Friday Five – D.R.A.M., Lady Gaga, The Flaming Lips, Jim James, and Justice

In our new Friday Five feature, we’ll introduce five songs from the past week.

“WiFi” (feat. Erykah Badu) by D.R.A.M.

Welcome to the beautifully weird world of D.R.A.M. The man that inspired Drake’s “Hotline Bling” with his breakthrough single “CHA CHA,” D.R.A.M. is frequently absurd, soulful and brilliant all at once. As such, his pairing with Erykah Badu about, well, Wi-Fi signals, makes perfect sense. It’s a lush, funky track that is two parts Funkadelic and one part Stankonia-era Outkast. Big Baby D.R.A.M. is available now.

“A-YO” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is continuously evolving and reinventing herself as an artist, and that process continues on her latest release Joanne, out today. With a more adult-contemporary/country vibe, the album has a who’s who list of contributors that include Josh Homme, Mark Ronson, Father John Misty, and Kevin Parker, which lends to its slightly disjointed feeling when taken as a whole. When it clicks, however, it works splendidly.

“The Castle” by The Flaming Lips

Between a misguided cover album, an overstayed Miley Cyrus partnership, and their last immensely abstracted release The Terror, you’d be forgiven for thinking that The Flaming Lips had essentially burned out as a studio band. Enter “The Castle” which not only is their best song in years, it also doesn’t sound too far removed from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. It’ll be interesting to see if the rest of their upcoming release Oczy Mlody follows suit, but in the meantime, this gives Flaming Lips fans something to tide them over until the album drops in January.

“Here In Spirit” by Jim James

Straight away, this is by far and away the best solo work ever written and released by James. His solo albums have always had a laser-focus on social commentary and a much more soulful than those more familiar with My Morning Jacket would expect. Never has it ever come together as well as “Here In Spirit,” which, in the most flattering way, is channeling some serious Marvin Gaye-type vibes. Eternally Even will be released on November 4.

“Alakazam !” by Justice

The other immensely popular French electronic duo is back after a five-year absence with their album Woman, due for release on November 18. For those that were let down by Justice’s follow-up work after their great debut album Cross, you’ll find a lot to like here as well as on their other singles “Randy” and “Safe and Sound.”

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