Friday Five: Mac Miller in R&B mode, an Usher shoutout from dvsn, and more
The best songs you'll hear all week.
Every Friday, EW’s music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today’s edition, Mac Miller's family releases two bonus tracks from Circles, dvsn and Snoh Aalegra team up, Mel C embraces the sportier side of her Spice Girls legacy, Låpsley goes swimming, Dan Wilson reflects on the Universal fire, and — a bonus track! — the right way to cover John Lennon during a quarantine.
"Right" — Mac Miller
One of two songs Mac Miller's family released as an epilogue to his final album Circles, “Right” sees the late artist in full R&B mode, explaining to an ex that the door is still open on their relationship. Its bittersweet mood is reflected in the interaction between the track's somber piano riff and collaborator Thundercat's sullen bass tones. Miller's post-chorus almost sounds like a lullaby —“Girl, you been burnin' so bright, let me turn off the lights” — reminding fans just how much the rapper had grown as a musician — and what a loss his death continues to be. —Marcus Jones
"Who I Am" — Mel C
If you fused the lyrical sentiment of modern poet/Real Housewives of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga’s 2011 track “On Display” with the sonic DNA of every song Kylie Minogue dropped during her X era, you’d probably get something like Melanie C’s “Who I Am,” an empowering jam about embracing your flaws enough to unabashedly flaunt them. Written by Minogue’s collaborator Richard “Biff” Stannard, the electro-pop track sees the 46-year-old singer tapping into the sportier side of her Spice Girls legacy, working up a dance-floor sweat over icy synths and glitchy riffs. —Joey Nolfi
"Between Us" — dvsn
Usher is on the best run he’s had in years without even having to put out music. In 2019, Summer Walker sampled the R&B singer's breakout hit "You Make Me Wanna" for her single "Come Through." This week, dvsn and Snoh Aalegra sampled his steamy 1997 track "Nice and Slow" — including Usher’s iconic “baby tell me what you wanna do" line — on their new single "Between Us.” The song’s plea for “nothing in between” may call for the exact opposite of social distancing, but it will give couples who are already quarantined together an excuse to get closer. —MJ
"Speaking of the End" — Låpsley
English songwriter Låpsley has known her way around a phrase since she was, infuriatingly, 17 years old upon the release of her debut full-length Long Way Home. Four years later, her tipple is “oh fragility, my valentine” in this intoxicating new piano-led ballad “Speaking of the End” (off of Through Water, out today). Swim in a pool that flirts with spilling over the edge but never does. So it goes these days. —Katie Hasty
"Red Light" — Dan Wilson
It is likely that many musicians whose work was destroyed in the devastating Universal fire have been and will be moved to express themselves in song. This gorgeous, mesmerizing piano ballad rises from the ashes like the gentlest phoenix. The Grammy winning singer-songwriter-producer, former Semisonic frontman ("Closing Time" and so much more), and go-to collaborator (Adele, the Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift) wrote this gauzy, pulsating meditation with pals Jenny Owen Youngs (CQ) and Ethan Gruska. Its mournful tone feels soothing in this moment. —Sarah Rodman
BONUS: "Isolation" — Dirty Projectors
Were you completely unnerved by that celebrity FaceTime rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine"? Then start clean with a more proper, quarantine-approved cover of Plastic Ono Band's "Isolation" from Dirty Projectors. Even better: all proceeds on the song's sales are going MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund. You can hear it here. —Alex Suskind