Every week, members of the Vulture staff highlight the best new music. If the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best music.
Mykki Blanco, "Scales"
Last year, Mykki had me nervous: She revealed she'd been living with HIV since 2011 and announced her retirement from music to pursue investigative journalism. Fortunately, she returns this month with more heat. On first listen, I thought I loved "Scales" because of Jeremiah Meece's diabolical beat, but the pulse of this song is Mykki "24-bar killer" Blanco's effortless ether. She comes out swinging, literally: "I'm Solange in the elevator, watch ya ass" — and that energy never wavers. A lot of rappers like to think they can battle, Mykki knows she can, if ever anyone dares try her. — Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)
Brandy Clark, "Girl Next Door"
All hail the queen of snarky, ball-busting country, Brandy Clark. She's back and bitter with "Girl Next Door," the first single off her sophomore album. It could be read two ways: a diss to a dude, or on a grander scope — and I'm certain this is what Brandy intended — it's a middle finger to the industry that hasn't a damn clue what to do with her, or most women in country. She cuts into the once-marketable Virgin Mary–Barbie doll image Nashville loves to sell; a dying stereotype she defies with pleasure. Brandy doesn't sit anywhere on the country conveyor belt, and I love her all the more for it. — DL
Destructo feat. Ty Dolla $ign and ILoveMakonnen, "4 Real"
This one starts out atmospheric and foreboding and then turns into an hip-hop-fueled, EDM club banger. Ty Dolla $ign hops on to give it some life, but it's ILoveMakonnen, an in-demand collaborator these days, who really takes it home. — Ira Madison III (@ira)
PJ Harvey, "The Wheel"
Last year PJ Harvey published her first book of poetry, The Hollow of the Hand, in collaboration with filmmaker and photographer Seamus Murphy, inspired by their travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and D.C. She also recorded a new album — her ninth — before a live audience in a basement studio in London's Somerset House. It, too, catalogues her experience in those disparate locations. Now, for those of us who were unable to witness Polly Jean Harvey create an entire album in a glass box, we have "The Wheel," the first song from The Hope Six Demolition Project. It begins with a full minute of horns and fuzzy guitar followed by the candid realism that Harvey continues to embrace. — Lauretta Charlton (@laurettaland)
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League feat. Lupe Fiasco and Future, "No Problems"
Lupe and Future? Together on a track? I almost hate myself for loving this as much as I do. But it's probably because Future's relegated to a quick-punch hook ("I'm just chillin', I'm just chillin'" is the extent of his contribution), while Lupe handles the verses. Though, to be fair, Lupe does dial back the wordplay to fit the flow of this trunk-rattling beat, which, by my ears, sounds like Justice League remedied Kanye's "Theraflu" beat. This collaboration comes courtesy of the production trio's new album, which features old Drake verses, new-ish verses from others, and, most important, never-before-heard big, beautiful beats. — DL
K. Michelle, "Not a Little Bit"
If you don't know by now that K. Michelle can sang, where the hell have you been? Her vocals are out of control on this throwback '90s R&B ballad, offering proof that had she been around during Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey's heyday, K. Michelle would have been a formidable contender. — IM
Iggy Pop, “Break Into Your Heart”
Iggy Pop announced his upcoming album, Post Pop Depression, last week with the surprisingly dancey “Gardenia.” Its clipped, shimmering guitar work (courtesy of Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Dean Fertita) and Iggy Pop’s singular baritone competing with a thumping bass line was a return to form for Pop. This week he dropped the opening track, “Break Into Your Heart,” which is darker than “Gardenia” and boasts more of Homme’s wah-tinged guitar doodling. “I’m gonna break into your heart / I’m gonna crawl under your skin,” Pop croons. The cover art shows Pop and Homme holding hands, which is adorable, and reminds one of Pop’s bromance with David Bowie. — Greg Cwik (@)
Sia has practically released all of This Is Acting at this point, but it's a really good album, so you'll still be listening to it once you have the entire thing. The anthem "Unstoppable" is a standout, and one of Sia's biggest songs since "Chandelier." It's even in Chicago Fire ads, so get ready for an entire year of hearing "Unstoppable" everywhere. — IM
Jamila Woods, "blk girl solider"
Jamila Woods stole my heart last year on Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment's "Sunday Candy," and I imagine it's that feature that convinced Macklemore she'd make the perfect bookend to his white apology, "White Privilege II." Or maybe he heard her debut single long before we did. "blk girl soldier" is exactly as it sounds: An ode to the magic of black women — both present and past — that scares the government. Woods drops prescient references to #OscarsSoWhite, #SayHerName, and the myriad injustices black women endure that can't be hashtagged — somehow given even more emotional weight thanks to her voice's soulful cadence. Woods is set to release her debut solo project this spring; stay woke. — DL