By Alex SuskindMarcus Jones and Eve Barlow
February 07, 2020 at 05:51 PM EST
Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images; Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images; Steven Ferdman/Getty Images; Kieran Frost/Redferns; Ollie Millington/Redferns

Every Friday, EW’s music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today’s edition, Sam Hunt returns with a hard-to-forget single, Savages’ Jehnny Beth goes the solo route, Christine and the Queens opts for industrial beats, Sharon Van Etten pulls back, and Denzel Curry teams with Kenny Beats for explosive results.

“Hard to Forget” — Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt is back on his bulls– in the best way possible. On “Hard to Forget” — off his upcoming album Southside — Hunt continues to ride the country crossover wave, using the type of sampling and drums more synonymous with rap, while still avoiding the wince-inducing sound of the “hick-hop” of the aughts. Assembling the avengers of country hit-making — Ashley Gorley, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne — for the songwriting assist gives this track a good shot of breaking records like Hunt’s last smash, “Body Like A Back Road.” —Marcus Jones

“People, I’ve Been Sad” — Christine & The Queens

Sometimes misery loves company, but not when the company is a pop star. Christine & The Queens — a.k.a. performer and producer Heloise Letissier — toured 2018 album Chris even while grieving her mother’s death. She’s the nucleus holding her theatrical operation together, not to mention an enabler for fans’ escapism. Though her music has always documented outsiderdom, “People, I’ve Been Sad” is her most on-the-nose expression of living in solitary sorrow. As she oscillates between French and English, industrial beats undulate beneath feather-lite strings. The echoing, more masculine-sounding background vocals are Letissier too; a shadow self keeping her company. —Eve Barlow

“Flower” – Jehnny Beth

Jehnny Beth’s first single off her solo debut To Love Is to Live is a moody, murky affair. The track was apparently inspired by a dancer at campy Los Angeles-based bikini bar Jumbo’s Clown Room. But you wouldn’t know it from the puzzling mystery the Savages’ frontwoman unfurls here: “A flower field with murder/Cold in the daylight/Learning at night,” she whispers over a detuned guitar. The hook doesn’t provide answers — “How come I can’t get closer?” —  and things begin to feel more claustrophobic. But Beth continues to wheel you in. —Alex Suskind

“DIET_” — Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats

 

Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats went hard on this explosive, bass-heavy cut from their new project Unlocked. Curry teasing how he plans to flow like fellow otaku rapper Logic before going full dogged DMX instead is pure comedy. Through bars like “So braggadocios, spit sick s—, it’s atrocious,” “DIET_” keeps even the backpackers well fed. —MJ

“Beaten Down” — Sharon Van Etten 

We go through life, we experience heartbreak, we move on to the next challenge. Sharon Van Etten details it all in her new single “Beaten Down.” “Your big ol’ heart gets beaten down” she sings, before flipping the message in the hook: “It ain’t beaten down,” she repeats over a creeping trip-hop beat. The message is both simple and defiant: We may make compromises in the face of distress, but Van Etten refuses to stop living.” —AS

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