songs of the week

12 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.

James Blake ft. Bon Iver, “I Need a Forest Fire”
Previously, James Blake’s music sounded like the soundtrack to looking out the window at a heavy rainstorm. Though that’s still there in places, on The Colour in Anything, which Blake Beyoncéd last Thursday night, the sun definitely is coming out. And there to escort him through this new day is Bon Iver, his brother in frowns, who on his last album made a similar brightening. The song is surely about some sadsack shit, but it’s undeniably hopeful. — Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)

Radiohead, “True Love Waits”
I have never felt more personally trolled by Radiohead than I did on Sunday. I’m sitting on a bus to New Jersey to see my mom because it’s Mother’s Day. I want nothing more than to not think about the fact that I’m all alone when a month ago I wasn’t, so for some dumb reason I press play on the deeply lonely record that is A Moon Shaped Pool. I see a song called “True Love Waits,” and immediately 21 years of Radiohead history come flooding back to me. This can’t be the same delicately torturous song that has taunted me since as far back as I can remember. Oh, yeah, it is. And fuck, now it’s a piano-laden ballad. Jesus, Thom, just murder me. “I’m not living, I’m just killing time” always stung, but now the words feel like a machete slicing through my heart — right where it oughta bleed. Most Radiohead fans know this as one of their most intimate songs. I’m glad we finally got to know it just a little bit closer, just a little bit older.  — Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Tourist, “Too Late”
British DJ Tourist released his first album, U, on Friday, for EDM fans everywhere (just me?). While lacking any deep vocal work like on his collaboration with Josef Salvat and Niia last year, it is a complete work with rousing instrumentality and enough synthesized lyrical jolts to keep you dancing. “Too Late” is an exemplar. It’s a fast-paced trip across the dance floor to the bar. It’s a song you’ll think “What was that?” after hearing it, even if its longevity is just as fleeting as a thought without a phone to write it in. — Justin McCraw (@JustinMcCraw)

Blowout, “Indiana”
If I’m being honest with myself, this is basically what I’m hoping for when I click the orange circle of a new band’s Soundcloud. It’s has sharp, incessant guitars, a rave-up beat, and yearning vocals. It’s perfect putting-your-clothes-away-after-doing-laundry music. — JDF

Dua Lipa, “Hotter Than Hell”
From the first lyric, Dua Lipa brings you something special. Marimba-infused dance pop overflowing with sex appeal, “Hotter Than Hell” is the double entendre to get things gyrating. It oozes desire and temptation, a forbidden apple to send the ignorant crashing to earth before Dua Lipa engulfs them in her flames. This is the song you want to have play after coming back from the bar with your third drink, and the guy you just met is eating up your Pandora’s Box of raw intensity. “He calls me the devil,” she starts. “I make him wanna sin.” Don’t we all? —JM

Kaytranada ft. Syd tha Kid, “You’re the One”
I talk a lot in this column about genres and their increasing insignificance. Kaytrananda, the 23-year-old producer coming to us from Montreal, and his phenomenal debut album 99.9% are perhaps the very definition of genreless. He’s 99.9 percent every style, .01 percent something undiscovered by the human ear. This may be his first album, but it’s the second time he’s teamed up with Syd Tha Kid; together, they made one of the best songs of 2015, the Internet’s “Girl.” There are so many songs on this album that invite involuntary dancing in dark, cloudy rooms. “You’re the One” is equally murky, but it’s also the one track that demands to blow up. There’s nothing inherently radio-appealing about either artist (thanks to lots of industry b.s.), and I doubt they’d ever care if this song made much noise outside festivals, but damn it, it’s as chartworthy an earworm as anything AlunaGeorge and Zhu are doing. And the way it slides into “Vivid Dreams” without warning — that’s gotta be the best non-transition on a record of 2016 so far. — DL

Oyinda, “Flatline”
Oyinda is special. Her lyrics lend themselves to urgency, but she can’t give any F’s to get it there – in a good way. The horror movie chalkboard screech of the lyrics and culminating beat can give you shivers. But the majority of the song is a soft-tempo journey through self realization. “Can you hurry? It’s an emergency,” she says at a normal speaking pace. By the end, we’re in a bit of titter, the music a bit more chaotic, Oyinda still searching for more time and another high. Expect to hear more from her in the coming months. —JM

Message to Bears, “I’ll Lead You There”
I feel like more often than not, earnest attempts to combine acoustic instruments with beats sounds terrible. This doesn’t sound terrible. It sounds nice. It also — speaking of Bon Iver — sounds like Volcano Choir. — JDF

Vérité, “Living”
New Yorker Vérité has been giving us her brooding lip pop for a few years now. But her latest EP, Living, captures a maturity and hard-won confidence that comes with working the late shift at Applebee’s and self-funding your own music, as described in a post she wrote for the Talkhouse. “Living,” the title track, offers a harsh look at relationships. “I’m always alone, but I let you inside of me / To remind me how bitter I am / I’m no good at making space,” she sings, before delving into the dirt of it all, even after vowing to “be clean.” It’s a throw-up to life’s hardships and making poor decisions, even when you tell yourself you won’t this time. — JM

Alicia Keys, “In Common”
At last, the jig is up. For too long, we’ve allowed Alicia Keys a pass based solely on the brilliance of her earlier career. But for years, the woman commanding the keys has been off. Whether she’ll ever admit it or not, anyone with the ability to hear should’ve picked up on a flaw in her voice — a break in vocal cords, perhaps. What was once a gorgeous, controlled husk turned into a shrill, unhinged rasp (watch her sing at Whitney Houston’s funeral at your own risk). But — gasp! — something’s happened. Her new single is fantastic; it’s maybe her best song since 2010’s “Unthinkable (I’m Ready).” It’s a beautiful reminder that even the best singers have to abide by less-is-more. This is Alicia reembracing her lower register, and choosing a style (more tired Caribbean-lite) that complements her vocal ability rather than overbear it. More of this, please, for all our ears’ sake. — DL

Heartstreets, “How I Got Over”
“And I spent all my favors to save you,” Heartstreets begins. “You save me a seat at your table and the prayers you say slow.” “How I Got Over” is the final track on the Canadian duo’s You & I EP, full of heated hyperbole and cool, cool shade. The ladies have distinct singing styles that carry the song through to its empowering finale. I don’t care about your flexing, it goes, I’m gonna spend time with my homies over here. Bye, Felicia. — JM

pools, “blue”
This is the kind of music you expect to hear when your best-friend-cum-secret crush falls for your other friend instead. The news hits you. Your world spins out of control. The melancholy sweeps in to turn your blue skies gray. So you get in your car and drive down the interstate, the slow patter of a spring rain making sad little teardrop moats across your windshield. Pools’ “blue” is that type of song. Listen a few times, but don’t linger in it. You’re better than that. — JM

This Week’s Best New Music