Friday Five: French Montana's 'Cold,' Thom Yorke's basement piano serenade, 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, French Montana returns to his Coke Boys roots, Lori McKenna doles out life advice, Thom Yorke delivers moody existentialism, Machine Gun Kelly continues his foray into pop-punk, and Luke Combs adds to the quarantine tune pile.
“Cold”— French Montana (feat. Tory Lanez)
New York rapper French Montana was recently clowned for saying that he had more anthems than Kendrick Lamar, but if you replace the word “anthems” with “club hits'' he’s not lying. Even Lamar’s biggest single “HUMBLE'' can't get a party going the way “Pop That” can. Montana’s new track with rapper Tory Lanez (who he recently had a semi-official VERZUZ battle with) takes him back to his Coke Boys roots with a dope staccato hook about wheeling and dealing. It’s time to show some respect to the only rapper who has spent nearly a decade providing a steady stream of songs to take shots and/or twerk to — even if those things can only be done at home right now. –Marcus Jones
"When You're My Age" – Lori McKenna
The Massachusetts native is squarely in her wheelhouse with this new single, another in her growing repertoire of tear-jerking life advice ballads. With vocal help from her Love Junkies co-conspirators Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose, McKenna muses to a younger person, "When you're my age/I hope the world is kinder/Than it seems to be right now/And I hope the front page/Isn't just a reminder/Of how we keep letting each other down." It also observes that no matter how old the narrator's child gets, they will always be the baby. Cue the Kleenex. The poignant tune is the first preview for the Grammy and CMA-winning singer-songwriter's upcoming Dave Cobb-produced album The Balladeer, out July 24. –Sarah Rodman
"Plasticine" – Thom Yorke
This week, a scraggly-looking (hey, who isn't right now?) Thom Yorke appeared from his basement on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to serenade us with the spooky dystopia of a new song called "Plasticine Figures." It comes with a few typical Yorkeian hallmarks: glum piano riff, unconventional chord progression, lyrics that drip with existential dread. "Most malleable/Plasticine figures/Mould to suit your taste/Happy to serve/Happy to linger/While you make up your face," broods the Radiohead frontman. Is he singing about power structures that shape our everyday lives? The hourly Amazon employees currently toiling away at a warehouse? The fact that he's been playing with putty during isolation? Like most of Yorke's songwriting, the meaning remains elusive. —Alex Suskind
"Bloody Valentine" — Machine Gun Kelly
Music-wise, Machine Gun Kelly was known as a talented rapper who sometimes punched a little above his weight by feuding with Eminem. But through the surprise success of his Lockdown Sessions on YouTube, covering songs like Paramore’s “Misery Business,” the Cleveland artist has shown his true destiny may be bringing pop-punk back. Executive produced by Travis Barker, this new single is propulsive lovelorn emo goodness that Kelly is right to say is perfect to “air drum in your room blasting it loud as f— at least once.” —MJ
"Six Feet Apart" – Luke Combs
The country hitmaker makes socially distanced lemonade out of quarantine lemons with this wistful track about what we'll do when we can be closer to each other. Among those options: hugging, shaking hands, going to shows and ballgames, and hitting the bars and restaurants with friends and family. Hopefully, this tune will one day fall squarely in the "remember when" category at Combs' shows. —SR