Since its launch, MTV UP! Energy Drink has pitched itself as the music lovers’ choice, a drink designed to inspire creativity and boost potential. This May, MTV UP! is running a two for $4 special in Coles Express stores.
View this post on Instagram
Missy Elliott’s 2005 single “Lose Control” begins with a vocal sample warning listeners, “Music make you lose control.” Ciara, who features on “Lose Control,” described the collaboration with Elliott as a tribute to “how music makes you feel and makes you lose control.”
The efficacy of MTV UP! calls to mind a similar spirit, not of “losing control”, but of losing yourself in the music and experiencing the moment to its fullest.
In the decade-and-a-half since its release, “Lose Control” has emboldened millions of people to dust off the cobwebs and let loose. In this regard, “Lose Control” is not unique—our bodies, minds, attitudes and heartbeats are constantly being influenced by the pop music we listen to.
Rolling Stone Australia has teamed up with MTV UP! Energy Drink to curate a playlist of ten songs that are guaranteed to raise your energy.
“Vroom Vroom” – Charli XCX
When Charli XCX released “Vroom Vroom” in 2016, critics were dubious. Prior to this, Charli was known for writing “I Love It” by Icona Pop and singing the hook on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” both of which were number one singles. But “Vroom Vroom,” the lead single from the UK pop artist’s Sophie-produced EP of the same name, was something totally different.
Some critics wondered if “Vroom Vroom” was a joke. How else to interpret a pop song so volatile and ridiculous that listeners couldn’t help but submit to a feeling of utter, decadent glee. In hindsight, “Vroom Vroom” was Charli’s mask off moment. In the artist’s own words: “All my life, I’ve been waiting for a good time / So let’s ride.”
“I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) (feat. Popcaan & Young Thug)” – Jamie xx
As far as indie-rock bands go, London trio The xx were always outliers. In lieu of a conventional drummer, group member and producer Jamie xx prefers to program drumbeats and take the stage equipped with various sequencers, sample pads and synthesisers.
On his debut solo album, 2015’s In Colour, Jamie xx explores house, UK funky, dancehall, IDM and UK garage. The single, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”, is a premium summer pop song with guest vocals from Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan and mumble rapper par excellence Young Thug. Does it come good on its title? And how.
“Wonderful” – Burna Boy
Nigerian pop star Burna Boy calls his style “Afrofusion,” which, he says, contains elements of contemporary West African pop music as well as dancehall, reggae, and mainstream hip hop and R&B. “Wonderful”, the lead single from Burna Boy’s 2020 major label release, Twice as Tall, demonstrates the soulful optimism that binds together this mixture of ingredients.
Burna Boy has made a major impression on listeners around the globe in recent years—he’s twice sold-out London’s 12,000-capacity Wembley Arena, for instance. Tracks like “Wonderful” explain why: West African rhythms and harmony vocals alchemise in a shot of positive energy that goes straight into the bloodstream.
“Cool” (Jayda G Remix) – Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa’s second album, Future Nostalgia, is a proud throwback to the nineties/noughties disco-pop of Kylie Minogue, Jamiroquai, and Gwen Stefani. “Cool” was already a Future Nostalgia highlight, but for Lipa’s Club Future Nostalgia reboot LP, Canadian producer Jayda G re-envisioned it as a turbo-charged dancefloor banger.
Jayda G’s “Cool” remix lasts just two minutes, but you’ll waste roughly 400 kilojoules just keeping pace with the acid house bass lines.
“Holiday” – Confidence Man
Australian indie ravers Confidence Man often proselytise with tongues planted firmly in cheeks, recalling the meta-absurdism of the Beastie Boys and the performative humour of early-noughties electroclash. On “Holiday”, the highlight from the band’s 2022 album TILT, Confidence Man prove they’re more than capable of making collectivist party music.
Studious lyricists might dismiss lines like, “Kickin’ off and I lose control, I’m born to fly, I want it all,” as jocular fluff. But the house music bounce of “Holiday” perfectly matches the lack of inhibition displayed by lyrics such as these.
“Real Nice (H.C.T.F.) (feat. Nerve)” – Young Franco & Tkay Maidza
Official anthems for sporting events tend to be forgettable at best. Who remembers Martin Garrix, Bono & The Edge’s “We Are The People”, created for UEFA Euro 2020? Right? But the A-League anthem, “Real Nice (H.C.T.F.),” is a prominent exception.
“Real Nice” is a collaboration between Brisbane producer Young Franco and hip hop influenced multi-threat Tkay Maidza, with a guest verse from Brisbane MC Nerve. It’s unique among sporting anthems for actually making you curious about the event it helps advertise. Even if you’re not inclined to grab a pair of Nike Mercurial Superflies, “Real Nice” will make you want to put your fitness to the test on the dance floor.
“Piece of Me” – Britney Spears
The more time that passes, the more clear-cut it becomes that Blackout is Britney Spears’ opus. Spears first worked with Swedish production duo Bloodshy & Avant (two-thirds of indie pop band Miike Snow) on her incandescent single, “Toxic,” in 2003. Bloodshy & Avant were back on hand for Blackout, writing and producing the thematically potent single, “Piece of Me”—a grinding electronic pop song with hooks for days.
“Chicken Teriyaki” – ROSALÍA
It doesn’t matter that you’re not fluent in Japanese or Spanish—the two languages other than English that feature in ROSALÍA’s “Chicken Teriyaki”—just watch the song’s music video and you’ll get the vibe.
“Chicken Teriyaki” could be tagged as TikTok bait. The video is set in a dance studio and features ROSALÍA and two dozen or so self-confident dancers who, between all the writhing and parading, chow down on noodle boxes and ride Razor scooters. But the criticism doesn’t stick because the song, however frivolous and disposable, is just too good.
“212 (feat. Lazy Jay)” – Azealia Banks
Never before or since has the c-word been so expertly hidden in a song as in Azealia Banks’ debut single, “212”. It hides in plain sight, too—we can count eleven utterances of the four-letter word denoting female genitalia, each of which Banks pronounces with nonchalant pleasure.
The reason the c-word can slip the notice of listeners is simple: “212” is a straight-up banger. Over a big room house beat provided by Belgian producer, Lazy Jay, Banks spits bars with effortless charisma. The result is the most electrifying hip house song of the 21st century—filthy, yet irresistible.
“Smoke & Retribution (feat. Vince Staples & KUČKA)” – Flume
Flume’s second album, Skin (2016), saw the Sydney artist deviate from the wonky-inspired electronica of his self-titled debut to embrace bass music and EDM-influenced hip-hop. It was a calculated risk that paid dividends for Flume—Skin won the ARIA Award for Album of the Year and made the top ten of the US albums chart.
Flume is now a mainstay of contemporary electronic music, but the brawn of Skin’s second single, “Smoke & Retribution,” delivers a shock to the system nearly six years later. Featuring verses from West Coast rabble-rouser Vince Staples and the ethereal vocals of avant-pop artist KUČKA, “Smoke & Retribution” toes the line between disorienting sonic barrage and hydropowered festival floor-filler.