Along with the pandemic-induced avalanche of new songs dropping every week is an increasing number of pandemic-inspired songs. Initially they were largely about either loneliness or hopeful optimism, and most of them still are, but huge props to Avenue Beat for being the ones to say “F— 2020”:

December 31st, I grabbed a beer
Threw it up, said, “2020 is my year, bitches”
And I honestly thought that that was true
Until I gave this mother—er like a month or two …
Yo, my cat died and a global pandemic took over my life
And I put out some music that nobody liked
So, I got really sad and bored at the same time
And that’s why I’m like
Lowkey f— 2020…

The Illinois all-female trio — Sam, Sami and Savana! — initially dropped the song on TikTok but officially released it this week. If you don’t already know it, what are you waiting for?


Juice WRLD “Conversations” In a less-cheerfully optimistic tone, we also love so many songs based on a too-quick listen to Juice WRLD’s posthumous second album, “Legends Never Die,” that it’s hard to pick one, but we’ll go with the opening “Conversations,” if only because its opening lines are so unintentionally timely: “I can’t breathe …”


Summer Walker “SWV” Poor Summer Walker — the fast-rising R&B singer, whose stellar 2019 debut, “Over It,” appeared on many best-of lists and has made her a strong Grammy contender, dropped a hot new EP last night, only to have someone on President Trump’s team like a tweet about the “stripper vibe” of two of the songs, including this week’s Fri 5 fave, “SWV,” which burnishes Walker’s classic-R&B even further by evoking the ‘90s soul act. While past history has shown that it’s rarely Trump himself who likes such tweets — it’s usually a staffer — the person whose Tweet was liked, @astriiluca, thundered on Twitter, “WHY THE F— DID DONALD TRUMP LIKE MY F—ING TWEET,” and the Tweet was then unliked — but more likely because someone actually focused on the pornographic lyrics from guest singer No1 Noah. Despite all that, it’s hands-down one of the week’s hottest songs…


James Blake “Are You Even Real?” The innovative British-born singer-songwriter returns from a long absence from official releases — he did a solo tour last fall and has been playing virtual concerts recently, and he’s always posting more experimental material — with a new song called “Are You Even Real?,” that in its way reflects the surreal way many of us are seeing the world these days. (We guess he’s saving a killer new song called “Say What You Will” that he played on his solo tour last fall.)


Dominic Fike “Politics & Violence” This 24-year-old Florida native’s career did not get off to the smoothest start — after an EP of demos was released in 2017, he became the object of a multimillion-dollar bidding war and signed with Columbia while under house arrest for battery of a police officer, and then went to prison for violating that house arrest — but he’s back and just announced his debut album, titled with great self-awareness and topicality “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?,” will be out at the end of the month. We actually like the song better than the rap that he ends the song with, but see what you think …