you’re gonna tell them everything / Tell them I’m a good kisser.”
The country duo behind hits like “19 You + Me” and “From The Ground Up,” Dan + Shay released “All to Myself” this week. It’s a sweet mid-tempo tune about staying in with the one you love. Is it groundbreaking? No, not at all. But in a country landscape trying to integrate rock and hip-hop sounds to stay relevant, Dan + Shay prove they don’t need any of that. It’s poppy and folksy and happy, and that’s a refreshing sound to hear these days.
Even those who aren’t familiar with the history of emo pop probably know Jimmy Eat World from their 2001 breakthrough hit “The Middle.” With that song, the band broke from their “emo” label and made a name for themselves in the power pop scene, and never really left. On Friday, they released singles “Love Never” and “half heart.” “Love Never” embraces everything that fans loved about Jimmy Eat World—the studio slickness, the strong hooks, and of course, the simplicity of the lyrics: “It’s gonna feel so hard / Until you want the work more than the reward.” It’s an ode to the harsh reality of romance, glazed over with an upbeat sheen—which really, is everything emo pop is meant to be.