Every week, Vulture highlights 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.
Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar, "The Greatest"
Sia’s new song is another essentially Sia pop-jam with a heavy bass kick that just makes you want to crazy dance like that little Maddie Ziegler. But it’s also a tribute to the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The video opens with a heartbreakingly sad Ziegler smudging rainbow paint beneath her eyes before she and 49 other dancers (one for each person who was killed), who begin and end the video entangled on the floor as lifeless bodies, break into furious interpretive dance in the modern style that’s become a signature of the singer and her young muse. Hearing Sia wail, “I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive. I’m free to be the greatest here tonight,” while watching those visuals makes this the song most worthy of your tears this week. —Jordan Crucchiola (@jorcru)
Travis Scott ft. Kendrick Lamar, "Goosebumps"
If seeing Travis Scott perform is your first introduction to Kanye's young muse, you might think he makes music of the noise variety. His shows are legendary for their bedlam, and he's earned a reputation for inciting riots on more than one occasion. (At last night's Saint Pablo show in MSG, he got the mosh pit so riled up, his security had to yank him out.) And your assumption wouldn't be incorrect, per se, it's just not the "noise" everyone's accustomed to. His sophomore album, Birds in the Trap Sing Brian McKnight, especially, moves him away from the abrasiveness of Yeezus into something slightly more structured and melodic, but no less ambient. True to the album title's inspiration, "Goosebumps" is a sappy (and woozy, natch) ode to how falling in love turns men into mush. It's sweet, really. Particularly so when Kendrick does his best D'Angelo falsetto impression for this: "Put the pussy on a pedestal / Put the pussy on a high horse." And now you're blushing. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)
Sylvan Esso, "Radio"
An indie band like Durham, North Carolina’s folk-electronic hybrid Sylvan Esso isn’t too concerned with achieving the splashier aspects of pop fame, like topping the charts and starring in photo shoots. That’s abundantly clear in the lyrics of their latest single “Radio,” a buoyant banger that lays on the media criticism thick. “Don’t you want to sing along?” Meath teases, before she launches into an undeniably hooky chorus about being a “slave to the radio.” It just might be the catchiest anti-pop pop song you’ll hear. —Samantha Rollins (@SamanthaRollins)
M.I.A. ft. Zayn, "Freedun"
Maybe it was too much to hope that M.I.A. could get Zayn to go off-script and speak to the same issues his fellow South Asian has for years while guesting on her track. But hey, if it can't be political, at least it's beautiful. "Freedun" does make the requisite reference to "refugees," but it's in regard to the patience that's necessary to their survival. Patience is also probably what the casual fan who (unfairly) expects more from one of history's only POC former boy banders should have with Zayn. While we wait, luxuriate in his lush turn on the hook. —DL
In Pitchfork’s review of serpentwithfeet’s new EP, Blisters, they say, “An actual serpent with feet is an image that belongs to a prelapsarian world. It’s a mythical reminder of original sin, and perhaps a symbol of lost potential, fallibility, desire, and all sorts of biblical things good and bad. It’s a hell of a name for a musical project, coded with all the grandeur and primordial muck of the Book of Genesis.” And listening to the EP is about 100 times as emotionally dense as that introduction to the five-track collection. “penance” is a succinct sample of the sonic and intellectual complexity of Blisters. It’s theatrical and beautiful and sad and feels like it’s meant to put you in a contemplative trance. serpentwithfeet’s Josiah Wise isn’t here to sing to you. He’s here to soak into your pores. —JC
James Vincent McMorrow, “I Lie Awake Every Night”
Nowadays I’m lucky if I get three hours of sleep in a night. I don’t know why. So “I Lie Awake Every Night” off Irish singer James Vincent McMorrow’s new album, We Move. hits a spot for me because it’s all about losing your mind in the dark of the night for whatever reason, where there’s little in the way of distractions from your deepest, most unnerving thoughts. The song’s production – the album was crafted with help from sometime Drake collaborators Nineteen85 of DVSN and Frank Dukes – effects the same nighttime mood, pouring milky synths over trip-hop drums. McMorrow’s voice hangs gaunt and ghostly overhead like the whisp of a startling 3 a.m. realization. –Craig Jenkins (@CraigSJ)