Gucci Mane, Shawn Mendes, Angel Olsen: Grading the week's best (and worst) new singles
Every week, EW's music staff takes a hard listen to the biggest new tracks and offers up our unfiltered opinions. Read on for reviews of new tracks by Justin Bieber, Gucci Mane, Angel Olsen, and more.
Shawn Mendes, "Treat You Better"
The Canadian singer makes few tweaks to his sound—acoustic guitars, bouncy percussion, lyrics about heartbreak, and the Teddy Geiger co-write—and abandons the lyrics cliches that hemorrhaged out of "Stitches." That's not a bad move when you've had two worldwide hits with "Stitches" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer," but the familiar production only highlights where the new song's catchiness quotient falls short of its predecessors. B –Nolan Feeney
Vic Mensa, "There's Alot Going On"
After breaking out in 2013 with his mixtape Innanetape Chicago MC — and member of Chance the Rapper's Savemoney crew — Vic Mensa kept a low profile. Now we know why. "There's Alot Going On," the poignant closing track off his new EP of the same name, is a tour de force of autobiographical and confessional rap, where Mensa chronicles the struggles with substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness that nearly derailed his career. Given his buzzy features this year on tracks from Kanye West, Kaytranada, and Flume, 2016 could be the year Mensa crosses over to the mainstream. A –Eric Renner Brown
Justin Bieber, "One Dance (Remix)"
Justin Bieber keeps his hot streak going with a short but catchy version of Drake's potential song of the summer, "One Dance." On the remix, Bieber continues with his more mature sound as he slows down the original song's dancehall beat, making "One Dance (Remix)"sound like it would fit better on Bieber's acclaimed Purpose than on Drake's lackluster Views. A- –Derek Lawrence
Betty Who, "I Love You Always Forever"
Donna Lewis' '90s dance-pop hit may seem like a random choice for a cover, but Betty Who's layered, twinkling rendition gives the song new life. Who quietly articulates the lyrics over a bright, lush backdrop of whimsical synths. B+ –Dylan Kickham
Kanye West, "Champions"
Yeezy season continued Friday when the MC shared "Champions," a posse cut featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Gucci Mane, Travis $cott, Yo Gotti, Desiigner, and Quavo that he says will be the first single from the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Winter. And, surprisingly, there aren't too many cooks in the kitchen. Each MC brings his best to the triumphant instrumental — though we'll see if the track can maintain its momentum if West adds the 10 minutes of additional guest verses he's hinted he will. A- –Eric Renner Brown
Gucci Mane, "First Day Out Tha Feds"
The day after Gucci Mane's release from jail, the rapper dropped his first song as a free man. With lines like "Wake up and take a piss, I hear ‘em sharpening knives/Main focus every day is make it out here alive," Gucci proves he's still the wordsmith fans fell in love with during the "Lemonade" era. "Feds" may be a slight disappointment only because the best Gucci music is often more ferocious and wild, which is what fans were hoping for after he spent three years away. B –Derek Lawrence
Drake, "4pm in Calabasas"
From "0 to 100 / The Catch Up" to "Hotline Bling" (initially), some of Drake's greatest moments have come via the non-album loosie. Barely a month after the release of his sprawling fourth studio album Views, the Toronto MC shared "4pm in Calabasas," a stuttering cut co-produced by established collaborators Vinylz ("Know Yourself") and Frank Dukes (Kanye West's "Real Friends"). Like any Drake song, "Calabasas" has its lyrical eye-poppers — he says his "summer diet is just Rosé and calamari" and takes a not-so-subtle jab at Puff Daddy — but the real standout is the production, which eclipses many of the beats on Views. B+ –Eric Renner Brown
Elle King, "Good Girls"
If the first single from the Ghostbusters soundtrack is any indication of the upcoming reboot's tone, then viewers can get ready for an unapologetic force of female rebellion. Elle King's rockabilly "f— you" to behaving like a "good girl" chugs along with the ferocious energy of a freight train, as the singer asserts that she's "a whole lotta trouble in an itty-bitty skirt." B –Dylan Kickham
Angel Olsen, "Intern"
Olsen's second album, 2014's Burn Your Fire for No Witness, established her as one of the best singer-songwriters currently working, easily able to run the gamut between sparse, melancholy balladry and lo-fi garage rock. On the first single from her forthcoming album My Woman, due out September 2, she opts for the former, dressing up somber lyrics with understated synths. But the draw with Olsen remains her voice, simultaneously powerful and seemingly on the brink of collapse — which makes the track's generic aesthetic generally forgivable. B+ –Eric Renner Brown