By Alex SuskindJoey NolfiMarc Snetiker and Sarah Rodman
October 18, 2019 at 08:09 PM EDT
Friday Five
Credit: Jenny Anderson/Getty Images; BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images; Kieran Frost/Redferns; Gina Wetzler/Redferns; Steve Jennings/WireImage

Every Friday, EW runs down the five best songs of the week. In today’s edition, Prince goes acoustic, a Hamilton alum declares his solo status, Rex Orange County goes to Pluto, Perfume Genius makes a “Pop Song,” and Allie X gets groovy.

Prince — “I Feel For You”

From the first pastoral strum, you could be forgiven for thinking the song you were about to hear was some lost ’70s Laurel Canyon classic. Instead, at the 20-second mark that unmistakable falsetto arrives and you are hearing a different classic:

’s “I Feel For You” in its nascent stage. The stripped-back yet still complete take is a far cry from the slinky version on Prince and even further from the irresistibly giddy, Melle Mel-rap-assisted, Stevie Wonder-harmonica-drenched Chaka Khan hit, and still a slice of soul-pop heaven. —Sarah Rodman

Anthony Ramos — “Figure It Out”

Even if you knew nothing about the artist, you’d briefly swoon over the effortless pitch or mellow charm of a song like “Figure It Out,” but perhaps you’d still let it subsequently soar or sink like so many other little acoustic pebbles tossed into the water. But to know that Ramos, the voice behind the easy vocals, is an original cast member of Broadway’s Hamilton, a supporting player in the Ally Maine vehicle A Star Is Born, and the lead of the upcoming In the Heights movie… well, then “Figure It Out” becomes something that reverberates with more than a few significant ripples. Already a Grammy winner for Hamilton, Ramos now settles his feet into new ground with Republic Records, and in doing so offers a firm focal point that declares who he is as a solo musician, long before any future tidal wave of success (and oh, it is coming) lets anyone else do it for him. —Marc Snetiker

Rex Orange County — “Pluto Projector”

The British crooner and occasional Tyler, the Creator collaborator asks the big questions in this gorgeously plaintive ballad off his upcoming album Pony. “The great protector, is that what I’m supposed to be?/ What if all this counts for nothing, everything I thought I’d be?” he sings over an acoustic guitar. He doesn’t have the answers per se, but those seem expendable when you have a sneakily simple pop hook and spend the song’s four-and-a-half minute runtime seamlessly morphing wistful folk, mid-tempo R&B, and orchestral rock. The epilogue, which features Rex’s voice pitched down, only adds to the intrigue. —Alex Suskind

Perfume Genius — “Pop Song”

Don’t let the title fool you. Perfume Genius’ “Pop Song” — from the performance project The Sun Still Burns Here — is a mostly instrumental five-minute riff that pairs cutting lyrics (“My body is stretched, and holding one breath, and sharpen the pole, and sever the flesh”) with layered electronics. Chimes and bells clang against analog synths, a plucked harp gives way to airy percussion, choral arrangements, and quivering vocals. Like most of Perfume Genius’ work, “Pop Song” sounds like an artist looking to find and break the lines between genres. —AS

Allie X — “Rings a Bell”

Spooky season isn’t just for ghosts: Canadian pop princess Allie X is bound to get your flesh tingling and blood boiling on the dance floor with the second single from her upcoming album. Stark synths and a dark, groovy bass line combine to cast a bewitching spell over lyrics about a heart blissfully haunted by familiar love. “Could swear that we’ve been here before, ’cause in your arms I feel so sure,” the frequent Troye Sivan collaborator’s crystalline vocals coo over the song’s shimmering chorus. “As if you knew me well, must have been a reason for this feeling ’cause it rings a bell.” After the first listen, such a hook chorus ensures “Rings a Bell” will be buzzing around in your skull for days to come. —Joey Nolfi

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