No. 1: "Want You Back" by HAIM
It's been four years since the release of Haim's debut record, Days Are Gone, but now the trio have returned with "Want You Back," the first official single off their new record. They'd already teased the album by releasing a live version of a track called "Right Now"—but where that one was all build-up and suspense, this one's as festival-ready as they come, showcasing the unmatched vocal interplay and lush instrumentation that will surely shine on summer fest stages all season long.
No. 2: "Moving On" by Marshmello
These days, Marshmello can be found searching for the perfect middle ground between EDM festival headliner and crossover pop star. Unlike his previous work with Noah Cyrus—or even his late 2016 single, "Ritual"—Marshmello just doesn't seem too concerned with connecting to all audiences on "Moving On." In the spirit of his debut album, Joytime, it incorporates the bounce of future bass with the nostalgic rush of old-school video game synth sounds.
No. 3: "On Letting Go" by Hoops
The Indiana band Hoops is great at making straight-ahead, jangly indie pop. "On Letting Go" complicates that a little bit as the group allows for a bit more distortion and feedback, both in the vocals and the instrumentation. The song ends up with a filtered, half-remembered haze that separates the song from the band's previously peppy song.
No. 4: "Eyes Closed" by Halsey
Alternative-pop singer Halsey takes a slightly bleaker turn on her latest single, "Eyes Closed." Co-written by The Weeknd, it's easy to hear how his darker worldview made its way into the song's lyrics ("Now if I keep my eyes closed, he looks just like you / But he'll never stay, they never do"), but Halsey retains an urgency that makes each word and sentiment fully her own.
No. 5: "Machinist" by Japanese Breakfast
Last year, Michelle Zauner (aka Japanese Breakfast) broke through with Psychopomp, a soaring album of elegant indie pop that dealt with themes of loss and the search for a new beginning. On "Machinist," Zauner takes a thrilling turn into an '80s-indebted synthpop sound. The sudden shift is a welcome one, as the tune's glorious sax solo—something that would've felt out of place on the last album—sounds right at home here.
No. 6: "It's All Good" by Superorganism
While a name like Superorganism might inspire thoughts of bubbly, catchy indie pop, this song is actually a twisted take on the genre, featuring multiple vocalists, jarring guitar tones, and bizarre drum patterns. All those moving parts pull together into a messy, but infectious, whole.
No. 7: "Silver" by Waxahatchee
With "Silver," Katie Crutchfield—who performs under the name Waxahatchee—delivers her first single since her 2015 album, Ivy Tripp. The reverbed-out song serves up more of the '90s alternative rock sound that carried her last album. The chugging guitars and ooo-ing chorus might sound familiar, but in her hands, that well-trodden ground makes for a welcoming listen.
No. 8: "Monday to Monday" by Saba
Chicago-based rapper Saba made a name for himself last year with the excellent Bucket List Project. A frequent collaborator with Chance the Rapper, you can hear Chance's big-hearted warmth in Saba's vibe—especially on "Monday to Monday." But where Chance is now basking in his well-earned success, Saba is busy telling the stories of those still grinding day to day to realize their dreams.
No. 9: "Quit" by Cashmere Cat ft. Ariana Grande
One of the more unlikely pairings of pop stars and underground producer of the last few years would have to be Cashmere Cat and Ariana Grande. The international DJ star and the former Nickelodeon star may feel worlds apart, but "Quit" once again illustrates the duo's undeniable chemistry. Grande's powerful voice isn't lost in Cashmere Cat's production—instead, she plays lead on the track, as her production partner molds the song around her.
No. 10: "Love Gang" by Whethan ft. Charli XCX
The teenage Chicago producer Whethan has mainly been known for his infectious future bass singles that were just too EDM for the pop world. But his latest single, "Love Gang," features Charli XCX, a singer who is no stranger to the electronic music, and places him a bit more squarely in the world of indie pop, evoking the feeling of a rock band, a cheerleading squad, and an iPod commercial all rolled into one.
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