songs of the week

7 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.

Sturgill Simpson, Breakers Roar
I cannot stop crying to this new Sturgill record, y’all. It’s strange because there’s nothing about A Sailor’s Guide to Earth that screams inherent sorrow and despair. (Though it is grounded in the concept of distance, drawing on where his head was at when he served in the Navy, stationed in Japan.) On the contrary, there’s actually a lot here to dance to (bless the Dap-Kings for that), but then you have songs like “Oh Sarah” and “Breakers Roar” reminding the world why Sturgill is such an affecting semi-country anti-star. His words are like tiny blades slicing into the very bones he’s singing about (“bone breaks and heals / oh, but heartaches can kill”), and it’s almost uncomfortable to hear him be so vulnerable, so removed from all the mythology surrounding his stardom. If he’s right and even this song is just a dream, let me sleep a little while longer. — Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Sabrina Claudio, “Runnin’ Thru Lovers”
Nineteen-year-old Sabrina Claudio’s debut EP, Confidently Lost, is brimming with young urgency and R&B soulfulness. It’s here, “under the covers, searching for comfort,” that she shines. “How you love someone today, but not tomorrow / How you pull somebody close then turn away,” she pines, through daydream vocals. For something more upbeat, check out “Too Much Too Late.” Otherwise, “Runnin’ Thru Lovers” is the perfect salve to apply after that dude ghosts and the duvet’s too comfy to care right now. — Justin McCraw (@JustinMcCraw)

A$AP Ferg ft. Missy Elliott, Strive
Someone asked me recently to describe A$AP Ferg’s sound, and it’s songs like this that make such questions irrelevant. Seriously, listen to a song like “Hood Pope” and then his latest, “Strive,” and tell me there’s a name for this. I’m not into artists trying on different genres like music’s some one-size-fits-all department store, but Ferg sounds like he gravitated to house organically. It suits him, and goddamn does it look good on Missy Misdemeanor. It’s also a bit of a throwback to Kid Cudi and David Guetta’s “Memories,” at least in vibe. Much as you’ll want to go buck-wild on the dance floor, keep an ear out for the lyrics while you’re at it. There’s such a beautiful message of making a better life for yourself even when all signs are pointing to a fate of selling crack on the corner driving the song’s euphoria. — DL

Skepta, “Man
It’s such a shame Skepta’s been denied a visa to tour the U.S. for the time being. America deserves to see him get rowdy with his stateside brethren. Though judging from “Man,” a new song from his long overdue Konnichiwa, I don’t know how happy he’ll be about all these Drake stans suddenly claiming Skepta. “I got day ones and I got new ones / No fake ones, trust no one,” he rolls his eyes, probably at all those American thinkpieces claiming year after year that UK grime was finally about to catch on the states. (Spoiler: It hasn’t.) Right now, Skepta is the most popular British rapper in the world (though Adele would very much like Stormzy to have that title), and it didn’t happen overnight, despite Drake’s recent fanboying. Which is to say, if you’re gonna step to Skepta in the coming months, don’t act like you’d have done it two years ago. — DL

Ariana Grande ft. Lil Wayne, Let Me Love You
A couple years ago, there was this really awkward phase during Nick Jonas’s post-JoBro press tour where he got asked, over and over again, if he wanted people to have sex to his music. (He does.) Zayn eventually got asked it, too. (He doesn’t care.) Someone even once asked Usher if he has sex to his own music. (He does.) Now, I’m almost certain these questions are coming for Ari. It probably got shot down during after “Love Me Harder,” back when men still loved to infantalize her. Slowly but surely, Ari has leaned into a sexually empowered attitude the way Selena Gomez did last year, finally redirecting the gaze. “Let Me Love You” (which is not a Mario cover, sadly) is the surest sign of it because this is unquestionably a song to fuck to. Like the song says, she’s single and ready to live life, which means having however much sex she wants. Hopefully not with Weezy (who makes the pun “she grinding on this Grande,” ew), but that’s the whole point: It doesn’t matter if she is. So long as Ari keeps giving us Mariah-lite bedroom bangers, don’t question her. — DL

James Blake, Timeless
Ironically, timeless is the last word that comes to mind when I think of James Blake. I can’t really imagine his music existing any time but now. If lyrical nuance is your thing, move along, because this has about 15 words. James Blake is all about moods, and this one serves after-hours woozy erotica, if I’m being real. (It also has a repeated sound effect that sounds exactly like the first note of 50 Cent’s “21 Questions,” but that’s another story.) Like every great James Blake song, the synths swell and intensify to extreme heights — it’s impossible not to get swept up in its current. — DL

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