The five best songs we heard this week.

By Alex Suskind
April 23, 2021 at 07:55 PM EDT
Friday Five
Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images; Gus Stewart/Redferns; CHVRCHES/YouTube; C Brandon/Redferns

Every Friday, EW's music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today's edition, Chrvches are still tired of the patriarchy, Jorja Smith mourns what's been lost, Little Simz looks inward, the FlyLo/Thundercat train keeps rolling, and Yola speaks truth to power.

"He Said She Said" — Chrvches

Languishing, as the New York Times recently put it, is "a sense of stagnation and emptiness" —and something many of us are grappling with more than a year into COVID. Chrvches singer Lauren Mayberry can certainly relate: "I feel like I'm losing my mind," she repeatedly shouts in "He Said She Said," the lead single from the band's upcoming fourth album. The meaning here is twofold. It's about cathartic, scream-into-the-void frustration over our lost year and, more specifically, "the balancing act that is expected of women," as Mayberry notes in a statement accompanying the song's release — and sings about in the verses: "He said, 'It's all in your head/But keep an ear to the grapevine' and 'Get drunk, but don't be a mess.'"

"Gone" — Jorja Smith

Loss permeates Jorja Smith's world in this gorgeous, lulling new single. Built on a series of cascading keys and a shuffle beat, "Gone" sees the singer trying to make sense of a kind of disappearance: "Tell me how to keep my world moving on without ya." Whether it's a lover, family member, or stranger, she doesn't specify; universality is the point.

"Introvert" — Little Simz

Describing Little Simz's "Introvert" as urgent feels like an undersell. Over rapturous horns that sound like they were pulled from a Hans Zimmer score, the British grime star intricately details an inner turmoil — over politics, over gun violence, over identity. "I'm a Black woman and I'm a proud one/We walk in blind faith not knowing the outcome," she raps. "But as long as we're unified, then we've already won." As always, there's strength in numbers.

"Black Gold" — Flying Lotus feat. Thundercat

This minute-and-a-half loosie from producer Flying Lotus and bassist Thundercat doubles as the theme song for a new Netflix anime called Yasuke. It feels less like a one-off collaboration than a continuation of the Sun Ra-indebted space funk the duo have been perfecting since first working together on FlyLo's 2010 project Cosmogramma.

"Diamond Studded Shoes" — Yola

"Diamond Studded Shoes," or, eat the rich. As Yola sings in her new rock-and-soul charmer of a single, "Everybody's saying that it's gonna be all right/But I can't help but wonder/If it's gonna be on my dime." And later: "They buy diamond-studded shoes with our taxes/Anything to keep us divided." There are many ways to preach to the proletariat; Yola has it down pat.

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