songs of the week

9 Best New Songs of the Week

Every week, Vulture and friends 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.

Tyler the Creator, “What the Fuck Right Now”
If you were a fan of Kanye’s “Freestyle 4” beat, you need to check Tyler’s remix. The Golf Wang don drags it out to a nearly four-minute lyrical onslaught, giving you more of what you love — plus interjections from top dude A$AP Rocky. Tyler’s take unspools as a flustered lesson plan, the kind that outlines how his haters fail and how he’s still grinding. Yeezy puts it best: He just kills this. —Sean Fitz-Gerald (@srkfitzgerald)

Esperanza Spalding, “Rest in Pleasure”
When we talk about the jazz of now, names like Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, and Thundercat always enter the conversation — people all associated with Kendrick Lamar’s last two projects. But we’re forgetting who ushered in the renaissance: Esperanza Spalding, the woman no one thought deserved the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2011 (then a huge upset for Justin Bieber). But she’s back with her fifth album, the outstanding Emily’s D+Evolution, to silence the haters … again. She no longer has her signature Afro; instead she’s assumed the identity of a fiery character named Emily, who has twists and a more pointed message delivered now with a more rock-tilted edge. This is protest music of the highest form, but it’s not obviously political. Every song is a freedom fight, an exclamation of restlessness that starts from within and spreads like wildfire. “Rest in Pleasure,” at its core, is about fighting the urge to settle, to want more for herself. Finally, Esperanza has found her long-lost bliss. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

R.LUM.R, “Nothing New”
In the annals of dis-dom, R.LUM.R’s new song “Nothing New” adds another to that wizened tomb. “You’ve been nothing but a labyrinth, just wasting all my time / I’ve been searching, I’ve been searching, but there’s nothing left to find / Nothing new.” The high-energy reverb quickens the pulse as R.LUM.R looks for another reason to hold on to this person, to no avail. So go ahead and get gone. But before you do, don your headphones for this sensory experience. —Justin McCraw (@JustinMcCraw)

Julien Baker, “Funeral Pyre”
How does the singer of the lyric “wish I could write songs about anything other than death” follow up a stunning debut album of sad songs? With a song called “Funeral Pyre,” of course — or, as she jokingly referred to it during her Tiny Desk Concert, “Sad Song 11.” It’s a killer, this song. Since I’ve written about Baker a bunch before, let me focus on something different — her guitar playing, which is maybe at its best here. She is a very nimble finger-picker, always landing on slightly unusual chords. The key, however, is how she plays a very treble-y electric guitar with thick reverb behind it. The result is that the picked notes are clear at first, but then haunt in the background. They do haunt. —Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)

Kendrick Lamar, “untitled 02”
You had to wonder when — never if —Kendrick would find a way to physically levitate over the competition. We saw him do it over his city, in the perfect video for last year’s “Alright,” where he debuted a new verse we never thought we’d hear in full. We still haven’t, for now, but we did get eight leftovers from To Pimp a Butterfly un-neatly handed to us in the form of a surprise album, as only Cornrow Kenny can do. Kendrick plays by no one’s rules (he hasn’t even played favorites with streaming, releasing this one to all of them on his way to another number-one album), and for that, Kendrick has ascended to a level few rappers before him have ever occupied. untitled unmastered. is frightening for many reasons, the biggest being that these songs fly so above and beyond what most of his peers are making, and still Kendrick might’ve kept them to himself had no one got Top on the phone. He gave away the second verse of “untitled 02” to Jimmy Fallon earlier this year, and thought nothing of it. He’s stuck inside the belly of the beast of himself, and there’s no telling where he’ll go from here. By the time he’s done, he might just leave the whole industry on life support. —DL

Beak, “Timeshare”
After six years, two great albums, and a forthcoming soundtrack for the film Couple in a Hole, maybe it’s time to stop calling Beak a Geoff Barrow side project. Their newest track, “Timeshare,” is taken from the aforementioned soundtrack, and has the brazen wailing and driving, mechanical percussion that marks the band’s sound. Not too far removed from the music that accompanied Italian spaghetti-horror movies, its ugly sounds are strangely danceable. The soundtrack and film come out in April. —Greg Cwik (@gregcwik1)

Gallant, “Bourbon”
An artist to watch this year, Gallant oozes everything I love about modern R&B: callbacks to the vivid lyrical imagery of the genre’s 90s era, stunning vocal talent, and ballads that feel mammoth. These are all qualities of his latest single, “Bourbon,” off his upcoming debut album Ology, and an extension of the taste we got from the soaring “Weight in Gold” and the tender Jhené Aiko duet “Skipping Stones.” “Bourbon” meets those songs somewhere in the middle. It’s an 80s-indebted slow burn (similar, in vibe, to a lot of Blood Orange and Jessie Ware’s recent work) that eventually surrenders to all the buildup by the time the hook hits, elevated by Gallant’s impeccable falsetto. This is shaping up to be one hell of an introduction. —DL

Into It. Over It., “Anesthetic”
Another sad song? From me? Unheard of! “Anesthetic” is the latest single off Into It. Over It.’s Standards, which is set to come out this Friday, March 11, and it shows Evan Weiss at full strength as an affecting, sensitive songwriter. And I’ll say this about these emo-revival kids, I appreciate their willingness to expand the sonic palette of the genre they operate in. This song is very rich in textures, harmonies, and interesting instrumentation. I’m into it. —JDF

Cardi B, “Sauce Boyz”
For the uninitiated, Cardi B is a ho who never gets cold. That’s not a diss at her character; it’s the mantra heard round Vine last year that turned the former Bronx stripper into an internet star and got her a spot on Love & Hip-Hop: New York as this season’s unimpeachable breakout star. She’s practically a one-woman meme-generator, and now she’s spoken a burgeoning rap career into existence with the release of her debut mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, right on time for International Women’s Day. Its instant-classic cover has Cardi in the backseat of a limo, Corona in one hand, and the other running her fingers through the hair of some dude going down on her. The whole mixtape is brimming with that kind of bossed-up attitude; every track contains the same quotables about female empowerment, misandry, and getting shmoney that you’ll find on her Instagram. “They be like Cardi why you so cold, nigga I don’t defrost,” she spits with the same venom that Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Kim, and Foxy Brown used to change the game. I have a hunch Cardi’s just one Nicki remix away from the crossover stardom a personality like hers was born for. —DL

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