Single Reviews: The best new pop singles from March 2014

In case you have not been paying that much attention to the new releases in the pop scene over the last few weeks, I’m here to help you out. I listed the five best new pop releases from the past month for you to enjoy! Yes, you’re welcome!

05. Cher Lloyd – Sirens
Cher Lloyd participated in X Factor UK in 2010. She wowed the judges with a rendition of ‘Turn My Swag On’ during her audition and managed to finish in fourth position in the competition. She released an album afterwards and even had a hit single in the USA with ‘Want U Back’. Last year she started promoting the release of her upcoming new album ‘Sorry I’m Late’ with the song ‘I Wish’ and now she is back with new single ‘Sirens’. Lloyd drops the hip hop influences for a moment as ‘Sirens’ is a full on pop belter. The chorus is immense and Cher shows the strength and power in her vocals we usually do not hear that much. It sounds like she has grown a lot since her participation in X Factor and it will be exciting to see what she will come up with over the next few months.

04. Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked
Lykke Li took quite some time to work on new music after she finished promotion for the album Wounded Rhymes and the single ‘I Follow Rivers’ grew out to be a worldwide hit. A few weeks ago she returned with the heartbreaking and pure new song ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone‘. Somewhat later the new track ‘No Rest For The Wicked’, also taken from her new album I Never Learn that will be released in May, was released. Stylistically, this one is reminiscent of the sound of the Wounded Rhymes record. The production is big and the chorus is strong and captivating. Lykke’s quirky vocals come across very well and her lyrics are poetic and interesting as always. It is good to have her back!

03. Say Lou Lou – Everything We Touch
I already wrote about Say Lou Lou when I reviewed their amazing double single ‘Better In The Dark’ and ‘Beloved’ and named them as one of the most promising artists of this year. Now they are here to prove me right with a new track called ‘Everything We Touch’. The production of the song is lush and their dreamy vocals sound as great as ever. The floating chorus is beautiful, but the pre-chorus is without a doubt the best part of the song. Especially before the second chorus where the rolling drums kick in and they sing, ‘Days of ashes and nights of flames’ is one of the best pop moments so far this year. If they can keep up this high standards, their debut album will be out of this world.

02. Sia – Chandelier
This woman has been focusing on writing for other artists for quite some time now and I think we can all agree on the fact that it was time for Sia to come back swinging with some solo material. And a swinging comeback it is, from a chandelier actually. I can understand if her fans from the earlier albums had to get used to ‘Chandelier’, as it is more in the style of the tracks that she wrote for others, but to be fair, it is one epic anthem. The chorus is huge and the song is basically built up out of strong hooks. From the moment it starts, it is just hook after hook after hook. I particularly love the moment late in the chorus where her voice cracks a bit, showing a vulnerability which makes her delivery sound even more pure. Then you think it is over, but the post-chorus hook of ‘I’m just holding on for tonight’ kicks in. What a song people!

01. Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin’
Those of you who have been following the Eurovision Song Contest and its preselections probably already know this one. Ace Wilder particpated in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish preselection for Eurovision and one of the biggest music events of the year in that country, with the track ‘Busy Doin’ Nothin” finishing as the runner up, missing out on winning by only two points. In Swedish iTunes and other charts, this is the highest charting song however, so Ace managed to get a big hit out of her participation. ‘Busy Doin’ Nothin” is an infectious and insanely catchy pop track with a pumping post-chorus. Ace’s delivery of the song about being lazy and not wanting to work is convincing and the song is just so much fun. When it just came out I could not stop playing it and I am still not tired of it. The accompanying EP with some more Ace tracks is also great. A new Swedish pop star is born!

Single Reviews: Margaret Berger, Emmelie De Forest & Maja Keuc

In recent weeks, most countries in Europe decided who they are going to send to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014. Often this decision is made in a national final show with different artists and songs. Of course there also needs to be an interval act and this is a great opportunity for past participants of Eurovision to promote their new music. This is exactly what Margaret Berger, Emmelie De Forest and Maja Keuc did. They all have a new single out and promoted this during the national final season.

Margaret Berger Scream cover

Margaret Berger – Scream
Margaret Berger represented Norway last year with the outstanding electro-pop anthem ‘I Feed You My Love’. The singer managed to achieve a great result for her home country, finishing in fourth position. She basically deserved to win, but a position in top 5 is still very good. Since this achievement the singer released a single called ‘Human Race’ in September, and is now back with ‘Scream’. Of course, Berger continues her electro-pop trend and the production of the track is once again delicious. Just like ‘I Feed You My Love’, the verses sound somewhat dark, but when the catchy chorus kicks in, everything lights up a bit. Margaret’s sweet and soft vocals match very well with the banging production. Once again, the Norwegian ice queen releases a great track, which makes me even more excited for a new album. Nice Eurovision fact: Margaret wrote this song together with Ace Wilder, who finished as runner-up in the Swedish Melodifestivalen with the great ‘Busy Doin’ Nothin”.

Emmelie de Forest Rainmaker

Emmelie De Forest – Rainmaker
As you probably all know, Emmelie De Forest won the Eurovision Song Contest last year with ‘Only Teardrops’ and thus managed to bring the contest back to Copenhagen. ‘Only Teardrops’, a strong and undeniably catchy song that mixed pop with some folky influences, was the favourite to win the contest all along and Emmelie did not disappoint with a professional and beautiful performance. This year, she was asked to sing the official theme song for this year’s Eurovision, called ‘Rainmaker’. The song is quite similar to her Eurovision song when it comes to the style and instrumentation, as ‘Rainmaker’ is based on drums and has got some flute in it as well. The chorus is powerful, also thanks to the choir that plays a major part in the track. This adds some Disney-vibes to ‘Rainmaker’ as well, like it could have been on the soundtrack of The Lion King. De Forest promoted the song in different national finals across Europe and will sing it again on the big stage in Copenhagen in May.

Maja Keuc Close To You cover

Maja Keuc – Close To You
In 2011, Slovenia had their best result in Eurovision over the past ten years, when Maja Keuc participated with the outstanding power-ballad ‘No One’. She finished in 13th position, as the televoters did not vote as much for her as the juries did. Although she deserved a much higher position, Maja should be proud of bringing her country some success in Eurovision. Later that year she released a debut album and went back to college, but now she is back with the new single ‘Close To You’. She performed it for the first time during EMA, the Slovenian national selection for Eurovision. Just like ‘No One’, ‘Close To You’ is a powerful ballad, but where Maja, whose voice is often compared to the likes of Christina Aguilera and Anastacia, fabulously belted all the way through her eurovision track, she toned things down a bit on the new song. Still she shows the power in her vocals during the chorus, but during the verses and pre-choruses, she sounds somewhat more fragile and the higher register of her voice is actually really pretty. It is good to see Maja, who by the way changed her stage name into Amaya, is still going strong!