Friday Five: Fiona Apple reunites with Shameika, Steve Earle covers his son, 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, Fiona Apple collaborates with her old friend from elementary school, the Weather Station take a U.S. Girls-esque trajectory, Jazmine Sullivan needs you to pick up your feelings, Tierra Whack reflects on fame, and Steve Earle honors his late son Justin Townes Earle.
"Shameika Said" — Shameika Stepney feat. Fiona Apple
A muse takes her turn at the table on “Said,” a call-and-response reunion sprung from “Shameika,” one of the indisputable highlights of Fiona Apple’s summer wonder Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Once elementary school classmates, the pair came together post-Fetch for a proposed remix that has become its own woozy, excellent thing — a melodic rap-sung collaboration with sweetly breezy intergalactic-R&B Erykah Badu vibes. —Leah Greenblatt
"Tried to Tell You" – The Weather Station
The singles from the Weather Station’s new album Ignorance mark a dramatic shift from the project’s first decade as an indie-folk act. Last month’s “Robber” was a groove-driven funk track draped with wreaths of strings and a wily saxophone, and “Tried to Tell You” is a chipper synth-pop song that’s the most propulsive tune Tamara Lindeman has ever released. It’s a sonic trajectory that shares parallels with Meg Remy’s U.S. Girls: an isolated singer-songwriter expanding from a few close collaborators to a pool of talent in order to embrace maximalist dance-rock. Lindeman’s lyrical prowess hasn’t budged, but the Weather Station have never sounded as fun as they do here. –Eli Enis
"Pick Up Your Feelings" – Jazmine Sullivan
After delivering the stunning post-breakup song “Lost Ones,” Jazmine Sullivan is returning to the well with "Pick Up Your Feelings.” The single has all the hallmarks of a typical Sullivan track: soulful vocals, soaring runs, a bouncing bassline. "I deserve so much more that you gave to me, so now I'm savin' me," she sings, bringing home a powerful and relatable message of refusing to accept less than you deserve and not taking s--- from anyone. There’s also something humorous, shady, and confident about the way she belts the hook: "Don't forget to come and pick up your, ooh, feelings." –Alamin Yohannes
"Peppers and Onions" — Tierra Whack
“Peppers and Onions” sees Tierra Whack working through the pressures of the spotlight and reacting to the internet age’s tendency to hold public figures to an unrealistically high standard of moral authority. “I’m only human/I’m not perfect, just a person,” she sings with a shrugging playfulness on the hook. Whack isn’t a superstar (yet), but that makes the song’s personal reflection on careerist progress all the more relatable and interesting compared to the trite “Started From the Bottom”-isms that many successful rappers retreat to. She also drops bars about avoiding burnout and prioritizing her health above all else, which feels particularly refreshing to hear in a musical climate that places so much value on nonstop grinding. “I don't wanna be judged, I just wanna be me,” she raps at one point. By all means, Ms. Whack. –EE
"Harlem River Blues" – Steve Earle & the Dukes
Two months after the death of Justin Townes Earle, his father, country icon Steve Earle, has released a cover of his son's standout 2010 single "Harlem River Blues." The first release off the elder Earle's forthcoming album J.T., which features covers of songs written by Justin, this version adds a fiddle and backroads twang to the original, while keeping its chug-a-lug groove intact. –Alex Suskind