Friday Five: Bon Iver collaborates with Bruce Springsteen, 2 Chainz shouts out HBCUs, and more

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The five best things we heard this week.

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The five best things we heard this week.

Every Friday, EW’s music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today’s edition, Victoria Monét pulls listeners in on “Jaguar,” 2 Chainz reunites with Lil Wayne, Kelly Lee Owens teams with John Cale, Griselda continues to run the table, and Bon Iver denounces capitalism. 

“Jaguar” — Victoria Monét

On the title track for her new EP, singer-songwriter Victoria Monét demonstrates a level of musicality similar to icons Janet Jackson and Diana Ross. The three women each have Calm app-approved speaking voices, but sing in a melodious siren call that pulls listeners in. “Jaguar” certainly distinguishes Monét from the poppier breakout songs she wrote with Ariana Grande, with the horns, strings, and pitter-pattering drums serving as more a revival of ’70s-era funk/soul music. —Marcus Jones

“Money Maker” — 2 Chainz feat. Lil Wayne

Rapper 2 Chainz may not have won the popular vote in his Verzuz battle against Rick Ross, but this new single shows why he deserved a spot there in the first place. The College Park, Ga., native uses a beat built off the rich history of HBCU marching band arrangements of iconic R&B hits. In this case, it’s Southern University and A&M College Human Jukebox’s take on “Piece of My Love” by Guy. In teaming up with Lil Wayne, Chainz delivers a banger that will have people bucking low to the ground like a majorette team. —MJ

“AUATC” – Bon Iver

Justin Vernon opts for half-helium vocals on this gospel-inflected single about the evils of capitalism. That approach sounds gimmicky on paper but it fits the mood — a warbling, shaky voice lost in a sea of anxiety and inequality. “Ate up all their cake/And they drank their own wine,” he sings, directing his ire toward “the wealthy and the elite, and the predatory corporations,” as the Bon Iver singer put it in a statement accompanying the song’s release. He came with backup too: Bruce Springsteen, Jenny Lewis, Jenn Wasner, and Elsa Jensen all appear as guest vocalists. —Alex Suskind

“Lemon” – Conway the Machine feat. Method Man

The last 18 months worth of releases from Buffalo’s Griselda squad have felt like a passing freight train: sturdy, steady, and seemingly endless. Conway the Machine has already put out two albums this year, but this week he announced a third and previewed it with another reliably gritty joint called “Lemon.” On it, the 38-year-old offers a sobering anecdote about the life he left behind. He thinks about a friend who won’t get to see his kids grow up because he’s serving time for murder (“His mama ain’t shed a tear, she know that come with this life”) and identifies that as his reason for grinding so hard in the rap game. He’s joined by Method Man, who delivers a whole verse of brain-tickling wordplay that self-references “that old Meth.” —Eli Enis

“Corner of My Sky” – Kelly Lee Owens feat. John Cale

The upcoming sophomore album by the London producer Kelly Lee Owens is a truly spectacular combination of pulsing techno, vivid power ambient, and even a reimagined Radiohead cover. Its latest single is a beautiful collaboration with Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale that sounds a bit like Nick Cave channeled through the densely textured ambience of Tim Hecker. Cale speak-sings a poem about the rain over a quietly purring synth melody that gradually crescendos like a person’s breathing pattern when a familiar face enters the room. Owens’ production is clean and crisp, and the two have a natural chemistry that makes you question whether the song was built around Cale’s vocals or vice versa. —EE
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