Best Songs We Heard This Week: Grimes, Pia Mia, Chance The Rapper + More
Happy #NewMusicFriday — and a very Happy Halloween! Before you go off into the dark night and scare yourselves silly (have you subscribed to our Halloween pop playlists and gotten your costumes in order?), we're sorted through some of the best releases on this internationally-agreed-upon global release date of Friday, personally hand-picked by the PopCrush editors for your ears.
Dig into this week’s round-up from our editors (in no particular order), and add your favorites to your weekend playlist. Speaking of playlists, Apple Music users now have another way to connect with PopCrush — you can stay up to date with all of our mixes here.
And now, on to your new favorite songs…
Grimes, “Flesh without Blood”
Singer-producer Grimes scrapped a chunk of the songs she’d recorded for an upcoming album last year, writing on Tumblr that they were too “depressing.” Her new “Flesh without Blood” single is anything but — it’s a raucous punk-influenced bop, with an equally lighthearted video shot at California’s glorious Madonna Inn. A closer listen to the lyrics reveal the song’s not the solid brick of sugar it first appears to be, as it’s a big ol’ “byeeeee!” to someone she’s quite finished with. Still, this is the sunniest, most radio-friendly pop Grimes has ever released, with enough wonderful weirdness to ensure longtime fans like myself that she hasn’t gone vanilla. – Samantha Vincenty
Alanis Morissette, “King of Intimidation"
Listening to Jagged Little Pill’s previously unheard demos—released today as part of the album’s 20th anniversary collector’s edition—is kind of like digging up an old time capsule to find your baseball cards and coin collection have mysteriously doubled: In theory, the additional material’s different, but it’s still implicitly familiar. “King of Intimidation,” a standout from Morissette’s additional Pill-popping, is the perfect sister to “All I Really Want,” and would have fit seamlessly between any of the LP’s earlier singles. It’s pissed off. It’s shrieky and a little offbeat. It’s Alanis. — Matthew Donnelly
Pia Mia, "Touch"
Pia Mia's "Do It Again" proved to be one of summer's lowkey best offerings, and she's quite literally done it again for fall: "Touch" supplies that same kind of odd, tropical House-leaning vibe that Justin Bieber's been successfully serving up in his latest string of singles. Recorded with Bloodpop (formerly Blood Diamonds), the song sees Pia yearning over and over the left-leaning production with a straightforward, sensual plea: "...So touch me." It's rock solid. — Bradley Stern
Little Mix, “Grown”
“Grown” is not about Perrie Edwards’ former fiancé Zayn Malik (all the songs on Get Weird were written well before he poured gasoline on their relationship and set fire to the rain), but it might as well be. The pre-releases off Little Mix's third album indicate that the quartet have truly come into their own this era, and the retro-leaning “Grown” proves to be their most self-assured yet. If you’re still not fully onboard with Little Mix’s brand of independent-girl-power by now (and you should be), the high-energy, percussion-heavy “Grown” should win you over. When they come in, confidence blazing, with the pre-chorus: “You blew it baby, years ago / Can’t get with me, now I’m grown“ you finally, fully believe them. — Ali Szubiak
Chance the Rapper, “Angels” feat. Saba
“I got my city doin’ front flips,” Chance declares at the top of his new song featuring fellow Chicago emcee Saba. I caught Mr. Rapper’s closing set at the Pitchfork Music Festival earlier in his hometown earlier this year, and based on the crowd’s reaction to his excellent stage show, it’s a fair statement. “Angels” harkens back to the warm jubilance of past songs like “Everybody’s Something” from his 2013 Acid Rap mixtape. The Stephen Colbert-approved track wholly deserves the mainstream success the long-rising rapper seems to be reaching for. – Samantha Vincenty
James Morrison, “Stay Like This"
Call him the United Kingdom’s raspy-voiced, soul-syncopating Peter Pan: James Morrison does not want to grow up. After “This Boy,” a 2006 reflection on youth and “Once When I Was Little,” a 2008 reflection on youth, Morrison has released “Stay Like This,” a brand new reflection on youth. Thankfully, a tether to the past fits the singer like a glove, and Higher Than Here’s second single is a stark reminder that it’s insane someone with this much talent never performed on Adele’s or Sam Smith’s international stages. If only he’d release his new album in the United States, already… — Matthew Donnelly
Chris Loco, "Human (feat. Ina Wroldsen)"
After getting his foot in the door by collaborating with a pre-fame Emeli Sande, producer/DJ Chris Loco's since collaborated with several artists, culminating in his See No Evil EP out this month. The solid set is full of intriguingly left-lane pop, including lead single "Ego" with UK rising star Raye. But the one that caught my eye — and ears — first? "Human" with Ina Wroldsen, the singer-songwriter responsible for carving out tracks for everyone from The Saturdays to Britney Spears. The song sounds like a late-night woodland jam, merging Loco's mysterious noises and pounding beats with Wroldsen's heavenly melodies. Grab this one, and the whole EP — it's promising for all parties involved. — Bradley Stern
Alabama Shakes, “Joe (Live)”
“Joe” isn’t a new song (it was released as a bonus track on the Alabama Shakes’ 2015 release Sound & Color), but the band put out a live version this week, and it’s a song that deserves highlight. Truthfully, front woman Brittany Howard deserves highlight above all else — “Joe" is a stirring, slow-burn of a track, with its overt blues influence and expert build, but Howard’s gripping vocals are what elevate its emotional depth well past the point of no return. When Howard wails, “And I’ve achieved my many dreams / But oh, see Joe / He’s the only one I want / But I ain’t gonna get what I want,” she does it with the kind of intense delivery that doesn’t elicit mere sympathy — it fully tears out the fleshy core of your insides, until only a husk of withered skin remains. This song stings in the best way. — Ali Szubiak
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