Review

Is Brandy's 'Beggin' & Pleadin'' a Breakup Anthem? Plus More of the Week's Best and Worst Singles

Brandy
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Brandy Norwood attends the 2015 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, Calif.  

West's last surprise drop, "Facts," had even his biggest stans fearing the upcoming Swish would end up an air-ball. Relax, everyone: "Real Friends" is his best song since 2013. "Facts" was brash and disposable, but this is thoughtful, with West mourning ­deteriorating friendships and showing rare signs of regret over keys and a rimshot. -- Alex Gale

On this bluesy breakup anthem, the R&B vet soundtracks recent heartbreak (she split with her ex-fiance in 2014) -- until she gets up off her knees and starts thinking rebound. "I got a couple n--s that I can call," she sings, a sentiment any independent lady can appreciate. -- Adelle Platon

Everyone's doing new wave-y ­synth-pop nowadays, but Brooklyn's St. Lucia, led by Jean-Philip Grobler, stands out by adding an R&B-­inflected human touch on this new single. It starts with minimalist finger snaps and then blossoms into a ­bouquet of flute swirls and harmonies, concluding with Patricia Beranek (Grobler's wife) joining in to chant the titular mantra. -- Chris Payne

This story originally appeared in the Jan. 23 issue of Billboard.