This week, the women of pop are coming in full force and taking over. (With Cardi B landed atop the charts, and big names like P!nk, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus and Shania Twain all brought the goods with powerful new music, while rising stars like FLETCHER, Ibeyi, Banks and ROZES are also finding their distinctive voices.
Start with P!nk's "Beautiful Trauma," the title track off her upcoming album, an unabashed sequel to her "Just Like a Pill"-style recognition of life's messiness (and accompanying joys). Then jump into Demi Lovato's soul-inspired new album, rife with breakup songs of confidence. Beyoncé adds her magic touch to J Balvin and Willy William's "Mi Gente," sending the proceeds to aid victims of recent natural disasters. And FLETCHER and Ibeyi both bring their own fresh voices to the mix.
"Cry Baby," Demi Lovato
On her sixth album, Demi Lovato reaches new highs — both in her song-making and vocal performance. "Cry Baby," which comes up in the later half of the album, starts out with a haunting rock 'n' roll feel; there's a "House of the Rising Sun" vibe that gets under your skin from the intro guitar riff. Then it comes in with a driving downbeat, some electric guitar slides, and Lovato's expressive, varied singing. "I'm no cry baby, but you make me cry lately," she admits, a crack in her voice. This is a breakup song worth singing along to.
"Mi Gente," J Balvin, Willy William feat. Beyoncé
Oh, you thought the summer of "Despacito" was over? While that hit may be sliding down the charts, Beyoncé is taking a page from Justin Bieber's playbook and hopping on one of the summer's other hottest Latin tracks, J Balvin and Willy William's minimalist reggaeton jam "Mi Gente." In the first new music from the superstar since the birth of her twins this summer, Queen Bey both sings in Spanish and raps about Puerto Rico. Like "Despacito," this song was already great before it got a remix. But Beyoncé upped the stakes by promising to dedicate her portion of the proceeds to humanitarian relief in, fittingly, Puerto Rico and other areas effected by the recent natural disasters. In other words, you're going to want to put this on repeat.
"Beautiful Trauma," P!nk
The title track of P!nk's upcoming album is a stomping, soaring new entry into her catalogue of empowering pop anthems. Written with an assist from Jack Antonoff — just try to find a hit release by a female artist lately that doesn't have his name attached to it — "Beautiful Trauma" will appeal to anyone looking for a little help finding those silver linings. P!nk has long been a proponent of accepting differences and facing struggles with honesty, and with her help in the form of a soundtrack, life's traumas might just feel a little less daunting.
"You Should Talk," FLETCHER
FLETCHER says this song is about getting ghosted, so perhaps it's appropriate that the tone is distinctly chilly at first note. But the singer-songwriter — who's beloved by fans for her honest lyricism and anthemic pop tunes like breakout hit "Wasted Youth" — warms it up with her flexible voice, which moves from a friendly whisper to an all-out plea. "I'm insane," she says flat-out. "I'm the girl who ruined everything." And yet "You Should Talk" suggests that she's definitely worth giving another shot.
"I Wanna Be Like You," Ibeyi
Ibeyi — actually a duo of French-Cuban twin sisters — sounds unlike everything else out there right now. Whether singing in Yoruban or English, the Parisian pair draw on Afro-Cuban beats to ground their ethereal, floating voices on raw rhythms. Sometimes they add a splash of funky electro production; other times, they choose a jazzy horn or an angelic choir. Their new album Ash is filled with these kinds of eclectic mixes, all sharing a dark undertone. But ultimately the strength of their style is in smart, simple melody and chanting repetition. "I Wanna Be Like You" is perhaps their brightest track, and won't be soon forgotten.