“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, the “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, blending pop, electronic music and hip-hop with a heavy dose of nostalgia and mysticism.
“Chantaje” – Shakira (feat. Maluma)
Although I fulfilled Stanford’s undergraduate language requirement with accelerated Spanish classes last year, I’m lost to what Maluma and Shakira sing about on this track. But damn if it isn’t completely infectious. Something about the beat and the sexy, slick vocals from both singers make this song addictive. Apparently the title translates to “Blackmail,” although I’m not sure what the gist of the song is. Because it’s almost entirely in Spanish, it may not blow up in America – but “Chantaje” is destined to set the rest of the world aflame.
“No Lie” – Sean Paul & Dua Lipa
Oh, wow. I’ve only just listened to this – it dropped Nov. 18 – but I can’t believe this is what Sean Paul decided to come back with, or that he tapped budding pop artist Dua Lipa to collaborate. My incredulity isn’t a bad thing; quite the opposite, in fact. I won’t be memorizing the many lyrics to Sean Paul’s crowded verses, but the beat behind them begs you to move regardless. Dua Lipa contributes sparse vocals to the chorus, her uniquely accented voice melodic and hypnotizing on this ode to having a good time. I hope to hear this at many parties. It fits in perfectly with the dancehall sound dominating much of U.S. radio right now.
“Make Me (Cry)” – Noah Cyrus & Labrinth
This recently released collaboration between multi-talented musician and vocalist Labrinth and Noah Cyrus, who’s … Miley Cyrus’s younger sister, is your run-of-the-mill electropop track. Noah’s starting her music career with this track, which is presumably her first official single. 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 Noah’s first foray into the pop music world is a sure step; in a duet between her 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 into such a crowded scene.
“Love On the Brain” – Rihanna
So Rihanna finally released the album track she’s been performing at award shows since “ANTI” dropped. Hurray! And what a track it is. Full of soul and emotion, this uplifting, powerful ballad features drum-heavy, orchestral production complimented by a charged vocal performance by Rihanna. Lamenting and lauding both the good and bad sides of love, she sings, “Must be love on the brain/That’s got me feeling this way.” This is about to take over the airwaves, along with every Christmas song that’s ever been written.
“Trust Nobody” – Cashmere Cat, Selena Gomez & Tory Lanez
In the vein of a modern “Take Care,” this Cashmere Cat-produced song features tropical yet icy production laced with light vocals that almost feel like snow settling over the instrumental. Gomez takes most of the song with a catchy refrain, while Lanez hops on for a verse in which he sings, “You’ve got a body like Selena in them jeans.” Maybe not the most inventive lyricism, but hey, it’s infectious.
“Slumber Party” – Britney Spears & Tinashe
Honestly, I’m a bit reluctant to even include this song solely because Britney hasn’t had a hit in years, but it’s just too good not to. This sexy, slippery pop gem blends Tinashe and Britney together perfectly, seeing them sing together on later choruses and get very physical in the brand new music video. It’s exactly this video, which I think will help the song take flight; the video is a sleek, colorful fun-fest packed with sapphic tension. And really, when doesn’t controversy sell? Just look at the election. (Insert screaming here.)
“Bad Things” – Machine Gun Kelly & Camilla Cabello
Fifth Harmony member Camilla Cabello ventures out of the group for this candy-coated pop song, a collaboration with rapper Machine Gun Kelly. This song began to fall off the charts after its debut week, but it’s recently begun climbing pop radio and Spotify charts. Given Machine Gun Kelly’s past luck with singles success, it’s likely this song’s traction is due to Cabello’s contribution. The verses contributed by Kelly aren’t anything to listen to twice, but Cabello’s hook is addictive.
Contact Dante Laird at dlaird2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.