Looking for some motivation to help power you through the start of another work week? We feel you, and with some stellar new pop tunes, we’ve got you covered.
These 10 tracks from artists including The Kid LAROI, Kevin Abstract, Audrey Nuna and MGMT will get you energized to take on the week. Pop any of these gems into your personal playlists — or scroll to the end of the post for a custom playlist of our favorite cool pop songs of this year.
The Kid LAROI, “Bleed”
After The Kid LAROI’s breakthrough track came with “Without You,” a mostly acoustic post-breakup anthem that demonstrated his melodic prowess, “Bleed,” the latest sample of upcoming album The First Time, effectively follows a comparable blueprint, although LAROI sounds more wounded than furious here. “Bleed” adopts a waltzing tempo that works well with his pleading falsetto, and should be a highlight in his live shows. – Jason Lipshutz
lovelytheband, “Nice to Know You”
With their long-lasting smash “Broken,” lovelytheband stumbled upon a pop formula that’s catchy enough for top 40 and features the type of instant riff that alternative radio adores. New single “Nice to Know You” stands on its own merits but flaunts a similar sensibility – big hook, more handclaps, a dash of harmonies from yesteryear – and the sunny kiss-off could find a sizable audience soon enough as well. – J. Lipshutz
MGMT, “Mother Nature”
Is MGMT – who scored some enormous electro-pop alternative hits at the end of the 2000s, and have spent plenty of their subsequent time railing against commercial expectations – returning to our lives with some arena rock? Upcoming album Loss of Life sports a lead single with gentle melodies and sweeping instrumentation that sounds primed for big audiences, and while “Mother Nature” fuzzes out a little by the end, a pop song still resides at its core. – J. Lipshutz
Audrey Nuna, “Cellulite”
“It’s the soundtrack of me taking a butter knife and performing spiritual liposuction on myself,” Audrey Nuna says in a press release of new single “Cellulite,” which approaches personal liberation with percussive phrasing and boundless confidence. Nuna remains a promising pop tactician thanks in part to the effortlessness of a song like “Cellulite,” which unveils its purpose with plenty of bounce and has its run time fly by. – J. Lipshutz
Hotline TNT, “Stump”
Cartwheel, the exquisite new album from Hotline TNT, excels on atmosphere: through shoegaze bleariness and elliptical choruses, Will Anderson’s song construction is fully enveloping and impossible to ignore. Album closer “Stump” makes for a solid gateway for the unfamiliar – the spikiness of the album’s guitars are a bit dulled and the yearning vocals slightly more accessible, but the main hook doubling back on itself is one of the full-length’s more rapturous moments – J. Lipshutz
Cat Burns, “Know That You’re Not Alone”
The chorus of Cat Burns’ new motivational single begins, “Thought I’d be flyin’ by now,
but I feel so glued to the ground” – but the next line is, “I look around, everybody’s in the same boat,” and Burns’ voice is soon joined by a chorus for agreement and emotional support. “Know That You’re Not Alone” serves as a balm in trying times, and Burns, a hyper-talented British pop star aiming to expand her profile in North America, capably navigates its ups and downs. – J. Lipshutz
Bad Suns, “Living or Dying”
California’s Bad Suns have traded in the sunnier vibes of tracks past for existentialism on new single “Living or Dying.” The track sees lead singer Christo Bowman caught in the in-between – in this case, a dream-like state and a harsh reality in which his thoughts and feelings are made secondary in favor of pleasing others. The third glimpse fans have received of the alt rock trio’s forthcoming album, Infinite Joy, “Living or Dying” paints a more nuanced picture of the project by showing both vulnerability and depth in its lyrics. – Starr Bowenbank
RIIZE, “Talk Saxy”
RIIZE, SM Entertainment’s newest boy group, might only be three songs deep into its career, but are already taking creative risks with “Talk Saxy.” The group — which includes members Shotaro, Eunseok, Sungchan, Wonbin, Seunghan, Sohee and Anton — already seemingly has a hallmark in its unique use of guitar instrumentation (see previous single “Get a Guitar”) and riffs of it, adding gutsy, high-energy saxophone samples to its newest offering reminiscent of Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” and Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It.” The group’s rookie status has no effect on their collective swag, either, as they deliver the chorus’ suggestive lyrics with a knowing wink to fans. – S.B.
Kevin Abstract, “Madonna”
Get ready to cuddle up with Blanket, Kevin Abstract’s first solo album since Brockhampton went on indefinite hiatus. “Madonna” stands out in no small part for being named after one of the biggest pop stars of all time (who’s currently on a decades-spanning tour), but don’t expect to get into the groove with this one. It’s a melancholy, strummy portrait of a party girl who “spend her bands how she needs/ she think she Madonna.” Maybe Abstract was vibing to Madge’s “” when he crafted this one. – Joe Lynch
Earlier this year, singer-producer Q Marsden released Soul,PRESENT, and now he’s back with “Hello, Everyday Changes,” consisting of three new songs: “Hello,”; “Everyday”; and “Changes.” With its sly, irresistible bass line and syncopated hi-hats, “Hello” is the best of the bunch, with a pitch-shifted voice ranting in the background that serves as a wonderfully weird counterpoint to Q’s cool-as-a-cucumber vocal. – J. Lynch