New music from Silk City, the production duo of Diplo and Mark Ranson, featuring pop star Dua Lipa. Plus, Irish singer Hozier returns with the help of soul legend Mavis Staples; Sigala brings together Meghan Trainor, French Montana and Ella Eyre for an infectious night-out anthem; Atlanta rap pair EarthGang make waves in an energetic new rap track; and Lukas Graham is back with a tender love ballad.
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"Electricity," Silk City feat. Dua Lipa
Silk City — the power player duo of producers Diplo and Mark Ronson — tapped pop star Dua Lipa, of “New Rules” fame, for this delightfully danceable early fall bop. With straightforward club-style production that’s both bright and smooth, Lipa grounds the track with her rich vocals. Like her collaboration “One Kiss” with Calvin Harris before it, she has a knack for adding depth to otherwise frothy dance concoctions. An undeniable beat that combines Diplo’s EDM expertise with Ronson’s retro vibe suggests that “Electricity” will be a quick hit for the whole team.
"Nina Cried Power," Hozier feat. Mavis Staples
In 2014, Irish singer-songwriter Hozier made an impressive debut with the emotionally searing chart hit “Take Me to Church,” but laid low over the last few years to tour and develop new work. Thankfully, he’s back with more uncompromisingly powerful, soul-scorching rock on a new EP. On title track “Nina Cried Power,” in which he name-checks famous artists like Nina Simone to John Lennon who used their considerable voices for activism, he tapped legendary soul singer Mavis Staples herself to feature — a worthy inclusion, given her history as an activist. Her voice, rich with layers of truth, proves an apt complement for Hozier’s expressive songwriting, which on this song seems to internalize the pain and energy of a musical resistance. “Power has been cried by those stronger than me,” Staples sings, “straight into the face that tells you to rattle your chains.”
Atlanta rap duo EarthGang — who go individually by Johnny Venus and WowGr8 — bring a kinetic, zany energy to new track “Up” off their upcoming debut album Mirrorland, out later in the fall. Over a minor-chord flute-spiked backing track, they play their rap game with unswerving, addicting confidence. “See I go loco for my freedom, it’s the only thing that’s real these days,” sings Johnny Venus, who has a knack for modulating his singsong voice in mesmerizing jumps, elevating to a cathartic screech.
"Just Got Paid," Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor, French Montana
The title of this upbeat new tune says it all: “Just Got Paid” is the song you put at the top your going-out-after-payday playlist. (Yes, there’s even a cash-register “ka-ching” sound effect in the mix.) Bouncy and bright with poppy vocals from Ella Eyre and Meghan Trainor, it’s hard not to get to toe-tapping over the Sigala production. It’s clear the featured artists are having fun — after all, who isn’t in a good mood with a healthy bank account? — and their enthusiasm is infectious, with rapper French Montana swooping in to amp up the party. “I’m broke, but I’m ballin,'” sings Eyre in the chorus, which seems like an apt enough approach to the weekend.
"Love Someone," Lukas Graham
Danish pop band Lukas Graham, which first made a splash with 2016’s inescapable hit “7 Years,” returns this week with the first single off new album 3 (The Purple Album) out later this fall. In true Lukas Graham style, “Love Someone” is a sweet and earnest tune amped up with soaring chords, with lead singer Lukas Forchhammer putting a trill in his voice to draw out extra emotion in the tender tune. Where “7 Years” told a story of a hard-scrabble start evolving into success, “Love Someone” feels like the love ballad sequel, a fitting follow up that doubles down on the group’s image as one of the most wholesome collective voices in pop.