Best Songs We Heard This Week: Bruno Mars, Hannah Diamond, John Legend + More
Happy Wednesday, PopCrush readers.
Just as we do every week, the PopCrush editors have selected their favorite new songs for your listening pleasure from #NewMusicFriday and beyond, ranging from up-and-comers to tried-and-true superstars.
We hope that you all have a happy rest of your week! And for more playlists, be sure to follow us on Apple Music.
Jimmy Eat World, “You With Me"
Jimmy Eat World fans: Ready yourself for a Scrooge-worthy ride through emo-punk’s past — the latest from the forthcoming Integrity Blues is built like a mosaic celebrating hindsight. Featuring the yearning hope of “Please Say No,” the whirring coo-chorus of “Night Drive” and a signature sense of high school football-game possibility, “You With Me” is reminiscence served straight up and without a single bell or whistle. The band could teach a master class in synergy — yet again, the feeling here is so much greater than the sum of its parts. — Matthew Donnelly
The duo’s new album, Three, is somehow both their most outright-pop record yet and the darkest they’ve delivered. While that occasionally pulls the release in too many directions at once, it also bore a few of the group’s best songs yet, including the glitchy, gorgeous “Answer.” Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel team up to offer vulnerable vocals before the song’s engulfed halfway in a tidal wave of fuzz; the result is CW-show’s-closing-montage-ready melodrama in the best way possible. – Samantha Vincenty
Bruno Mars, “24k Magic”
Bruno Mars’ lengthy absence from the pop world has been largely felt, and was made that much more apparent when he resurfaced toward 2014’s tail end to deliver the year’s most infectious release — the explosive Mark Ronson offering “Uptown Funk.” He slunk away again for nearly two more years — barring that stellar Super Bowl appearance — leaving many to wonder whether the extended silence would last well into the annals of infinity. What a joy, then, when he dropped “24k Magic,” a funk-inspired throwback that sounds equal parts retro and brand new. Embracing the upper limits of his own corniness (second only to rap’s most emo player, Drake), Mars makes references that won’t make any sense in ten years time (“Got to blame it on Jesus / hashtag blessed”), but he’s having so much fun doing it, it hardly matters. — Ali Szubiak
Hannah Diamond, "Fade Away"
One of PC Music's brightest stars, Hannah Diamond creates high-gloss pop that is at once brimming with warmth as well as icy cold, much like a, well, diamond. Her unique brand of polished, digitized post-Y2K bubblegum could fuel a thousand DDR dance-offs, and her latest cut, "Fade Away," is no different. A blipping, glistening testament to dying love, the track is an auditory study in juxtaposition: sad and joyful, futuristic and nostalgic, subversive and gloriously mainstream—a beautiful enigma, just like the artist herself. — Erica Russell
Elle Watson, “Walls"
Someone kindly direct the 19-year-old to Alessia Cara’s anti-party: the Clams Casino-produced “Walls” follows a lead laid down by “Here,” and Elle Watson is in no rush to land a yearbook superlative. Like a radio-friendlier Birdy, Watson’s voice stuns with sureness and maturity she developed as a self-professed recluse along England’s countryside, and her debut is equal parts buzzy electronica and placating lullaby. “I’m running, jumping, going insane/ I just can't wait till I get out of this place,” she pleads in a promising first look at debut December EP Phantom. — Matthew Donnelly
John Legend, “Love Me Now”
John Legend’s latest “Love Me Now” — an uptempo, percussion-heavy pop gem — makes the unnerving point that wife Chrissy Teigen may someday find love elsewhere, should Legend (heaven forbid!) meet a premature end. It’s a morbid thought (“I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone”) jammed right in the middle of an otherwise uplifting track about the importance of remaining wholly present in life and in love. But Legend has a real knack for the ultra-romantic in all its facets — making even the most distressing of observances sound like the ultimate proclamation of love. — Ali Szubiak
Becky G, "Mangú"
The fact that Becky G isn't a massive superstar by now is one of the many great injustices of this endlessly flawed industry. Her latest track, "Mangú" picks up right where "Sola" left off (one of the best break-up songs of the year, by the way!), as the bilingual baddie and her besties do it for themselves in another round of club-ready Spanish language single-and-satisfied celebration of her emancipation. It's an instant hip-shaker, but don't get it twisted: she might be the party, but she's not your party girl. — Bradley Stern
RALPH, "Something More"
Toronto's rising indie pop maestro RALPH creates feel-good throwback synth-pop, and she makes it seem so effortless. Case in point? The singer-songwriter's latest single, "Something More," a hazy, '80s-infused mid-tempo disco tune about the uncertainty of love and the inevitability of self-sabotage. As the beat wobbles under a flurry of Tiffany-era synths, the artist poses her existential question: "Is there something more? Is there something better? And will I find it if I leave you behind?" — Erica Russell
Mary J. Blige, “Thick of It”
MJB’s more recent viral moments — re-gracing the public with her signature dance moves at Brooklyn’s Bad Boy Family Reunion, singing at a stoic Hillary Clinton —may have cemented her status as a meme-queen, but don’t ever forget that she also remains the queen of I-will-survive anthems (sorry, Gloria Gaynor). Let “Thick Of It,” co-written with Jazmine Sullivan, remind you, and listen with one hand up as Mary channels the pain of our rawest heartbreaks and the end of her own 12-year marriage: “What a hell of a year / If I make it through hell and I come out alive I’ve got nothing to fear.” – Samantha Vincenty