The Pop Stop: Olivia Rodrigo, Jorja Smith, & More Deliver This Week’s Hidden Gems

Published: Saturday 15th May 2021 by Ryan

Readers of That Grape Juice know how passionate we are about music – whether that be past or present.

However, unlike our other segments – Retro Rewind, TGJ Replay, and From The Vault – The Pop Stop is the most in-depth look at Pop songs that may have flown under the radar over the last week that you should know, rather they be from music’s biggest stars or those on the rise.

This week, we want to highlight cuts from Olivia Rodrigo, Jorja Smith, Valley Sixteen, and MK xyz.

Join us inside…

Olivia Rodrigo – good 4 u

As she gets ready to release her debut studio album, ‘SOUR,’ Olivia Rodrigo is turning up the heat with her latest song ‘good 4 u.’ Produced by Alexander 23 and Dan Nigro, the song goes headfirst into the alternative sound that Rodrigo has only been playing with up to now. Complete with heavy bass, heavy electric guitar, and anthemic drums, the heartbreak tune is reminiscent of early No Doubt or Paramore, except with clearer pop influence imbued into the production. While Rodrigo may have finally got her driver’s license, she is going full speed to a sound all her own. A true testament to the strengths of pop music’s next big star, all we have to say is good for you.


Jorja Smith – Burn

After first beginning on SoundCloud, Jorja Smith has risen to the status of being an R&B darling over time. One listens to ‘Burn’ and it’s easy to see how she is so beloved. Nestled in her ‘Be Right Back’ EP, ‘Burn’ doesn’t mince words as she tackles the subject of burnout. While the subject matter may not seem as daring as the territory she has previously explored, there is a real vulnerability in trying to make yourself be seen as you remain invisible to others. The subject matter is heavy, but the production is light. Built around sunny guitars and bass, Smith’s voice glides over the sounds like a summer wind on an open field. A true standout from one of R&B’s next big stars, ‘Burn’ is absolute fire.


Valley Sixteen – Borderline

At just 20-years-old South African indie-pop singer Valley Sixteen is making quite the name for herself in the music world. She recently unleashed her debut EP ‘Apartment Flaws’ and the project contains one of the best indie-pop songs of the year. The hypnotic guitar serves as the backbone to track, before being joined by dreamy synths, and a gentle backbeat. All provide the perfect vehicle for her angelic vocals to take the listener on a journey, as she recounts being labeled the villain in a relationship due to her mental health issues. As heartbreaking as it is beautiful, ‘Borderline is a strong statement from an even stronger talent.


MK xyz – One Time

Tricky Stewart-mentee MK xyz is fresh off the release of her debut ep ‘Sweet Spot’ and the project lives up to its namesake. There is a song for every music palette, but the one that will satisfy them all is ‘One Time.’  This smooth R&B gem is led by a soft piano, twinkling synths, and a grooving backbeat. While the production may not seem revolutionary, it does provide the perfect grounds for her airy vocals to really soar. Together, her voice and the production marry to form a combination as timeless as peanut butter and jelly. Needless to say, ‘One Time’ stands among one of the strongest debuts of the year.


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