Friday Five: Snoh Aalegra struggles with an all-consuming love, 100 gecs team up with Fall Out Boy, 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, Snoh Aalegra lifts people out of their quarantine boredom, 100 gecs enlist pop-punk legends Fall out Boy, Dave Hause shares a haunting tribute to George Floyd, Dinner Party serve up breathtaking instrumentals, and Bettye LaVette provides the note-perfect sound of the weary heart.
"Sleepless Nights" — Dinner Party feat. Phoelix
As far as jazz supergroups go, it would be hard to recruit four artists more elite than Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington, and Terrace Martin. Members of the quartet have worked with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Erykah Badu. On the intro track to the group's self-titled debut album, the lyrics are sparse, with featured vocalist Phoelix mostly singing, "Know we comin'" in a reassuring manner. While Glasper's piano outro helps bring the song to a breathtaking close, it's Washington's dynamic saxophone playing that makes it possible to listen to the track over and over again, hearing something new each time. —Marcus Jones
"Your Ghost" — Dave Hause
Threading needles is the name of the game when it comes to art attempting to comment on the current moment. Philly-bred singer-songwriter Dave Hause manages it in this heart-rending anthem written in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Set to a martial tempo and featuring a cruelly beautiful guitar figure, Hause sings of wishing that Floyd's spirit — and by extension, those whose senseless deaths preceded his — "haunts all of our dreams." Supported by lamentations of "I can't breathe," prayerfully sung by Amythyst Kia and Kam Franklin (of the Suffers), Hause gets to the heart of the matter singing, "Oh a what a privilege to pretend that we can't see/The chain, the whip, the badge, the gun/And now the ever-pressing knee." (Proceeds from sales of the song will go to the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund.) "How long will there be this song of 'I can't breathe?'" Hause wonders, and so do we. —Sarah Rodman
"Dying 4 Your Love" — Snoh Aalegra
Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra has blessed us with a smooth, moody tune new about struggling with an all-consuming love that is not reciprocated. "So tell me, baby, do you want me like I want you?" The song speaks to those who understand the steps, forward and backward, of getting over someone you thought was the one with relatable lyrics brought to life by Aalegra's soulful voice. "Dying 4 Your Love" has the added bonus of a bouncy, bass-enhanced vibe that'll give listeners a little sway to accompany their own vocals as they sing it at home. While it might not boast full club energy, it's got enough bounce to lift people out of quarantine boredom, even if it's just for a few minutes. —Alamin Yohannes
"hand crushed by a mallet (Remix)" — 100 gecs feat. Fall Out Boy, Craig Owens, Nicole Dollanganger
On its face, the electro-pop duo 100 gecs enlisting pop-punk legends Fall Out Boy, post-hardcore vet Craig Owens, and creepy goth-pop artist Nicole Dollanganger to perform on one song seems like an outlandish creative stretch. But when you consider that 100 gecs merged Auto-Tuned pop with Myspace emo, dubstep, ska, and metal on their 2019 debut, >1000 gecs, this glittery posse version makes total sense. Taken from gecs' epic remix album 1000 gecs & the Tree of Clues, this rendition of features Patrick Stump's nasally croon sailing atop a shadowy bassline; Owens' guttural shrieks, chopped and screwed; and Dollanganger's spooky, Grimes-like murmurs. Pop? Rock? Metal? All of the above? Trust us, it works. —Eli Enis
"One More Song" — Bettye LaVette
A gorgeous sad song about sad songs and the heartaches that inspire them. Detroit-bred soul singer Bettye LaVette, who has an uncanny knack for picking tunes uniquely suited to her intimate style, is a great vehicle for this track. Written and previously recorded by Sharon Robinson, a frequent collaborator of Leonard Cohen's, LaVette's broken down-intonation is the note-perfect sound of the weary heart as she sings, "One more metaphor/One more rhyme/One more broken story line/One more sorrowful melody/One more verse in a minor key," over a piano line so melancholy you want to buy the pianist a drink to cheer them up, or cry into. —S.R.