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.
Leonard Cohen, “String Reprise/Treaty”
For most of his decades-long career, Leonard Cohen’s songwriting has thrived on questioning the nature of love and spirituality. You Want It Darker, the latest album from the 82-year-old Cohen, who recently said he’s “ready to die,” only brings these themes into sharper relief, functioning as a final artistic statement from the singer. It makes sense, then, that Cohen caps off what will likely be his final album with a string-quartet reprise of “Treaty,” one of the record’s most somberly beautiful tracks. “It’s over now, the water and the wine,” Cohen’s now-raspy baritone intones after nearly three minutes of swelling strings practically carry the listener away. If this really must be the last we hear from Leonard Cohen, at least it’s a finely crafted good-bye. — Samantha Rollins (@SamanthaRollins)
Colouring, “Everything Has Grown”
As the title of this song suggests, it’s a forlorn track about the emotional distance created by time and the bittersweet feeling of checking in with someone from your past. It’s actually kind of like if Adele’s “Hello” wasn’t a sweeping, operatic ballad and more of just a “Hey, I hope things turned out okay for you,” while a piano plays beautifully in the background. If “Hello” is a dramatic windstorm, “Everything Has Grown” is more like a steady rainfall against your window, just right for staring off into the middle distance and wondering what might have been. — Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru)
Lady Gaga, "Joanne"
Lady Gaga is most evocative not when she's masquerading her pain in fancy dressage, but when it's laid out bare. I can actually picture Gaga recording the somber title track to her polarizing new album in the studio completely in the nude, with just a guitar and her soul as armor. Sort of like Jenny does onstage in Forrest Gump, except no man's gonna rescue Gaga from grief; no man can. It's awfully strange to mourn someone you've never met, though it makes sense if you've felt intrinsically connected to them your whole life. "Joanne" is an elegy for Gaga's artist aunt Joanne, who died of lupus at 19 more than a decade before Gaga was born. When a life gets cut that short, there's an urge to extend it, keep the song playing. Gaga isn't wondering at the top of her unbelievable lungs where Joanne's gone from her life in that devastating chorus — as Gaga later accepts, she's well aware — she wonders where Joanne's life could've gone had she not been another angel down. But judging from the album's title, and Gaga's newly discovered identity, she's already found that answer. I hope they meet someday. — Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)
Summer Moon, "With You Tonight"
I already have a positive bias towards any member of the Strokes' side projects, but I was still really, really delighted that bassist Nikolai Fraiture's newish band Summer Moon is churning out some truly excellent bouncy rock-pop tunes. I only wish they released it earlier in the summer, so I could fully blare it in a convertible with the roof down. (Also, that's a damn fine use of rhythm guitar.) — Devon Ivie (@devonsaysrelax)
Zella Day, “Man on the Moon”
This song opens with a kind of vocal salutation, and the thick wall of sound that follows wraps around you like a big hug. A big blissful hug. Which feels right considering Day is singing about two glowing bodies entangled with one another for days on end, so bright that they can light up the night sky. It’s a song about ecstasy, and as Day repeats the words “I’m in your dreams now” you pretty much start to believe her. Let’s all go with Zella Day to the moon, and plan on not coming back any time soon. — JC
Ted Leo, "In the Mean Times"
In March, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will not have released an album in seven years. As far as I know, they didn’t break up, they just haven’t been making or playing music together. I like the Both and everything, but this is a major void in my life. “In the Mean Times” doesn’t totally fill it, but it gets close. Ted Leo is one of the most thoughtful, political lyricists around, but for me that has only come second to his tremendous ability with melody. This song is about a lot of things, mostly about how it is a very sad time to be a person in America, but it’s also a catchy little pop ditty. Classic, Ted Leo. — Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)
What is “8am”? Is it about the time you woke up? The time you went to bed? Considering how much this song thumps like bad decisions, we’re guessing it’s the latter. This track belongs on a playlist next to Scissor Sisters' “Let’s Have a Kiki,” Felix da Housecat’s “Money, Success, Fame, Glamour,” Mickey Avalon’s “So Rich, So Pretty,” and “Fashionista” by Jimmy James. Set it up and then don’t plan to sleep for 36 to 48 hours. — JC