Playlist: POP

Playlist: POP

· music · playlists · recommended
From Lizzo to Lorde, these songs make it POP. We’re celebrating the release of Logitech’s POP Keys and Mouse in cosmos with a purple-tinged playlist.

What’s in a color?

As it turns out, a lot...of subtext that is. Take purple: Few colors embody so much history and identity. Whether it's used to signify royalty (literal or musical), inspire romance or declare a promise of self-love and pride, purple doesn’t need words to tell a story.

To celebrate the release of Logitech’s POP Keys and Mouse in cosmos, a mix of lavender and mystic purples, we put together a playlist of some of our favorite upbeat pop songs with a focus on purple.

From Lizzo to Lorde, these songs make it POP.

Lizzo — "Special

This is the video that started it all—we’re talking about this playlist of course!

On February 1, 2023 the incomparable musician, entrepreneur and activist Lizzo released the single for the title track to her album, Special. The song itself is an anthem to spreading love and positivity in a world where people can tweet something cruel to each other without a second thought. For Lizzo, it’s not just a nice message for a song, it’s a way of life.

We think that’s reason enough to kick off our playlist with a little Lizzo, but that’s not the only reason “Special” is, well, special to us. In the official video, Lizzo features Logi’s POP Keys and Mouse in cosmos!

Taylor Swift — "Lavender Haze

The first track on her critically acclaimed 2022 release Midnights, “Lavender Haze” is a disco-tinged, deeply personal song detailing her experience dating under the eye of the tabloids.

“I've been under scrutiny, you handle it beautifully … I just wanna stay in that lavender haze”

But what exactly is a “lavender haze?” Swift’s fans, who are used to the songwriter including Easter eggs for them in her music, were quick to attempt to connect the dots, but the answer is highly relatable. She heard it while binge-watching TV.

According to Swift, she first heard the phrase “lavender haze” while watching Mad Men, episode 12 of season 2, to be exact. The saying dates back to the 1950s and refers to the feeling of being so in love with someone that you’re oblivious to the world around you. Sounds like a perfect title for a song about wanting to ignore public scrutiny and instead lose yourself in romance.

Jake Wesley Rogers — "Lavender Forever

When Elton John gives a performer his seal of approval, we’re going to pay attention.

It’s easy to see why Jake Wesley Rogers gets so many comparisons to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famer—he has the same glamorous style, cool factor and musical chops that we associate with Sir Elton. But Jake Wesley Rogers is blazing his own path with the anthemic “Lavender Forever.”

“Lavender Forever” was inspired by an article Rogers read about a historical figure who “may have had a streak of lavender in him”—the color lavender being associated with the LGBTQ+ community. That inspiration led him to write a song about radical self-love and acceptance and not letting the world change or harden you.

“I was born a lover / I will die that way / Lavender forever”

Prince — "Purple Rain”

We couldn’t do a playlist about purple without Prince. After all, how many people can you think of who embodied an entire color to the point it’s forever associated with them?

By all accounts, early versions of “Purple Rain” sounded more like a country song than something you’d hear on MTV. The title track to the diamond-selling album (and Oscar-winning film) of the same name, “Purple Rain” almost wasn’t even a Prince song. After writing the bones of the ballad, he sent it to Stevie Nicks to pen lyrics. Ultimately, she felt like she wasn’t quite up to the task. Eventually, Prince’s guitarist Wendy Melvoin took a look at the song and made adjustments, swapping in sweeping and dramatic sustained chords that altered the song’s chemistry.

The track became something that more closely fit the Purple One’s sound, and it debuted at a concert at Minneapolis’ famed First Avenue. The concert itself was a fundraiser for a dance studio, and at the last minute Prince decided to record the whole set.

Prince — "Pop Life

Not long after concluding the tour for the album and film that made him a superstar, Purple Rain, no one would’ve faulted Prince for taking a breather. Maybe even taking a few months to record a new album.

Well, the tour ended on April 7, 1985 and on April 22 the same year, Around the World in a Day was released. With almost no promotion. By that we mean the first single, “Raspberry Beret,” wasn’t even released until the album had been out for close to a month! Oh yeah, and it still sold over 2 million copies.

“Pop Life” was the second single released from Around the World in a Day in the United States (the UK got “Paisley Park” instead), and though it wasn’t a hit on the level of the singles from Purple Rain, it holds a special place in the hearts of Prince fans. The song itself is a rather rare look into Prince’s personal ethos with a focus on being happy for what you have in life rather than believing the grass must be greener on the other side.

Miley Cyrus — "Flowers

What’s the best way to get over your ex? Well, if you’re Miley Cyrus, you release a scathing hit song about relying on yourself rather than your significant other. On your ex’s birthday, of course.

More than a few music lovers noticed some not-so-subtle nods to Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” in Miley’s pop classic-to-be. As Bruno sings, “I should have bought you flowers / And held your hand / Should have gave you all my hours / When I had the chance.” The similarities are too stark to ignore, and it’s widely accepted that “Flowers” is what’s called an answer song to Mars’.

