Role Model, Joji, RAYE, Hope Tala & More – Billboard

Looking for some motivation to get you through the start of another work week? We feel you, and with stellar new pop tracks, we’ve got you covered.

These 10 tracks from artists such as Role Model, Joji, Ashe, RAYE and Hope Tala will give you energy to face the week. Add any of these gems to your personal playlists – or scroll to the end of the post for a personalized playlist of all 10.


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Role Model, “Cross Your Mind”

“Cross Your Mind”, the first single from the alt-pop artist Role Model since the release of her debut album Rx earlier this year, fittingly arrives with an unmistakable pop-rock hook. “Are you thinking of me?” the artist wonders about the fuzzy guitar and the hoarse drums. Throughout, Role Model makes it clear just how in love he is, offering the refreshing take on a man’s wit consumed by his partner. — Lyndsey Paradise

MILES, “Never have I ever”

The LA MILES-based rock rapper recently released his I HAVE NEVER EP, featuring none other than Travis Barker on its frenetic title track (Barker produced the track as well as the drums on it). As MILES said in a statement, “[It] I felt like the perfect song to record live drums when we were finalizing the EP. I was so excited when I found out that Travis was going to jump on the track; Having him play drums on my song is a huge honor. — HL

Jacob Banks, “Aim for My Head”

Before lies about war, the latest project from indie soul singer Jacob Banks, single “Just When I Thought” proved to be a compelling entry point. Turns out, the entire album — filled with intimate, vulnerable songwriting and incredible vocal range — sucks in listeners. One of the best examples of Banks’ artistry is “Aim For My Head”, which features a slow build before exploding into quite a rage. — HL


After scoring a top 10 Hot 100 hit with the stunning ballad “Glimpse Of Us”, Joji returns with “YUKON (INTERLUDE)”, a slightly more rhythmic track – but not at first. Thanks to a looping production (which might as well fit on a PinkPantheress song) that reinforces the backbone of the piano, “YUKON” shows that while Joji’s soft side won’t be the only one he gives to fans a preview with this project.

Ashe, “emotional”

Ashe has never been shy about having fun with his music, exploring singing voices and breaking standard strong structures. On “Emotional,” she’s arguably the most confident, as the song is proof of what happens when an artist feels completely comfortable in their skin and their trajectory. The fun track, introduced by the harmonica, is a shameless ode to not having to get too emotional when it comes to dating – because if there is some, there is already enough to feel some kind of way. — HL

Scottt, “Once in a while [smile]”

Modern pop isn’t often as cheerfully upbeat as Skott’s new track “Once in a While [smile]’, but the Swedish veteran brings out the cheerfulness by turning the song into something of a cocoon – get cozy with those loving harmonies, unassuming beats and lilting melodies for three minutes and you’ll feel that frown quickly reverse. — Jason Lipshütz

RAYE, “Black Mascara”

RAYE’s “Black Mascara” stands tall in a striking juxtaposition: as the singer-songwriter unpacks her personal trauma and tries to move on after a gutted betrayal, the track spins around her with breathless tempo which rejects the need for any sort of remix. A killer dance cut that lets the hurt seep into his bones, “Black Mascara” arguably represents a new high point for RAYE, and an exciting step into his next chapter. — J.L.

Hope Tala, “Leave It on the Dance Floor”

“The night is young, and baby, so are you,” Hope Tala confides on the silky new single “Leave It on the Dancefloor,” an ode to recognizing a carefree moment and embracing it without hesitation. Tala strikes an impressive balance with the busy, funk-informed production, gliding with the percussion and carefully placing the hooks in their correct positions for a downright luxurious experience. — J.L.

Rowan Drake, “Abandonment Issues”

Rowan Drake’s “Abandonment Issues” covers well-trodden lyrical territory – the insecurities that distance amplifies, written after the singer-songwriter from Ithaca, NY moved to Los Angeles and was missing his girlfriend and friends – but Drake’s feathery vocal approach, paired here with meaty guitar strums and canned strings, make for a surprisingly touching statement that doesn’t lose its luster on replay listens. — J.L.

Anna of the North, “Bird Sing”

The first seconds after waking up – the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the memory of a complex reality is still far away – are a natural subject for Anna of the North in “Bird Sing”, the Norwegian songwriter emphasizing soft tone his vulnerable state as the circular lick of the guitar captures the feeling of melancholy. “Bird Sing” exists in a haze that Anna du Nord expertly traverses. — J.L.

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