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Friday Five Sept 3
Damon Albarn; Kanye West; Tokischa and Rosalía; Drake; Oliver Tree, Little Big, and Tommy Cash
| Credit: LINDA BROWNLEE ; Timothy Norris/Getty Images; Republic Records; Little Big/YouTube; Tokischa/YouTube

Every Friday, EW's music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today's edition, Kanye's come-to-Jesus, Drake's love-drenched duet, Tokischa and Rosalía's lip-locking party anthem, Damon Albarn's gorgeous brush with nature, and Oliver Tree and Little Big get turnt.

"Jesus Lord" — Kanye West

There are plenty of jaw-dropping moments on what's sure to become the most polarizing album of Kanye's career, not to mention of 2021. (No number of GLAAD meetings can wash away the sour taste of DaBaby digging his heels in, and digging his own grave, in that defensive, despicable verse on "Jail Pt. 2"). However, of the glorious highs on Donda (and for all its unchecked indulgence, you'll find several), what stopped me dead in my tracks was "Jesus Lord." Melding boom-bap, gospel, West's own soul-baring refection on the loss of his late mother (whose name gives the project its title), and a formidable turn from Jay Electronica that spans the pyramids, Wakanda, Rawanda, and the Clintons, its nine minutes comprise the most towering, moving statement on the record. Yet for all their vivid world-building, Jay and Ye are still upstaged, not by another rapper but by Larry Hoover Jr., son of the incarcerated Gangster Disciples founder, who delivers a gut-wrenching monologue thanking West for pleading Hoover's case at Trump's White House and detailing how his father's 26-year imprisonment made him miss both Hoover Jr.'s and his granddaughter's graduations. Ethically ambiguous, even manipulative? Maybe. But on an LP blotted by a few too many conflicting, convoluted experiments, "Jesus Lord" feels like the purest, sincerest distillation of West's intent. —Jason Lamphier

"Particles" — Damon Albarn


The latest offering from his forthcoming album, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, Damon Albarn's "Particles" sounds like it was plucked fresh from a nearby river. Trickling water, guitar strings strummed ever so slightly, and what sounds like a buzzing insect or two speckle the prolific Blur and Gorillaz frontman's piecemeal musings on the natural world. "When the night patterns the room/And black sands return/I will drift away from land… Only you, darling, can call me back in." The track is a gorgeous lullaby for fading summer days and the passage of time — a fitting addition to a project originally intended as a single orchestral piece inspired by Icelandic landscapes. —Alex Suskind

"Fountains" — Drake (feat. Tems)

This week's most hyped hip-hop releases have at least two things in common: They're both in desperate need of an edit, and they both suffer from a woeful lack of female performers. Drake's sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy, may best Kanye's Donda in terms of the latter, but just barely — and not because of its phoned-in, blink-and-you'll-miss-it Nicki Minaj cameo (on "Papi's Home") or fleeting interlude from Grammy winner Yebba ("Yebba's Heartbreak"). Instead, tucked away in the back half of the record is the standout "Fountains," a quiet-storm duet with Nigerian Afrobeats singer-producer Tems (a.k.a. Temilade Openiyi), who provides CLB with a much-needed jolt from Drake's increasingly numbing, well, Drakey-ness. As they summon the velvety tones and smoky atmospherics of Sade (an artist to whom the rapper should be sending annual royalty checks at this point), she sounds forlorn and lovely, he sounds forlorn and lovely, and everything coalesces into an erotic, yearning plea for romantic rekindling. For God's sake, more sad Drizzy, please. —Jason Lamphier

"Linda" — Tokischa and Rosalía

Rosalía continues to stretch the boundaries of flamenco music on "Linda," a minimalist anthem about smooching your friends ("Nos besamo,' pero somo' homie,'" or, "We kiss, but we are homies"). In pairing with the spitfire Dominican rapper Tokischa, a "woman who causes discomfort," as Rosalía notes in a press release (that's a cheeky understatement; Tokischa was recently fined for posing "provocatively" in front of a statue of the Virgin of Altagracia), the Spanish singer smoothly marries traditional handclaps with dembow to create something fresh, filling, and club-ready. —Alex Suskind

"Turn It Up" — Oliver Tree and Little Big (feat. Tommy Cash)

Eccentric artists like Oliver Tree and Tommy Cash come as a whole gonzo package listeners just have to be open to finding the right frequency with. A collaboration with Russian punk-rave duo Little Big, this stimulating new party jam will certainly elicit stares from any passersby who overhear its discordant demands to "go dumb" blasting out your car stereo. Hit a red light long enough, though, and stunned game pedestrians will soon be yelling at you to "turn it up" too. —Marcus Jones

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