The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Ty Dolla $ign, Nicki Minaj and More Top Singles of the Week

Variety Fri Five The Weeknd Ty
The Weeknd/Ty Dolla $ign/Nicki Minaj: Screenshot, Youtube; Rudamental: Courtesy of Atlantic Records; H.E.R/Robert Glasper: Danny Clinch (H.E.R.) /Todd Copper(RG); Disclosure: Hollie Fernando

Every week, the avalanche gets bigger: Even though we’re reaching the end of the proverbial dog days of August, the songs keep coming, in greater numbers each week. I got nearly 400 emails between midnight and noon, and easily half were about new songs or albums (NOT COMPLAINING but wow). And that’s not even including the songs we already covered this week: New joints from Travis Scott, Big Sean, and Blackpink with Selena Gomez, as well as albums by Dua Lipa, Katy Perry, Bettye LaVette and Toni Braxton.

Let’s get to the Fri 5 before even more songs drop…

Calvin Harris featuring The Weeknd “Over Now” This might technically be Calvin Harris featuring The Weeknd, but there’s no mistaking who who that soft-voiced, red-jacketed man at the center of the song and video is. However, Harris brings a sweet old-school R&B vibe to the song that’s enough of a change from the songs on Weeknd’s blockbuster “After Hours” album to avoid overexposure — and the clip shows just how innovative an artist can be with a video made in lockdown… with sufficient resources, of course.


Ty Dolla $ign featuring Nicki Minaj “Expensive” It’s been almost two years since the prolific Ty Dolla dropped an album, but he’s been everywhere anyway: On “Hot Girl Summer” last year with Megan and Nicki, on “Ego Death” with Kanye West and Skrillex earlier this year, and the list of his features on Wikipedia is about a foot and a half long. In what we hope is a preview of his long-anticipated “Dream House” album, here he reunites with Nicki on a midtempo groove with an irresistible sample that could be either a sped-up guitar or something more exotic. “‘Expensive’ is all about showing your girl that she deserves only the finest things in life,” Ty says in the press release. “I wanted to put a female on the song and Nicki was the only voice I could hear on it. So when I sent her the record and she sent her verse right back, I knew we had a hit on our hands. Love to the Queen for blessing this song with another iconic verse!”


Disclosure featuring Kehlani and Syd “Birthday” Gotta say the Disclosure brothers kinda buried this irresistible slice of sultry R&B by placing it tenth on their third album “Energy,” which dropped today — but anywhere you’ve got Kehlani and Syd on the same song, you can’t go wrong. And if you’re up for something a bit livelier, there’s a remix with a much faster beat on the album’s deluxe edition.


Robert Glasper featuring H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello “Better Than I Imagined” It’s hard to imagine a more perfect pair of voices veteran musician and producer Robert Glasper could have recruited for this song than veteran Ndegeocello and relative newcomer H.E.R. “Better Than I Imagined” is an ardent dedication to the value and virtue of Black love,” Glasper says, “No one wants a life without love, but we have generations of people in our community who haven’t had the tools to actually be in healthy relationships. It seems like people are finally ready to open their eyes to systemic racism in this country, and if we’re going to talk about it, we have to also talk about how it affects our relationships.” Better yet, once you’ve listened to the song, look for video of Glasper performing at the Commitment March in Washington, D.C. today.


Rudimental featuring Anne-Marie and Tion Wayne “Come Over” The long-running British collective are back with longtime collaborator Anne-Marie and Tion Wayne with this garage-ish song that finds the group getting back to its roots — and although the title of this song is a little cruel under current circumstances, it’s a jam anyway.