Nick Jonas is beginning to make his play for the pop kingdom with new single “Find You,” a helpful reminder that he’s a talent not to be slept on. Sweden’s Tove Styrke, meanwhile, provides a look at the fresh new sound of pop. Young Americana trio Odell Fox prove that simple songs still have serious resonance, while old-school Americana duo Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams prove that some artists just keep getting better with time. Finally, house group Sofi Tukker celebrate friendship as only they can.
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"Find You," Nick Jonas
The solo Jonas brother goes on a quest for love in new single “Find You,” his second release this year after May’s “Remember I Told You” with Mike Posner and Anne-Marie. This one, though, sees Nick sticking firmly within his zone as an effortless pop performer. He keeps the tone light, his voice rising casually over a catchy guitar riff and melodic electronic beat. There are inevitable strains of Shawn Mendes, but Jonas — older, suaver, less eager in his execution — has his own winking, unhurried spin on things.
"Carry Me Over," Odell Fox
Slow it way, way down on “Carry Me Over,” a bluesy heartache tune from the folk Americana trio of Odell Fox. On their debut EP Thank You, the three musicians float easily from upbeat bluegrass romps to rockabilly jams, but “Carry Me Over” takes a softer, sadder tone. That’s not a bad thing: sweet, layered harmonies, nimble guitar and nostalgic lyrics are just the ticket to another plane of emotional depth, led by primary vocalist Raphael Shapiro’s soothing hum, which falls just on the right side of gruff.
"Mistakes," Tove Styrke
Tove Styrke (not to be confused with fellow Swedish pop wunderkind Tove Lo) is carving out her own sweet spot in contemporary pop: sharply produced, cheeky songs delivered in a distinctive lilt. Like in sleeper hit “Say My Name” from this spring, Styrke in “Mistake” doesn’t shy away from stripping her tracks down to their absolute catchiest elements: some boom-clap drums, echoing synth, a bubblegum keyboard. The trick is in her accessible, nimble vocals. “Mistake” is a song any of us will want to — and could — sing along to.
"The Other Side of Pain," Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
Contraband Love is the second album from classic Americana artists Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, a powerhouse duo who first teamed up in 2015 after decades spent as supporting artists behind the likes of Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples. Grounded on an undeniably catchy rock melody, Williams’s rich, textured voice elevates the tune and adds a touch of bluesy vulnerability. “How does it taste when you sip your wine?” she croons, bittersweet and wounded and honest. “Pardon me while I drown in mine; it’s just medication, a brief connection to the other side of pain.”
"Best Friend," Sofi Tukker
Quirky house/dance music duo Sofi Tukker have a ball on “Best Friend,” a new single stacked with contributions from their musically-inclined pals NERVO, The Knocks and Alisa Ueno. A pleasantly thumping bass line gets amped up with effervescent vocals filled with irreverent attitude. And if you’re wondering where you’ve heard this song before, you don’t need to look far: it’s the background for Apple’s new iPhone X ad, giving it instant cool points.