Friday Five: Pooh Shiesty ushers in 'blrrrd' season, Hayley Williams grasps for independence, and more
Every Friday, EW's music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today's edition, it's "blrrrd" season with Pooh Shiesty, Tkay Maidza stays on the grind, Hayley Williams drops a cardiac-inspired song, the Armed combine pop music with hardcore's snaggletoothed aggression, and VanJess unleash fire.
"Neighbors" — Pooh Shiesty
Memphis rapper Pooh Shiesty has quickly ascended from a Gucci Mane protege to one of the most ubiquitous names in hip-hop. His first mixtape, Shiesty Season, is packed with clattering Southern trap beats that the 21-year-old rapper drawls over, but his "Neighbors" collaboration with fellow Memphis up-and-comer Big 30 is a standout. Shiesty's specialty is gun talk with a smirk you can hear through the microphone: "God blessed me with some accuracy on the day I was birthed," he raps on the hook. Big 30 is cut from a similar cloth ("I had a Glock 'fore I lost my virginity") and both of them are obsessed with firing off "blrrrd" ad-libs. It's a sound you should expect to hear a lot of in 2021. —Eli Enis
"Kim" — Tkay Maidza feat. Yung Baby Tate
The lyrics "I be goin' hard, I ain't slept, yeah/And they ain't even know it, I'm a threat" are true to Tkay Maidza's grind. She's only 24 years old, but the Australian rapper has been steadily spitting self-assured rhymes over cutting-edge beats with a pop-EDM sensibility for nearly a decade. When paired with Yung Baby Tate, they create a cohesive track that's part in-your-face, part inspirational. —Marcus Jones
"Asystole" — Hayley Williams
This quiet but devastating cut off Williams' latest solo album sees the Paramore singer grasping for independence: "I don't live for you, I live for me/If only that were true/If only I could prove that on my own I'm worthy." But the hook (which doubles as the song title) suggests there's something more sinister at play (asystole is a form of cardiac arrest with a low rate of survival). "The trouble is the way you stick/To any part of me that remains intact," Williams sings. "But if I pull the plug/It isn't only me that I'm holding back." —Alex Suskind
"All Futures" — The Armed
The Armed are a hardcore band in the way tomatoes are a fruit. On their 2018 album Only Love, the once-anonymous Detroit collective infused their flaming metalcore with galactic synths and confounding hooks, and their new record ULTRAPOP takes the schtick one step further. Lead single "All Futures" wildly features guitar work from Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age, which is somehow the least interesting thing about it. There are dilated synths that hold their own against three overblown guitars, a barn-raising chorus, and gatling gun "yeah-yeah-yeah-yeahs" that fire off atop walloping drums. It's pop music that doesn't sacrifice a modicum of hardcore's snaggletoothed aggression. Ultrapop indeed. —E.E.
"Caught Up" — VanJess feat. Phony Ppl
I can't help but wonder whether VanJess got their asses burnt sitting on this much fire before the release of their Homegrown EP. With a blizzard hitting the East Coast this week, this funky little number, featuring jazzy collective Phony Ppl, has me ready to pull out some roller skates and glide around the house — hardwood floors be damned! —M.J.