The “rave edition” of Grimes’ excellent 2020 LP Miss Anthropocene was released to celebrate the new yer, and while the remix project features contributions from Rezz, Bloodpop and Richie Hawtin, Channel Tres’ reworking of “Delete Forever” turns a mournful anthem into something slinky, breathless and a bit more human.
Smith & Thell, “Radioactive Rain”
The Swedish duo of Maria Jane Smith and Victor Thell start off 2021 promisingly with new single “Radioactive Rain,” which adds some more stomp to their folk-tinged pop recipe ahead of their sophomore album, Pixie’s Parasol. Whenever festivals open back up, expect this one to ring out lovingly.
Celeste, “Love is Back”
After bestowing the Soul soundtrack with “It’s All Right,” a duet with Jon Batiste, rising U.K. star Celeste tosses out a new single that’s as rousing as the musical sequences in the new Pixar flick. When her voice swoons at the one-minute mark of “Love is Back,” Celeste demonstrates a dexterity that may yield a fruitful 2021.
Gabrielle Aplin, “When The Lights Go Out”
No, not a remake of the 1998 jam from boy band Five, but some more stirring, emotionally intelligent pop from British singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin. “Only you can see me when the lights go out” is the type of simple refrain that slices through the clutter and refuses to relegate itself to background noise.
Insha, “She’s Watching”
Insha has precisely one song uploaded to Spotify, but that song contains enough magic to compel listeners to discover the Chinese-Indian singer-songwriter. “She’s Watching” is fully realized bedroom pop from a teen perspective, as Insha layers vocals to capture the extent of her yearning.
Twin XL, “Lemonade”
Alt-pop trio Twin XL (Cameron Walker Wright, John Gomez and Stephen Gomez) offer a refreshing glass of “Lemonade” with their latest, but its catchy melody is juxtaposed with a serious subject: the song is about “being caught in a vicious cycle of self medication and subsequently feeling completely void of emotion,” according to Wright.
Illenium, Dabin, Lights, “Hearts On Fire”
Canadian alt-pop icon Lights contributes crystal vocals to this acoustic-tinged team-up between producers Illenium and Dabin. It’ll have you reminiscing about the big dreams and plans you had as a kid, your first love… and your Warped Tour days.
Slenderbodies, “Cherry Blossom”
Ring in 2021 with an intergalactic groove, courtesy of California indie-pop duo Slenderbodies (Max Vehuni and Benji Cormack). “Cherry blossom/ Seen from outer space/ Rainbow patterns/ Can’t seem to erase,” the duo chant over a mesmerizing melody.
“True,” from Brian Fennell’s solo venture SYML, arrived on New Year’s Eve as a soothing signal of better days ahead. “I do believe that we can make it through,” he promises.
Aly & AJ, “Potential Breakup Song” (Explicit)
A grownup edition of Aly & AJ’s 2007 hit “Potential Breakup Song”? Yas please. If nothing else, this new explicit version simply reminds you that the original song exists, and that it, in any iteration, rules.