Friday Five: Lucy Dacus' vengeful coolness, Chika's cinderella story, 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, Lucy Dacus has revenge on the brain, Drakeo continues to play the gleeful villain, Chika wants her own cinderella story, Kenny Mason drops acrobatic triplets, and London Grammar let the beat build.
"Thumbs" — Lucy Dacus
Lucy Dacus has never been a vague songwriter. Her 2016 debut opened with a song called "I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore" that articulated the reductive downfalls of being the group jester, while 2018's Historian delved into her own past with an archaeological precision. Together, her sharp lyrics and ascendant voice are a galelike force, and her new song "Thumbs" removes all other musical elements to zone in on that gripping intensity. Over atmospheric ambience, Dacus sings with unmistakable specificity about a time she accompanied a friend to meet their father for the first time. "He ordered rum and coke/I can't drink either anymore," is all she has to say to convey how it went down — but her hook clarifies the severity of the situation: "I would kill him if you let me," she sings with a vengeful coolness. Hyperbole? Probably, but she's only capable of singing like she means it. —Eli Enis
"Just Retire" — Drakeo the Ruler feat. Ralfy the Plug, Shordie Shordie
Drakeo the Ruler has been on a tear since being released from prison last November. His latest single, "Just Retire," materialized earlier this week, and it's another irresistibly boastful cut that features his fellow Stinc Team groupmate Ralfy the Plug and Baltimore weirdo Shordie Shordie. Similar to Pusha T, Drakeo is the gleeful villain of his own songs. "I'm the n---a that's gon' have yo' momma cryin'/I'm the reason that all yo homies die," he raps with a brash matter-of-factness. Ralfy and Shordie's verses aren't warm and fuzzy either, but the way Drakeo coldly raps, "He's never comin' back and that's that, just retire," cuts to the bone. Graveyard talk rarely sounds this fun. —Eli Enis
"Cinderella, Pt. 2" — Chika
The Grammy-nominated Chika shows off her smooth croon on the second half of the intoxicating two-part "Cinderella." In part one, her mind is racing after spotting a possible love interest at a party. In part two, we skip past the intros and move straight to the romance: "Stay, girl I need you right here to myself/No one is better alone/Come and take part in the wealth," she sings over airy harmonies and a gooey bassline. But Chika knows this relationship is fleeting: "We're running out of time/Let's create our own reality." —Alex Suskind
"Pup" — Kenny Mason
The Atlanta rapper dabbles in nearly every recent hip-hop subgenre — but "Pup" creates a new one entirely. The first half features Kenny's deadened sing-song over a gurgling 808, blinking synths, and raggedy nu-metal guitars. Then a beat switch happens and in comes washed-out shoegaze riffs that float into the mix like steam from a kettle. There's a cleaner chord progression Mason croons over in more of an emo-rap manner, but he employs a half-dozen flows on this track alone: Vince Staples-esque detachment, acrobatic triplets in the vein of Lil Baby, and a dutch-angle chirp akin to recent Playboi Carti. The instrumental sounds downright alien, but Mason is right at home on it. —Eli Enis
"How Does It Feel" — London Grammar
Lead singer Hannah Reid's stark, opening echo is enough to stop you in your tracks. The U.K. pop trio then lets the single build slowly, hooking you in with pointed questions like "How does it feel, now you're alone?" until that exquisite drop hits midway through the chorus. This contemplative, poignant kiss-off is the first song the group has released with legendary British producer Steve Mac — and hopefully not their last. — Marcus Jones