It sounds like pop stars are going through a bit of a rough patch, collectively, in 2019. Whether it’s Ariana Grande dropping an entire album titled ‘thank u, next’ — not the three words your significant other has been waiting to hear — or the Wallows asking the most dangerous question of all, ‘Are You Bored Yet?’, these 14 new releases deal with doomed love and messy romance.
If you’re holding a grudge this Valentine’s day — or you just can’t get enough of other people’s relationship drama — we’ve compiled the perfect playlist for you.
1. Geminix & Vertumnus — Wicked Game
‘Wicked Game’ is the kind of dark pop-EDM track that would work just as well at a nightclub as it is would on the soundtrack to a B-list teen vampire series. Its refrain is simple — ‘I don’t want to fall in love with you’ — but we can’t get enough.
2. Ariana Grande — Bloodline
You could pick any song blindfolded off of Grande’s new break-up album and it would fit our anti-Valentine’s theme. But ‘Bloodline’ — a track about meeting someone you like, but not enough to want to start a family with them — is particularly cutting.
3. Lil Peep & iLoveMakonnen (ft. Fall Out Boy) — I’ve Been Waiting
Before his sudden death in 2017, Lil Peep ushered in a new era of emo rap, which is especially apparent here as Peep teams up with fellow rapper iLoveMakonnen and emo rock gurus Fall Out Boy to lament over a desperate love. Peep’s rough vocals work well across from the polished notes of Fall Out Boy frontman, Patrick Stump.
4. Normani (ft. 6lack) — Waves
There’s a lot to like about this love-hate track: the throwback album art, the vocal collaboration between two young and hypnotic artists, and the expletive-dotted chorus delivered by Normani, who breaks away from her girl group background with Fifth Harmony.
5. Khalid — Talk
Khalid’s EDM-tinged R’n’B single ‘Talk’, co-written and produced by electronic duo Disclosure, once again shows off his effortless vocal range as he urges his other half to communicate with him.
6. Benny Blanco & Juice WRLD (ft. Brendon Urie) — Roses
On this unlikely collaboration, producer Benny Blanco enlists the power of Juice WRLD’s vulnerable vocals: “Roses are red, violets are blue. My heart is dead, I’m such a fool.”
Meanwhile, Panic! at the Disco’s frontman Brendon Urie delivers a discreet bridge in the second half.
7. Rudimental & Major Lazer (ft. Anne-Marie, Mr Eazi) — Let Me Live
Singer Anne-Marie — a frequent Rudimental collaborator over the years — repeats a clear mantra: “Leave me alone, let me live my life.” The result is a feel-good ode to doing your own thing without outside interference.
8. Wallows (ft. Clairo) — Are You Bored Yet?
The title says it all. Los Angeles trio Wallows team up with Clairo for a mellow, nostalgic tune, pulling the indie-rock staple of putting sad lyrics over a happy melody.
9. Mabel — Don’t Call Me Up
Drawing comparisons to Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’, British singer-songwriter Mabel’s ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ is a danceable track about being way, way over someone.
10. Dermot Kennedy — Lost
An inescapably emotional folk-rock effort from Irish newcomer Dermot Kennedy, whose penetrating vocals will pull at your heartstrings.
11. The Chainsmokers (ft. 5 Seconds of Summer) — Who Do You Love
Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer team up with producer duo The Chainsmokers on this EDM-driven pop track about an unfaithful love.
12. Nate Vickers — Ghost
Texan singer-songwriter Nate Vickers dips into his sorrow on debut single Ghost, where he unravels his withdrawal from an ended relationship.
13. David Guetta, Brooks & Loote — Better When You’re Gone
Country goes electronic on this break-up song, a three-way collaboration between DJs David Guetta, Brooks and pop duo Loote.
14. Backstreet Boys — Is It Just Me
There’s nothing more tragic than the slow, unspectacular death of a relationship, but trust the Backstreet Boys to spin a perfect pop tune out of it. The track has a Justin Bieber vibe, perhaps because Ian Kirkpatrick co-produced it. Kirkpatrick was behind Bieber’s single ‘The Feeling’ (ft. Halsey), as well as ‘New Rules’ by Dua Lipa and ‘Back to You’ by Selena Gomez.