One silver lining of the pandemic has been an absolute avalanche of songs dropping every week — there are 99 in Spotify’s “New Music Friday” and we’ve heard loads more. There were fewer protest-themed songs this week than in the past couple, and while we certainly applaud and encourage social relevance in song — something that was all too rare before last month — the occasional feel-good song is not unwelcome. After all, it’s summer.
The “Fri 5” doesn’t include songs we’ve already covered or albums we’ve reviewed, which this week include excellent albums from Haim and Khruangbin and songs from the artists formerly known as the Dixie Chicks — now the Chicks — Twenty One Pilots and especially Beyonce’s very socially relevant surprise single from last week.
Megan Thee Stallion “Girls in the Hood” Megan owned last summer with “Hot Girl Summer,” and she’s put in a solid bid for summer 2020 with the Eazy-E-sampling “Girls in the Hood.” The Houston native’s latest is described as “a street-smart ode to the area Megan grew up in and the pride in being a product of her surroundings… reminding girls worldwide that just because you’re from the bottom, it doesn’t mean you can’t come out on top and keep it real the whole way.”
Blackpink “How You Like That” The latest from these K-pop titans is actually a sleight of hand: It starts off pop, but on the chorus, the beat changes up and suddenly it’s all swagger, with some hot rapping and a grinding beat — and a much more aggro attitude than we might have come to expect. Another summer burner.
Jessie Ware “What’s Your Pleasure?” There are any number of songs that we could have singled out from Jessie Ware’s latest — which is the third great disco-inspired album of the year, after Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” and Lady Gaga’s “Chromatica.” Much warmer and more fun than Ware’s earlier releases — and much more reflective of the bubbly personality we hear in her extremely successful cooking podcast — it’s like a great Janet Jackson record.
Remi Wolf “Hello Hello Hello” Consider the dog themes of this California singer’s two EPs and the jokey nature of some of her songs, it would be easy to write her off as a novelty act — but not only is this song from her latest EP hot, its Spanish-influenced melody has some of the most durable hooks we’ve heard in this week’s avalanche of songs.
Moby Rich & Bishop Briggs “Friends” The week’s surprise comes from L.A. duo Moby Rich, whose song “Friends” (with the key phrase being “I hate that I want to be more than friends”) expresses a fairly common theme, but the video has an unexpected same-sex theme, and also deserves big props for its imaginative direction within social-distancing/ shelter at home restrictions (because WOW are we seeing a lot of videos of people’s bedrooms…)