Friday Five: Yola holds on, Kiiara and blackbear sing about exes, 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, Yola holds on (with some star-studded backup for support), Anderson .Paak teams with Timbaland, Kiiara sings about exes (on a song featuring her ex), The Struts recruit Def Leppard, and Lykke Li releases her first Swedish-language song.
"Hold On" — Yola
The British country-soul singer, who made one of the best albums of 2019, is back with a beauty of a ballad. The sparkling piano-led track is both a plea and a warning, about perseverance, resilience, and seeing the world for what it is. The tune is bolstered by harmony vocals from Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby, while Sheryl Crow contributed her piano skills and the nimble fretwork comes from Jason Isbell. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the song will go to MusiCares and National Bailout Collective. —Sarah Rodman
.Paak has been sitting on this heater since February, but shelved it for fear that this sad, sick world was not in the right headspace to hear Cheeky Andy. While it’s hard to say anything has improved since then, it makes the prospect of a song produced by Timbaland — the hitmaker who's made quarantine a little less lonely thanks to his Verzuz series with Swizz Beatz — even more enticing. This pitched-up party record feels like a tease of what’s to come from the California rapper. —Marcus Jones
“So Sick”—Kiiara feat. blackbear
"So Sick," off Kiiara's long-awaited debut album lil kiiwi, is a bittersweet breakup song that gives the "Gold" singer's usual blend of electropop and trap a breezy twist. And while blackbear is exactly who you’d want on a track that acts as a playful middle finger to an ex, it takes on a fun new meaning when you realize the two artists briefly dated. It's up to the listeners to determine how earnest they are while singing about being over one another. —MJ
"I Hate How Much I Want You" — The Struts feat. Phil Collen and Joe Elliot
One of the finest British exports of the last few years, the glammy-grimy group of classic rock-loving lads team up with their natural progenitors — Joe Elliott and Phil Collen of Def Leppard — for this high kicking rocker featuring a fabulously sleazy guitar solo and wall of sound gang vocals in its Hoople-esque choruses led by outsized frontman Luke Spiller. The tune comes from the band's forthcoming album Strange Days out Oct. 16. —SJ
"Bron" — Lykke Li
The first Swedish-language release from singer Lykke Li is a dreamy post-relationship track about the difficulty of navigating the turmoil of a recent breakup. Co-written and -produced by two fellow Swedes — songwriter Little Jinder and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson — "Bron" is Li's graceful and occasionally defiant attempt of making sense of pain. —Alex Suskind