This week’s Pop / R&B “tracks of the week” are all about women expressing their feelings. Lykke Li is breaking hearts, Keyshia Cole is recovering from heartbreak and betrayl, Banks is scoping out a potential lover through a cover of an old 90s single, and Sia is regretting the person she becomes when she’s drunk. But don’t worry guys, there’s something for you, too. R&B newcomer Jarell Perry takes on a popular Drake song in this week’s roundup.
Sia – Chandelier
Sia has made quite a name for herself as a songwriter in the pop community, writing for pop stars like Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and Lea Michele and singing on the hooks of popular songs like “Titanium.” Now, she’s setting out to prove that her songwriting skills are more than matched by her vocal ability to new fans. “Chandelier” is a far cry from her previous singles like “Breathe Me” and “The Girl You Lost To Cocaine.” Instead, the pop song has the huge anthemic feel of her more recent work, featuring a knocking beat and backing from a string section. But, unlike the anthems she’s given away, this single feels like it was tailor made to fit it’s singer’s voice, with a roaring hook and passionate, raspy belts.
Jarell Perry – Own It (Drake cover)
Jarell Perry has been on the rise for about a year now, but his latest cover of Drake’s Nothing Was The Same standout track “Own It” may be my favorite release from him so far. On the original version, the first verse’s sentimental lyrics are tamed by the repetitive hook and brazen second verse. Perry’s version focuses on the first verse, however, making it more melodic and passionate through melismas and then looping it.
Banks – Are You That Somebody (Aaliyah cover)
Perry wasn’t the only newcomer to deliver a solid cover. Banks delivered her take on Aaliyah’s popular single “Are You That Somebody” for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge earlier this week. She keeps the acoustic cover interesting by adding an “aye-aye” refrain after each chorus and adding some new lyrics to Timbaland’s memorable rap verse.
Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked
Lykke Li has released the second offering from her forthcoming album I Never Learned. The singer previously said the album would feature a lot of power ballads and “No Rest for the Wicked” definitely fits the bill. Li contrasts the stark production during the pre-chorus with layers of vocals during the roaring hook. The message remains the same, though. She’s no closer to happiness than she was when she released “Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone” a few weeks ago or “Sadness Is A Blessing” in 2011.
Keyshia Cole – Next Time (Won’t Give My Heart Away)
Keyshia Cole released two singles this week, but “Next Time (Won’t Give My Heart Away)” is the standout. It’s no secret pop enthusiasts enjoy music more when there’s a personal back story and “Next Time” benefits from this. Cole is angry, hurt and sad during the mid-tempo ballad as she recalls her lover’s infidelities.