Widgets Magazine

Heating up: Pop hits on the rise in February 2017

The Weeknd. (Kayla Johnson, Wikimedia Commons)

“Party Monster” – The Weeknd

Attention: The Weeknd has crafted yet another smash hit. After his massive success with “Earned It,” “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills,” The Weeknd returned earlier this year with his lead single “Starboy,” from his album of the same name. And, as it turns out, his “Starboy” era is shaping up to be even more successful than his last. “Party Monster” is an appropriate name for this track, because, well … you’re going to be hearing it at a lot of parties. At this point, that’s typical with any The Weeknd single. Here, The Weeknd continues cultivating his own sound in pop music by blending pop, electronic and hip-hop with a heavy dose of nostalgia and mysticism. Get ready to hear it everywhere.

“Make Me (Cry)” – Noah Cyrus & Labrinth

This recently released collaboration between multi-talented musician and vocalist Labrinth and Noah Cyrus (who is Miley Cyrus’s younger sister) is your run-of-the-mill electropop track. It’s nothing groundbreaking, that’s for sure — not likely to gain the kind of popularity her sister’s singles “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” did. But her first foray into the pop music world is a sure step; in this duet between Cyrus and Labrinth, the two have crafted a pop song with simple yet relatable lyrics and spare yet masterful production. Hard to do — and a perfect formula for a new pop artist coming onto such a crowded scene.

“Chained to the Rhythm” – Katy Perry f/ Skip Marley

As Katy Perry’s first single since late 2014, it would be a bit awkward if her comeback smash didn’t raze the airwaves — and that’s exactly what this horribly infectious disco track is going to do. The only thing that may hinder its radio-friendly, catchy hooks from climbing to the top of the charts is the song’s decidedly, if subtly, political nature. From the very first verse to the last chorus, every line is a thinly veiled criticism of ignorance and inequality. Which, to some people, is a great thing. To others, not so much. Regardless of your mindset, it’ll be hard not to dance when this hits the deck at a party.

“Scared To Be Lonely” – Dua Lipa and Martin Garrix

Erring from the house and hip-hop sounds dominating radio right now, Martin Garrix reels things back to the early portion of the decade with a simple, albeit catchy electronic song. While the breakdown is a bit uneventful and tired, vocalist Dua Lipa, an upcoming European popstar, contributes stellar vocals, making great use of her unique tone. If you had any love for the many mainstream electronic songs featuring female vocalists that graced the music scene earlier this decade, you’ll likely be a fan of this song.

“Run Up” – Major Lazer f/ PARTYNEXTDOOR, Nicki Minaj

After several smash hits, Major Lazer is back with an uplifting dancehall song that sits comfortably along the boundary between casual and party. With a beat that’s incredibly easy to move to and bright, smooth vocals from Canadian artist PARTYNEXTDOOR, “Run Up” would be a great song even without Nicki Minaj’s guest verse. In her unfortunately short appearance, Minaj drops the lines, “He call me queen, he know ‘Nicki’ is the moniker / He want a mix between Hillary and Monica,” which is reason enough to give this future hit a listen.

“Down” – Marian Hill

Electronic music duo Marian Hill have been around for a fairly short time, with their debut album “ACT ONE” only releasing last year. One of their songs off this album, “Down,” recently gained traction as a result of being featured in a commercial for Apple, and has been rocketing up both radio and iTunes charts ever since. And Marian Hill’s sparse, hard-hitting style is unique enough to stand out amongst the crowded airwaves, meaning this hook-heavy track that combines piano with electronic production could be the single with which they make a name for themselves.


Contact Dante Laird at dlaird2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Dante Laird

Nick Burns—an Austin, TX sophomore—studies Science, Technology and Society. In his spare time, he likes to watch Netflix, feed his coffee addiction, read young adult novels, and write. His favorite kind of music is pop/electronic—especially if you can dance to it.