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Best Songs of the Week: Zayn, Empress Of, ILoveMakonnen, and more

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Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; Daniel Boczarski/Redferns; Helen Boast/Redferns

Each week EW’s music staffers share their favorite brand new tunes. See our picks below and sound off about your favorites in the comments.

Rich Robinson, “The Way Home” 

For the first 2 minutes and 12 seconds of his contribution to Dave Cobb’s all-star country compilation album Southern Family (out now), Rich Robinson lets his six string do the talking. And when the former Black Crowes member finally opens his mouth, he does so backed with the power of the Settles Connection Choir for a gospel tune both holy and profound. Madison Vain

Empress Of, “Woman Is A Word”

Lorely Rodriguez, who writes and records intricate art-pop as Empress Of, would like to tell you what it’s like to be a woman — or rather what it’s like to operate within society’s construct of womanhood and gender politics. Let her. “I’m only an image of what you see,” she opens the dreamy track. “I’m only a struggle if I get in your way/You made the road/Made the road one way.” Welcome to 2016’s most delicate feminist anthem. —MV

ZAYN, “BeFoUr,”

This week’s dose of new Zayn Malik music, is a response to his haters. “Say what you wanna say,” he taunts on the track The Fader teased when the former One Direction member appeared on the magazine’s cover in November. The 23-year-old acknowledges he’s “done this before, but not like this” and croons that he’s going to “stay in my zone.” Malik’s latest sultry R&B jam fits right in with his previously released sexy-yet-assertive singles that’ll appear on his solo debut solo, out next week. —Dana Rose Falcone

iLoveMakonnen, “Solo”

Makonnen urges fans, again, to stay hydrated. The rapper/singer released his Drink More Water 6 mixtape Friday, less than a year after 5. “Solo” premiered on Beats 1 radio before and allows the Atlantan to do his distinct warbling croon — that appears on parts of “Whip It” — along with a dash of AutoTune. Please note this sounds distinctly different from his other track “So Low.” —Will Robinson

Tink, “Home”

Tink has been dropping a batch of new music as she gears up to release her debut studio LP, Think Tink. On the latest track, “Home,” the Chicago rapper does what she knows best, pairing sultry sweet R&B and a hip-swiveling beat. Her powerhouse vocals add the perfect punch to this otherwise slow-riding cut. —Dana Getz

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