Friday Five: Ariana Grande's sexy math lesson, Sam Smith's acoustic ode to the past, and more
The five best songs we heard this week.
Every Friday, EW's music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today's edition, Ariana Grande knows what she wants, SG Lewis feeds the fire with Lucky Daye, Big Sean and Freddie Gibbs are champs, LÉON drops a heartbreak record, and Sam Smith can't leave the past behind.
"Kids Again" — Sam Smith
Sam Smith has their mind on the past. "Do you even think about it?/The way that we changed the world/And don't it make you sad/That we'll never be kids again?" the pop singer croons over a lonely acoustic riff. "Kids Again," off their lush new album Love Goes, is a bittersweet ode to the things we learn and accomplish in early relationships — even when the experience ends in heartbreak. —Alex Suskind
"34+35" — Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande has had a rough go of it these past few years, eventually channeling the pain into her 2018 album, Sweetener, and its follow-up, Thank U, Next. With that behind her, it's nice to see the pop star back to being horny on main again. There are no SoulCycle-inspired sex metaphors on "34 + 35," just some easy addition to spell out exactly what she wants and where she wants it. The amount of harmonies Grande creatively fits into this track almost matches the sum of the song title, but the true highlights are the hilarious ad-libs, and an outro where the singer admits she's actually not mathematically inclined. —Marcus Jones
"Feed the Fire" — SG Lewis feat. Lucky Daye
No shade to the current wave of R&B artists doing their thing, but if they sound a little sleepy to you, check out SG Lewis, who comes through with a defibrillator in the form of punchy, sparkling beats. On "Feed the Fire," the British producer teams up with the soulful Lucky Daye for a disco-tinged banger — one that makes this last year without dance floors even more of a punch in the gut to music lovers. —M.J.
"4 Thangs" — Freddie Gibbs feat. Big Sean and Hit-Boy
Freddie Gibbs is coming for the crown. On "4 Thangs," the Gary, Ind., rapper trades bars with Big Sean at breakneck speed over a bruising Hit-Boy beat (the trio have each had their own banner 2020s, with multiple critically acclaimed releases). "Yeah, this the G, gorilla, pimp stay with banana/I f--- with Sean Don, he run the D like Barry Sanders," raps Gibbs. Meanwhile, Sean goes in on his own sports metaphors: "Trophies, mantles, Billups, how s--- get handled I pray my life go over easy and I never scramble." —A.S.
"Falling Apart" — LÉON
Sure, yes, there happens to be another European balladeer with a great heartbreak record out today, but Swedish singer-songwriter LÉON has her own stunning release in new album Apart, which features this melancholy quasi-title track. Listening to the colorful way in which she sings, "What do you do when you love so hard/That you just, you float apart, and you're falling apart inside," feels equivalent to watching Normal People. It's always a pleasure to see someone stand out in a crowded pop-sphere with just a piano and their voice. —M.J.