Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Elton John recruits Eddie Vedder for his lockdown sessions.
Elton John really loves to collaborate: his new album The Lockdown Sessions features him joining forces with some of the biggest musicians around, from Dua Lipa to Stevie Wonder. With “E-Ticket,” his new track with none other than Eddie Vedder, John goes back to basics.
It’s an undeniably fun, classic piano jam from the prolific pair, and Vedder’s presence makes it all the more riveting. Their husky voices sync and blend so well that at times, it’s hard to tell who is who — but it’s Vedder’s guitar work and status as a rock icon that gives the song an irresistible edge.
John has always been a massive influence on modern rock and roll, pioneering so many genre offshoots over a 50-year career. So when you hear him really rock out, especially with his dizzying trademark piano fills, you can’t help but smile.
It’s worth noting that many of the songs on The Lockdown Sessions feature newer pop artists that frequently push boundaries in the landscape of modern music, from Lil Nas X to Miley Cyrus — and yet, it’s his collaboration with Vedder that feels so fitting, natural, and classic.
And with its slightly humorous chorus — which, along with the song’s title, may or may not be a reference to the special admission ticket used at Disneyland pre-1982 — “E-Ticket” is the sound of two artists embracing their legend status while simultaneously throwing their egos out the door: “You gotta figure it’s an E-Ticket ride/ Yeah, why else stand in line?”
— Paolo Ragusa
Lights – “Prodigal Daughter”
Lights wants you to know that she is back. Her first solo single in over a year, “Prodigal Daughter,” is an anthem of empowerment, a statement of return and a departure towards something even more bold and bright. Complete with a horror-esque music video (it’s not scary, per se, but Happy Halloween!), “Prodigal Daughter” is a driving, infectious pop cut that shows off Lights’ enigmatic and soulful voice.
She’s certainly come a long way since her bedroom pop days, and “Prodigal Daughter” proves that there are acres of space still left for her to explore. At the end of the bridge, Lights revs up to a riveting climax, singing “run, baby, run, you’re free!” It’s a message to herself as much as it is one to the fans, and she’s never sounded so uninhibited. — P.R.
Wet – “Bound” Ft. Blood Orange
Ahead of their new album Letter Blue, Wet have teamed up with Blood Orange for the dazzling “Bound.” The trio’s dreamy sound, tinged with nostalgic, R&B and synth-pop production, makes a Blood Orange appearance feel right. Dev Hynes makes his mark on the atmospheric track when he joins in on the chorus with subtle vocals, “And I’m screaming in the palm of my hands/ Waiting for a love that never could land.” Don’t miss the Gia Coppola-directed video, either. — Regina Schliep
Gabrielle Macafee – “Dance Myself to Death!”
Newcomer Gabrielle Macafee arrived with a burst of light with her debut single “Apocalypse Now” and has now returned with the shimmering “Dance Myself to Death!” Showcasing an airy falsetto and equally powerful belt, the track makes good on its name. It’s almost impossible not to want to dance along, and the song captures the magic of pop music in its catharsis — the lyrics are lamenting a lost love, but it’s hard to be sad about a heartbreak when it sounds this fun. The disco elements here and on “Apocalypse Rodeo” are hopefully a peak at what the New York-based singer might have in store for us. — Mary Siroky
MARINA, Beach Bunny – “I Love You But I Love Me More”
The reworked “I Love You But I Love Me More,” from MARINA’s latest album Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land, features a new verse written by Beach Bunny’s Lili Trifilio. Their vocals also soar together on the updated chorus, making for an unexpected collaboration that you can’t help but bop along to. Then again, turns out Trifilio has been a fan of the Welsh singer-songwriter for quite some time: “It’s such a privilege and an honor to work with the artist that’s inspired me the most,” she tweeted. — R.S.
keshi – “SOMEBODY”
“SOMEBODY” is a track equally steamy and dreamy that cements the Houston-based artist as an essential part of the lo-fi pop landscape. keshi’s voice is draped over simple guitar, his memorable falsetto crooning in a way that feels all too familiar. The song lands like a late-night call. keshi is fresh off an inclusion on the killer soundtrack that accompanied Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and “somebody” is much more stripped-back than the more stylized track that landed there. His discography so far feels cohesive and accessible, and “somebody” stands out as a song that feels like he could be playing it in the next room. — M.S.
Hope Tala – “Tiptoeing”
West London’s Hope Tala continues her impressive run of singles with the Greg Kurstin-produced “Tiptoeing.” Kurstin’s touch adds a different layer to Tala’s lush, Bossa Nova-influenced style — the sleek drum programming, carefully-mixed wash of harmonies, and the opening and closing of the song’s expressive guitar line elevates “Tiptoeing” to new heights.
Whereas previous single “Mad” conveyed a relaxed sense of urgency, “Tiptoeing” drives more than many of her releases to date: it’s fitting, as Hope Tala’s lyrics describe a tense point in a relationship where you don’t know if you’ll be lovers or just friends. As Tala’s music becomes more specific and inviting, her overall sound is beginning to expand beautifully, and each song is better than the last. — P.R.