songs of the week

6 Best New Songs of the Week

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.

Robyn, “Missing U”
I have just one word to sum up Robyn’s first solo song in eight years: dazzling. It’s such an elitist reflex to dismiss the catharsis that sugary pop music provides as hollow, but Robyn and this song are prime examples of why it works well. There’s only so far a sad song that wishes to dwell in its sorrow will carry you. “Missing U” tries to come to a truce with that pain by throwing it a party. As the song’s title tells you, Robyn is grappling with loss of varying degrees of severity: a creative partner who died of cancer prior to the release of their collaborative album; maybe the loss of a romantic partner, too; losing touch with her fans after so many years creating distance with her side projects; losing her way. Robyn’s never been one to let the bad erode her joy; “Dancing on My Own” is that good for that reason. “Missing U” once again isn’t about drowning out her loneliness, but dressing it up with fluttering, bursting synths and pulsating kick drums so it doesn’t have to feel so isolating. “All this love you gave, it still defines me,” she sings as a reminder that all isn’t lost just yet. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Phosphorescent, “New Birth in New England”
Never mind the fact that the riff at points is reminiscent of Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” (that song is a classic, more people could stand to take from it — even subliminally), Phosphorescent’s return to music after a five-year absence is a bouncy take on the cracked and worn-out folk that he made his signature in the latter half of the last decade. He left New York behind, got married, had a couple kids, and moved to Nashville. It’s tempting to call a series of Big Moves like that a reinvention, but “New Birth in New England” doesn’t so much cast off the past as it does absorb it and move forward. Matthew Houck seems to have really lived a life. It’s nice to hear some joy in his music. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

Tinashe, “Throw a Fit”
Now normally I wouldn’t advise pitching a tantrum as a means to get your way in any relationship, but everyone — especially women — reserves the right to get a little saucy just one time. Tinashe has been burned y’all, but all getting dumped for Kendall Jenner has done is light a fire under her ass. It’s a very social-media-enabled habit to construct this illusion that the best revenge on a trifling ex is living your best damn life, rather than show any signs of defeat or pain. To shrug off Ben Simmons, she has created a whole new identity named Nashe, who “has zero chill,” “doesn’t give a hint of a fuck,” hydrates with Champagne over water, and has all the boys wrapped around her little finger. Nashe makes spiteful songs like “Throw a Fit” that hype herself up now that she’s been kicked down. The real Tinashe’s ego right now probably isn’t as stable, but these are the lies sometimes necessary to tell ourselves to get by. The sweetest revenge to my mind here, though, is that whether she’s Tinashe or Nashe, all this drama has inspired one of her better bops to date. –DL

Pi’erre Bourne, “Marie Curie”
Pi’erre Bourne is one of the best producers working today. He’s not always bombastic, but his beats manage to consume everything in their vicinity. Voices — whether they’re those of frequent collaborator Playboi Carti, or 6ix9ine, or Lil Yachty, or any other number of artists — become part of the sonic patchwork he’s creating, and that sonic patchwork tends to lean ominous, like a warbly VHS tape, or a forgotten John Carpenter score. This single from his upcoming mixtape is less foreboding than much of his other work, but it’s filled with subtle touches: a soft focus drum roll, tiny sonic glitches, a breezy chorus that point to Bourne’s brilliant meticulousness. —SH-S

Blood Orange, “Jewelry”
Blood Orange’s second of two new songs (the first being “Charcoal Baby”) is about taking up space, emotional and physical. Janet Mock introduces its video with spoken word about this idea that the marginalized are always perceived as “doing the most” as if it’s a choice. She counters, “But, like, why would we want to do the least?” Dev Hynes chimes in to lament the days when there wasn’t a space for him and how it feels to retreat into yourself: “Suited to staying indoors like a good nigga / I treated the hope like my home / And destroyed it, go figure.” When there’s nowhere you feel like you belong, you try to create a tribe for yourself in other people, but other people have their own weight and there’s not enough strength to carry yours, too. Dev acknowledges this: “No one ever will appreciate the way you bare your soul (for them to) or attune.” The rest of the song tries to put down roots elsewhere with the false connecting fabric of wealth, that if you just tap into those money bags and start “feeling yourself” the Beyoncé way, maybe not knowing your place won’t be so bad. That is, until those same restless thoughts seep back in and the news is bad, and, oh that’s right, you’re rich, but you’re still black. The song ends with Dev “going back to being unknown,” which is how it’ll always feel navigating this world when your very existence is under constant threat of being snuffed out. –DL

Cuco & Clairo, “Drown”
One of the questions implicit in pop music is “How did this person get where they are? How much help did they have? Should we be suspicious?” As with most things, the answer is complicated and long, but can be boiled down to, basically, “be suspicious of everything, but enjoy what you enjoy because you enjoy it.” Clairo, who has an influential dad, has often been the subject of questioning like this, which is fine. Clairo has also been making post-chillwave pop nuggets that sound like late-afternoon sun and also being stoned for the first time. Here, she links up with semi-frequent collaborator Cuco to do more of that, and surprisingly, there’s still plenty to love here: the call and response between the two artists, the subtle moments of dubby bliss … this sounds like how being a teenager felt, which I realize makes me sound like an old man, but isn’t that kind of the point? —SH-S

Best New Songs of the Week