What listeners and fans aren’t quite sure about is why Cyrus chose this specific Bruno Mars song to write an answer song to. According to rumors, Cyrus’ ex-husband Liam Hemsworth dedicated “When I Was Your Man” to the singer during a rough patch. Whether or not that’s true, “Flowers” is an ultimate anthem of self-reliance.

Drake feat. Majid Jordan — "Hold On, We’re Going Home

In 2013, Drake joined the long-held canon of rappers pivoting to pop with Nothing Was the Same, an airy and introspective outing that combined his trademark sadboi tendencies with inspiration from Marvin Gaye. The album darts between high-flying braggadocio and cratering despondency in the first half, but then the groove of “Hold On, We’re Coming Home” kicks in and completely shifts the mood, like a beam of light hitting a disco ball in a dark room.

With help from R&B duo Majid Jordan, Drake dances the pain away with finesse and conviction. The track is still one of his best singles and an early-teens pop standard.

Also, special shout-out to rock’s very own sadbois Arctic Monkeys’ live cover of this track on BBC Radio 1.

The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk — "I Feel It Coming

Speaking of downtrodden Canadian hip-hop artists, The Weeknd also leaned further into pop with 2017’s Starboy, which incorporated 80s new wave and French house into his usual cues from horror films and alt-R&B.

The record has plenty of party-starters, but none start the party harder than “I Feel It Coming,” a single produced by the legendary robotic French DJ duo Daft Punk.

With a superb chorus hook and a patented Daft Punk vocoder breakdown, this song proved The Weeknd was right at home on an upbeat pop song while retaining the dark streak of his earlier work—a balance that he has perfected in the ensuing years.

Dua Lipa — "New Rules

The best way to make a great pop song even better is to give it a memorable music video, which is exactly what Dua Lipa did for her 2017 megahit “New Rules.”

What starts as with Dua lying on a hotel bed (wearing a snazzy purple Hawaiian shirt, mind you) evolves into a dreamlike collage of spontaneous choreography, time loops, walking on water and flamingos. As a pair, the video and song’s collective manic energy embodies the all-consuming haze of being newly single and down bad. And with almost 3 billion views on YouTube, plenty of people seem to relate to that feeling.

Beyonce — "Irreplaceable

Quick history lesson: Some of the world’s earliest civilizations regarded purple as a sign of royalty. From Roman emperors’ robes to the British Crown Jewels, the color became reserved for the upper crust due to its scarcity in nature, the only source of dye being a sea slug from the Mediterranean Sea.

So are we using this historical evidence as an excuse to include pop music’s reigning monarch, the Queen Bey herself, on this playlist? You betcha—royal purple does suit her, after all.

For this regal occasion, we’re throwing it back to one of her earliest and poppiest hits from 2006’s B’Day. Although “Irreplaceable” started life as a country song—weirdly, not the first time we’ve said that while writing this playlist—Bey and production duo Stargate transformed the track into a snappy and soulful tell-off that told a generation of former lovers where all their stuff went.

It’s hard to remember a world that didn’t stand still every time Beyonce dropped new music, but “Irreplaceable” was crucial in making that reality happen.

Lorde — "Royals

Sure, robes and crowns are nice, but do you drive Cadillacs in your dreams? That was the rebuttal posed by then-16-year-old Lorde on “Royals,” her breakout hit from 2013’s Pure Heroine.

Backed by a bare-bones beat, the New Zealand singer pushes back against our cultural touchstones of success in favor of valuing what you already have. Who needs money and gold teeth when you have pocket change and teenage nerve?

With simple vignettes that deftly captured the irreverence and malaise of growing up in a consumer's world—seeing wedding rings in movies, pooling money with your friends on the train—Lorde immediately stood out in an era of glitzy, kitchen-sink-maximalist pop. Even today, as artists like Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo dominate the charts with an understated and introspective version of pop, "Royals” still sounds as modern and daring as it did a decade ago.

Glass Animals — "Heat Waves

Rounding out our purple-pigmented pop playlist is the new record-holder for the longest-charting Billboard Hot 100 song of all time.

Glass Animals was already a fixture of college radio by the time they released their third album Dreamland (featuring a dreamy, lavender-colored album cover) in 2020. But with the help of TikTok, the album’s lead single “Heat Waves” slow-burned its way to the top of the Hot 100 over the course of 59 weeks (also a new record!) and closed out 2022 at the top.

The reason for the song’s success is clear as soon as you wade into its woozy groove and reach the irresistible hook, a cathartic declaration of longing that’s as catchy as it is disarming. Dave Bayley’s eccentric vocals and genre-melding production is as strong as ever on this track, giving longtime Glass Animals fans plenty to love while also bringing many, many more fans into the fold.

Ready for the ultimate listening experience?

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