Every week, members of the Vulture staff will highlight their favorite new songs. They might be loud, quiet, long, short, dance-y, rawkin', hip, square, rap, punk, jazz, some sort of jazz-punk-rap fusion — whatever works for the given person in that given week. Read our picks below and please tell us yours in the comments.
Radio Killa The-Dream continues to release only good songs — wherever he ends up putting them. This time, it’s straight to radio, with a song called “Fruition” that is luckily also streaming on Soundcloud. It’s soft, sweet, romantic, and fully The-Dream. —Lindsey Weber (@LindseyWeber)
ILoveMakonnen featuring Ezra Koenig and Despot, "Down 4 So Long (Remix)"
Man, this is so good. As arguably the year's biggest breakthrough hip-hop artist, it feels like everyone wants to work with ILoveMakonnen. Most notable here is Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, who sounds so natural on the beat, it kind of makes you hope (fear) the next VW album will have a real Drake vibe. —Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)
Kendrick Lamar, "Untitled"
There were some grumblings after Kendrick Lamar released "i" for whatever reason. Lamar stopped by the third-to-last episode of The Colbert Report to put anyone's fears about his next album to rest. This song is a brilliant, hard-as-hell beast. —JDF
Lana Del Rey, “I Can Fly”
Skip Big Eyes and go straight to its soundtrack. Specifically, the two new Lana Del Rey songs: “Big Eyes,” the quite literal ode to big eyes and big lies (Get it? They rhyme), and the credits-sequence tune “I Can Fly” — a so-very-breathy ballad set on air and to the tune of newly found freedom: "Running fast from something with my eyes wide like / Saucers spinning in the sun." —LW
Madonna, "Living for Love"
The new songs that Madonna released this weekend from her forthcoming 13th album Rebel Heart are a mixed bag, the worst of which feature dismayingly faceless vocals and permissive-mom lyrics as cringeworthy as “And we can do drugs and we can smoke weed and we can drink whiskey / Yeah, we can get high and we can get stoned.” But the spirited “Living for Love” — a kind of “Like a Prayer” update for Generation Dubstep — finds an unexpectedly perfect balance between the ghosts of Madge past and future. —Lindsay Zoladz (@LindsayZoladz)
Laura Marling, "Short Movie"
I'm a sucker for a good refrain and Marling singing "It's a short fucking movie, man," so here is a damn good one. It says so much yet so little. —JDF
Slow No Wake, “Shake It Off”
Christmas is for Christmas carols, but it’s also for “takes” on traditional Christmas carols — ones that slow down the catchy beat and take it to Joni Mitchell’s “River” territory. That’s why I love this cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” It’s like they removed all of the bad things from it (the spoken-word part, the ooh-OOHs, the fake drums) and broke it down to the weird, repetitive, demanding song that it is. —LW
The Weeknd, "Earned It"
The Weeknd is a pretty great candidate for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, being that the sound of his sweet falsetto softens a lot of the filthy things he has to say. Oddly enough, he tones down the sexualized lyrics on this song for the movie. Instead he sings of a hookup becoming something more, over the same kind of music-box-like production as the film’s “Crazy in Love” rework. —Marcus Jones (@MJinMD)