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 Willow Smith, Hayley Kiyoko, The Aces, and Shelley FKA DRAM.
Join us inside…
Willow Smith – Transparent Soul
Seemingly out of left field, Willow Smith makes a sharp detour with her sound and manages to deliver a banger for the ages. Teaming up with Travis Barker of Blink-182 fame, Smith goes full pop-punk. In the tradition of pop-punk ‘Transparent Soul’ acts as a vehicle for heavy amounts of angst, untrustworthy men, and those who are fake. Clearly drawing inspiration from Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and Barker’s own Blink-182, ‘Soul’ takes the best parts from each of their own sounds to create a tune that is as delightfully sharp as it is honest. A true highlight not only in her discography but in music as a whole this year, ‘Soul’ stands among her best work to date.
Hayley Kiyoko – Found My Friends
Rising pop superstar Hayley Kiyoko’s latest tune is a dance number that sees the singer exploring what it means to nurture a more healthy and compassionate relationship with herself. From misery to self-acceptance, this club-banger weaves together all of the best parts of Kiyoko’s sound. Driven by hazy synths, a clap beat, and slick guitars, the song is the perfect vehicle for showcasing her true strengths as an artist. While the clubs may not be open everywhere, Kiyoko proves that sometimes dancing on your own is all therapy you need.
The Aces – Don’t Freak
Pop quartet The Aces are back and better than ever with their latest song ‘Don’t Freak.’ Containing strong influences from 80’s pop, the song is complete with shimmering guitar licks, bright synths, and a groove-worthy beat. More importantly, ‘Don’t Freak’ is unabashedly honest about mental health struggles and strips back the veneer to showcase the person behind the stigma. Bound to decorate playlists everywhere, don’t freak out when this becomes the song of the summer.
Shelley FKA DRAM – The Lay Down
Appearing on his ‘Shelley FKA DRAM’ album, ‘The Lay Down’ is a sleek, soulful record that unites Shelley with H.E.R. and WATT for a bedroom jam of the ages. Across the track, both Shelley and H.E.R. float over the neo-soul instrumental as they bare it all for the other. Each line, each word, builds a palpable tension that is finally released in the form of a sensuous guitar solo compliments of WATT. A truly quintessential soul record from the new generation, ‘The Lay Down’ only further establishes Shelley and H.E.R. as some of the strongest players in the R&B game today.
Do you agree with our picks?