EW's Friday Five: Lana Del Rey is blue, a rare Lauryn Hill feature, and more songs you'll love
Every Friday, EW runs down the five best songs of the week with Pop Shop. In today's edition, Lana Del Rey sings about a man-child, Moulin Rouge mashes everything up, mxmtoon is sitting in a prom dress, and Lauryn Hill makes a surprise appearance on a Pusha T track.
Lana Del Rey — "Norman F—ing Rockwell"
Lana Del Rey, queen of ennui and likely candidate for future 12-episode season of You Must Remember This, is bored of your bullsh—. Or at least the bullsh— emanating from the terrible "self-loathing poet, resident Laurel Canyon, know-it-all" antagonist of album opener "Norman F—ing Rockwell," whom she's been hanging around town with. Don't blame her, though, Del Rey is just there for the good sex and wild times: "You f—ed me so good that I almost said, ‘I love you,'" she sings over beautiful and moody orchestral pop. Insults like "Goddamn, man-child" and "Your poetry's bad and you blame the news" — delivered in Del Rey's typical nonchalance — make this one of the year's most devastating cuts. They also serve as a reminder: Bum Lana out and she'll put you on blast. —Alex Suskind
Moulin Rouge! The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
While Pop Shop typically highlights singles, it's impossible to even know where to start with the surgeon general's warning of a cast album that is Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which hyperactively slices through over 80 songs in a dizzying array of Top 40 hits to create a theoretically cohesive Broadway underscore for a new stage production based on the fever-dream movie? The opening track, "Welcome to the Moulin Rouge!", throws "Lady Marmalade" into a seven-and-a-half-minute blender with OutKast, Talking Heads, David Bowie, and Nelly. "The Sparkling Diamond," marking the entrance of Nicole Kidman heiress Karen Olivo, sets Satine's jewelry motif on third-degree fire by way of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna, and the Commodores(!?!). Even if you're not a theater person, don't let yourself miss out on the colorful psychoses of this rollercoaster ride of mash-ups you either never knew you wanted or intuitively know you still don't. —Marc Snetiker
"Coming Home" — Pusha T feat. Ms. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill releases new music so infrequently that when Pusha T first announced this track, it was hard not to assume the feature touting Ms. Hill was actually just an old sample Kanye dug up. But nope, that is indeed the former Fugee on the hook, with powerful and cautiously optimistic words of wisdom about how the loss and gain of love can make or break your life. In the verses, Pusha connects the theme to social injustice, rapping about the ugly realities of America's prison-industrial complex — "With no Js on, I'm still lookin' to score/ You see they gave us crack, then started wagin' a war" — and how the country often fails young black men. ("I'm speakin' to the soul of my black native bros/ Who ain't get to go to school like a J. Cole.") Doubling as the kickoff to the Third Strike Campaign — an initiative from Push and lawyers MiAngel Cody and Brittany K. Barnett that looks to free prisoners who incarcerated under outdated federal drug laws — "Coming Home" isn't just an uplifting song about the need for progress, it's a call to action. —AS
"prom dress" — mxmtoon
From the pure mind of an 18-year-old viral singer-songwriter armed with a ukulele and a notebook of lyrics, this uncomplicated gem off mxmtoon's thoughtful EP the masquerade (V) is the kind of curious little tune that works its way into your heart with just one listen. There'd be an Apple commercial on the horizon, perhaps, if this teen's lyrics played that game — but "I'm sitting here, crying in my prom dress/ I'd be the prom queen if crying was a contest" is an uplifting bout of self-deprecation, the kind that can make a teenager look hopefully to their future days and an adult look wistfully to their past ones. —MS
"Beware of Darkness" — Sheryl Crow feat. Eric Clapton and Brandi Carlile
Covering a George Harrison All Things Must Pass cut is a tall order. But who better to tackle it than Sheryl Crow, Brandi Carlile, Sting, and Eric Clapton? This version of "Beware of Darkness," off Crow's new duets album, Threads, drops the '70s haze of Harrison's take and injects it with with cleaner melodies and harmonies, along with a longing call-and-response solo from Clapton, who actually played on the original. The cautionary lyrics, now almost 50 years old, still track: "Watch out now, take care/ Beware of the thoughts that linger," croons Carlile in the second verse. On the last two verses, Crow and Clapton sing together, giving new urgency to Harrison's still-timely warning of "soft-shoe shufflers" and "greedy leaders." —AS